Category: corrections

Nations Jails Struggle With Mentally Ill Prisoners : NPR

By , September 6, 2011 3:31 pm

More Americans receive mental health treatment in prisons and jails than in hospitals or treatment centers. In fact, the three largest inpatient psychiatric facilities in the country are jails: Los Angeles County Jail, Rikers Island Jail in New York City and Cook County Jail in Illinois.

“We have a criminal justice system which has a very clear purpose: You get arrested. We want justice. We try you, and justice hopefully prevails. It was never built to handle people that were very, very ill, at least with mental illness,” Judge Steve Leifman tells Laura Sullivan, guest host of weekends on All Things Considered.

via Nations Jails Struggle With Mentally Ill Prisoners : NPR.

The Hidden History of ALEC and Prison Labor | The Nation

By , August 3, 2011 9:42 pm

The breaded chicken patty your child bites into at school may have been made by a worker earning twenty cents an hour, not in a faraway country, but by a member of an invisible American workforce: prisoners. At the Union Correctional Facility, a maximum security prison in Florida, inmates from a nearby lower-security prison manufacture tons of processed beef, chicken and pork for Prison Rehabilitative Industries and Diversified Enterprises PRIDE, a privately held non-profit corporation that operates the state’s forty-one work programs. In addition to processed food, PRIDE’s website reveals an array of products for sale through contracts with private companies, from eyeglasses to office furniture, to be shipped from a distribution center in Florida to businesses across the US. PRIDE boasts that its work programs are “designed to provide vocational training, to improve prison security, to reduce the cost of state government, and to promote the rehabilitation of the state inmates.”

via The Hidden History of ALEC and Prison Labor | The Nation.

Prison Rebellions as a Window to the New World: Every Crook Can Govern

By , July 24, 2011 7:17 am

As we write this, thousands of inmates across California–spearheaded by an organized bloc in the Pelican Bay secure housing unit (SHU)–are refusing meals and risking their bodies and lives in the struggle to reform the atrocious conditions prevalent across the state penitentiary system. But this struggle is about more than reforming incarceration and improving conditions: the hunger strike speaks to the struggle for revolutionary change across society as a whole an offers a preliminary glimpse of the new world gestating in the hellish bowels of the old.

Read full article at:

George Ciccariello-Maher and Jeff St. Andrews: Every Crook Can Govern.

Time to end drug ‘war’ – Leonard Pitts Jr. – MiamiHerald.com

By , June 16, 2011 6:02 pm

Frankly, Mr. President, you should take this one personally. As you must know, the War on Drugs has been, in effect, a war on black men. Though whites are the nation’s biggest users and dealers of illicit drugs, blacks are the ones most likely to be jailed for drug crimes and to suffer the disruption of families and communities that comes with it.You have done little to address these and other racial inequities of the criminal injustice system.

via Time to end drug ‘war’ – Leonard Pitts Jr. – MiamiHerald.com.

The Two-Tiered Justice System: An Illustration | Common Dreams

By , April 16, 2011 3:54 pm

Of all the topics on which Ive focused, Ive likely written most about Americas two-tiered justice system — the way in which political and financial elites now enjoy virtually full-scale legal immunity for even the most egregious lawbreaking, while ordinary Americans, especially the poor and racial and ethnic minorities, are subjected to exactly the opposite treatment: the worlds largest prison state and most merciless justice system. That full-scale destruction of the rule of law is also the topic of my forthcoming book. But The New York Times this morning has a long article so perfectly illustrating what I mean by “two-tiered justice system” — and the way in which it obliterates the core covenant of the American Founding: equality before the law — that its impossible for me not to highlight it.

via The Two-Tiered Justice System: An Illustration | Common Dreams.

Getting It Wrong: Convicting the Innocent

By , April 13, 2011 6:29 pm

When he recently signed legislation abolishing the death penalty in Illinois, Gov. Pat Quinn noted a “grave danger” that the innocent could be executed. This past March, the U.S. Supreme Court decided, in Skinner v. Switzer, to expand the right to access DNA testing that could potentially prove a defendants innocence. Last week the New York Times published a firsthand account by John Thompson, an innocent man who came within hours of his own execution. Two weeks ago, the U.S. Supreme Court threw out a $14 million jury award compensating him for the years he spent in prison. Public opinion surrounding the death penalty has been shaped, in recent years, by the possibility of innocents being executed. And DNA exonerations continue to regularly occur, although with little rigorous assessment of what went wrong.

via Who confesses to a crime they didnt commit: Frank Sterling and mistaken confessions. 1 – By Brandon L. Garrett – Slate Magazine.

