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Prison System Corruption News Articles

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How for-profit prisons have become the biggest lobby no one is talking about
2015-04-28, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/04/28/how-for-profit-pr...

Several industries have become notorious for the millions they spend on influencing legislation. But one has managed to quickly build influence with comparatively little scrutiny: Private prisons. The two largest for-profit prison companies in the United States GEO and Corrections Corporation of America and their associates have funneled more than $10 million to candidates since 1989 and have spent nearly $25 million on lobbying efforts. Meanwhile, these private companies have seen their revenue and market share soar. They now rake in a combined $3.3 billion in annual revenue and the private federal prison population more than doubled between 2000 and 2010. A report by the Justice Policy Institute ... identified the private-prison industrys three-pronged approach to increase profits through political influence: lobbying, direct campaign contributions, and building relationships and networks. Private-prison companies have indirectly supported policies that put more Americans and immigrants behind bars ... by donating to politicians who support them. With the growing influence of the prison lobby, the nation is, in effect, commoditizing human bodies for an industry in militant pursuit of profit. For instance, privatization created the atmosphere that made the Kids For Cash scandal possible, in which two Pennsylvania judges received $2.6 million in kickbacks from for-profit juvenile detention centers for sending more kids to the facilities and with unusually long sentences.

Note: The "Cash for Kids" scandal mentioned in the article above resulted in the unlawful incarceration of thousands of kids. Few are aware that violent crime rates have dropped to 1/3 of what they were in 1993, yet prison spending continues to skyrocket. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the prison industry.


FBI admits flaws in hair analysis over decades
2015-04-18, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/crime/fbi-overstated-forensic-hair-matche...

The Justice Department and FBI have formally acknowledged that nearly every examiner in an elite FBI forensic unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against criminal defendants over more than a two-decade period before 2000. Of 28 examiners with the FBI Laboratorys microscopic hair comparison unit, 26 overstated forensic matches in ways that favored prosecutors in more than 95 percent of the 268 trials reviewed so far, according to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and the Innocence Project, which are assisting the government with the countrys largest post-conviction review of questioned forensic evidence. The cases include those of 32 defendants sentenced to death. Of those, 14 have been executed or died in prison, the groups said under an agreement with the government to release results after the review of the first 200 convictions. The admissions mark a watershed in one of the countrys largest forensic scandals, highlighting the failure of the nations courts for decades to keep bogus scientific information from juries, legal analysts said. The question now, they said, is how state authorities and the courts will respond to findings that confirm long-suspected problems with subjective, pattern-based forensic techniques like hair and bite-mark comparisons that have contributed to wrongful convictions in more than one-quarter of 329 DNA-exoneration cases since 1989.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the threats to civil liberties posed by government corruption from reliable major media sources.


Over 3,000 US prisoners serving life without parole for non-violent crimes
2013-11-13, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/13/us-prisoners-sentences-life-non...

[Timothy] Jackson was convicted of shoplifting and sent to Angola prison in Louisiana. That was 16 years ago. Today he is still incarcerated in Angola, and will stay there for the rest of his natural life having been condemned to die in jail. All for the theft of a jacket, worth $159. Jackson, 53, is one of 3,281 prisoners in America serving life sentences with no chance of parole for non-violent crimes. Some, like him, were given the most extreme punishment short of execution for shoplifting; one was condemned to die in prison for siphoning petrol from a truck; another for stealing tools. It has been very hard for me, Jackson wrote to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) as part of its new report on life without parole for non-violent offenders. The ACLU's report, A Living Death, chronicles the thousands of lives ruined and families destroyed by the modern phenomenon of sentencing people to die behind bars for non-violent offences. Most of those ... inmates held on life without parole sentences were given their punishments by the federal government. More than 2,000 of the 3,281 individuals tracked down on these sentences by the ACLU are being held in the federal system. Taxpayers pay an additional $1.8bn to keep the prisoners locked up for the rest of their lives. About 65% of the prisoners identified nationwide by the ACLU are African American. Of the prisoners serving life without parole for non-violent offences nationwide, the ACLU estimates that almost 80% were for drug-related crimes.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on judicial system corruption from reliable major media sources.


Prisons, Privatization, Patronage
2012-06-22, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/22/opinion/krugman-prisons-privatization-patro...

The New York Times has published several terrifying reports about New Jerseys system of halfway houses privately run adjuncts to the regular system of prisons. The horrors described are part of a broader pattern in which essential functions of government are being both privatized and degraded. So whats really behind the drive to privatize prisons? One answer is that privatization can serve as a stealth form of government borrowing, in which governments avoid recording upfront expenses (or even raise money by selling existing facilities) while raising their long-run costs in ways taxpayers cant see. Another answer is that privatization is a way of getting rid of public employees. But the main answer, surely, is to follow the money. As more and more government functions get privatized, states become pay-to-play paradises, in which both political contributions and contracts for friends and relatives become a quid pro quo for getting government business. One thing the companies that make up the prison-industrial complex are definitely not doing is competing in a free market. They are, instead, living off government contracts. And ... despite many promises that prison privatization will lead to big cost savings, such savings as a comprehensive study by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, part of the U.S. Department of Justice, concluded have simply not materialized. A corrupt nexus of privatization and patronage [is] undermining government across much of our nation.

Note: Few are aware that violent crime rates have dropped to 1/3 of what they were in 1993, yet prison spending continues to skyrocket. Is something wrong with this picture? For key major media new articles exposing more on corruption within the "prison-industrial complex," click here.


U.S. prison population dwarfs that of other nations
2008-04-23, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/23/world/americas/23iht-23prison.12253738.html

The United States has less than 5 percent of the world's population. But it has almost a quarter of the world's prisoners. Indeed, the United States leads the world in producing prisoners, a reflection of a relatively recent and now entirely distinctive American approach to crime and punishment. Americans are locked up for crimes from writing bad checks to using drugs that would rarely produce prison sentences in other countries. And in particular they are kept incarcerated far longer than prisoners in other nations. Criminologists and legal scholars in other industrialized nations say they are mystified and appalled by the number and length of American prison sentences. The United States has, for instance, 2.3 million criminals behind bars, more than any other nation. The United States ... has 751 people in prison or jail for every 100,000 in population. (If you count only adults, one in 100 Americans is locked up.) The median among all nations is about 125, roughly a sixth of the American rate. "Far from serving as a model for the world, contemporary America is viewed with horror," James Whitman, a specialist in comparative law at Yale, wrote last year in Social Research. Prison sentences here have become "vastly harsher than in any other country to which the United States would ordinarily be compared," Michael Tonry, a leading authority on crime policy, wrote.

Note: Many people are not aware that violent crime in the US has dropped by over 50% in the last 15 years. Yet the prison population continues to grow rapidly at the same time. For more on this, click here.


Internal Prison Files Suggest Epstein ‘Suicide’ Coverup
2024-02-04, ScheerPost
https://scheerpost.com/2024/02/04/internal-prison-files-suggest-epstein-suici...

Internal US Bureau of Prison (BOP) documents obtained by The Grayzone under Freedom of Information laws raise extremely serious questions about whether Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged first suicide attempt on July 23, 2019 in fact happened, and suggest the Bureau distorted evidence to attribute his death to suicide before his autopsy had even been completed. Officially, Epstein was found to have died in his cell at New York City’s Metropolitan Correctional Center on August 10, 2019, with a medical examiner ruling at the time that he had taken his own life by hanging. The ruling was aggressively contested by Epstein’s associates and widely disbelieved. Epstein’s legal team publicly declared available evidence on his death was “far more consistent” with murder. On August 9 ... regular checks on [Epstein] ceased. Three CCTV cameras nearby apparently malfunctioned. Two on-duty guards fabricated records to hide how they allegedly flouted their legal duties to surf the internet. And the next day, the prison’s most infamous inmate was dead. In the immediate wake of Epstein’s death ... BOP suicide prevention coordinator Robert Nagle visited the Metropolitan Correctional Center to initiate a “psychological reconstruction” of Epstein’s last moments. His resultant report recorded that a video of the “significant incident” was confiscated by the FBI before his review began. He was also prohibited from conducting formal interviews with prison staff.

Note: Read about the new evidence suggesting Epstein ran a sex blackmail operation for intelligence agencies. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Jeffrey Epstein and prison system corruption from reliable major media sources.


‘Slavery by any name is wrong’: the push to end forced labor in prisons
2022-09-27, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/sep/27/slavery-loophole-unpaid-labor...

“We have a system that forces people to work and not only forces them to work but does not give them an adequate living wage,” said [prison reformer Johnny] Perez. “Slavery by any name is wrong. Slavery in any shape or form is wrong.” Perez is now part of a nationwide movement that hopes to reform what some have called the “slavery loophole” that allows incarcerated people to be paid tiny sums for jobs that – if they refuse to do them – can have dire consequences. The 13th amendment of the US constitution, ratified in 1865, abolished slavery and involuntary servitude. But it contained an exception for “a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted”. This exception clause has been used to exploit prisoners in the US as workers, paying them nothing to a few dollars a day to perform jobs ranging from prison services to manufacturing or working for private employers where the majority of their pay is deducted for room and board and other expenses. A report published by the American Civil Liberties Union in June 2022 found about 800,000 prisoners out of the 1.2 million in state and federal prisons are forced to work, generating a conservative estimate of $11bn annually in goods and services while average wages range from 13 cents to 52 cents per hour. Five states – Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi and Texas – force prisoners to work without pay. The report concluded that the labor conditions of US prisoners violate fundamental human rights to life and dignity.

Note: The #EndTheException coalition is working to end slavery. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on prison system corruption from reliable major media sources.


At $75,560, housing a prisoner in California now costs more than a year at Harvard
2017-06-04, Los Angeles Times/Associated Press
http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-prison-costs-20170604-htmlstory.html

The cost of imprisoning each of Californias 130,000 inmates is expected to reach a record $75,560 in the next year. Thats enough to cover the annual cost of attending Harvard University and still have plenty left over. [The] spending plan for the fiscal year that starts July 1 includes a record $11.4 billion for the corrections department while also predicting that there will be 11,500 fewer inmates in four years because voters in November approved earlier releases for many inmates. The price for each inmate has doubled since 2005, even as court orders related to overcrowding have reduced the population by about one-quarter. Salaries and benefits for prison guards and medical providers drove much of the increase. The result is a per-inmate cost that is the nations highest and $2,000 above tuition, fees, room and board, and other expenses to attend Harvard. Since 2015, Californias per-inmate costs have surged nearly $10,000, or about 13%. Critics say with fewer inmates, the costs should be falling. New York is ... second in overall costs at about $69,000.

Note: Could it be that the privatization of prisons is driving up prison costs? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing prison system corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Inside the Shadowy Business of Prison Phone Calls
2015-07-02, International Business Times
https://web.archive.org/web/20160403135230/http://atavist.ibtimes.com/fcc-pri...

The prison phone business is a wildly complex, fiercely secretive and enormously lucrative industry. Over the last decade, [this] business has become a scandalous industry, characterized by lawsuits, exorbitant fees, high phone rates and monopolistic relationships between public jails and private companies that openly offer kickbacks to local sheriffs. "This is about shifting the cost of the police state onto the backs of the poor people being policed," says Paul Wright, executive director of Human Rights Defense Center. [There are] an estimated 2.2 million inmates currently behind bars in America. If you've ever tried to call an inmate, there's a good chance you've heard of Securus, or its main competitor, Global Tel*Link (GTL). The two companies reportedly make up about 80 percent of the prison phone business, which drives about $1.2 billion per year in revenues. In the last few years, Securus, especially, has emerged into one of the largest, if not most secretive, prison technology companies in the business. The company employs 1,000 associates in 46 states, contracts with 2,600 jails and prisons across North America, and provides service to more than 1 million inmates and their families. Securus earned $114.6 million in profits 2014, on revenues of about $404 million. When companies like Securus send proposals to jails and prisons around the country, they offer a percentage of the call rate back to the sheriff's office. It's typical for commissions to range anywhere from 40 percent and 80 percent.

Note: Read more in this Huffington Post article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on prisons corruption from reliable major media sources.


10 Questions With Bryan Stevenson
2014-10-27, Time Magazine
http://time.com/3512675/bryan-stevenson-interview/

TIME: Your book Just Mercy is about getting legal help for poor people in Alabama. What are the biggest impediments? BRYAN STEVENSON (Lawyer and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative): We have a criminal-justice system that treats you better if youre rich and guilty than if youre poor and innocent. I dont believe that Americas system is shaped by culpability. I think its shaped by wealth. TIME: 1 in 3 black men in the U.S. under 30 is in jail, on probation or on parole. Is this the scariest stat? STEVENSON: That 1 in 3 black males born in 2001 is expected to go to jail or prison during their lifetimes is more astonishing because its about the future. And 1 in 6 Latino boys. That wasnt true in the 20th century. TIME: What do you say to people who say, Its easy to not go to jaildont commit a crime? STEVENSON: In this country we have a presumption of guilt that follows young kids of color. Ive represented 10-year-olds being prosecuted as adults. They are put in an adult jail. Its so unnecessarywe have juvenile facilities. No one defends it, and yet we still have 10,000 children in an adult jail or prison. TIME: Whats the role of the corporations that build prisons? STEVENSON: Corporations have really corrupted American criminal justice by creating these perverse incentives where they actually pay legislators to create new crimes so that we can maintain these record-high-level rates of imprisonment. These companies spend millions of dollars a year on lobbying. Prison spending has gone from $6 billion in 1980 to $80 billion today.

Note: For more details about Stevenson's uphill battle as a legal advocate for the poor, read the full article of the Time interview at the link above. For more along these lines, see these excellent, concise summaries of prison corruption news stories from major media sources.


The Innocent on Death Row
2014-09-04, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/04/opinion/the-innocent-on-death-row.html

In late September 1983, an 11-year-old girl named Sabrina Buie was found murdered in a soybean field in Robeson County. She had been raped, beaten with sticks and suffocated with her own underwear. Within days, police got confessions from two local teenagers, Henry Lee McCollum, 19 at the time, and his half brother, Leon Brown, who was 15. Both were convicted and sentenced to death. On [September 2], a state judge ordered both men freed after multiple pieces of evidence, some of which had never been turned over to defense lawyers, proved that neither Mr. McCollum nor Mr. Brown was responsible for the crime. DNA taken from a cigarette found at the crime scene matched a different man, Roscoe Artis, who is already serving life in prison for a similar murder committed just weeks after Sabrina Buies killing. Virtually everything about the arrests, confessions, trial and convictions of Mr. McCollum and Mr. Brown was polluted by official error and misconduct. No physical evidence linked either man to the crime, so their false confessions, given under duress, were the heart of the case the prosecutors mounted against them. Both mens confessions were handwritten by police after hours of intense questioning without a lawyer or parent present. Neither was recorded, and both men have maintained their innocence ever since. Equally disturbing, Mr. Artis was a suspect from the start. Three days before the murder trial began, police requested that a fingerprint from the crime scene be tested for a match with Mr. Artis, who had a long history of sexual assaults against women. The test was never done, and prosecutors never revealed the request to the defense.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing prison corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Hundreds of U.S. inmates sentenced to death are innocent, researchers say
2014-04-29, Chicago Tribune/Reuters
http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-04-29/news/sns-rt-us-usa-crime-death-...

As many as 300 people who were sentenced to death in the United States over a three-decade period were likely innocent. Dozens of defendants sentenced to death in recent years have been exonerated before their sentences could be carried out, but many more were probably falsely convicted, said University of Michigan professor Samuel Gross, the study's lead author. "Our research adds the disturbing news that most innocent defendants who have been sentenced to death have not been exonerated," Gross wrote in the study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In their research, Gross and his colleagues examined the 7,482 U.S. death sentence convictions between 1973 and 2004. Of those, 117 had been exonerated in recent years, thanks to the efforts of numerous groups and a tide of public attention to issues surrounding the death penalty. Gross and his co-authors ... estimated that about 4 percent of those sentenced to death were actually innocent, nearly three times the number exonerated during that period. Once inmates' sentences are commuted to life, they are far less likely to be exonerated, mostly because there are fewer legal resources given to their cases, Gross said. "If you were never sentenced to death, you never had the benefit - if you call it a benefit - of that process," he said. Although the study focuses on a period ending 10 years ago, the percentage of false death sentence convictions likely holds true today, Gross said.

Note: For more on the terrible injustices within the corrupt prison-industrial complex, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


FBI Investigates Prison Company
2014-03-07, ABC News/Associated Press
http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/apnewsbreak-fbi-investigates-prison-compan...

