Category: prison industrial complex

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.

Between the Bars

By , November 6, 2010 1:53 pm

Between the Bars is a weblog platform for prisoners, through which the 1% of America which is behind bars can tell their stories. Since prisoners are routinely denied access to the Internet, we enable them to blog by scanning letters. We aim to provide a positive outlet for creativity, a tool to assist in the maintenance of social safety nets, an opportunity to forge connections between prisoners and non-prisoners, and a means to promote non-criminal identities and personal expression. We hope to improve prisoner’s lives, and help to reduce recidivism.

via BetweenTheBars.org : Welcome.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Criminal justice trends: key legislative changes in sentencing policy, 2001-2010 | Vera Institute of Justice

By , October 31, 2010 8:32 am
Direct expenditures by criminal justice functi...
Image via Wikipedia

Since 2001, many state legislatures have changed their criminal sentencing policies, increasingly emphasizing approaches that are “smart on crime.” The three main areas of legislative reform involve redefining and reclassifying criminal offenses, strengthening alternatives to incarceration, and reducing prison terms. This report is a reference for legislators, their staff, and other policy makers who may be considering or implementing similar changes in sentencing statutes and policies.

via Criminal justice trends: key legislative changes in sentencing policy, 2001-2010 | Vera Institute of Justice.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Interactive feature: The continuing fiscal crisis in corrections | Vera Institute of Justice

By , October 30, 2010 10:57 am

This page shows corrections appropriations in 44 states for fiscal years 2010 and 2011. You can view those states’ corrections allocations and recent changes in funding sources, including stimulus monies from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

Vera’s Center on Sentencing and Corrections collected this data for the report The Continuing Fiscal Crisis in Corrections: Setting a New Course. Budget appropriations are shown only for the 44 states that participated in a survey Vera conducted in the summer of 2010.

via Interactive feature: The continuing fiscal crisis in corrections | Vera Institute of Justice.

Prison Economics Help Drive Ariz. Immigration Law : NPR

By , October 30, 2010 10:55 am

Last year, two men showed up in Benson, Ariz., a small desert town 60 miles from the Mexico border, offering a deal.

Glenn Nichols, the Benson city manager, remembers the pitch.

“The gentleman that’s the main thrust of this thing has a huge turquoise ring on his finger,” Nichols said. “He’s a great big huge guy and I equated him to a car salesman.”

What he was selling was a prison for women and children who were illegal immigrants.

“They talk [about] how positive this was going to be for the community,” Nichols said, “the amount of money that we would realize from each prisoner on a daily rate.”

But Nichols wasn’t buying. He asked them how would they possibly keep a prison full for years — decades even — with illegal immigrants?

Glenn Nichols, city manager of Benson, Ariz.

Laura Sullivan/NPR

Glenn Nichols, city manager of Benson, Ariz., says two men came to the city last year “talking about building a facility to hold women and children that were illegals.”

“They talked like they didn’t have any doubt they could fill it,” Nichols said.

That’s because prison companies like this one had a plan — a new business model to lock up illegal immigrants. And the plan became Arizona’s immigration law.

via Prison Economics Help Drive Ariz. Immigration Law : NPR.

YouTube – Franklin Zimring: The decline in crime New York City

By , October 30, 2010 10:51 am

YouTube – Franklin Zimring: The decline in crime New York City.

Ten Lessons from the Criminalization of Dissent

By , October 15, 2010 10:20 am

http://www.peopleofcolororganize.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/dissent.jpg

In the aftermath of the 2000 Republican National Convention, I was charged with multiple felonies and accused of assaulting several police officers, including then Philadelphia Police Chief John Timoney. I approached my case with the attitude that the only way to stop the attempts to criminalize me – and dissent in general – was to organize more effectively than the forces of the state that wanted to shove me into prison. Largely due to successful organizing strategies and community solidarity, I was acquitted after three-and-a-half years. Today, we face similar challenges and must adopt similar strategies in fighting those who wish to put our comrades behind bars and criminalize our visions.