How Does the Biggest Prison Strike in American History Go Unnoticed? | TheLoop21.com

By , December 23, 2010 7:36 pm

In September of 1971, more than a thousand prisoners at the Attica Correctional Facility in Attica , NY revolted in what eventually became one of the most famous prison standoffs in American history.  Before the insurrection was bloodily quelled on orders of then New York State Governor Nelson Rockefeller, the prisoners demanded animprovement to the conditions that they were forced to live.  In the midst of the Black Power Movement, Attica became a lasting symbol for demands for human and civil rights, even among the incarcerated.

In the spirit of Attica, nearly 40 years later, prisoners at six prisons in Georgia, organized a non-violent labor strike to demand better conditions for themselves. Specifically the inmates demanded a living wage for their work, educational opportunities, decent health care, an end to cruel and unusual punishment, decent living conditions, nutritional meals, opportunities for self-improvement rehabilitation, access to their families and just parole decisions.

via How Does the Biggest Prison Strike in American History Go Unnoticed? | TheLoop21.com.

Resisting Gender Violence and the Prison Industrial Complex

By , November 14, 2010 9:03 pm
Timeline of total number of inmates in U.S. pr...
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Victoria Law is a longtime prison activist and the author of the 2009 book, Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women (PM Press). Law’s essay “Sick of the Abuse: Feminist Responses to Sexual Assault, Battering, and Self Defense,” is featured in the new book, entitled The Hidden 1970s: Histories of Radicalism, edited by Dan Berger.

In this interview, Law discusses her new article, which provides a history of radical feminist resistance to the criminalization of women who have defended themselves from gender violence. Furthermore, Law presents a prison abolitionist critique of how the mainstream women’s movement has embraced the US criminal justice system as a solution for combating violence against women.

Previously interviewed by Angola 3 News about the torture of women in US prisons, Law is now on the road with the Community and Resistance Tour.

via Resisting Gender Violence and the Prison Industrial Complex | Dissident Voice.

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How a Fraud’s Value Affects Prison Time

By , November 9, 2010 7:10 pm

LOS ANGELES—When Bruce Karatz was running KB Home, the giant home builder pulled in billions of dollars a year in revenue. But now, a mere $11 million could help determine whether Mr. Karatz spends more than a half decade in prison.

On Wednesday, the former chief executive is scheduled to be sentenced in federal court here for his April conviction for fraud and making false statements in connection with an options-backdating scandal. Mr. Karatz, who the government alleges tried to make nearly $11 million from backdating, has denied wrongdoing and plans to appeal his conviction.

The U.S. Probation Office, an arm of the courts, has recommended that Judge Otis Wright give Mr. Karatz probation and eight months of home confinement. The U.S. Attorney’s office here wants a 6.5-year prison sentence. In a filing, the prosecutors argue that confining Mr. Karatz in his “24-room Bel-Air mansion,” would suggest “a two-tiered criminal justice system, one for the affluent….and a second for ordinary citizens.”

via How a Fraud’s Value Affects Prison Time – WSJ.com.

Cutting prison budget could be challenging if inmate population keeps growing

By , November 9, 2010 7:09 pm

Faced with a possible $20 billion budget gap, Texas legislative leaders had hoped to discuss closing some state prisons to save money. However, those prisons that for months have had empty bunks are slowly filling back up.

And while officials are split about the reasons, most agree that if the trend continues, it could make decisions about slashing state spending even more difficult when the Legislature convenes in January.

Full prisons cant be closed without releasing convicts, a politically unthinkable solution. That leaves treatment and rehabilitation programs — two areas where Texas has expanded its funding and has been successful in recent years at reducing its prison population — as the likely targets for cuts that by some estimates could reach 15 percent of current spending.

via Cutting prison budget could be challenging if inmate population keeps growing.

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