The FBI has launched an investigation of the Corrections Corporation of America over the company's running of an Idaho prison with a reputation so violent that inmates dubbed it "Gladiator School." CCA has operated Idaho's largest prison for more than a decade, but last year, CCA officials acknowledged it had understaffed the Idaho Correctional Center by thousands of hours in violation of the state contract. CCA also said employees falsified reports to cover up the vacancies. The announcement came after an Associated Press investigation showed CCA sometimes listed guards as working 48 hours straight to meet minimum staffing requirements. The understaffing has been the subject of federal lawsuits and a contempt of court action against CCA. The ACLU sued on behalf of inmates at the Idaho Correctional Center in 2010, saying the facility was so violent that inmates called it "Gladiator School" and that understaffing contributed to the high levels of violence there. In 2012, a Boise law firm sued on behalf of inmates contending that CCA had ceded control to prison gangs so that they could understaff the prison and save money on employee wages, and that the understaffing led to an attack by one prison gang on another group of inmates that left some of them badly injured.

Note: If the above link fails, use this one for the same Associated Press article covering prisons corruption on the website of the UK's Guardian. For more on corruption in the prison-industrial complex, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


Why Police Lie Under Oath
2013-02-03, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/03/opinion/sunday/why-police-officers-lie-unde...

Are police officers necessarily more trustworthy than alleged criminals? The police have a special inclination toward confabulation ... because, disturbingly, they have an incentive to lie. In this era of mass incarceration, the police shouldnt be trusted any more than any other witness, perhaps less so. That may sound harsh, but numerous law enforcement officials have put the matter more bluntly. Peter Keane, a former San Francisco Police commissioner, wrote [that] Police officer perjury in court to justify illegal dope searches is commonplace. One of the dirty little not-so-secret secrets of the criminal justice system is undercover narcotics officers intentionally lying under oath. It is a perversion of the American justice system that strikes directly at the rule of law. Yet it is the routine way of doing business in courtrooms everywhere in America. The New York City Police Department is not exempt from this critique. New York City officers have been found to engage in patterns of deceit in cases involving charges as minor as trespass. Jeannette Rucker, the chief of arraignments for the Bronx district attorney, explained in a letter that it had become apparent that the police were arresting people even when there was convincing evidence that they were innocent. To justify the arrests, Ms. Rucker claimed, police officers provided false written statements, and in depositions, the arresting officers gave false testimony.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on police and prisons corruption, click here.


Plantations, Prisons and Profits
2012-05-26, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/26/opinion/blow-plantations-prisons-and-profit...

Louisiana is the worlds prison capital. The state imprisons more of its people, per head, than any of its U.S. counterparts. First among Americans means first in the world. Louisianas incarceration rate is nearly triple Irans, seven times Chinas and 10 times Germanys. That paragraph opens a devastating eight-part series published this month by The Times-Picayune of New Orleans about how the states largely private prison system profits from high incarceration rates and tough sentencing, and how many with the power to curtail the system actually have a financial incentive to perpetuate it. The picture that emerges is one of convicts as chattel and a legal system essentially based on human commodification. One in 86 Louisiana adults is in the prison system, which is nearly double the national average. More than 50 percent of Louisianas inmates are in local prisons, which is more than any other state. The national average is 5 percent. Louisiana leads the nation in the percentage of its prisoners serving life without parole. Nearly two-thirds of Louisianas prisoners are nonviolent offenders. The national average is less than half. In the early 1990s, the state was under a federal court order to reduce overcrowding, but instead of releasing prisoners or loosening sentencing guidelines, the state incentivized the building of private prisons. But, in what the newspaper called a uniquely Louisiana twist, most of the prison entrepreneurs were actually rural sheriffs. They saw a way to make a profit and did.

Note: To read the powerful 8-part investigation of the Louisiana prison system from the New Orleans Times-Picayune, click here. For more on the cruelty and corruption of the prison-industrial complex, click here.


How America's death penalty murders innocents
2012-05-21, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/may/21/america-death-...

The US criminal justice system is a broken machine that wrongfully convicts innocent people, sentencing thousands of people to prison or to death for the crimes of others, as a new study reveals. The University of Michigan law school and Northwestern University have compiled a new National Registry of Exonerations a database of over 2,000 prisoners exonerated between 1989 and the present day, when DNA evidence has been widely used to clear the names of innocent people convicted of rape and murder. Of these, 885 have profiles developed for the registry's website, exonerationregistry.org. The details are shocking. Death row inmates were exonerated nine times more frequently than others convicted of murder. One-fourth of those exonerated of murder had received a death sentence, while half of those who had been wrongfully convicted of rape or murder faced death or a life behind bars. Ten of the inmates went to their grave before their names were cleared. The leading causes of wrongful convictions include perjury, flawed eyewitness identification and prosecutorial misconduct. "The most important thing we know about false convictions is that they happen and on a regular basis Most false convictions never see the light of the day," said University of Michigan law professors Samuel Gross and Michael Shaffer, who wrote the study. "Nobody had an inkling of the serious problem of false confessions until we had this data," said Rob Warden, executive director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University.

Note: For key reports from major media sources on the injustices and corruption of the prison-industrial complex, click here.


Sentenced to Serving the Good Life in Norway
2010-07-12, Time Magazine
http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2000920,00.html

On Bastoy, an island 46 miles south of Oslo, [125] residents live in brightly colored wooden chalets, spread over one square mile of forest and gently sloping hills. They go horseback riding and throw barbecues, and have access to a movie theater, tanning bed and, during winter, two ski jumps. Despite all its trappings, Bastoy island isn't an exclusive resort: it's a prison. Bastoy's governor ... describes it as the world's first human-ecological prison a place where inmates learn to take responsibility for their actions by caring for the environment. Prisoners grow their own organic vegetables, turn their garbage into compost and tend to chickens, cows, horses and sheep. The prison generally emphasizes trust and self-regulation: Bastoy has no fences, the windows have no bars, and only five guards remain on the island after 3 p.m. In an age when countries from Britain to the U.S. cope with exploding prison populations by building ever larger and, many would say, ever harsher prisons, Bastoy seems like an unorthodox, even bizarre, departure. But Norwegians see the island as the embodiment of their country's long-standing penal philosophy: that traditional, repressive prisons do not work, and that treating prisoners humanely boosts their chances of reintegrating into society. Norway's system produces overwhelmingly positive results. Within two years of their release, 20% of Norway's prisoners end up back in jail. In the U.K. and the U.S., the figure hovers between 50% and 60%. Of course, Norway's ... prison roll lists a mere 3,300 inmates, a rate of 70 per 100,000 people, compared with 2.3 million in the U.S., or 753 per 100,000 the highest rate in the world.

Note: Why aren't other countries taking heed of Norway's excellent example? Part of the reason is that some companies make massive profits from the prison system. For more on this, click here.


Prison Spending Outpaces All but Medicaid
2009-03-03, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/03/us/03prison.html

One in every 31 adults, or 7.3 million Americans, is in prison, on parole or probation, at a cost to the states of $47 billion in 2008, according to a new study. Criminal correction spending is outpacing budget growth in education, transportation and public assistance, based on state and federal data. Only Medicaid spending grew faster than state corrections spending, which quadrupled in the past two decades, according to [a new report] by the Pew Center on the States, the first breakdown of spending in confinement and supervision in the past seven years. The increases in the number of people in some form of correctional control occurred as crime rates declined by about 25 percent in the past two decades. As states face huge budget shortfalls, prisons, which hold 1.5 million adults, are driving the spending increases. Pew researchers say that as states trim services like education and health care, prison budgets are growing. Those priorities are misguided, the study says. States are looking to make cuts that will have long-term harmful effects, said Sue Urahn, managing director of the Pew Center on the States. Corrections is one area they can cut and still have good or better outcomes than what they are doing now. About $9 out of $10 spent on corrections goes to prison financing (that includes money spent to house 780,000 people in local jails). One in 11 African-Americans, or 9.2 percent, are under correctional control, compared with one in 27 Latinos (3.7 percent) and one in 45 whites (2.2 percent).

Note: Crime is down 25%, yet prison spending is 400% of what it was 20 years ago. Is there anything strange here? The prison-industrial complex is mighty big and in many ways mighty corrupt.


Citys Annual Cost Per Inmate Is $168,000, Study Finds
2013-08-23, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/24/nyregion/citys-annual-cost-per-inmate-is-ne...

New York City is an expensive place to live for just about everyone, including prisoners. The city paid $167,731 to feed, house and guard each inmate last year, according to a study the Independent Budget Office released this week. It is troubling in both human terms and financial terms, Doug Turetsky, the chief of staff for the budget office, said on Friday. With 12,287 inmates shuffling through city jails last year, he said, it is a significant cost to the city. by nearly any measure, New York City spends more than every other state or city. The Vera Institute of Justice released a study in 2012 that found the aggregate cost of prisons in 2010 in the 40 states that participated was $39 billion. The annual average taxpayer cost in these states was $31,286 per inmate. New York State was the most expensive, with an average cost of $60,000 per prison inmate. The cost of incarcerating people in New York Citys jails is nearly three times as much. 83 percent of the expense per prisoner came from wages, benefits for staff and pension costs. Some 76 percent of the inmates in the city were waiting for their cases to be disposed. The wait times have grown even as the number of felonies committed in the city has declined. Since 2002, the time spent waiting for cases to be disposed of has gone to 95 days, from 76 days, [former city correction and probation commissioner Michael] Jacobson said.

Note: This CNN chart shows that most states spend two to three times as much on their prison inmates than they do on students in school. What does that say about our priorities? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing prison system corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Why Can't We End Mass Incarceration?
2015-10-26, Rolling Stone
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/why-cant-we-end-mass-incarceration-...

The U.S. federal-prison population swelled from 24,000 prisoners in 1980 to 219,000 in 2013. And federal prisons are just the tip of the iceberg factor in state prisons and local jails, and there are 2.2 million people locked up in this country. The U.S. Sentencing Commission ... is charged with setting and adjusting the detailed schedule of penalties for those convicted of federal crimes. In April 2014, the commission approved a reduction in sentences for certain drug crimes going forward. In his final months in office, President Obama has focused more on the need for criminal-justice reform. He has used the executive power of clemency to commute some of the most egregiously unfair sentences of 89 federal drug convicts. But a handful of pardons don't amount to much when there are hundreds of thousands of federal prisoners. Nearly half of federal inmates are serving time for drug crimes. Of those, 60 percent were subject to mandatory minimums when they were sentenced. Stephanie George was a 26-year-old mother of three when she was convicted on drug-conspiracy charges because the man she was dating had kept drugs and money in her house. Under the federal three-strikes-and-you're-out law, she was sentenced to life in prison. George was locked up nearly 18 years before Obama commuted her sentence. One of her sons died shortly before her release. She says she doesn't think most politicians consider the costs a mandatory-minimum sentence brings.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing prison system corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Could yoga save prisoners from a life of crime?
2018-09-11, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/sep/11/yoga-prisons-crime-cut-reoffe...

New research shows the meditative exercise improves mental health, reduces stress and can prevent reoffending. The power of yoga to change [a prisoner's] life is backed by two Swedish studies that found it may reduce reoffending. The new study, led by Professor Nra Kerekes at University West, Trollhtten, in Sweden, and published last week in Frontiers in Psychiatry, found that 10 weeks of regular yoga can lead to a significant reduction in obsessive-compulsive and paranoid thinking, which in turn, say researchers, can make reoffending less likely. This effect is specific to yoga, and not to exercise in general, they found. It can also lead to a decrease in somaticisation (mental distress leading to physical symptoms such as breathing problems, heart pains and stomach upsets). The study of 152 volunteers in nine medium- and high-security prisons in Sweden builds on a 2017 study of the same volunteers that showed that yoga improved stress levels, concentration, sleep quality, psychological and emotional wellbeing, as well as reducing aggression and antisocial behaviour. A Prison Service spokeswoman says: Research shows activities like this can make prisoners less likely to reoffend, keeping the public safer. She was unable to explain why, given this evidence, it wasnt government policy to make yoga available to all prisoners, but said it was up to individual prison governors to decide which activities to offer.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration
2015-10-01, The Atlantic
http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/10/the-black-family-in-the-a...

From the mid-1970s to the mid-80s, Americas incarceration rate doubled, from about 150 people per 100,000 to about 300 per 100,000. From the mid-80s to the mid-90s, it doubled again. By 2007, it had reached a historic high of 767 people per 100,000. In absolute terms, Americas prison and jail population from 1970 until today has increased sevenfold, from some 300,000 people to 2.2 million. In 2000, one in 10 black males between the ages of 20 and 40 was incarcerated 10 times the rate of their white peers. At a cost of $80 billion a year, American correctional facilities are a social-service program providing health care, meals, and shelter for a whole class of people. An authoritative report issued last year by the National Research Council concluded, the current U.S. rate of incarceration is unprecedented by both historical and comparative standards. Even once an individual is physically out of prison, many do not elude its grasp. In 1984, 70 percent of all parolees successfully completed their term without arrest and were granted full freedom. In 1996, only 44 percent did. As of 2013, 33 percent do. Deindustrialization had presented an employment problem for Americas poor and working class of all races. Prison presented a solution: jobs for whites, and warehousing for blacks. Mass incarceration widened the income gap between white and black Americans, writes [historian] Heather Ann Thompson ... because the infrastructure of the carceral state was located disproportionately in all-white rural communities.

Note: The article above provides a detailed history of some U.S. policies that created the corrupt prison industry.


Special Report: Why 4,998 died in U.S. jails without getting their day in court
2020-10-16, Reuters
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-jails-deaths-special-report/special-re...

Harvey Hill wouldn’t leave John Finnegan’s front yard. He stood in the pouring rain, laughing at the sky, alarming his former boss’ wife. Finnegan dialed 911. “He needs a mental evaluation,” the landscaper recalls telling the arriving officer. Instead, Hill was charged with trespassing and jailed. At the Madison County Detention Center ... guards tackled the 36-year-old, pepper sprayed him and kicked him repeatedly in the head. After handcuffing him, two guards slammed Hill into a concrete wall, previously unpublished jail surveillance video shows. They led him to a shower, away from the cameras, and beat him again, still handcuffed, a state investigation found. Video showed Hill writhing in pain in the infirmary, where he was assessed by a licensed practical nurse but not given medication. Hill was sent straight to an isolation cell. Within hours, he was dead. And he had a lot of company. Hill’s is one of 7,571 inmate deaths Reuters documented in an unprecedented examination of mortality in more than 500 U.S. jails from 2008 to 2019. Death rates have soared in those lockups, rising 35% over the decade ending last year. Casualties like Hill are typical: held on minor charges and dying without ever getting their day in court. At least two-thirds of the dead inmates identified by Reuters, 4,998 people, were never convicted of the charges on which they were being held. Reuters is making the full data it gathered available to the public here.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on prison system corruption from reliable major media sources.


We Could All Be in the Circle
2020-04-17, PsychCentral
https://web.archive.org/web/20200423215619/https://psychcentral.com/lib/we-co...

When we think about people who are behind bars for crimes simple or heinous, our minds take us to a place of judgment. We may view inmates as less than: less intelligent, less successful, less worthy of love and support. We may see them as “other.” The reality is, we may all be a few experiences away from potentially committing a crime. A video that poignantly highlights the dynamics that could lead to incarceration is called Step Inside the Circle. It begins with a group of 235 men in blue uniforms in a yard of a maximum-security prison. Barbed wire and guards surround them. They tower over a petite blond woman wearing a black and white t-shirt that says There Is No Shame. She carries a megaphone through which she invites them to step inside the circle if they have experienced verbal or physical abuse and neglect, if they lived in a home without feeling loved, if they had given up on themselves. One by one and then in multitudes, they join Fritzi Horstman as together they chant “There is no shame,” over and over. A group of them move indoors and sit in a circle of chairs with Horstman admitting her own wounds that led to criminal activity. That opened the door for the participants to describe the wounds they have carried for much of their lives. [The] men were visibly moved, some wiping their eyes, some providing brotherly support and admitted that they were breaking the code by being vulnerable. They discovered that it was a unifying experience and they felt less isolated as a result.

Note: Two short, incredibly inspiring documentaries show how these inmates' lives have been transformed. Don't miss "Step Inside the Circle" (7 min) and "Honor Yard" (8 min).


Surveillance video from Jeffrey Epstein's first apparent suicide attempt 'no longer exists'
2020-01-09, NBC News
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/surveillance-video-jeffrey-epstein-s-fir...

