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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 »

Inmates Are Dying of Heroin Withdrawal in Jail

Deaths that advocates say are preventable

(Newser) - In the days following her 18-year-old daughter's first arrest on heroin charges, Stephanie Moyer took solace in thinking she would be safe in jail until she got into a treatment program. But Victoria "Tori" Herr sounded disoriented on a call home three days later. She feared she was... 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 »

Federal Inmates Have Found Good Way to Escape

Some had histories of violence and misconduct in prison

(Newser) - More than 240 inmates have slipped away from federal custody in the past three years while traveling to halfway houses, including several who committed bank robberies and a carjacking while on the lam, according to documents obtained by the AP. Some of the inmates who absconded from 2012 through 2014... 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 »

Lawyer: Husband Supports Jailed Prison Worker

He visits Joyce Mitchell in jail amid reports she planned to kill him

(Newser) - The husband of the woman accused of helping two New York state inmates escape visited her in jail today—one day after reports surfaced that she and the inmates talked about killing him . Lyle Mitchell's reaction? He's "standing by her," the attorney for Joyce Mitchell tells... More »

Smuggled Electrical Saw May Have Set Prisoners Free

Police converge on small town of Willsboro, NY, after possible sighting

(Newser) - Authorities are swarming the small upstate New York town of Willsboro to find the two convicted killers who escaped from prison last week, reports the Wall Street Journal . A motorist spotted two men walking on a "very rural" road last night, and they took off into the fields when... More »

Woman Questioned in New York Prison Escape

Authorities talk to ex-worker at Clinton Correctional Facility

(Newser) - Authorities are investigating whether a female accomplice was involved in the escape of two prisoners from a New York penitentiary on Friday or Saturday, police tell Reuters . Officials are talking to a woman who worked at the maximum-security Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemor, NY; she was an employee, not a... More »

2 Killers Break Out of Prison With Power Tools

Richard Matt, 48, and David Sweat, 34, gone from maximum-security prison

(Newser) - Two convicted murderers used power tools to cut through steel pipes at a maximum-security prison near the Canadian border and escape through a manhole, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said today. "It was an elaborate plot," Cuomo said after joining law enforcement authorities to retrace the prisoners' escape route from... More »

100 Bodies Found in Mass Graves on S. Africa Farm

Residents say farmer used prison laborers decades ago

(Newser) - An oral history project about the South African town of Dududu has turned up a dark secret from the past: the discovery of about 100 bodies in unmarked graves in what is now a sugarcane farm. The investigation is continuing, but the best guess is that they were prison laborers... More »

Youngest Woman on US Death Row Calls It 'Life Row'

Emilia Carr and fellow inmate Tiffany Cole don't believe they'll ever be executed

(Newser) - One out of every 25 inmates on death row is innocent, according to PNAS —and Emilia Carr and Tiffany Cole say they're in that demographic. That's not the only thing they have in common: They're both among the youngest women on death row in the US... More »

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