prisoners

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A Big Harvey Donation, From an Unexpected Source

More than 6,600 prisoners in Texas donated almost $54K

(Newser) - As Americans open their wallets to help victims of a recent rash of tragedies—beginning with Hurricane Harvey—a big donation comes from a group that managed the feat despite not having wallets to open. The Dallas News last week reported that more than 6,600 Texas inmates donated $53,... More »

Inmates in Harvey-Hit Prison Call Conditions 'Obscene'

Despite water, power problems, FCI Beaumont isn't evacuating prisoners

(Newser) - The federal prison in Beaumont, Texas, refused to evacuate its prisoners Thursday despite concerns about the city's supply of power and running water in the wake of Harvey, saying it had enough food and water to weather the storm, the Houston Chronicle reports. But that's not the story... More »

12 Inmates Escape From Alabama Jail

8 were recaptured within hours

(Newser) - A dozen inmates broke out of the Walker County Jail in Alabama Sunday evening, but they weren't all on the loose for long: Authorities say eight of the men had been recaptured by 10:42pm, about four hours after they escaped, AL.com reports. Police, who asked area residents... More »

From 'Politicized Prisoner' to Inmate Hero

NPR details the story of Martin Sostre, whose prison activism is legendary

(Newser) - Reporter Joseph Shapiro first met Martin Sostre after New York's governor granted the inmate clemency in 1976. The prisoner's story sparked a lifelong interest in prison activism for Shapiro, who documents for NPR his search for the long-disappeared Sostre. Shapiro dives into the early life of the self-described... More »

These Inmates Had One Job ... and Hid It in Prison Ceiling

Ohio prisoners tasked with recycling PCs used them to store porn, drug-making advice

(Newser) - In what sounds like a combo of The Shawshank Redemption and Hackers, two inmates at an Ohio prison were busted for repurposing PCs meant to be taken apart for recycling purposes, then stashing the DIY devices in a prison ceiling, the BBC reports. Even though the hidden handiwork was discovered... More »

40+ Years in Solitary: 'Ask Me in 20 Years' How Freedom Feels

Albert Woodfox of 'Angola 3' was in isolation more than any other inmate in US history

(Newser) - Albert Woodfox, the last of the famous "Angola Three," was released from prison last February after pleading no contest to manslaughter in the 1972 killing of prison guard Brent Miller. In a piece for the New Yorker , Rachel Aviv offers some insight into the "reserved" and "... More »

6 Things an Analysis of Prison Tattoos Found

'Economist' study of clink ink offers fascinating revelations

(Newser) - Located a half-mile from the Los Angeles County prison known as the Twin Towers lies Homeboy Industries , one of the country's largest gang-rehab groups. One of the duties Homeboy has assumed to help ex-gang members and inmates re-enter society is a seemingly quirky but often necessary one: erasing their... More »

1 Inmate Sought After Toilet Escape

6 prisoners broke out on Christmas Day

(Newser) - Six Tennessee inmates who decided they didn't want to spend Christmas in jail broke out early Sunday by pulling a leaky toilet from a wall. Police say five of the inmates who escaped from the Cocke County Jail Annex in Newport were recaptured, but one, 54-year-old David Wayne Frazier,... More »

Prisoners Who Tore Down Ark. Blight Fear Toxic Exposure

'They sold us on a dream'

(Newser) - It was supposed to be a win-win for everyone involved in Pine Bluff's Mulligan Road project: The Arkansas city would get rid of abandoned houses that were an eyesore, while the inmates and parolees who tore down those eyesores would receive valuable job training and other perks. But as... More »

He Left Prison With a $120 Debit Card. Then Came the Fees

JPMorgan Chase agrees to $447K settlement

(Newser) - That prisoners get gouged by private companies is not new news, but a class-action suit has brought a bit of relief. Bloomberg reports that JPMorgan Chase on Monday agreed to pay $446,822 to ex-cons who were released from federal prison with a pre-paid, non-refillable debit card in hand—only... More »

12 Freed Gitmo Inmates Linked to US Deaths

Sources say former detainees have killed at least 6 in Afghanistan

(Newser) - Information about former Guantanamo Bay detainees who returned to militancy is very slowly leaking out—and it will give ammunition to those fighting to keep the detention center open. Sources tell the Washington Post that around 12 released Gitmo prisoners—all of them freed during the George W. Bush administration—... More »

SCOTUS Nixes White Jury's Death Penalty for Black Man

29 years after Timothy Foster's sentence, court finds prosecutors kept blacks off jury for racial reasons

(Newser) - In a ruling Vox says "could have a big impact on racism in the justice system," the Supreme Court on Tuesday tossed a death sentence rendered almost 30 years ago against a Georgia black man, voting 7-1 that state prosecutors kept African-Americans off the jury that convicted him,... More »

2 Inmates Were Put in Solitary Together. One Came Out

The practice of 'double celling' is shockingly common

(Newser) - It seems like some sort of oxymoron: two inmates together in solitary confinement. But as a joint investigation by NPR and the Marshall Project found, "double celling" is anything but an anomaly: They cite a 2014 Federal Bureau of Prisons report in asserting that "over 80% of the... More »

We Should Cap Prison Sentences at 20 Years

Or at least assess all inmates at that point, argues writer

(Newser) - With talk of reforming the criminal justice system gaining steam, a writer at Democracy makes the case for a controversial idea: maximum sentences of 20 years for nearly all prisoners. Lots of attention has been paid to the long mandatory sentences doled out to nonviolent drug offenders, but Marc Mauer... More »

Harvard Debate Champs Lose to Team of Prisoners

Maximum-security inmates beat Ivy League's best

(Newser) - Next up, a debate with the parole board? The Ivy League's finest debate team was defeated by a team of prisoners from a maximum-security prison in New York state. The three-man Eastern New York Correctional Facility team was declared the winner on Sept. 18 after debating for an hour... More »

Seamstress: I Helped Convicts 'to Save My Family'

Joyce Mitchell says prisoners knew where they lived

(Newser) - The former prison seamstress who helped two murderers escape in New York in June says she did so out of fear for her family. Richard Matt and David Sweat had discovered where her mother and older son lived, and Joyce Mitchell felt she was in too deep to refuse their... 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 »

NY Inmates: We Were Beaten After 2 Killers Escaped

Clinton Correctional inmates say they faced officers' wrath after June jailbreak

(Newser) - A daring escape from an upstate New York prison in June didn't go as planned for Richard Matt and David Sweat . But while those two men faced their personal consequences, inmates back at the Clinton Correctional Facility say they were facing their own repercussions for the jailbreak, per a... More »

Feds Set to Bring Back College Grants for Prisoners

Inmates lost access to Pell grants 20 years ago

(Newser) - The Obama administration is planning to restore access to federal college subsidies for a huge number of Americans who have a lot of time on their hands. Congress banned inmates at the state and federal level from receiving Pell grants in 1994, but Education Secretary Arne Duncan says he'll... More »

Obama to Make History for Federal Prisoners

President ready to commute record number of sentences

(Newser) - President Obama appears ready to make history by commuting sentences for nearly 80 federal prisoners this month—more than any president has in decades, the New York Times reports. His expected clemency will free prisoners put away on non-violent drug charges, and reflects a bigger effort by the Obama administration... More »

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