The surveillance video taken from outside Jeffrey Epstein's jail cell on the day of his first apparent suicide attempt has been permanently deleted, federal prosecutors said. Epstein, the disgraced financier who was facing federal sex-trafficking charges, was found semiconscious in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, or MCC, in New York around 1:27 a.m. on July 23. But that video is now gone because MCC officials mistakenly saved video from a different floor of the federal detention facility. The FBI made the discovery last week while reviewing a copy of the video provided by MCC officials. "After reviewing the video, it appeared to the government that the footage contained on the preserved video was for the correct date and time, but captured a different tier than the one where [the cell housing Epstein and his cellmate] was located. The filing was made in a case involving Nicholas Tartaglione ... who was Epstein's cellmate on the day of the incident. The July incident was investigated as a possible suicide attempt, assault or ruse by Epstein to get himself transferred to a different facility. Tartaglione's attorney, as part of an effort to exonerate his client, asked the jail to preserve video from outside the cell. The MCC agreed, but "the MCC computer system listed a different, incorrect cell for Tartaglione," prosecutors said in the court filing. A backup video system was in place, but the requested video wasn't available because of unspecified "technical errors," the court filing says.

Note: Just a little bit suspicious... For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Jeffrey Epstein from reliable major media sources.


US taxpayers spent almost $1 billion incarcerating innocent black people
2019-11-20, Yahoo! News
https://finance.yahoo.com/news/us-taxpayers-spent-over-4-billion-incarceratin...

Over the last few weeks, the Rodney Reed case has ignited a firestorm of interest, as celebrities, activists, and politicians worked to delay his Nov. 20 execution on the basis that he might be innocent. According to the National Registry of Exonerations (NRE), since 1989, 2,515 men and women have been exonerated after proving their innocence. In total, among all known exonerees, Americans have shelled out a staggering $4.12 billion to incarcerate innocent men and women since 1989. Thats largely money spent on trials, and the cost of housing inmates in prison. According to the Bureau of Prisons, in the fiscal year 2017, the average cost to house a prisoner was over $36,000 a year in federal facilities. But black men make up the majority of those wrongfully convicted approximately 49%. And since 1989, taxpayers have wasted $944 million to incarcerate black men and women that were later found to be innocent. That number climbs to $1.2 billion when including Hispanic men and women. On average, from the time a person enters the criminal justice system until they are exonerated, $1.26 million is spent per inmate who is facing the death penalty. The total sum $4.12 billion spent on all known exonerees also includes $2.2 billion that taxpayers have paid the innocent in compensation since 1989 for the time they were imprisoned, according to a 2018 NRE study. But while a large sum, only 44% of exonerees have ever received compensation.

Note: Read also how thousands have been sentenced to life in prison for non-violent crimes. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on prison system corruption from reliable major media sources.


Norway helped remake a US prison. Here’s what happened.
2022-11-02, Freethink
https://www.freethink.com/society/norway-helped-remake-a-us-prison-heres-what...

Correctional systems throughout much of Scandinavia are guided by a general set of philosophical principles. In Norway, core values of safety, transparency and innovation are considered fundamental to the idea of creating normality in prison, the feeling that life as part of a community continues. Incarcerated people can wear their own clothes, work in jobs that prepare them for employment and cook their own meals. Cells in Norway are also for a single person – not multiple people, as in most cases in the U.S. Importantly, correctional officers have at least a two-year, university-level education and are directly involved in rehabilitation and planning for the incarcerated person’s re-entry into the world outside of prison. In the U.S., most officers receive just a few weeks of training. Recidivism rates in Scandinavia are low. In Norway ... less than half of people released from prison are rearrested after three years. In Pennsylvania, that figure is closer to 70%. In State Correctional Institution Chester, known as SCI Chester, a medium-security prison located just outside of Philadelphia, a correctional officer-guided team has worked since 2018 to incorporate Scandinavian penal principles into its own institution. Six men in SCI Chester – each sentenced to life in prison – were selected to participate. They then moved on to the new housing unit, which had come to be known as “Little Scandinavia.” SCI Chester shows that it is, in fact, possible to adapt Scandinavian-style penal philosophies.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


60 Minutes investigates the death of Jeffrey Epstein
2020-01-05, CBS News
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/did-jeffrey-epstein-kill-himself-60-minutes-inve...

In July 2019, Jeffrey Epstein, already a convicted sex offender, was arrested and charged with sex trafficking by federal prosecutors. On August 10, Epstein was found dead in his federal jail cell at Manhattan's Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC). The New York City Medical Examiner's Office ruled Epstein's death a suicide by hanging, but a forensic pathologist who observed the four-hour autopsy ... tells 60 Minutes the evidence released so far points more to murder than suicide in his view. Dr. Michael Baden's key reason: the unusual fractures he saw in Epstein's neck."There were fractures of the left, the right thyroid cartilage and the left hyoid bone," Baden said. "I have never seen three fractures like this in a suicidal hanging." The night before his death, Epstein's cellmate was released. According to court documents, "no new cellmate was assigned" before he died, even though he was required to have one. That night, federal prosecutors say, "Epstein was escorted into his cell by Tova Noel at approximately 7:49 p.m." Noel and Michael Thomas, the two guards who were working the overnight shift in Epstein's unit, allegedly didn't check on him again until "shortly after 6:30 a.m." the next morning. "So Epstein's taken off suicide watch, the day before he kills himself, his roommate is removed from the cell. The cameras on his tier are not working. The guards fell asleep. It seems almost impossible to think all of those things could happen in that way," [60 Minutes correspondent Sharyn] Alfonsi said.

Note: Not mentioned is that surveillance video from Epstein's first suicide attempt was "accidentally" erased, as reported on NBC News. A revealing five-minute 60 minutes video is available here or at the link above. More photos and information are available on this CBS News webpage. An even deeper analysis can be found on this webpage. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Jeffrey Epstein from reliable major media sources.


Dutch justice? Falling crime rates and prison closures
2016-10-17, DutchNews.nl
http://www.dutchnews.nl/features/2016/10/falling-crime-rates-and-prison-closu...

The closure of five prisons in as many years against the background of a falling crime rate, is the kind of news many governments would give their eye teeth for. The impact could have been even more dramatic if the government had adopted the recommendations of a prison service report published in July, which concluded that eight jails and three youth detention centres will be surplus to requirements by the year 2021. The official figures indicate that recorded crime has been falling for around a decade. Between 2014 and 2015, the most recent year for which statistics are available, recorded crime was down by nearly 5%, according to national statistics office CBS. In total, recorded crime has shrunk by 25% over the past eight years. Crime figures [have] been falling in nearly all western nations this century, but the decline in the Dutch prison population has been spectacular. In 2006 the Netherlands had the second highest number of inmates in Europe with 125 prisoners per 100,000 population. Only the UK, with 145, had a larger share. But by last year the Dutch were down to Scandinavian levels, with 69 out of every 100,000 citizens behind bars. The government says prison closures are inevitable because it costs too much to keep empty cells open. Official forecasts predict that the downward trend in crime will continue, though how far the fall reflects an actual drop in criminal behaviour remains a hotly contested issue.

Note: Few are aware that violent crime rates in the U.S. have dropped to 1/3 of what they were in 1993, yet prison spending continues to skyrocket. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


How the 13th Amendment didnt really abolish slavery, but let it live on in U.S. prisons
2016-09-21, New York Daily News
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/king-13th-amendment-didn-abolish-sla...

The 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution did not end slavery. In fact, it is the first time the word "slavery" was ever mentioned in the Constitution and it is in this amendment where it is ... given the constitutional protection that has maintained the practice of American slavery in various forms to this very day. It is why, right now, the largest prison strike in American history is about to enter its third week - the men and women inside of those prisons are effectively slaves. Their free or nearly free labor represents, according to Alice Speri, a $2 billion a year industry that employs nearly 900,000 prisoners while paying them a few cents an hour in some states, and nothing at all in others. In addition to work for private companies, prisoners also cook, clean, and work on maintenance and construction in the prisons themselves forcing officials to pay staff to carry out those tasks in response to work stoppages. They cannot run these facilities without us, organizers wrote ahead of the strike. We will not only demand the end to prison slavery, we will end it ourselves by ceasing to be slaves. The entire 13th Amendment ... is just 47 words long. About a third of those words aren't about ending slavery, but are shockingly about how and when slavery could receive a wink and a nod to continue. In essence, the 13th Amendment both banned and justified slavery in one fell swoop. Slavery is legal in prisons.

Note: It's strange to note that very few major media have given any coverage to this important story. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the prison system.


Why is Sweden closing its prisons?
2013-12-01, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/dec/01/why-sweden-closing-prisons

Swedish prisons have long had a reputation around the world as being liberal and progressive. The head of Sweden's prison and probation service, Nils Oberg, announced in November that four Swedish prisons are to be closed due to an "out of the ordinary" decline in prisoner numbers. Although there has been no fall in crime rates, between 2011 and 2012 there was a 6% drop in Sweden's prisoner population, now a little over 4,500. A similar decrease is expected this year and the next. The Swedes [have] managed to maintain a broadly humane approach to sentencing, even of the most serious offenders: jail terms rarely exceed 10 years; those who receive life imprisonment can still apply to the courts after a decade to have the sentence commuted to a fixed term, usually in the region of 18 to 25 years. Sweden was the first country in Europe to introduce the electronic tagging of convicted criminals and continues to strive to minimise short-term prison sentences wherever possible by using community-based measures proven to be more effective at reducing reoffending. The overall reoffending rate in Sweden stands at between 30 and 40% over three years around half that in the UK. One likely factor that has kept reoffending down and the rate of incarceration in Sweden below 70 per 100,000 head of population less than half the figure for England and Wales is that the age of criminal responsibility is set at 15. Unlike the UK, where a life sentence can be handed down to a 10-year-old, in Sweden no young person under the age of 21 can be sentenced to life and every effort is made to ensure that as few juvenile offenders as possible end up in prison.

Note: For a Time magazine article showing how Norway's prisons actually rehabilitate prisoners so that they can more easily fit back in society, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.


America's private prison system is a national disgrace
2013-06-13, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/13/aclu-lawsuit-east-mississ...

Privatization [of government functions] often comes with a lack of oversight and a series of abuses. One particularly stunning example is the American prison system, the realities of which should be a national disgrace. Some of those realities are highlighted in a recent lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of prisoners at the East Mississippi Correctional Facility (EMCF). EMCF houses severely mentally ill prisoners, with the supposed intent of providing both incarceration and treatment. Instead, the ACLU contends, the facility, which is operated by private contractors, is rife with horrific abuses. The complaint lists a litany of such horrors, [including]: Rampant rapes. Placing prisoners in solitary confinement for weeks, months or even years at a time. Rat infestations so bad that vermin crawl over prisoners. Many suicide attempts, some successful. Denying or delaying treatment for infections and even cancer. Stabbings, beatings and other acts of violence. Malnourishment and chronic hunger. Officers who deal with prisoners by using physical violence. The [US] prison system is increasingly built and run by for-profit corporations, who have a financial interest in increasing the number of people in prison while decreasing the amount of money it costs to house them. Since 1980, the US prison population has grown by 790%. We have the largest prison population of any nation in the history of the world.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on corruption and human rights abuses in prisons, click here.


Can Forgiveness Play a Role in Criminal Justice?
2013-01-06, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/06/magazine/can-forgiveness-play-a-role-in-cri...

Most modern justice systems focus on a crime, a lawbreaker and a punishment. But a concept called restorative justice considers harm done and strives for agreement from all concerned the victims, the offender and the community on making amends. And it allows victims, who often feel shut out of the prosecutorial process, a way to be heard and participate. In this country, restorative justice takes a number of forms, but perhaps the most prominent is restorative-justice diversion. There are not many of these programs a few exist on the margins of the justice system in communities like Baltimore, Minneapolis and Oakland, Calif. but, according to a University of Pennsylvania study in 2007, they have been effective at reducing recidivism. Typically, a facilitator meets separately with the accused and the victim, and if both are willing to meet face to face without animosity and the offender is deemed willing and able to complete restitution, then the case shifts out of the adversarial legal system and into a parallel restorative-justice process. All parties the offender, victim, facilitator and law enforcement come together in a forum sometimes called a restorative-community conference. Each person speaks, one at a time and without interruption, about the crime and its effects, and the participants come to a consensus about how to repair the harm done. The methods are mostly applied in less serious crimes, like property offenses in which the wrong can be clearly righted. The processes are designed to be flexible enough to handle violent crime like assault, but they are rarely used in those situations.

Note: This deeply moving and highly educational piece from the New York Times Magazine about the power of restorative justice is well worth reading in its entirety at the link above.


Breaking the hold of corporate welfare on America's incarceration industry
2012-12-19, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/dec/19/corporate-welfare-incarce...

The US Department of Justice released a report this week showing that 26 states have recorded decreases in their prison populations during 2011. California boasted the biggest decline of over 15,000 prisoners and several other states including New York and Michigan reported drops of around 1,000 prisoners each. This is the third consecutive year that the population has declined, and as a result, at least six states have closed or are attempting to close approximately 20 prisons. But sadly, because incarceration has become a virtual jobs program in many states and because certain corporations are profiting handsomely from the incarceration binge that has been in place for the past few decades, the reduction in prison populations and prison closures is being met with huge resistance. According to a recent report by the Sentencing Project called On the Chopping Block (pdf), which detailed all the prison closures and attempted closures in the past year, several state governors have been dragged into legal battles with state employees and unions who want the prisons to stay open. The private prisons, which are funded by the taxpayer ... need to generate revenue to keep their shareholders happy. For them, the bottom line is keeping their prisons full, regardless of need or cost. Last year, the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) came under fire when it emerged that they sent a letter to 48 states offering to take over any prisons going spare with the small caveat that they be guaranteed 90% occupancy for the next 20 years.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on corruption in the prison/industrial complex, click here.


Guantnamo leaks lift lid on world's most controversial prison
2011-04-25, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/apr/25/guantanamo-files-lift-lid-prison

More than 700 leaked secret files on the Guantnamo detainees lay bare the inner workings of America's controversial prison camp in Cuba. The US military dossiers ... reveal how ... many prisoners were flown to the Guantnamo cages and held captive for years on the flimsiest grounds, or on the basis of lurid confessions extracted by maltreatment. The 759 Guantnamo files, classified "secret", cover almost every inmate since the camp was opened in 2002. More than two years after President Obama ordered the closure of the prison, 172 are still held there. The files depict a system often focused less on containing dangerous terrorists or enemy fighters, than on extracting intelligence. Among inmates who proved harmless were an 89-year-old Afghan villager, suffering from senile dementia, and a 14-year-old boy who had been an innocent kidnap victim. The documents also reveal: US authorities listed the main Pakistani intelligence service, the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), as a terrorist organisation. Almost 100 of the inmates who passed through Guantnamo are listed by their captors as having had depressive or psychotic illnesses. Many went on hunger strike or attempted suicide. A number of British nationals and residents were held for years even though US authorities knew they were not Taliban or al-Qaida members.

Note: For many key reports on government secrecy from major media sources, click here.


Report Details Torture at Secret Baghdad Prison
2010-04-28, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/28/world/middleeast/28baghdad.html

The torture of Iraqi detainees at a secret prison in Baghdad was far more systematic and brutal than initially reported, Human Rights Watch reported. Human Rights Watch ... documented its findings, which it described as credible and consistent, in a draft report provided to The New York Times. The group said it had interviewed 42 detainees who displayed fresh scars and wounds. Many said they were raped, sodomized with broomsticks and pistol barrels, or forced to engage in sexual acts with one another and their jailers. All said they were tortured by being hung upside down and then whipped and kicked before being suffocated with a plastic bag. Those who passed out were revived, they said, with electric shocks to their genitals and other parts of their bodies. The horror we found suggests torture was the norm in Muthanna, said Joe Stork, deputy director of the Middle East program at Human Rights Watch. Security officials whipped detainees with heavy cables, pulled out finger and toenails, burned them with acid and cigarettes, and smashed their teeth, Human Rights Watch said.

Note: For more on the atrocities committed by the US and its recent wars, click here.


Man who was serving 90-year sentence for marijuana released
2020-12-10, ABC News/Associated Press
https://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/man-serving-90-year-sentence-marijuana-re...

