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Lawsuit: New Orleans Runs Modern 'Debtors' Prison'

System targeting poor is 'illegal, unconstitutional, and unjust': complaint

(Newser) - Six plaintiffs filed a federal class-action lawsuit yesterday against Louisiana's Orleans Parish for instituting what amounts to an "illegal, unconstitutional, and unjust modern debtors' prison" for people who fail to pay court fines over what are often minor offenses, the New Orleans Advocate reports. The complaint alleges individuals... More »

4 Killed in 'Disturbance' at Private Prison

All prisons in Oklahoma now on lockdown

(Newser) - A spasm of violence at a private prison in Oklahoma lasted just a couple of minutes, but it killed four inmates and injured several others, officials say. The Oklahoma Department of Corrections describes the Saturday afternoon incident at the Cimarron Correctional Facility as a "disturbance" and says staff members... More »

Former NFL Player Charged With Killing Cellmate

Lawrence Phillips is already serving 31 years for choking his girlfriend and more

(Newser) - Former NFL running back Lawrence Phillips has been charged with strangling his cellmate while locked up at Kern Valley State Prison in California. Phillips, 40, is in the midst of a 31-year sentence for choking his girlfriend and driving his car into three teens following a pickup football game. He'... 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 »

He Was Handed Life in Prison for Pot; Now He's Free

Jeff Mizanskey: 'It's like a dream come true'

(Newser) - After 21 years behind bars, served as part of a life sentence for three marijuana convictions, one of Missouri's rarest inmates will finally walk out of prison. Jeff Mizanskey —sentenced to life without parole in 1994—will be greeted by family members as he leaves Jefferson City Correctional... More »

Cops Bust Drone Delivery of Porn DVDs, Drugs to Prison

2 men face charges; charges also expected against an inmate

(Newser) - Someone inside Maryland's Western Correctional Institution will be waiting a long time for his porn delivery. Officials say two men have become the first in the state to be charged with attempting to deliver contraband items to a prison via drone after they were found with a Yuneec Typhoon... More »

Inmates: NY Guards Killed Man, Threw Him Down Stairs

Samuel Harrell's family says a lawsuit is coming

(Newser) - Police say they're probing the death of a black inmate at Fishkill Correctional Facility in Beacon, NY, earlier this year, but inmates inside say the case is cut and dry: Samuel Harrell, 30, was murdered by a gang of correctional officers known as the "Beat Up Squad."... 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 »

One of Missouri's Rarest Inmates Has Shot at Freedom

Jeff Mizanskey has been in prison for two decades over non-violent pot offenses

(Newser) - As of this year, Jeff Mizanskey, 62, was two decades into a life sentence "without the possibility of parole" for nonviolent marijuana offenses—something so rare there was no one like him in Missouri and only a handful across the US. Then, after a highly publicized campaign led by... More »

'Special Threat Group' Inmates in Utah Won't Eat

They say they're kept in their cells all but 3 hours a week

(Newser) - The maximum-security Utah State Prison sits about 20 miles outside of Salt Lake City, in Draper, Utah. Within its walls, in the Uinta 2 housing unit, live what's referred to as the Special Threat Group, or STG. These inmates, who have been branded violent, say they're kept in... More »

Baltimore Is Shutting Down 'Dystopian' Jail

Md. Gov. Larry Hogan says shutdown won't take more than 'a couple of weeks'

(Newser) - Since 1938, Baltimore officials have sought to tear down the Baltimore City Detention Center, a Civil War-era prison described by Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan as the state's "black eye," the Baltimore Sun notes. Now, nearly 80 years later, the prison plagued by dilapidated conditions, gang activity, and... More »

Dad Ordered to Leave Prison, Son May Take His Place

Juan Silva Sr. falsely confessed to a hit-and-run

(Newser) - Juan Silva Sr. was yesterday ordered to leave prison, though he's just one year into his five-year sentence for a fatal 2013 hit-and-run. His 22-year-old son, Juan Silva, is about to take his place. The reason? The 43-year-old Milwaukee man gave a false confession to protect his son, who... More »

Ex-Congressman Gets Jail, Scolding Over Tax Fraud

Judge tells Michael Grimm his 'moral compass' needs 'reorientation'

(Newser) - Michael Grimm, the former Republican New York congressman who once threatened to throw a reporter off a balcony , was sentenced today to eight months in prison for federal tax fraud, the Hill reports; prosecutors had sought between two and two-and-a-half years—slightly less than the three-year maximum. While Grimm asked... More »

Obama Visits Prison, Says He Could Have Wound Up There

Inmates' stories remind him of his own mistakes

(Newser) - President Obama became the first sitting president to visit a prison today, and Politico notes that the milestone had him reflecting on his own past. After all, he was a black youth who smoked pot and tried cocaine. “That’s what strikes me—there but for the grace of... More »

Prison Guard Fatally Beaten Escorting Inmate to Cell

Attack occurred at a facility in Texas

(Newser) - A corrections officer escorting an inmate to his cell was beaten to death today at a northeast Texas prison. The officer was escorting the inmate from a dayroom at the Telford Unit in New Boston when he was attacked with an object, says a prison spokesman. Officials did not immediately... More »

Grisly Prison Murder: Inmate's Organs Missing

Killer or killers cut victim nearly in half

(Newser) - Nearly 15 hours after a riot at a Northern California prison, guards found a missing inmate sawed nearly in two, with his abdominal organs and most chest organs removed, his body folded and stuffed into a garbage can in a shower stall a few doors from his cell. Details of... More »

Escapee: Only One of Us Had Sex With Prison Worker

And more tidbits from the captured escapee

(Newser) - Captured escapee David Sweat is apparently continuing to talk, and per CNN , he's talking about sex. A former inmate of the prison who worked in the tailor shop with Sweat and Joyce Mitchell three years ago had this to say about their relationship to ABC News : “We had... More »

Cop Was Alone When He Confronted Escapee

Mom says David Sweat was always trouble

(Newser) - Sgt. Jay Cook, the officer being hailed as a hero for single-handedly stopping prison escapee David Sweat in his tracks , was alone on patrol when he encountered the fugitive 1,300 other officers were looking for, police say. State Police Superintendent Joseph D'Amico says Cook, a 21-year veteran of... More »

Escaped Prisoner May Have Been Drunk When Shot

Richard Matt's body smelled of alcohol, reports Buffalo News

(Newser) - The escaped prisoner who was shot to death on Friday may have been both drunk and sick when troopers finally caught up with him, reports the Buffalo News . The body of Richard Matt reeked of booze, authorities tell the newspaper. That gibes with the report of a cabin owner who... More »

Cops Kill Prison Escapee Richard Matt

Other fugitive, David Sweat, still at large

(Newser) - The bid for freedom is over for at least one of the escaped inmates in New York state. Multiple outlets including the New York Post , CNN , and the New York Times say police have shot and killed Richard Matt. The other fugitive, David Sweat, was reportedly being chased in the... More »

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