prison system

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Alabama's Plan for $400M in COVID Relief Proves Contentious

Jerry Nadler asks Treasury to block plan to build 3 prisons, renovate 4 others

(Newser) - Alabama lawmakers plan to use almost 20% of the state's federal pandemic relief money to build three new prisons and renovate four others. Lawmakers in the state, which has the highest COVID-19 death rate in the country, initiated a special session Monday to discuss the $1.3 billion plan,...

Feds Investigate Troubled Mississippi Prison System

Move follows string of inmate deaths

(Newser) - The Justice Department has opened a civil rights investigation into the Mississippi prison system after a string of inmate deaths in the past few months, officials said Wednesday. Federal prosecutors are looking into conditions at four state prisons after the deaths of at least 15 inmates since late December. The...

Alabama Prisons Have Problems —Big Problems
Alabama Prisons
Have Problems
—Big Problems
new report

Alabama Prisons Have Problems —Big Problems

Justice Department issues report, gives state 49 days to correct issues

(Newser) - The Justice Department issued a scathing report on Alabama's prisons on Wednesday, saying the state is violating the Constitution by failing to protect inmates from violence and sexual abuse and by housing them in unsafe and overcrowded facilities. The department gave Alabama 49 days to correct the violations, or...

Mississippi Prisons Ask for FBI Help After 15 Inmate Deaths

The fatalities occurred in August alone

(Newser) - The Mississippi Department of Corrections reported 15 inmate deaths in the month of August alone and the staggering number has families of the deceased demanding answers and the state reaching out to the FBI to help get them. Per CNN , commissioner Pelicia E. Hall said in a statement Friday that...

'Potential' Largest Prison Strike in US Is Now Underway

Strike organizers are calling for work stoppages and more

(Newser) - Improved conditions and higher pay are among the ten demands being made by prisoners participating in a nationwide strike that kicked off Tuesday and is planned to continue until Sept. 9. According to the Guardian , the strike, organized by Jailhouse Lawyers Speak, calls for work stoppages by prisoners (many get...

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...

Our Prison System Is Broken; Here's a Fix
Our Prison System Is
Broken; Here's a Fix

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...

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—...

Poor People Going to Jail Over Inability to Pay Fines
Poor People Going to Jail Over Inability to Pay Fines

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...

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....

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...

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...

Why We Must Bring Back Flogging
 Why We Must 
 Bring Back Flogging 

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...

How to Curb Prison Rape
 How to Curb Prison Rape 

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...

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...

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”...

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...

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...

Recession to Unlock Wave of Ex-Cons
 Recession to Unlock 
 Wave of Ex-Cons 

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...

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...

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