While serving a 90-year prison sentence for selling marijuana, Richard DeLisi's wife died, as did his 23-year-old son and both his parents. Yet, 71-year-old DeLisi walked out of a Florida prison Tuesday morning grateful and unresentful as he hugged his tearful family. After serving 31 years, he said he's just eager to restore the lost time. DeLisi was believed to be the longest-serving nonviolent cannabis prisoner, according to the The Last Prisoner Project which championed his release. DeLisi was sentenced to 90 years for marijuana trafficking in 1989 at the age of 40 even though the typical sentence was only 12 to 17 years. Now, he wants “to make the best of every bit of my time” fighting for the release of other inmates through his organization FreeDeLisi.com. “The system needs to change and I’m going to try my best to be an activist,” he said. Chiara Juster, a former Florida prosecutor who handled the case pro bono for the The Last Prisoner Project, criticized DeLisi's lengthy sentence as "a sick indictment of our nation." The family has spent over $250,000 on attorneys' fees and over $80,000 on long-distance international collect calls over the past few decades. Rick DeLisi was only 11-years-old when he sat in the courtroom and said goodbye to his father. Now, he's a successful business owner with a wife and three children living in Amsterdam. “I can't believe they did this to my father,” the grieving son said. His voice cracks and his eyes well up with tears as he talks about how grateful he is to finally see his dad.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Many families struggle to pay for phone calls with loved ones in U.S. prisons
2019-12-31, NBC News
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/many-families-struggle-pay-phone-calls-l...

You have 60 more seconds." "You have 30 more seconds. The female voice interrupted each time Maria Marshall talked on the phone with her son in prison. But the chance to make contact for three or four minutes a day, a few days a week, came with a cost. Marshall spent $120 in just two weeks in July for her son to call her and other relatives and friends. Many states make millions each year in commission off phone calls that families like Marshalls struggle to pay for. Inmate calling services are controlled by two main telecommunications companies, but the Federal Communications Commission says it does not have authority to set price caps on intrastate calls, which account for a majority of prisoner phone calls. Some are now pushing for change. U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., and five other senators have introduced a bill calling for just and reasonable charges for intrastate and interstate calling that would give the FCC authority to address inmate calling rates. This allows the FCC to regulate and say you cant have predatory pricing, Duckworth said. Cause thats whats happening predatory pricing. A typical 15-minute prison phone call within Washington costs around $1.65. On the other end of the spectrum, such a call in Kentucky costs around $5.70. Paul Wright, director of the Human Rights Defense Center ... said the system gives prisoners no options. The alternative is they dont talk to their family, Wright, who was incarcerated in Washington from 1987 to 2003, said.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on prison system corruption from reliable major media sources.


Deaths in custody. Sexual violence. Hunger strikes. What we uncovered inside ICE facilities across the US
2019-12-22, USA Today
https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/news/nation/2019/12/19/ice-asylum-under-tru...

On Oct. 15, a guard at the Richwood Correctional Center noticed an odd smell coming from one of the isolation cells. He opened the door, stepped inside and found the lifeless body of Roylan Hernandez-Diaz. The 43-year-old Cuban man had spent five months in immigration detention waiting for a judge to hear his asylum claim. The day after his death, 20 other detainees carried out what they say was a peaceful protest. Guards swooped in and attacked, beating one of them so severely he was taken to a hospital. The USA TODAY Network uncovered the Richwood episode during an investigation of the rapidly growing network of detention centers used by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The investigation revealed more than 400 allegations of sexual assault or abuse, inadequate medical care, regular hunger strikes, frequent use of solitary confinement, more than 800 instances of physical force against detainees, nearly 20,000 grievances filed by detainees and at least 29 fatalities, including seven suicides, since President Donald Trump took office in January 2017 and launched an overhaul of U.S. immigration policies. Combined with an analysis by a government watchdog, the USA TODAY Network analyzed inspection reports since 2015 and identified 15,821 violations of detention standards. Yet more than 90% of those facilities received passing grades by government inspectors. Every detainee interviewed by the USA TODAY Network alleged mistreatment by guards.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the prison system from reliable major media sources.


Prisoners in the US are part of a hidden workforce linked to hundreds of popular food brands
2024-01-29, Yahoo News/Associated Press
https://news.yahoo.com/prisoners-us-part-hidden-workforce-125458768.html

Unmarked trucks packed with prison-raised cattle roll out of the Louisiana State Penitentiary, where men are sentenced to hard labor and forced to work, for pennies an hour or sometimes nothing at all. They are among America’s most vulnerable laborers. If they refuse to work, some can jeopardize their chances of parole or face punishment like being sent to solitary confinement. The goods ... prisoners produce wind up in the supply chains of a dizzying array of products found in most American kitchens, from Frosted Flakes cereal and Ball Park hot dogs to Gold Medal flour, Coca-Cola and Riceland rice. They are on the shelves of virtually every supermarket in the country, including Kroger, Target, Aldi and Whole Foods. It’s completely legal. Enshrined in the Constitution by the 13th Amendment, slavery and involuntary servitude are banned – except as punishment for a crime. With about 2 million people locked up, U.S. prison labor from all sectors has morphed into a multibillion-dollar empire. Almost all of the country’s state and federal adult prisons have some sort of work program, employing around 800,000 people. Altogether, labor tied specifically to goods and services produced through state prison industries brought in more than $2 billion in 2021. “Slavery has not been abolished,” said Curtis Davis, who spent more than 25 years at [Louisiana's Angola] penitentiary. “It is still operating in present tense,” he said. “Nothing has changed.”

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in prisons and in the food system from reliable major media sources.


Innocent Lives in the Balance: The Real Risk of Executing the Innocent
2023-10-10, ScheerPost
https://scheerpost.com/2023/10/10/innocent-lives-in-the-balance-the-real-risk...

Since 1973, at least 194 people have been freed from death row after evidence of innocence revealed that they had been wrongfully convicted. That’s almost one person exonerated for every ten who’ve been executed. Wrongful convictions rob innocent people of decades of their lives, waste tax dollars, and re-traumatize the victim’s family, while the people responsible remain unaccountable. Contrary to popular belief, the appeals process is not designed to catch cases of innocence. It is simply to determine whether the original trial was conducted properly. Most exonerations came only because of the extraordinary efforts of people working outside the system – pro bono lawyers, family members, even students. Wrongfully convicted people have spent up to 33 years on death row ... before the truth came to light. Any effort to streamline the death penalty process or cut appeals will only increase the risk that an innocent person is executed. Frank Lee Smith was sentenced to death in Florida on the testimony of a single witness. Four years later, the same witness saw a photo of a different man and realized she had made a mistake. DNA tests later confirmed that Smith was innocent, but it was too late. He had died in prison. Cameron Todd Willingham was executed in Texas in 2004 for setting fire to his home, killing his three children. Experts now say that the arson theories used in the investigation are scientifically invalid. Willingham may very well have been executed for an accidental fire.

Note: Read more about the innocent people sentenced to death in the US. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on judicial system corruption from reliable major media sources.


‘The forever prisoner’: Abu Zubaydah’s drawings expose the US’s depraved torture policy
2023-05-11, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/law/2023/may/11/abu-zubaydah-drawings-guantanamo-...

A detainee held in the US prison camp at Guantánamo Bay who was used as a human guinea pig in the CIA’s post-9/11 torture program has produced the most comprehensive and detailed account yet seen of the brutal techniques to which he was subjected. Abu Zubaydah has created a series of 40 drawings that chronicle the torture he endured in a number of CIA dark sites between 2002 and 2006 and at Guantánamo Bay. In the absence of a full official accounting of the torture program, which the CIA and the FBI have labored for years to keep secret, the images give a unique and searing insight into a grisly period in US history. The drawings, which Zubaydah has annotated with his own words, depict gruesome acts of violence, sexual and religious humiliation, and prolonged psychological terror committed against him and other detainees. Zubaydah’s sketches provide a unique visual record of the US government’s use of torture in the wake of 9/11. Videotapes of Zubaydah being tortured were filmed by the CIA but then destroyed in violation of a court order, while a 6,700-page torture report by the Senate intelligence committee remains secret almost a decade after it was completed. Though the full Senate report has never been made public, its conclusion is known: that the abuse of Zubaydah and other detainees failed to elicit any new intelligence. In other words, torture does not work. The US initially claimed [Zubaydah] was a top al-Qaida operative but was forced to concede he was not even a member of the terror group.

Note: Read the "10 Craziest Things in the Senate Report on Torture." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption from reliable major media sources.


Federal prison rules help abusive staff to escape punishment, report finds
2022-10-28, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/10/28/federal-prison-rules-abusi...

Federal prison officials accused of misconduct, including sexual abuse, are more likely to escape sufficient punishment because of the agency’s reluctance to rely on inmate testimony, a watchdog investigation found. This hesitancy ... “emboldens miscreant staff members” who believe they can “act without fear of disciplinary consequences,” said a Justice Department Office of Inspector General (OIG) report. The memo to Bureau of Prisons Director Colette S. Peters from Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz said “the circumstances that gave rise to this memorandum and the BOP’s conflicting response to it continue to raise significant concerns about the BOP’s handling of disciplinary matters in cases where inmate testimony is necessary to sustain misconduct charges.” “Staff throughout the Bureau know that they can abuse men and women in federal custody with impunity, as long as they don’t admit it or do it on camera,” said Deborah Golden, a D.C. lawyer who focuses on prisoner rights. Not handling internal investigations properly, she added, “is how the widespread abuse at FCI Dublin flourished.” Five former employees of the Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin, Calif., including a warden and a chaplain, have been charged with sexually abusing prisoners. Dublin is not an isolated case. During the six-month reporting period that ended March 31, the inspector general’s office received 4,252 complaints involving the BOP, with force, abuse and rights violations among the most common allegations.

Note: In 2022, U.S. Department of Justice investigators had to open 14,361 cases of misconduct against 17,907 employees of the Bureau of Prisons, which is a bureau with 37,000 employees. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on prison system corruption from reliable major media sources.


The Radical Humaneness of Norways Halden Prison
2015-03-26, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/29/magazine/the-radical-humaneness-of-norways...

The turnoff to Norways newest prison was marked by a modest sign. There were no signs warning against picking up hitchhikers, no visible fences. Halden Fengsel ... is often called the worlds most humane maximum-security prison. To anyone familiar with the American correctional system, Halden seems alien. Its modern, cheerful and well-appointed facilities, the relative freedom of movement it offers, its quiet and peaceful atmosphere these qualities are so out of sync with the forms of imprisonment found in the United States that you could be forgiven for doubting whether Halden is a prison at all. It is, of course, but it is also ... the physical expression of an entire national philosophy about the relative merits of punishment and forgiveness. The treatment of inmates at Halden is wholly focused on helping to prepare them for a life after they get out. Not only is there no death penalty in Norway; there are no life sentences. Norwegian Correctional Service ... works with other government agencies to secure a home, a job and access to a supportive social network for each inmate before release; Norways social safety net also provides health care, education and a pension to all citizens. If inmates are having problems with one another, an officer or prison chaplain brings them together for a mediation session that continues until they have agreed to maintain peace and have shaken hands. Even members of rival gangs agree not to fight inside.

Note: Watch a great, short video on this model prison.


Crime Is Down, Yet U.S. Incarceration Rates Are Still Among the Highest in the World
2019-04-25, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/25/us/us-mass-incarceration-rate.html

For all the talk of curbing Americas appetite for mass incarceration and bipartisan support for reducing prison sentences, the number of people incarcerated in the United States declined only slightly in 2017, according to data released on Thursday by the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics. The United States still has the largest known incarcerated population in the world. A drop in the federal prison population, due in large part to a 2014 decision by the U.S. Sentencing Commission to reduce sentences for drug crimes, accounts for a third of the year-over-year decline. And while some states have significantly reduced their prison populations in recent years, others continue to set records for the number of people they are keeping locked up. The size of the United States prison population has resulted from not only locking more people up, but also keeping them locked up longer. A record number of people are serving life sentences. In fact, while the United States accounts for about 4 percent of the worlds population, it has more than a third of the estimated number of people serving life sentences. As measures like parole and compassionate release have been curtailed, or even eliminated in some places, prisoners have become older and more costly. According to the report, more than one in 10 prison inmates in 2017 were 55 years or older. The racial disparity among men remains stark, with black men serving prison sentences at almost six times the rate of white men.

Note: The privatized prison-industrial complex brings huge profits to key individuals. And the media hardly mentions FBI statistics showing violent crime has dropped to 1/3 or less of what it was 25 years ago. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the incarceration industry.


There is little scrutiny of 'natural' deaths behind bars
2024-01-02, NPR
https://www.npr.org/2024/01/02/1219667393/there-is-little-scrutiny-of-natural...

Kesha Jackson was preparing for her husband, John, to be home in a few weeks. But then Jackson got a concerning call from other inmates. Her husband, in the special housing unit, was going in and out of consciousness. He died soon after. And as she waited for some explanation, Jackson was surprised to learn what prison officials pronounced as the manner of death: "natural." By deeming the death natural, prison authorities were not required to conduct an autopsy for Jackson's death. It's how they characterize at least three-quarters of all federal prison deaths since 2009. "When his medical records came home after he passed away, I saw that it was MRSA," Jackson said. "Saying that it's a natural death can sometimes be misleading because I believe that having the proper medical treatment could have possibly saved his life," Jackson said. The CDC says natural deaths happen either solely or almost entirely because of disease or old age. Yet 70% of the inmates who died in federal prison the last 13 years were under the age of 65. NPR found that potential issues such as medical neglect, poor prison conditions and a lack of health care resources were left unexplained once a "natural" death designation ended hopes of an investigation. Meanwhile, family members were left with little information about their loved one's death. Homer Venters, a federal court monitor of jail and prison health care, calls deaths like Jackson's "jail attributable."

Note: Private companies like Corizon are often responsible for inmate medical care. In 2015, investigations in Arizona, Florida, Maine, Minnesota, and New York uncovered escalating inmate deaths related to Corizon's for-profit medical services. A New York Times article about this was published but it quickly disappeared. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on prison system corruption from reliable major media sources.


Faced with a violent killing, a family chooses forgiveness over prison
2023-06-26, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/jun/26/restorative-justice-murder-ch...

Alex Fields had not spoken to his nephew in four years. Not since the killing. But when his nephew Donald Fields Jr finally appeared over Zoom from the county jail, Alex Fields was consumed by the moment. Don Jr was charged with the murder of his father, Donald Fields Sr, in 2016. Today was the first step in a long journey that would see a tragedy transformed into a pioneering case of compassion in America's punitive criminal justice system. It marked the first time that restorative justice – the act of resolving crimes through community reconciliation and accountability over traditional punishment – had been used in a homicide case in the state of North Carolina. And probably the first case of its kind in the US. The DA's office forged a new plea deal, which offered Don Jr the opportunity to plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter, which could see him sentenced to "time served". The family worked on a new repair agreement, which was 13 points long and had conditions facilitating Don Jr's release. There is increasing evidence that use of restorative justice lowers rates of recidivism. Those who are victims of violence are far more likely to become perpetrators of violent acts later on. "Just as we cannot incarcerate our way out of violence, we cannot reform our way out of mass incarceration without taking on the question of violence," [Danielle Sered] writes. "The context in which violence happens matters, as do the identities and experiences of those involved.”

Note: Danielle Sered is the founder of a Brooklyn-based restorative justice organization Common Justice, which is the first alternative-to-incarceration and victim-service program in the United States that focuses on violent felonies in the adult courts. For further reading, explore her book, Until We Reckon: Violence, Mass Incarceration, and a Road to Repair.


India’s ‘Open Prisons’ Are a Marvel of Trust-Based Incarceration
2022-05-12, Reasons to be Cheerful
https://reasonstobecheerful.world/india-open-prisons-escape-trust/

Though the people held at Sanganer open prison are technically incarcerated, they can leave the facility during the day and travel within the city limits. Almost immediately upon his arrival, Arjiram’s sense of self-worth grew. “It didn’t feel like I was in a prison,” he says. “I could go out and work and come back, and the best thing was they trusted me.” After being faceless and nameless for over a decade, he felt like a person again. According to the country’s National Crime Records Bureau, there are about 88 open prisons in India, the largest share of which are in the state of Rajasthan, where the model is being pioneered. India’s open prisons are defined by minimal security. They are run and maintained by the state, and those incarcerated within them are free to come and go as they please. At Sanganer, the prison is open for up to 12 hours each day. Every evening, prisoners must return to be counted at an end-of-day roll call. Designed to foster reform as opposed to punishment, the system is based on the premise that trust is contagious. It assumes — and encourages — self-discipline on the part of the prisoners. Letting incarcerated folks go to work also allows them to earn money for themselves and their families, build skills, and maintain contacts in the outside world that can help them once they’re released. In addition to allowing inmates to support themselves, open prisons require far less staff, and their operating costs are a fraction of those in closed prisons.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Behind the Curtain: Finding Counternarratives About Death Row
2024-01-21, ScheerPost
https://scheerpost.com/2024/01/21/behind-the-curtain-finding-counternarrative...

