prison system

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White House Commutes 18 Life Sentences

Plus 40 more sentences

(Newser) - The Obama administration on Thursday commuted the prison sentences of 58 federal convicts, including 18 who were given life sentences, the AP reports. The action is part of a broader effort to overhaul the criminal justice system and ease punishments for nonviolent drug offenders. Most whose sentences were cut short... More »

Our Prison System Is Broken; Here's a Fix

Essayists say 'graduated re-entry' is worth trying

(Newser) - Our prison system is broken in all the important ways, write three essayists at Vox : It's expensive, and it's not rehabilitating our ever-growing number of inmates, who tend to return to the streets only to commit more crimes. Their solution? Something called "graduated re-entry." The idea... More »

Calif. Prisons Lethal —Especially for Sex Offenders

But deaths in state's corrections system are twice national average

(Newser) - California prisoners are killed at a rate double the national average—and sex offenders account for a disproportionate number of victims, according to an AP analysis of corrections records. Male sex offenders made up about 15% of the prison population but accounted for nearly 30% of homicide victims. The deaths—... More »

Poor People Going to Jail Over Inability to Pay Fines

NPR: As courts impose more and more fees, poor defendants can't keep up

(Newser) - Accused criminals in Washington state might be surprised to learn that they'll need to shell out $125 in court fees to pay for their own jury, and double that amount if the jury requires 12 people instead of six. It's just one example of many dug up by... 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 »

3.3K US Prisoners Serving Life for Non-Violent Crimes

ACLU report slams 'grotesquely' out of whack sentencing

(Newser) - When you think of criminals who get locked away for life with no hope of parole, murderers or rapists might come to mind. But a guy who shoplifted a $159 jacket? He is one of 3,278 prisoners serving such a sentence in federal or state prisons in the US... More »

NYC Inmates Cost Nearly $168K Per Year

That's almost as much as four years of Ivy League tuition

(Newser) - In New York, the annual cost of one inmate is almost as much as four years of Ivy League tuition: $167,731. That's $460 per day for an average of 12,287 prisoners, and it's quite a bit higher than what other big cities spend: $47,063 a... 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 »

How to Curb Prison Rape

Prisoners should be separated into weight classes

(Newser) - Bryan Caplan has what he thinks is an easy way to cut down on rape and brutality in prison: separate inmates by something akin to weight class. We already do so by gender and, to a lesser extent, by severity of crime, "but there's still a long way to... More »

Recession Cuts Into Prison Sentences

States opt for cheaper routes to justice

(Newser) - With the recession squeezing their finances, many states are opting to cut the high costs surrounding incarceration—meaning fewer criminals are heading to jail and prison, and more are getting out earlier, the Washington Post reports. Some states are sending drug offenders and drunk drivers to special courts that allow... More »

Never Mind Gitmo—the Real Prison Problem Is Here

(Newser) - The collective freak-out over closing Guantanamo proves that Americans do care about prisons and prisoners, but Gitmo “is a mere speck in the eye of America’s larger prison program,” writes Dahlia Lithwick in Newsweek. That’s why Sen. Jim Webb of the “lock ‘em up”... More »

Supermax Neighbors Fear Gitmo Influx

Townspeople worry that transfer will make them a target for terrorists

(Newser) - People who live near some of America's most notorious killers fear closing Guantanamo Bay will wreck their neighborhood, the New York Times reports. Residents of Cañon City, Colo., close to the Florence "Supermax" prison, worry the detainees will be transferred there, making them a target for terrorists and... More »

US Prisons Leave Driving to Greyhound

Convicts unescorted in transfers; feds say there's little risk

(Newser) - Federal convicts regularly transfer themselves between prisons unescorted, riding public transportation without a guard in sight, WFAA-TV reports. Some 5,300 have switched prisons on their own since April 2006; 54,000 have headed to halfway houses. And in 2003-05, 77 escaped while en route. “It’s an inherent... More »

Recession to Unlock Wave of Ex-Cons

(Newser) - Thousands of prisoners around the country will have the recession to thank for setting them free, Ken Steir writes in Time. With California planning to release nearly 160,000 prisoners from under-funded, overcrowded prisons, and other states transferring drug convicts to rehab, the US is likely to see a wave... More »

California to End Last Outpost of Segregation: Prisons

Many expect surge in violence with change

(Newser) - California will fully integrate its prison system next month, making it one of the last states to do so, the Christian Science Monitor reports. The state will end the practice of separating new arrivals to the nation's largest prison system based on race. Both guards and inmates are bracing for... More »

1 in 100 Americans in Prison

'Tough on crime' proving expensive stance as state resources dwindle, study reports

(Newser) - One American adult out of 100 is incarcerated, a new study shows—the first time in US history such a high proportion of the population is behind bars. The Pew Center on the States reports the nationwide prison population grew by 25,000 last year, to 1.6 million, with... More »

Filling Jails Doesn't Cut Crime

Study concludes that longer sentences don't make streets safer

(Newser) - Getting tough on criminals through longer prison terms—at an annual cost of tens of billions of US taxpayer dollars—hasn't made a major impact on crime, concludes a study released yesterday. The US prison population has increased 800% since 1970—giving the nation has the world's highest incarceration rate—... More »

Americans Losing Taste for Death Penalty

Capital sentences and executions slow as public attitudes change

(Newser) - Capital punishment seems to be dying a slow death in the US. As public sentiment shifts toward life sentences, the number of death sentences has dropped 60% since the mid-'90s and the number of executions has fallen 46% since 1999, reports the Economist. Then there’s Texas, which has carried... More »

Wronged Ex-Cons: Why Some Get Payday, Some Don't

(Newser) - How much is a year of jail time worth if you're falsely convicted? The potential awards vary widely, the American Prospect reports. Some states fix rates, with exonerated Wisconsinites claiming $5,000 per year in the clink while those from Alabama get $50,000. Twenty-two states have no laws guaranteeing... More »

Send Cons Home to Do Time, Says Paris Sheriff

Give 2,000 inmates the Hilton treatment, Lee Baca urges

(Newser) - The sheriff who put Paris Hilton on mansion arrest is now championing a bill that would curb the overcrowding in California jails by sending thousands of other Los Angeles County inmates home to carry out their sentences. Some 2,000 low-level offenders would be tracked via ankle monitoring devices under... More »

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