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DOJ: We're Phasing Out Private Prisons

After IG report found private prisons aren't as safe, don't offer significant cost-savings

(Newser) - Shares for two big corrections companies took a deep dive Thursday after a report that the Justice Department is moving away from using private prisons, with the eventual goal of no private prisons under its umbrella at all, CNBC reports. Prison companies GEO and Corrections Corporation of America saw more... More »

California to End Unlimited Solitary Confinement

Thousands of inmates to be moved out of isolation

(Newser) - Thousands of inmates will soon be moved out of solitary confinement in California, after years of court battles and hunger strikes against the controversial practice. The state's decision was revealed in a legal settlement filed today—which still must be accepted by the court—with a group of inmates... More »

Prisons Should Be More Like Work Camps

It would help both the prisoners and the taxpayers

(Newser) - You know that movie cliche about prison inmates making license plates? Well, our prison system—and the inmates themselves—would benefit from a lot more of that kind of thing, writes Nathan Siegel at Ozy . Only a "scant proportion" of inmates have a prison job while locked up, even... More »

It's Time to Expand College Programs in Prison

Degrees will make ex-cons less likely to end up back in jail, says Bill Keller

(Newser) - Andrew Cuomo got flak when he announced plans to fund college classes for inmates in 10 of New York's prisons, and ended up backing off the idea. But he was right, writes Bill Keller in the New York Times . After all, "what is prison for?" Yes, one of... More »

Report: Inmates Control 65% of Mexico's Prisons

According to review of 101 most populated prisons

(Newser) - Mexico's prisons are in "critical condition," says an official, and a new report seems to confirm it: Sixty-five of Mexico's 101 most populous prisons were controlled by the inmates themselves last year, according to the National Human Rights Commission; that's up 4.3% from 2011.... More »

Irish Prison to Stop Making Inmates Crap in Buckets

182 will no longer have to 'slop out'

(Newser) - Some sweet-smelling news for prisoners at Dublin's Mountjoy Prison: They will no longer have to go to the bathroom in buckets or commodes in their cells, a practice known as "slopping out." Across Ireland, 504 prisoners—about 12% of the country's prison population—still have to... More »

Celebs Back Calif. Prisoners' Hunger Strike

Jay Leno, Bonnie Raitt, others sign letter to governor

(Newser) - California prisoners have been hunger striking since July 8 to protest the state's use of solitary confinement, and now they have a cohort of celebrities and other big names on their side. In a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown sent yesterday, Gloria Steinem, Jesse Jackson, Bonnie Raitt, Jay Leno,... More »

What Death Row Inmates Say Before They Die

Texas keeps an online database of last words

(Newser) - Texas executes more inmates than any other state, but its gone are not forgotten. The state memorializes its executed with a morbidly fascinating online database containing each inmate's last statement, the New York Times reports. Some praise a deity, some tell their family they love them one last time,... More »

What We Spend on Each Gitmo Inmate a Year: $900K

High price could help Obama argue for closure

(Newser) - Obama once again promised to close Guantanamo Bay last week, citing its high operating cost as a factor. Just how high? $150 million a year—or $900,000 per inmate. That's compared to $60,000 to $70,000 for an inmate in a super-max prison. And military officials are... More »

Hot on Yelp: Prison Reviews

But amusing trend underscores serious problem

(Newser) - Planning on committing a crime in the near future? You might want to check Yelp first and make sure you do so in a county that has a nice jail. Yes, prison reviews are increasingly popular on Yelp, with reviewers commenting on everything from cleanliness and food quality to security... More »

Clue in Colorado DOC Chief Murder: 'Boxy' Car

Police still have no suspects, motive

(Newser) - Colorado is reeling in the fatal shooting of corrections head Tom Clements, and police are scrambling to come up with either suspect or motive. Fearing additional attacks, the state is ramping up security measures for Gov. John Hickenlooper, lawmakers, and other officials, the Denver Post reports. Police aren't sure... More »

NRA Prisons, 3-Strikes Laws 'Gave Us a Headache'

'Mother Jones' takes CrimeStrike program to task

(Newser) - Wayne LaPierre tossed off a line at the Senate gun-control hearings : "We've supported prison building." In fact, the NRA backed stricter sentencing and more prisons in a perfect storm of lobbying that Mother Jones says led to a larger and harsher culture of incarceration in America. It... More »

Home of America's Cruelest Prisons: Arizona

Amnesty International report cites state's overuse of solitary confinement

(Newser) - Of all the places to commit a crime, you may want to avoid Arizona. Amnesty International today released a report blasting the state's "cruel isolation" practices. It claims that Arizona's state prisons overuse solitary confinement, with prisoners spending as long as 15 years alone in a windowless... More »

Now OK in Prison: MP3 Players

Many inmates to get OK to carry devices, pick songs from pre-approved list

(Newser) - The music industry will soon have another chart to keep track of: jailhouse rock. The Bureau of Prisons plans to allow many of its 200,000+ federal inmates to own MP3 players and pick their own soundtrack to prison life, USA Today reports. The devices will be sold in prison... More »

Man Busts Out of Jail Using Homemade Nunchucks

Lorenzo Pollard recaptured within 48 hours after fighting off a dozen guards

(Newser) - Lorenzo Pollard really, really wanted to get out of jail. The inmate, 31, escaped a medium-security facility in St. Louis after fighting off some dozen guards with home-made nunchucks fashioned from bedsheets and a chair, according to cops. Pollard used the weapon to smash through glass blocks and then scaled... More »

California Prisons Set to Release 4K Moms

But female inmates who don't have kids are out of luck

(Newser) - Thousands of mothers currently doing time will head home soon as California rushes to shrink prison populations . Moms with 2 years or less left to serve for “non-serious, non-sexual” crimes—possibly half of the state’s 9,500 female prisoners—may be released within days; once home, they’ll... More »

Tunnels? Today's Jailbreaks Need Hackers

Security experts warn about vulnerable computer systems

(Newser) - A prison warden's worst nightmare came true a few years ago: A freak power surge opened every death row inmate's door at the same time. All ended well, but a security engineer recounts the anecdote to the Huffington Post to highlight a scary vulnerability of modern prisons controlled... More »

Why We Must Bring Back Flogging

It's more humane than prison, argues Peter Moskos

(Newser) - Prisons were invented to replace “barbaric” corporal punishment—but now, with our prison system failing, there’s only one thing to do: Bring back flogging. Yes, it sounds horrible, writes Peter Moskos in the Washington Post . But “America has a prison problem.” Namely, they cost too much... More »

US Military Review Calls for Afghan Prison Changes

(Newser) - Afghanistan’s prison system, including the American-run Bagram facility, needs a complete overhaul, according to a new US military review. The current system, which has a dreadful reputation with both human rights advocates and Afghan civilians, houses radical inmates with more moderate prisoners. The offensive in the southern part of... More »

The Best Prison Breaks

Frenchman's joins infamous company with clever escape

(Newser) - A Frenchman’s daring escape from a London prison—Julien Chautard turned himself in yesterday after busting out by gripping the bottom of a prisoner transport van as it left the courtyard—gets Jon Henley, in the Guardian, thinking about the best such tries ever. His highlights: More »

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