After poking and prodding [Doyle] Hamm with needles for almost 3 hours, prison officials gave up as Mr. Hamm lay strapped to a gurney in a pool of blood. They called off the execution because they were unsuccessful in gaining IV access to administer the lethal injection. This was a risk Mr. Hamm’s attorney had predicted given Hamm’s advanced cancer and long history of IV drug use. At the time, ADOC Commissioner Jeff Dunn did not provide details to reporters about what happened. “I wouldn’t characterize what we had tonight as a problem,” Dunn said. Hamm’s attorney later released photos and examination notes showing that prison employees had punctured Hamm’s bladder and an artery causing him to urinate blood. The state ... privately agreed to never try to execute Doyle Hamm again. Counternarratives about death row can be found in the 2023 book titled Ghosts Over the Boiler: Voices from Alabama’s Death Row. The book is a collection of writings previously published by Project Hope to Abolish the Death Penalty, or PHADP, the nation’s only nonprofit formed on and operated from death row. The organization ... has a goal to educate the public about capital punishment and the features of inequality that define it, while advocating for an end to the death penalty. All of the featured writers have been convicted of murder, although based on the rate of death row exonerations, some are likely wrongly convicted.

Note: The current system often puts innocent people to death. Over half of all wrongful convictions are the result of government misconduct. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on prison system corruption from reliable major media sources.


Federal Prison Officials Knew of Misconduct, Corruption, and Abuse, Senate Investigation Finds
2022-07-22, The Intercept
https://theintercept.com/2022/07/26/atlanta-prison-suicide-senate-investigation/

When a detainee at a federal prison facility in Atlanta, Georgia, was found hanging from a ligature in his cell in November 2018, prison staff had to borrow a razor blade from another detainee in order to cut them down. The scene was one of several alarming accounts of conditions at U.S. Penitentiary Atlanta detailed Tuesday during a Senate subcommittee hearing. Public reporting has described several years’ worth of security and health issues at the facility, including deaths, escapes, corruption, and a smuggling ring. According to congressional investigators who spoke at the hearing, senior officials at the federal prison complex and at the federal Bureau of Prisons were aware of the issues for years and failed to adequately address them, amounting to gross misconduct. The findings are part of an ongoing 10-month bipartisan congressional investigation into allegations of corruption and abuse at the Atlanta facility. Started last September by a subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, the investigation has focused on the Atlanta complex to highlight broader issues in the federal prison system. The facility has the highest number of suicides by detainees at any federal prison over the last five years. Previous reporting has documented at least 13 suicides at the facility between 2012 and 2021, including five between October 2019 and June 2021. The hearing ... painted a damning picture of a bloated federal prison system run by well-informed and willfully inactive leaders.

Note: In 2022, U.S. Department of Justice investigators had to open 14,361 cases of misconduct against 17,907 employees of the Bureau of Prisons, which is a bureau with 37,000 employees. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on prison system corruption from reliable major media sources.


Shane Bauer goes back to prison, comes out with a new book
2018-10-19, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
https://datebook.sfchronicle.com/books/shane-bauer-goes-back-to-prison-comes-...

Imprisoned himself for two years in an Iranian prison after being arrested while hiking on the Iran-Iraq border in 2009, [Journalist Shane] Bauer returned to the United States in 2011 and began examining the inhumane practice of long-term solitary confinement. When he realized that Americas growing private-prison industry (which houses 8 percent of all inmates) was even more impenetrable to reporters than public institutions, Bauer decided to embark on an undercover reporting experiment to better understand the ethically confounding state of corporate incarceration. Using his own name, he applied and was hired as an entry-level, $9-hour guard at Winn Correctional Center in rural Wingfield, La. Am I really going back to prison? he writes in the introduction to his eye-opening and troubling new book, American Prison: A Reporters Undercover Journey Into the Business of Punishment. Bauers book is a searing indictment of the corruption and cruelty rampant in a system with post-slavery origins that is based not on rehabilitation but profitability. "Its important to not take the kind of prison system we have today as a given. It was something that was invented here in this country, has floundered many times, and part of what has kept it alive throughout American history is that companies and states were making money on their prisoners, not because it was necessarily keeping society safe or rehabilitating people," [said Bauer].

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing prison system corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Billion-dollar prisons: why the US is pouring money into new construction
2023-10-28, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/oct/28/states-spending-money-build-p...

At a time when the US has narrowly skirted a recession, and people around the country are still struggling with the cost of living, a curious number of states have found billions of dollars for one thing: building prisons and jails. In September, Alabama announced that a new prison, currently under construction, would have a final cost of $1.082bn. The same month Indiana broke ground on a $1.2bn prison. Nebraska is spending $350m on a new prison, while some in Georgia are lobbying for $1.69bn for construction of a jail in Fulton county. The willingness to spend vast amounts of money on locking people up, particularly in states like Alabama, which has one of the highest poverty rates in the country, is staggering. It’s also wrong-headed, experts say. “Any money spent on caging human beings is not money well spent, period,” said Carmen Gutierrez ... at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “We have decades of research showing that incarceration does not improve public safety, and that it in fact harms individuals who themselves are incarcerated. It also harms their families and it harms the communities that they come from. So the damage outweighs any potential benefit.” The US has an incarceration rate of 664 people in every 100,000 ... far higher than other founding Nato countries. In Alabama, Georgia and other southern states about one in every 100 people is incarcerated in prisons, jails, immigration detention and juvenile justice facilities.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on prison system corruption from reliable major media sources.


When a prison sentence becomes a death sentence
2023-04-27, NPR
https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2023/04/27/1172320844/when-a-prison...

At least 6,182 people died in state and federal prisons in 2020, a 46% jump from the previous year, according to data recently released by researchers from the UCLA Law Behind Bars Data Project. "During the pandemic, a lot of prison sentences became death sentences," says Wanda Bertram, a spokesperson for the Prison Policy Initiative. A Senate report last year found the U.S. Department of Justice failed to identify more than 900 deaths in prisons and local jails in fiscal year 2021. The report said the DOJ's poor data collection and reporting undermined transparency and congressional oversight of deaths in custody. A major reason the U.S. trails other developed countries in life expectancy is because it has more people behind bars and keeps them there far longer, says Chris Wildeman, a Duke University sociology professor who has researched the link between criminal justice and life expectancy. "It's a health strain on the population," Wildeman says. "The worse the prison conditions, the more likely it is incarceration can be tied to excess mortality." Over a 40-year span starting in the 1980s, the number of people in the nation's prisons and jails more than quadrupled, fueled by tough-on-crime policies and the war on drugs. The federal government can't definitively say how many people have died in prisons and jails since the covid-19 pandemic began, researchers say. "Without data, we are operating in the dark," says Andrea Armstrong, a professor ... who has testified before Congress on the issue.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on prison system corruption from reliable major media sources.


Inside the Prisoner-led Struggle to Win Education for All
2023-04-06, ScheerPost
https://scheerpost.com/2023/04/06/inside-the-prisoner-led-struggle-to-win-edu...

Washington State prisoners were recently forced to gather in a janitor’s closet to organize and facilitate college education for people incarcerated in several prisons across the state. New official restrictions are jeopardizing a liberating, prisoner-led program known as Taking Education And Creating History, or TEACH. TEACH’s goal is to democratize education for people with long sentences. Between community support and financial backing outside the correctional system, TEACH successfully circumvented the Department of Corrections, or DOC, policy of excluding long-term prisoners from education. Since 2013, over 300 incarcerated individuals across three state prisons have become college students. Progressively, TEACH began breaking down barriers between various racial and cultural groups — contradicting administrative beliefs that the Black Prisoners Caucus would further racial tension. Prisoners who would’ve never interacted with one another were now sitting at tables thumbing through books, while preparing for exams. When asked how TEACH has impacted the prison environment, Darrell Jackson, co-chair of the TEACH program at Washington Correction Center, said, “It has reduced the violence in prison, while creating a positive educational community for everyone — regardless of one’s crime, race or affiliation.” He added, “Those with lengthy sentences were given a sense of purpose, something that many are stripped of when they enter into prison.”

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Federal Prisons Were Told to Provide Addiction Medications. Instead, They Punish People Who Use Them
2022-12-12, The Marshall Project
https://www.themarshallproject.org/2022/12/12/suboxone-federal-prison-opioid-...

Timothy York knows what works to treat his decades-long opioid addiction: Suboxone, a medication that effectively quiets cravings. In 2019, he was relieved to learn that the federal Bureau of Prisons was starting a program to expand access to Suboxone. He’s still waiting. In the meantime, he’s been punished for using Suboxone without a prescription. Last year, after York, 46, was caught with the medication, he spent a month in solitary confinement and had his visitor privileges revoked for a year. York is not alone. The Marshall Project spoke to more than 20 people struggling with addictions in federal prison, and they described the dire consequences of being unable to safely access a treatment that Congress has instructed prisons to provide. Some have overdosed. The lack of Suboxone treatment comes amid a rise in drug-related deaths behind bars. A variety of substances are routinely smuggled into prisons and jails through mail, drone drops, visitors or corrections officers and other staff. In the last two decades, federal data shows that fatal overdoses increased by more than 600% inside prisons and more than 200% inside jails. Forty-seven incarcerated people died of overdoses in federal prison from 2019 through 2021. The data does not specify how many of these overdose deaths were caused by opioids and could have been prevented by medications like Suboxone. During the same period, correctional staff administered Narcan — a drug that reverses opioid overdoses — almost 600 times.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on prison system corruption from reliable major media sources.


Voters in 4 states reject forced work for prisoners
2022-11-09, Washington Post/Associated Press
https://www.washingtonpost.com/kidspost/2022/11/09/voters-reject-forced-labor...

Voters in four states approved ballot measures that will change their state constitutions to prohibit slavery and forcing someone to work against their will as punishment for crime. The initiatives won’t force immediate changes in the states’ prisons, but they may invite legal challenges over the practice of pressuring prisoners to work under threat of punishment or loss of privileges if they refuse the work. The results were celebrated among anti-slavery advocates, including those pushing to further amend the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits enslavement and forced work except as a form of criminal punishment. Nearly 160 years after enslaved Africans and their descendants were released from bondage through ratification of the 13th Amendment, the slavery exception continues to allow jails and prisons to use inmates for low-cost labor. U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Representative Nikema Williams of Georgia, both Democrats, reintroduced legislation to revise the 13th Amendment to end the slavery exception. If it wins approval in Congress, the constitutional amendment must be ratified (approved) by three-fourths of the states. After Tuesday’s vote, more than a dozen states still have constitutions that include language permitting slavery and forced labor for prisoners. Prison labor is a multibillion-dollar practice. Workers usually make less than $1 per hour, sometimes only pennies. Prisoners who refuse to work can be denied privileges such as phone calls and visits with family.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Pets in prison: the rescue dogs teaching Californian inmates trust and responsibility
2021-04-19, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/apr/19/pets-in-prison-the-rescu...

Zach Skow [is] a man on a mission to bring dogs into every US prison. Skow is the founder of Pawsitive Change, a rehabilitation programme that pairs rescue dogs with inmates. He began a pilot programme at California City Correctional Facility in January 2016, teaching inmates to become dog trainers, and it’s now been rolled out to four more California state prisons and one female juvenile correction centre. To date more than 300 men have graduated from the programme and roughly 200 dogs from “high-kill” shelters have been rescued and adopted as a result of the inmates’ work with them (the shelters accept any animal [and] euthanise a certain percentage if they can’t rehome them). Seventeen of the programme’s human graduates have been paroled and so far none has returned to prison (at a time when the US recidivism rate stands at 43%). Working with the dogs and seeing what the animals are going through prompts the men to speak of their own experiences. When one student relates how his dog didn’t want to come out of the kennel in the first few days, another shares how he too didn’t want to leave his cell when he first came to prison. Many of these men have been told repeatedly from a young age that they’re not to be trusted, that they make a mess of things, that they’re not fit to take charge of anything. This message is then reinforced ... through the penal system. This programme challenges the “branding” these men have had imposed on them from an early age. It allows them to create new narratives.

Note: Watch a beautiful 4-minute video of an inmate and his beloved pup. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Why are there so few prisoners in the Netherlands?
2019-12-12, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/dec/12/why-are-there-so-few-prisoners-...

When Stefan Koning, who has a history of psychosis, was found guilty of threatening a stranger with a knife, a long custodial sentence might have felt like the only answer. In fact, after a short spell in jail, he is back at his home in Amsterdam. Koning is a beneficiary of a growing tendency in the Netherlands to avoid jailing people unless it is necessary. One key aspect of this is a prodigious programme of care in the community for people with psychiatric problems. We work on two aims: number one, preventing another crime, and then on psychiatric suffering and the social problems that come with it, says Hommo Folkerts, [an] outreach worker who helps Koning. Today plummeting prison sentences have left the Netherlands with an unusual problem: it doesnt have enough inmates to fill its prisons. Since 2014, 23 prisons have been shut, turning into temporary asylum centres, housing and hotels. The country has Europes third-lowest incarceration rate, at 54.4 per 100,000 inhabitants. According to the justice ministrys WODC Research and Documentation Centre, the number of prison sentences imposed fell from 42,000 in 2008 to 31,000 in 2018 along with a two-thirds drop in jail terms for young offenders. Registered crimes plummeted by 40% in the same period, to 785,000 in 2018. There is also a ... rehabilitation programme known as TBS. There were 1,300 people detained with a TBS ruling in 2018: people stay in a treatment centre, sometimes after a jail term, and are treated for ... psychological conditions.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on prison system corruption from reliable major media sources.


Incarcerated Pennsylvanians now have to pay $150 to read.
2018-10-11, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/incarcerated-pennsylvanians-now-have-...

Free access to books has dramatically improved the lives of incarcerated individuals, offering immense emotional and mental relief as well as a key source of rehabilitation. But as of last month, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) has decided to make such rehabilitation much harder. Going forward, books and publications, including legal primers and prison newsletters, cannot be sent directly to incarcerated Pennsylvanians. Instead, if they want access to a book, they must first come up with $147 to purchase a tablet and then pay a private company for electronic versions of their reading material - but only if its available among the 8,500 titles offered to them through this new e-book system. Incarcerated people are paid less than $1 per hour. Most of the e-books available to them for purchase would be available free from Project Gutenberg. And nonpublic domain books in Pennsylvanias e-book system are more expensive than on other e-book markets. This policy, part of a larger trend of censorship in state prisons around the country, should alarm everyone. Not only does it erect a huge financial barrier to books and severely restrict content, it also ... severely damages an incarcerated persons ability to fully reenter society. Perhaps more alarming is that the head of the Pennsylvania DOC, Secretary John Wetzel, is president of the Association of State Correctional Administrators. If Pennsylvanias policies remain in place, other states are sure to follow suit.

Note: The above was written by Jodi Lincoln, co-chair of Book Em, a nonprofit organization that sends free reading material to incarcerated people and prison libraries. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing prison system corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Detaining immigrant kids is now a billion-dollar industry, analysis finds
2018-07-12, Chicago Tribune/Associated Press
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-migrant-child-detention-201...

Detaining immigrant children has morphed into a surging industry in the U.S. that now reaps $1 billion annually a tenfold increase over the past decade. Health and Human Services grants for shelters, foster care and other child welfare services for detained unaccompanied and separated children soared from $74.5 million in 2007 to $958 million dollars in 2017. The agency is also reviewing a new round of proposals amid a growing effort by the White House to keep immigrant children in government custody. Currently, more than 11,800 children, from a few months old to 17, are housed in nearly 90 facilities in 15 states. By far the largest recipients of taxpayer money have been Southwest Key and Baptist Child & Family Services. From 2008 to date, Southwest Key has received $1.39 billion in grant funding to operate shelters; Baptist Child & Family Services has received $942 million. International Educational Services also was a big recipient, landing more than $72 million in the last fiscal year before folding amid a series of complaints about the conditions in its shelters. The recipients of the money run the gamut from nonprofits, religious organizations and for-profit entities. They are essentially government contractors for the Health and Human Services Department the federal agency that administers the program keeping immigrant children in custody. In a recently released report, the State Department decried the general principle of holding children in shelters, saying it makes them inherently vulnerable.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


When an Algorithm Helps Send You to Prison
2017-10-26, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/26/opinion/algorithm-compas-sentencing-bias.html

Eric Loomis pleaded guilty to attempting to flee an officer, and no contest to operating a vehicle without the owners consent. Neither of his crimes mandates prison time. At Mr. Loomiss sentencing, the judge cited, among other factors, Mr. Loomiss high risk of recidivism as predicted by a computer program called COMPAS, a risk assessment algorithm used by the state of Wisconsin. The judge denied probation and prescribed an 11-year sentence. No one knows exactly how COMPAS works; its manufacturer refuses to disclose the proprietary algorithm. We only know the final risk assessment score it spits out, which judges may consider at sentencing. Mr. Loomis challenged the use of an algorithm as a violation of his due process rights. The United States Supreme Court declined to hear his case, meaning a majority of justices effectively condoned the algorithms use. Shifting the sentencing responsibility [from judges] to a computer does not necessarily eliminate bias; it delegates and often compounds it. Algorithms like COMPAS simply mimic the data with which we train them. An algorithm that accurately reflects our world also necessarily reflects our biases. A ProPublica study found that COMPAS predicts black defendants will have higher risks of recidivism than they actually do, while white defendants are predicted to have lower rates than they actually do.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on judicial system corruption and the erosion of civil liberties.