Right now, the state is sending a message to radical environmentalists [as well as radicals and anarchists in general - MW] around the country. It is using its power in an attempt to dismantle our networks and neutralize our militancy. How will we use our power and resources to oppose this force? How are we going to frame our message? What alliances will we build to support our imprisoned comrades?

We can’t let intimidation and fear outweigh our commitment to solidarity. We need to challenge the armchair “radicals” who rationalize the conviction of our comrades as an inevitable result of state repression. Our success in achieving social and environmental victories – in this situation and all others – depends upon the ability of passionate activists to gain the support of ordinary people.

via Ten Lessons from the Criminalization of Dissent | People Of Color Organize!.

Collateral Costs of Incarceration on the Economic Mobility

By , September 29, 2010 8:58 am

Incarceration reduces former inmates’ earnings by 40 percent and limits their future economic mobility, according to a new Pew report, Collateral Costs: Incarceration’s Effect on Economic Mobility. This is a growing challenge now that 1 in every 28 children in America has a parent behind bars, up from 1 in 125 just 25 years ago.

“People who break the law need to be held accountable and pay their debt to society,” said Adam Gelb, director of the Public Safety Performance Project of the Pew Center on the States. “At the same time, the collateral costs of locking up 2.3 million people are piling higher and higher. Corrections is the second fastest growing state budget category, and state leaders from both parties are now finding that there are research-based strategies for low-risk offenders that can reduce crime at far less cost than prison.”

via Collateral Costs of Incarceration on the Economic Mobility – Pew Charitable Trusts.

New Survey Says Public Favorable To Cutting Prison Populations

By , September 15, 2010 11:38 am

A new public opinion survey on crime and sentencing issues gives policymakers some breathing room on moves to reduce prison populations during this time of budget crises in states. Most registered voters believe that about one fifth of inmates could be released and not pose a threat to public safety, said the survey sponsored by the Pew Center on the States’ Public Safety Performance Project.

The survey found vast majorities (nearly 90%) favoring the concept of fewer low-risk and non-violent offenders behind bars to keep more violent offenders imprisoned, and to reinvest any money saved in probation and parole improvements. About 2/3 of Democrats and about half of Republicans ”strongly” favor” such changes, meaning that they have reasonably strong bipartisan backing.

Daniel Franklin of the Benenson Strategy Group, which did the survey with Public Opinion Strategies, said that most Americans see crime policy “through a personal rather than political lens.” At the same time, both Franklin and Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies said that politicians in general still would be wise not to be portrayed as “soft on crime.”

The survey, of 1,200 registered voters across the U.S. taken last March, found that the citizenry may not be so harsh on crime as some political candidates may believe. Only 37 percent, for example, believe that anyone who sells drugs should be sent to prison on a first offense; the number jumps to 43 percent for burglaries in unoccupied homes and for offenses committed by people on probation and parole (63 percent automatic prison for probationers or parolees possessing drugs with the intent to sell, for example.)

via The Crime Report » Archive » New Survey Says Public Favorable To Cutting Prison Populations.

The Right-Wing Hardliner Immigration Approach Would Create a Police State — Is That What Those Supposed Freedom Lovers Want?

By , August 15, 2010 6:47 pm
Last year, the federal government filed more charges for immigration violations than all other crimes and misdemeanors combined — it charged more people for breaking our immigration laws than it charged drug traffickers, bank robbers, counterfeiters and everything else under the sun. Yet right-wing lawmakers and pundits who oppose a comprehensive re-think of our immigration system continue to insist the opposite is true: that the government is just sitting on its hands.

It’s really a lie of epic proportion, a distortion so great that it turns reality on its head. Yet immigration hardliners in the Congress and their lickspittles in the right-wing media have used it to convince a sizable chunk of the population that the federal government refuses, or at least has shown little zeal, to “enforce the law.” A Google search for “federal government won’t enforce immigration laws” returns 25 million hits; the narrative is often used to justify harsh local ordinances like Arizona’s draconian SB 1070.

via The Right-Wing Hardliner Immigration Approach Would Create a Police State — Is That What Those Supposed Freedom Lovers Want? | Immigration | AlterNet.

Panorama Theme by Themocracy