I spent 28 years on death row
2016-10-21, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/oct/21/28-years-on-death-row

I was 29 and mowing the lawn at my mothers house in Birmingham, Alabama, on a hot day in July 1985 when I looked up and saw two police officers. I asked the detective 50 times why I was being arrested. Eventually, he told me I was being arrested for a robbery. I told him, You have the wrong man. He said, I dont care whether you did it or not. You will be convicted. At the station, it became clear Id been at work when the robbery occurred. The detective verified this with my supervisor, but then told me they were going to charge me with two counts of first-degree murder from two other robberies. When I met my appointed lawyer, I told him I was innocent. He said, All of yall always say you didnt do something. I might have seen him three times in the two years I waited for trial. The only evidence linking me to the crime was the testimony of a ballistics expert who said the bullets from the murder weapon could be a match to my mothers gun. They found me guilty. [In] 1986 I went to death row. Eventually, [in] 2015, the State of Alabama dropped all charges. I was released that same day. When youve been locked up for nearly 30 years, nothing is the same. It was like walking out on to another planet at the age of 58. Every night, I go outside and look up at the stars and moon, because for years I could not see either. Now, I am determined to go wherever I am asked to help end the death penalty. I am so thankful that I get to travel with Lifelines and [the Equal Justice Initiative], and share my story.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in police departments and in the judicial system.


I was a CIA Whistleblower. Now I'm a Black Inmate. Here's How I See American Racism
2016-09-13, The Intercept
https://theintercept.com/2016/09/13/i-was-a-cia-whistleblower-now-im-a-black-...

I do my best to resist the thought that prison is a reflection of our society, but the comparisons are unavoidable. From the moment I crossed the threshold from freedom to incarceration because I was charged with, and a jury convicted me of, leaking classified information to a New York Times reporter, I needed no reminder that I was no longer an individual. Prison, with its one size fits all structure, is not set up to recognize a persons worth; the emphasis is removal and categorization. Inmates are not people; we are our offenses. Considering the charges and conviction that brought me here, Im not exactly sure to which category I belong. No matter. There is an overriding category to which I do belong, and it is this prison reality that I sadly compare unto the world: Im not just an inmate, Im a black inmate. Here, I am my skin color. Whenever, in my stubborn idealism, I refuse to acknowledge being racially categorized and question the submission to it, the other prisoners invariably respond, Man, this is prison. What I see in prison is sad, but what Im seeing from prison is worse. During my time in the CIA it became clear, in the organizations words and actions toward me, that they saw me not as an American who wanted to serve his country but as a big black guy. There is a black America, there is a white America, there are many Americas. The greatness and promise of this country lies in equality reinforced by our differences. When I am free, I dont want to feel that Im merely going from one prison to another.

Note: The above was written by Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA agent targeted for prosecution as part of the Obama Administration's "crack down on the press and whistle-blowers." Author James Risen tried to help Sterling expose CIA racism, and later wrote an unrelated book exposing some questionable government practices. Sterling was then sent to prison for what Risen wrote. Risen's latest book exposes major government corruption related to the war on terror.


This small Indiana county sends more people to prison than San Francisco and Durham, N.C., combined. Why?
2016-09-02, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/02/upshot/new-geography-of-prisons.html?_r=0

A bipartisan campaign to reduce mass incarceration has led to enormous declines in new inmates from big cities, cutting Americas prison population for the first time since the 1970s. But large parts of rural and suburban America ... have gone the opposite direction. Prison admissions in counties with fewer than 100,000 people have risen even as crime has fallen. Just a decade ago, people in rural, suburban and urban areas were all about equally likely to go to prison. But now people in small counties are about 50 percent more likely to go to prison than people in populous counties. The stark disparities in how counties punish crime show the limits of recent state and federal changes to reduce the number of inmates. Far from Washington and state capitals, county prosecutors and judges continue to wield great power over who goes to prison and for how long. And many of them have no interest in reducing the prison population. The divide does not appear to be driven by changes in crime, which fell in rural and urban areas at roughly equal rates. Cities have adopted a more lenient approach to drug offenses in particular, diverting many low-level drug offenders to probation or treatment rather than to jail. Those choices have started to reverse - if only modestly - longstanding racial disparities in American prisons, where blacks and Hispanics are incarcerated at drastically higher rates than whites. But rural, mostly white and politically conservative counties have continued to send more drug offenders to prison.

Note: The war on drugs has been called a "trillion-dollar failure," and spending on jails outpaced spending on schools by three times over the last 30 years. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about judicial system corruption and the erosion of civil liberties.


7,000 Deaths in Custody
2016-07-28, The Atlantic
http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/07/7000-deaths-in-custody-te...

Between 2005 and 2015, 6,913 people died while in legal custody in Texas. Many died of natural causes while serving long prison sentences. Others ended their own lives. A few died at the hands of another inmate, or, in some cases, police or correctional officers. Together, these deaths form revealing patterns about Texas-style justice and the state of corrections in an increasingly carceral country. This information used to be hard to access, but its now readily available in an online database called the Texas Justice Initiative. The final product was culled from thousands of internal reports and includes names, time and place of death, cause of death, time in custody, and a description of the circumstances. These deaths occurred in local jail cells, in the backs of police cars, and on prison sidewalks, [project creator Amanda] Woog wrote in the summary report of her findings. Among the suicide listings is one for Sandra Bland, who died in police custody after a traffic stop. Like Bland, more than 1,900 of those who died, or 28 percent, had not been convicted of or even charged with a crime. Pre-booking deaths reported by law enforcement have been on the rise since 2005. The data gathered on Texas reflects a markedly high number of deaths in custody compared to national trends.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in police departments and in the prison system.


Spending on jails outpaced spending on schools by three times over the last 30 years
2016-07-07, Miami Herald
http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/national/article88229277.html

Over the last 30 years, local and state governments increased how much they spend on putting people in jail three times more than how much they spend on educating students, according to a new analysis by the Department of Education. From 1979-1980 to 2012-2013 ... governments increased spending on incarceration by 324 percent (from $17 to $71 billion). This is more than three times the spending increase on education, which only grew 107 percent (from $258 to $534 billion) over the same time period. All of the 50 states had lower expenditure growth rates for PK-12 education than for corrections. When I think about the lives of those who are incarcerated, I cant help but feel disheartened, Education Secretary John King wrote on Medium. I cant help but think about their families, spouses, sons, daughters, and parents - or about the art not created; the entrepreneurial ideas that may never reach the drawing board; the classrooms these Americans will never lead; and the discoveries theyll never make. King also cited research showing [that] a 10-percent increase in high school graduation rates leads to a 9-percent decrease in the rates of criminal arrest, and reduces murder and assault rates by 20 percent. Redirecting some of the funds currently spent on corrections in order to make investments in education that we know work, the Department of Education report said, could provide a more positive and potentially more effective approach to both reducing crime and increasing opportunity.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the criminal justice system.


A record number of people convicted of crimes were exonerated last year
2016-02-03, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2016/02/03/more-people-wer...

There were 149 people exonerated in the United States last year after being wrongly convicted of crimes. More than a third of the people exonerated were convicted of murder, says a report released Wednesday by the National Registry of Exonerations, a project of the University of Michigan Law School and the Northwestern University School of Law. All of the people exonerated last year ... had served an average of more than 14 years in prison. Five of the people who were exonerated had been sentenced to death. All told, the National Registry says it has logged 1,733 exonerations in the country since 1989. Not long ago, any exoneration we heard about was major news, the report stated. Now its a familiar story. We average nearly three exonerations a week, and most get little attention. There are also more exonerations in cases involving false confessions or guilty pleas than there used to be. In four of 10 exonerations last year, the people had pleaded guilty, largely in cases involving charges of drug possession. About a third of all exonerations last year involved these drug possession cases. A remarkable number of these cases occurred in just one place: Harris County, Tex., home to Houston. The registrys report described how the Harris County District Attorneys office had investigated cases after noticing a number of people who pleaded guilty to possessing illegal drugs, only for a crime lab - sometimes months or years later - to reveal that the materials these people had were not drugs after all.

Note: Most false convictions never see the light of the day. A detailed report by forensics expert John Kelly and former FBI chief scientist Dr. Frederick Whitehurst reveals "a drug testing regime of fraudulent forensics used by police, prosecutors, and judges." And recently the FBI was found to have faked an entire branch of forensic science. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing prison system corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Prison Guard Beat Up Squad Is Blamed in New York Inmates Death
2015-08-18, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/19/nyregion/fishkill-prison-inmate-died-after-...

On the evening of April 21 in Building 21 at the Fishkill Correctional Facility, Samuel Harrell ... got into a confrontation with corrections officers, was thrown to the floor and was handcuffed. As many as 20 officers repeatedly kicked and punched Mr. Harrell, who is black, with some of them shouting racial slurs, according to more than a dozen inmate witnesses. Mr. Harrell was then thrown or dragged down a staircase. Corrections officers called for an ambulance, but ... mentioned nothing about a physical encounter, [and] told the ambulance crew that Mr. Harrell probably had an overdose of K2, a synthetic marijuana. An autopsy report ... concluded that Mr. Harrell, 30, had cuts and bruises to the head and extremities and had no illicit drugs in his system. The manner of death: Homicide. No officers have been disciplined in connection with the death. Inmate witnesses at Fishkill say they are the ones who have been punished. Several described being put into solitary confinement and threatened with violence after speaking with Mr. Harrells family, their lawyers and with news reporters. The Times documented similar allegations of abuse from inmates at the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, N.Y., where in June two convicted murderers escaped, resulting in a three-week manhunt. There, inmates described being beaten and choked with plastic bags by corrections officers seeking information about the escapees.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing prison system corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Pennsylvania Seeks to Close Books on "Kids for Cash" Scandal
2015-08-12, NBC
http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/pennsylvania-seeks-close-books-kids-cash-...

One of the biggest corruption scandals to hit America's juvenile justice system began unfolding in 2007, when parents in a central Pennsylvania county began to complain that their children had been tossed into for-profit youth centers without a lawyer to represent them. The kickback scheme, known as "kids for cash," has resulted in prison terms for two Luzerne County judges and two businessmen. Convictions of thousands of juveniles have been tossed out. Now the case is entering its final chapter: a few remaining class action lawsuits. One of those claims drew to a close ... when a federal judge signed off on a settlement in which one of the businessmen, Robert Powell, would pay $4.75 million. Powell, who co-owned two private juvenile justice facilities, served an 18-month prison term after admitting to paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to former ... Judge Mark Ciavarella Jr. and his boss, Judge Michael Conahan. In return, Ciavarella routinely found children guilty and sent them to Powell's facilities. Ciavarella was convicted in 2011 of racketeering and other charges, and sentenced to 28 years in prison. Conahan, a friend of Powell's who oversaw the scam, pleaded guilty to racketeering and was sentenced to more than 17 years behind bars. A fourth conspirator ... pleaded guilty for his part in the plot and was sentenced to a year in prison.

Note: More than 5,000 kids were exposed to a court that jailed them for profit in this conspiracy involving just a handful of corrupt officials. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and civil liberties.


Why we spend billions to keep half a million unconvicted people behind bars
2015-06-11, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/06/11/why-we-spend-billi...

At any given time, roughly 480,000 people sit in America's local jails awaiting their day in court, according to an estimate by the International Centre for Prison Studies. These are people who have been charged with a crime, but not convicted. They remain innocent in the eyes of the law. Three quarters of them ... are nonviolent offenders, arrested for traffic violations, or property crimes, or simple drug possession. Many will be found innocent and have their charges dropped completely. Defendants who [are] detained before trial [wait] a median of 68 days in jail. Many ... are forced to wait simply because they can't afford to post bail. A 2013 analysis by the Drug Policy Alliance ... found that nearly 40 percent of New Jersey's jail population fell into this category. People sit behind bars not because they're dangerous, or because they're a flight risk, but simply because they can't come up with the cash. A recent analysis by the Vera Institute ... found that 41 percent of New York City's inmates were sitting in jail on a misdemeanor charge because they couldn't meet a bail of $2,500 or less. For low income people, the consequences of a pre-trial detention, even a brief one, can be disastrous. And in many cases, these people will eventually be found to be innocent. Some civil rights reformers [argue] that bail policies are tantamount to locking people up for being poor. We spend somewhere in the ballpark of $17 billion dollars annually to keep innocent people locked up as they await trial.

Note: For more, read this New York Times article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about income inequality and systemic prison industry corruption.


Ohio Men Wrongly Convicted of Murder After 39 Years Released
2014-11-21, NBC News
http://www.nbcnews.com/news/crime-courts/ohio-men-wrongly-convicted-murder-af...

Two Ohio men wrongly accused of murder experienced freedom for the first time in nearly four decades on Friday morning, but said they dont harbor bitterness over their unjust imprisonment. A Cleveland judge on Wednesday had dropped all charges against Ricky Jackson, 57, and Wiley Bridgeman, 60, allowing for the pairs release. Jackson was 19 when he was convicted along with Bridgeman and Bridgemans brother, Ronnie, in the 1975 shooting death and robbery of Harold Franks, a Cleveland-area money order salesman. Testimony from a 12-year-old witness helped point to Jackson as the triggerman and led a jury to convict. The witness, Edward Vernon, now 53, recanted his testimony last year, saying he was coerced by detectives, according to Cuyahoga County court documents. Vernon wrote in a 2013 affidavit that he never saw the murder take place, but he was told by detectives that if he didnt testify against Jackson, his parents would be arrested. The Ohio Innocence Project, which took up the case, said Jackson had been the longest-held U.S. prisoner to be exonerated. Jackson was originally sentenced to death, but that sentence was vacated because of a paperwork error. The Bridgeman brothers remained on death row until Ohio declared the death penalty unconstitutional in 1978. One of them came within 20 days of execution before Ohio ruled the death penalty unconstitutional said Mark Godsey, director of the Ohio Innocence Project.

Note: Watch an inspiring five-minute video of this beautiful man who was originally sentenced to death based largely on the testimony of a 12 year old, who it turns out was coerced by police to blame him. And how many have been wrongly executed that we will never know about? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing civil liberties articles from reliable major media sources.


The Day Ferguson Cops Were Caught in a Bloody Lie
2014-08-15, The Daily Beast
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/08/15/the-day-ferguson-cops-were-c...

The officers got the wrong man, but charged him anywaywith getting his blood on their uniforms. Police in Ferguson, Missouri, once charged a man with destruction of property for bleeding on their uniforms while four of them allegedly beat him. [A] 52-year-old welder named Henry Davis ... had been arrested for an outstanding warrant that proved to actually be for another man of the same surname, but a different middle name and Social Security number. The booking officer had no other reason to hold Davis, who ended up in Ferguson only because he missed the exit for St. Charles and then pulled off the highway because the rain was so heavy he could not see to drive. The cop who had pulled up behind him must have run his license plate and assumed he was that other Henry Davis. Davis said the cop approached his vehicle, grabbed his cellphone from his hand, cuffed him and placed him in the back seat of the patrol car, without a word of explanation. The booking officer ... proceeded to escort him to a one-man cell that already had a man in it asleep on the lone bunk. Davis balked at being a second man in a one-man cell. The booking officer summoned a number of fellow cops. One opened the cell door while another suddenly charged, propelling Davis inside and slamming him against the back wall. [A] female officer allegedly lifted Davis head as the cop who had initially pushed him into the cell reappeared. He ran in and kicked me in the head, Davis recalled. Paramedics came. They said it was too much blood. I had to go to the hospital. A federal magistrate ruled that the [police] perjury about the property damage charges was too minor to constitute a violation of due process and that Davis injuries were ... too minor to warrant a finding of excessive force. Never mind that a CAT scan taken after the incident confirmed that he had suffered a concussion.

Note: If you are willing to know how bad it gets, read the entire article at the link above. Then read an educational article on the skewed reporting of the New York Times on the Michael Brown murder. For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government surveillance news articles from reliable major media sources.


End Mass Incarceration Now
2014-05-25, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/25/opinion/sunday/end-mass-incarceration-now.html

For more than a decade, researchers across multiple disciplines have been issuing reports on the widespread societal and economic damage caused by Americas now-40-year experiment in locking up vast numbers of its citizens. Several recent reports provide some of the most comprehensive and compelling proof yet that the United States has gone past the point where the numbers of people in prison can be justified by social benefits, and that mass incarceration itself is a source of injustice. That is the central conclusion of a two-year, 444-page study prepared by the research arm of the National Academy of Sciences. The report highlights many well-known statistics: Since the early 1970s, the nations prison population has quadrupled to 2.2 million, making it the worlds biggest. That is five to 10 times the incarceration rate in other democracies. A report by Human Rights Watch notes that ... in its embrace of incarceration, the [US] seems to have forgotten just how severe a punishment it is. The severity is evident in the devastation wrought on Americas poorest and least educated, destroying neighborhoods and families. From 1980 to 2000, the number of children with fathers in prison rose from 350,000 to 2.1 million. Since race and poverty overlap so significantly, the weight of our criminal justice experiment continues to fall overwhelmingly on communities of color, and particularly on young black men. After prison, people are sent back to the impoverished places they came from, but are blocked from re-entering society.

Note: For more on the prison-industrial complex in the US, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


The Biggest, Baddest Prison Profiteer of Them All
2013-11-05, Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jesse-lava/the-biggest-baddest-priso_b_4219372....

"CCA" has become a dirty word. Kanye West cited it when rapping about America's class of "New Slaves." Anonymous invoked it to describe a bad financial investment that undermines justice. And for state after state, the word represents a failed approach to public safety. Profiting off mass incarceration is a dirty business. Private prison company Corrections Corporation of America [CCA] squanders taxpayer money and runs facilities rife with human rights abuses. All private prison companies have corrupting incentives. One is to save money by cutting corners. Another is to promote their bottom line. Although CCA isn't the only company with these incentives, it has done more than any other corporation to [make] the private prison industry into a behemoth plagued by abuse and neglect and profiting off our nation's over-reliance on incarceration. CCA routinely shirks its responsibility to comply with basic standards. In Idaho, CCA employees falsified nearly 4,800 hours of staffing records. In Ohio, auditors found outrageous violations like prison without running water for toilets, in which prisoners had no choice but to use plastic bags for defecation and cups for urination. And yet, CCA made $1.7 billion in just the last year -- more than any other private prison company. The company pours money into both lobbying and campaign contributions. From 2002 to 2012, CCA devoted more than $19 million to lobbying Congress, and its PAC shelled out over $1.4 million to candidates for federal office during the same time period.

Note: CCA is just one of the many powerful entities getting rich off mass incarceration. Meet the other Prison Profiteers and take action to fight their abuses at PrisonProfiteers.org. For a video exposing this craziness, click here. For more on corruption in the government-prison-industrial complex, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


Prison Gardens Grow New Lives for Inmates
2013-10-23, ABC News blog
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/2013/10/prison-gardens-grow-new-lives-f...

From Enfield, Conn., to New York City and the San Francisco Bay, lush gardens filled with ripe fruits, vegetables and flowers are growing in unexpected places prison yards. Prisons use them to rehabilitate inmates and to teach them basic landscaping skills that they can use to get jobs. For the last three years, all 18 state prisons in Connecticut have had garden programs. None cost taxpayers money. Last year, Connecticut prisons produced more than 35,000 pounds of produce saving taxpayers $20,000 a year by putting produce back into the prison system. We believe that everybody has a heart and everybody has a chance for transformation, said Beth Waitkus, the director of the Insight Garden Program that started 10 years ago at San Quentin prison. What happens with gardening is they reconnect to themselves. They reconnect to their feelings. They reconnect to each other as a community, a small community in the prison, and they really reconnect to nature. And, I think that offers a huge opportunity for transformation when we reconnect to ourselves and to the natural world. While Waitkus spends her time in San Quentin teaching inmates how to plant flowers, take care of soil and prune plants, she also keeps the connection strong once they leave prison. Nationally, the recidivism rate is more than 60 percent, according to the 2011 Annual Recidivism Report. For garden prisoners at San Quentin, Waitkus said the return rate is less than 10 percent, and most other prison gardens report return rates in the single digits. In Connecticut, officials say not one of the garden graduates has returned.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.


Meet the Medical Company Making $1.4 Billion a Year Off Sick Prisoners
2013-10-08, The Nation
http://www.thenation.com/blog/176533/meet-medical-company-making-14-billion-y...

The healthcare provider Corizon makes an estimated $1.4 billion off sick prisoners every year. With profits like those, you would think it was actually treating prisoners. But in states that are using Corizon to provide healthcare in their prisonsand right now twenty-nine aremedical neglect and abuse run rampant. Corizons attitude toward the debilitating virus Hepatitis C is especially alarming: They just dont treat it. Last year alone, no fewer than seven sick prisoners died at Metro Corrections, a jail in Louisville, Kentucky, while on Corizons watch. The company made headlines when six employees quit their jobs, according to local press, amid an investigation by the jail that found that the workers may have contributed to two of the deaths. This summer, it was announced that the contract between Corizon and the city would not be renewed. The Nations Liliana Segura gives an overview of the massive scope of the crisis of companies profiting off mass incarceration: With 2.3 million people incarcerated in the United States, she writes, prisons are big business.

Note: For a video exposing this craziness, click here. Corizon is just one of the many powerful entities getting rich off mass incarceration. Meet the other Prison Profiteers and take action to fight their abuses at PrisonProfiteers.org. For more on corruption in the government-prison-industrial complex, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


Kids in solitary confinement: America's official child abuse
2012-10-10, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/10/children-solitary-confine...

Thousands of teenagers, some as young as 14 or 15, are routinely subjected by US prisons to [the] psychological torture [of solitary confinement]. One teen who participated in the Human Rights watch report wrote that being in isolation felt like 'a slow death from the inside out'. Molly J said of her time in solitary confinement: "[I felt] doomed, like I was being banished. Like you have the plague or that you are the worst thing on earth. I guess [I wanted to] feel like I was part of the human race not like some animal." Molly was just 16 years old when she was placed in isolation in an adult jail in Michigan. She described her cell as being "a box": "There was a bed the slab. It was concrete There was a stainless steel toilet/sink combo The door was solid, without a food slot or window There was no window at all." Molly remained in solitary for several months, locked down alone in her cell for at least 22 hours a day. No other nation in the developed world routinely tortures its children in this manner. And torture is indeed the word brought to mind by a shocking report released today by Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union. Growing Up Locked Down documents, for the first time, the widespread use of solitary confinement on youth under the age of 18 in prisons and jails across the country, and the deep and permanent harm it causes to kids caught up in the adult criminal justice system.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the injustices rampant in prisons, click here.


The crime of punishment at Pelican Bay State Prison
2012-05-31, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/05/30/EDO81OPJ9O.DTL

For the past 16 years, I have spent at least 22 1/2 hours of every day completely isolated within a tiny, windowless cell in the Security Housing Unit at California's Pelican Bay State Prison in Crescent City. Eighteen years ago, I committed the crime that brought me here: burgling an unoccupied dwelling. Under the state's "three strikes" law, I was sentenced to between 25 years and life in prison. The circumstances of my case are not unique; in fact, about a third of Pelican Bay's 3,400 prisoners are in solitary confinement; more than 500 have been there for 10 years, including 78 who have been here for more than 20 years. Unless you have lived it, you cannot imagine what it feels like to be by yourself, between four cold walls, with little concept of time, no one to confide in, and only a pillow for comfort - for years on end. It is a living tomb. I eat alone and exercise alone in a small, dank, cement enclosure known as the "dog-pen."I have not been allowed physical contact with any of my loved ones since 1995. I have developed severe insomnia, I suffer frequent headaches, and I feel helpless and hopeless. In short, I am being psychologically tortured. Now fellow SHU inmates and I have joined together with the Center for Constitutional Rights in a federal lawsuit that challenges this treatment as unconstitutional. I understand I broke the law, and I have lost liberties because of that. But no one, no matter what they've done, should be denied fundamental human rights, especially when that denial comes in the form of such torture. Our Constitution protects everyone living under it; fundamental rights must not be left at the prison door.

Note: For more on the unbridled cruelty and corruption of the prison-industrial complex, click here.


The wrong Carlos: how Texas sent an innocent man to his death
2012-05-14, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/15/carlos-texas-innocent-man-death

Antonin Scalia, one of the nine justices on the US supreme court, made a bold statement. There has not been, he said, "a single case not one in which it is clear that a person was executed for a crime he did not commit. If such an event had occurred the innocent's name would be shouted from the rooftops." It is now clear that a person was executed for a crime he did not commit, and his name Carlos DeLuna is being shouted from the rooftops of the Columbia Human Rights Law Review. Carlos DeLuna was arrested, aged 20, on 4 February 1983 for the brutal murder of a young woman, Wanda Lopez. From the moment of his arrest until the day of his death by lethal injection six years later, DeLuna consistently protested he was innocent. The august journal has cleared its entire spring edition, doubling its normal size to 436 pages, to carry an extraordinary investigation by a Columbia law school professor and his students. The book sets out in precise and shocking detail how an innocent man was sent to his death on 8 December 1989, courtesy of the state of Texas. Los Tocayos Carlos: An Anatomy of a Wrongful Execution, is based on six years of intensive detective work by Professor James Liebman and 12 students. What they discovered stunned even Liebman, who, as an expert in America's use of capital punishment, was well versed in its flaws. "It was a house of cards. We found that everything that could go wrong did go wrong," he says.

Note: For lots more from major media sources on the built-in injustices and corruption within the prison-industrial complex, click here.


Pa. Judge Sentenced To 28 Years In Massive Juvenile Justice Bribery Scandal
2011-08-11, NPR
http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2011/08/11/139536686/pa-judge-sentence...

A Pennsylvania judge was sentenced to 28 years in prison in connection to a bribery scandal that roiled the state's juvenile justice system. Former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella Jr. was convicted of taking $1 million in bribes from developers of juvenile detention centers. The judge then presided over cases that would send juveniles to those same centers. The case came to be known as "kids-for-cash." The Pennsylvania Supreme Court tossed about 4,000 convictions issued by Ciavarella between 2003 and 2008, saying he violated the constitutional rights of the juveniles, including the right to legal counsel and the right to intelligently enter a plea. Ciavarella, 61, was tried and convicted of racketeering charges earlier this year. More than a dozen people who said they had been affected by the judge's decision stood outside [the court house in Scranton, PA], awaiting the sentencing. Jeff Pollins was in that crowd. His stepson was convicted by Ciavarella. "These kids are still affected by it. It's like post traumatic stress disorder," Pollins told the Times Leader. "Our life is ruined. It's never going to be the same".

Note: Two crooked judges and a for-profit detention center company used millions of taxpayer dollars to systematically violate the rights of thousands of kids. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing prison industry corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Norway Builds the World's Most Humane Prison
2010-05-10, Time magazine
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1986002,00.html

Ten years and 1.5 billion Norwegian kroner ($252 million) in the making, [Halden Fengsel, Norway's newest prison,] is spread over 75 acres (30 hectares) of gently sloping forest in southeastern Norway. The facility boasts amenities like a sound studio, jogging trails and a freestanding two-bedroom house where inmates can host their families during overnight visits. The scent of orange sorbet emanates from the "kitchen laboratory" where inmates take cooking courses. "In the Norwegian prison system, there's a focus on human rights and respect," says Are Hoidal, the prison's governor. "We don't see any of this as unusual." Halden ... embodies the guiding principles of the country's penal system: that repressive prisons do not work and that treating prisoners humanely boosts their chances of reintegrating into society. "When they arrive, many of them are in bad shape," Hoidal says, noting that Halden houses drug dealers, murderers and rapists, among others. "We want to build them up, give them confidence through education and work and have them leave as better people." Within two years of their release, 20% of Norway's prisoners end up back in jail. In the U.K. and the U.S., the figure hovers between 50% and 60%.


California's Prison Crisis: Be Very Afraid
2009-08-14, Time magazine
http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1916427,00.html

To some criminal-justice experts the violence that erupted [at a prison] located about 40 miles east of Los Angeles, was an inevitable consequence of a state prison system long hobbled by massive overcrowding, program cuts and understaffed facilities. And given the state's ongoing budget woes with $1.2 billion in cuts mandated to the prison budget the situation is likely to only get worse. "Overcrowding is the first issue," says Barry Krisberg, president of the National Council on Crime and Delinquency. "You're talking about hundreds of men moved into triple bunks in what used to be gyms and cafeterias. They're not even cells. They're just empty places where we're shoving people." In addition to overcrowding, the state's corrections efforts are the nation's most expensive and one of the least effective. The state spends $10 billion annually, or $49,000 per inmate for a year in custody, according to statistics from the nonpartisan policy-advising group Legislative Analyst's Office. Yet, California's recidivism rate is 70%, one of the worst in the country.

Note: At $49,000 per year per inmate, do you think there might be a better way to rehabilitate these people?


Steal a bottle of shampoo, go to prison for life
1998-12-30, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper
http://articles.sfgate.com/1998-12-30/opinion/17739678_1_third-strike-califor...

Welcome to the macabre world of California's Three Strikes Law, where 25 to life for the theft of a disposable camera is not an aberration. The Department of Corrections projects that by 2002, 1 out of every 4 California prisoners will be a "second or third striker." CDC statistics show that as of March 31 [1998], there were 4,076 prisoners serving third-strike sentences, but fewer than half were imprisoned for convictions for "crimes against persons." According to the Legislative Analyst's Office, almost half of the "third strike" offenses were nonviolent or nonserious felonies, and the most common "second strikes" were drug possession, petty theft and burglary. Prosecutors use the law viciously, frequently against petty, nonviolent offenders. It does not matter that the conviction was from another state, or even another country. Perhaps most significantly, the third strike can be any felony; it does not need to be a "violent" or "serious" one. Thus, offenses such as petty theft can bring a life sentence. While many states have three strikes, only California's is so uncompromising. Moreover, it is not working. According to the Justice Policy Institute, between 1994 and 1995, violent crime in states without three strikes fell three times faster than in states with such laws. RAND, a respected policy analysis institution, found that a graduation incentive program is five times more effective at reducing crime than three strikes.

Note: Remember that the prison-industrial complex is a huge money-making machine for certain connected individuals and corporations. For key reports on government corruption from reliable sources, click here.


Thousands were released from prison during covid. The results are shocking.
2022-09-29, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/09/29/prison-release-covid-pande...

We are keeping many people in prison even though they are no danger to the public, a jaw-dropping new statistic shows. That serves as proof that it’s time to rethink our incarceration policies for those with a low risk of reoffending. To protect those most vulnerable to covid-19 during the pandemic, the Cares Act allowed the Justice Department to order the release of people in federal prisons and place them on home confinement. More than 11,000 people were eventually released. Of those, the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) reported that only 17 of them committed new crimes. That’s not a typo. Seventeen. That’s a 0.15 percent recidivism rate in a country where it’s normal for 30 to 65 percent of people coming home from prison to reoffend within three years of release. Of those 17 people, most new offenses were for possessing or selling drugs or other minor offenses. Of the 17 new crimes, only one was violent (an aggravated assault), and none were sex offenses. This extremely low recidivism rate shows there are many, many people in prison we can safely release to the community. These 11,000 releases were not random. People in low- and minimum-security prisons or at high risk of complications from covid were prioritized for consideration for release. The federal Cares Act home confinement program should inspire similar programs across the country. Virtually all states have programs available to release elderly or very sick people from prison, but they are hardly used and should be expanded.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and prison system corruption from reliable major media sources.


How California prisoners raised $30,000 for a high school student in need
2020-11-27, CNN News
https://www.cnn.com/2020/11/27/us/cnn-heroes-salutes-prison-school-scholarshi...

Palma School, a prep school for boys in Salinas, California, created a partnership with the Correctional Training Facility (CTF) at Soledad State Prison to form a reading group for inmates and high school students - bringing the two groups together to learn and develop greater understanding of one another. But the reading group has developed into much more than an exchange of knowledge and empathy. When one Palma student was struggling to pay the $1,200 monthly tuition after both his parents suffered medical emergencies, the inmates already had a plan to help. "I didn't believe it at first," said English and Theology teacher Jim Michelleti, who created the reading program. "They said, 'We value you guys coming in. We'd like to do something for your school ... can you find us a student on campus who needs some money to attend Palma?" The inmates, who the program calls "brothers in blue," raised more than $30,000 from inside the prison to create a scholarship for student Sy Green - helping him graduate this year and attend college at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. "Regardless of the poor choices that people make, most people want to take part in something good," said Jason Bryant, a former inmate who was instrumental in launching the scholarship. "Guys were eager to do it." Considering that minimum wage in prison can be as low as 8 cents an hour, raising $30,000 is an astonishing feat. It can take a full day of hard labor to make a dollar inside prison.

Note: For mind-blowing and heart-opening documentaries on prison programs which are transforming the decrepit, damaging culture of prisons, see the moving seven-minute video "Step Inside the Circle" and the profoundly inspiring one hour 40 minute documentary "The Work." Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Immigration is Part of Mass Incarceration
2019-12-18, The Intercept
https://theintercept.com/2019/12/28/book-review-immigration-detention-history...

Immigration-related crimes now make up the majority of all federal criminal prosecutions. While laws criminalizing entry have existed since 1929, they were largely ignored for a century, the lawyer and scholar Csar Cuauhtmoc Garca Hernndez reminds us in a new book, Migrating to Prison: Americas Obsession with Locking Up Immigrants. In 1975, he noted a mere 575 people were charged with an immigration crime; in 1993, only 2,487. Contrast that with fiscal year 2018, when prosecutors brought 105,692 federal immigration charges. The criminalization of immigration, especially the scale at which it happens now, is a relatively recent trend, Hernndez argues. And it ought to be reversed. In the 1980s and 90s, legislation introduced new levels of criminality for immigrants, which in turn expanded the population of imprisoned people. As Hernndez writes, Congress denied immigration judges the discretion to release anyone convicted of an aggravated felony, which includes serious offenses like murder but also shoplifting and tax fraud. Detention and deportation, once decided with considerable discretion, became mandatory for all sorts of offenses. The link between mass incarceration and immigrant incarceration is clear in the legislative history: The same 1986 law that created mandatory minimum sentences for crack cocaine created detainers, requests to local police to hold someone in jail until they can be picked up by immigration.

Note: Detaining immigrants has become a huge industry bringing major profits to those involved. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the court system from reliable major media sources.


A high-stakes criminal investigation is a window into the often unseen threat of white-supremacist prison gangs
2022-09-14, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/09/15/oklahoma-murders-...

In April, authorities acting on a tip said they found charred piles of wood and bone on a five-acre patch of Logan County, opening one of the grisliest and most sensitive criminal investigations in Oklahoma’s recent history. Behind the 10-foot metal walls of a compound with links to the Universal Aryan Brotherhood, a white-supremacist prison gang, officers found what they believe to be a body dumping ground where multiple people ended up dismembered and burned. “We’re just trying to keep some people alive at this point,” [an] official said, describing the struggle to protect potential witnesses. That level of danger is a jarring reminder of the unseen threat of white-supremacist prison gangs, whose leaders run crime syndicates from behind bars through a network of “enforcers” on the outside. The gangs have carried out hate-fueled attacks both in and out of prison, with the bulk of their free-world violence targeting rivals and informants. Because the gangs typically keep their business within the criminal underground, the attacks go largely undiscussed in the broader national conversation. The UAB is known to be a major player in Oklahoma meth trafficking, according to authorities and a 2018 federal indictment of 18 members on racketeering charges. The indictment, one of the most detailed public accounts of UAB operations, accused the gang of distributing an estimated 2,500 kilos of meth annually in Oklahoma, and laid out related crimes such as “murder, kidnapping, witness intimidation, home invasions.”

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on prison system corruption from reliable major media sources.


A Cesspool of a Dungeon: The Surging Population in Rural Jails
2019-12-13, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/13/us/rural-jails.html

The Hamblen County Jail has been described as a dangerously overcrowded cesspool of a dungeon, with inmates sleeping on mats in the hallways, lawyers forced to meet their clients in a supply closet and the people inside subjected to horrible conditions every day. Since 2013, the number of people locked up in rural, conservative counties such as Hamblen has skyrocketed. Like a lot of Appalachia, Morristown, Tenn. ... has been devastated by methamphetamine and opioid use. Residents who commit crimes to support their addiction pack the 255-bed jail, which had 439 inmates at the end of October. While jail populations have dropped 18 percent in urban areas since 2013, they have climbed 27 percent in rural areas during that same period. Almost everyone in the county jail is there because of charges related to addiction, said the sheriff, Esco Jarnagin. Defense lawyers have proposed other options to address the crisis, including a pilot program [that] would have allowed some low-risk defendants to avoid having to post bail. But judges rejected the proposal because of fears that defendants would flee, said Willie Santana ... who is now one of four lawyers in the Hamblen County public defenders office. The whole system is geared toward generating pleas and putting people in jail, he said. For many inmates, that means the jail has been a revolving door. More than three-quarters of the 850 new cases that Mr. Santana handled in the past year involved a client who had previously been incarcerated.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in the courts and in the prison system.


The Cost of Running Guantnamo Bay: $13 Million Per Prisoner
2019-09-16, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/16/us/politics/guantanamo-bay-cost-prison.html

Holding the Nazi war criminal Rudolf Hess as the lone prisoner in Germanys Spandau Prison in 1985 cost an estimated $1.5 million in todays dollars. Then there is Guantnamo Bay, where the expense now works out to about $13 million for each of the 40 prisoners being held there. According to a tally by The New York Times, the total cost last year of holding the prisoners ... paying for the troops who guard them, running the war court and doing related construction, exceeded $540 million. The $13 million per prisoner cost almost certainly makes Guantnamo the worlds most expensive detention program. The military assigns around 1,800 troops to the detention center, or 45 for each prisoner. Judges, lawyers, journalists and support workers are flown in and out on weekly shuttles. The estimated annual cost of $540 million ... does not include expenses that have remained classified, presumably including a continued C.I.A. presence. But the figures show that running the range of facilities built up over the years has grown increasingly expensive even as the number of prisoners has declined. A Defense Department report in 2013 calculated the annual cost of operating Guantnamo Bays prison and court system at $454.1 million, or nearly $90 million less than last year. At the time, there were 166 prisoners at Guantnamo, making the per-prisoner cost $2.7 million. The 2013 report put the total cost of building and operating the prison since 2002 at $5.2 billion through 2014, a figure that now appears to have risen to past $7 billion.

Note: Read an article by a Yemeni citizen detained at Guantanamo Bay, titled, "Will I Die At Guantanamo Bay? After 15 Years, I Deserve Justice." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.


Philadelphia apologizes for experiments on Black inmates
2022-10-07, NPR/Associated Press
https://www.npr.org/2022/10/07/1127406363/philadelphia-apologizes-experiments...

The city of Philadelphia issued an apology Thursday for the unethical medical experiments performed on mostly Black inmates at its Holmesburg Prison from the 1950s through the 1970s. The move comes after community activists and families of some of those inmates raised the need for a formal apology. It also follows a string of apologies from various U.S. cities over historically racist policies or wrongdoing in the wake of the nationwide racial reckoning after the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. The city allowed University of Pennsylvania researcher Dr. Albert Kligman to conduct the dermatological, biochemical and pharmaceutical experiments that intentionally exposed about 300 inmates to viruses, fungus, asbestos and chemical agents including dioxin — a component of Agent Orange. The vast majority of Kligman's experiments were performed on Black men, many of whom were awaiting trial and trying to save money for bail, and many of whom were illiterate, the city said. Many of the former inmates would have lifelong scars and health issues from the experiments. A group of the inmates filed a lawsuit against the university and Kligman in 2000 that was ultimately thrown out because of a statute of limitations. Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said in the apology that the experiments exploited a vulnerable population and the impact of that medical racism has extended for generations. Last year, the University of Pennsylvania issued a formal apology.

Note: Read about the long and disturbing history of people being treated like guinea pigs in science experiments. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in science and in the prison system from reliable major media sources.


LA jail guards routinely punch incarcerated people in the head, monitors find
2022-04-08, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/apr/08/los-angeles-jail-sheriffs-dep...

Los Angeles jail guards have frequently punched incarcerated people in the head and subjected them to a “humiliating” group strip-search where they were forced to wait undressed for hours, according to a new report from court-appointed monitors documenting a range of abuses. The Los Angeles sheriff’s department (LASD), which oversees the largest local jail system in the country, appears to be routinely violating use-of-force policies, with supervisors failing to hold guards accountable and declining to provide information to the monitors tasked with reviewing the treatment of incarcerated people. The report, filed in federal court on Thursday, adds to a long string of scandals for the department. The monitors [were] first put in place in 2014 to settle a case involving beatings. The monitors, Robert Houston, a former corrections official, and Jeffrey Schwartz, a consultant, alleged that the use of “head shots”, meaning punches to the head, had been “relatively unchanged in the last two years or more, and may be increasing”. They also wrote that deputies who used force in violation of policy were at times sent to “remedial training” but that “actual discipline is seldom imposed.” And supervisors who failed to document violations were also “not held accountable.” The authors cited one incident in which a deputy approached a resident. “With no hesitation ... Deputy Y punched [him] 5-9 times in the head, and Deputy Z punched [him] 6-8 times in the head as they took [him] to the floor.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in policing and in the prison system from reliable major media sources.


College Launches Country's First Inside-Out Bachelor's Degree Program for the Incarcerated
2020-12-10, Yahoo! News
https://news.yahoo.com/pitzer-college-launches-countrys-first-113500053.html

Incarcerated men at California Rehabilitation Center (CRC) in Norco, CA, can now earn a bachelor's of arts degree from one of the country's top liberal arts colleges. Pitzer College, a member of The Claremont Colleges, is the first university or college in the country to develop a bachelor's degree program for the incarcerated based on a sustainable inside-out curriculum. The inaugural cohort of eight incarcerated students in the Pitzer Inside-Out Pathway-to-BA are expected to graduate by the end of 2021. Pitzer Inside-Out Pathway-to-BA is the country's first degree-seeking prison education program whereby incarcerated "inside" students and "outside" students from The Claremont Colleges attend classes together in prison and are working toward earning bachelor's degrees. The Pathway is part of the intercollegiate Justice Education Initiative (JEI) program. The Claremont JEI model consists of an equal number of inside and outside students in each course. All inside students earn college credit, whether they are degree-seeking or not. The model allows Claremont College professors to teach their regular curriculum. The only difference is that the classes are held inside a prison (via online video-conferencing during COVID). Following their release, 86% of prisoners will be rearrested in three years. A RAND Corporation study found that correctional education programs reduce the inmates' chances of returning to prison, and those who participate had 43% lower odds of recidivating.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


New York has paid record $322m to people wrongly incarcerated since 1989
2024-01-17, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2024/jan/17/new-york-payouts-wrongul-inca...

New York has paid out the most of any state in the US to people wrongly incarcerated, according to a new study. High Rise Financial ... analyzed data from the National Registry of Exonerations, a database on exonerated people in each state. New York state has paid out a total of $322m to those wrongfully incarcerated. The state has awarded 237 claims for wrongful imprisonment out of 326 exonerated people. Such payouts cost New York taxpayers $15.97 per person, also the largest per-capita payment out of any state, the study found. Texas, Connecticut, Maryland and Michigan were the other states in the top five that paid out the most to exonerated people. Texas paid out the second highest amount, awarding a total of $155m to 128 people out of 450 people exonerated. The most recent study comes as the amount of exoneration has steadily increased in recent years, according to Maurice Chammah, a journalist with the Marshall Project. Chammah added that getting compensation for a wrong conviction can be tough in some states. In Texas, where lawmakers have paid out large sums to exonerees, legislators have also placed “really harsh limits on accessing that money”. “You sometimes need to be declared actually innocent by a court in a way that is like a very high and difficult barrier to meet,” Chammah said. Overall, Chammah noted that such figures could prompt legislators to pass bills that could limit wrongful incarceration in the first place.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in the courts and in the prison system from reliable major media sources.


Boom, bang! Tales from a cell below the ‘crazy unit’ of a US prison
2023-12-20, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/dec/20/inside-new-jersey-state-priso...

I was moved on to unit 1EE on the south compound inside New Jersey State Prison a year ago. On the floor just above me is 2EE, which is known as “the crazy unit”. This unit is where incarcerated men throughout the state are sent when they experience mental health difficulties. Men are stripped down and given “turtle suits”, thin vests that barely keep them covered. There are no pillows, blankets or sheets. In the United States, roughly 40% of people in state prisons and local jails have a history of mental illness, but less than half of those folks receive treatment. Individuals with signs of mental health issues can face additional risks and discipline while inside, including prison misconduct charges, longer solitary confinement periods and barriers to accessing medication. As a juvenile, a kid might try to get out of being locked up by saying they were going to kill themselves, so they could get sent to a psych unit where they might be treated better. They don’t realize that it will put them on the special needs list forever. As an adult, at least in New Jersey State Prison, a person can get labeled special needs for complaining that they can’t sleep. A special needs designation means that you’ll be at the mercy of the mental health department. It can land you in a bad spot. The side-effects of medication they might give you could be crippling. Some guys get hooked on the drugs and never wake up again.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on prison system corruption from reliable major media sources.


How the Juvenile System Forces Minors Into Unsafe Institutions
2023-04-15, The Marshall Project
https://www.themarshallproject.org/2023/04/15/texas-california-children-juven...

A 2020 reform law was supposed to remake the way the California juvenile justice system looks. “De-escalation rooms” stocked with essential oils and weighted blankets are among the changes some county youth facilities have been pushed to install. It was all part of an effort to make the system less punitive and more therapeutic. But this air of change might be news to young people held in Los Angeles County, where this week, California Attorney General Rob Bonta asked a state judge to sanction local officials for what he called “illegal and unsafe conditions.” County officials across the state pushed back against the 2020 law — which phased out state-run juvenile facilities in favor of county-run ones. Tasked with rolling out the changes, local officials formed a multi-county non-profit organization — not subject to public information laws — to share resources and data. Some local advocates worry that this approach is creating a “shadow jury and justice system that operates outside of the public,” reports the Sacramento Bee. The way this has played out in California may be instructive to Texas, where some lawmakers are seeking a similar overhaul for a juvenile system long-plagued by abusive conditions and mismanagement. As in California, county juvenile justice officials in Texas oppose the changes. A recent report from the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics found 1,762 confirmed incidents of young people being sexually harassed, abused, or assaulted in juvenile facilities between 2013 and 2018.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on prison system corruption from reliable major media sources.


In county jails, guards use pepper spray and stun guns to subdue people in mental crisis
2023-01-02, NPR
https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2023/01/02/1137208190/in-county-jai...

When police arrived on the scene, they found Ishmail Thompson standing naked outside a hotel. After they arrested him, a mental health specialist at the county jail said Thompson should be sent to the hospital for psychiatric care. However ... a doctor cleared Thompson to return to jail. With that decision, he went from being a mental health patient to a Dauphin County Prison inmate. Thompson soon would be locked in a physical struggle with corrections officers – one of 5,144 such "use of force" incidents that occurred in 2021 inside Pennsylvania county jails. An investigation by WITF and NPR looked at 456 of those incidents from 25 county jails in Pennsylvania. Nearly 1 in 3 "use of force" incidents involved a person who was having a mental health crisis or who had a known mental illness. Guards used aggressive – and distressing – weapons like stun guns and pepper spray to control and subdue such prisoners, despite the fact that their severe psychiatric conditions meant they may have been unable to follow orders – or even understand what was going on. For Ishmail Thompson, this played out within hours of returning to jail from the hospital. An officer covered Thompson's head with a hood and put him in a restraint chair. Thompson died. The district attorney declined to bring charges. "The vast majority of people who are engaged in self-harm are not going to die," [Attorney Alan] Mills says. "What they really need is intervention to de-escalate the situation, whereas use of force escalates the situation."

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on prison system corruption from reliable major media sources.


3 innovative ways former inmates are getting help to restart their lives
2019-07-22, PBS
https://www.pbs.org/newshour/world/agents-for-change/3-innovative-ways-former...

The odds are against former prisoners in the U.S. when it comes to staying out of incarceration. About eight in 10 who were released from prison in 2005 were arrested again at least once by 2014, according to the most recent study by the U.S. Department of Justice. And the risk of former prisoners recidivism is highest the first year after release — about 44 percent of state prisoners were arrested again within a year of release. Formerly incarcerated people are nearly 10 times as likely to be homeless as the average American. Weld Seattle, a nonprofit based in Washington state, aims to reduce homelessness by using vacant buildings as temporary housing until development officially begins. In total, Weld Seattle has housed 125 people and has seen 43 residents move on to independent permanent housing. In 2018, formerly incarcerated people faced an unemployment rate of 27 percent. That’s higher than the unemployment rate was for all Americans during the peak of the Great Depression. Having proper business attire may not solve the unemployment problem, but it can help former inmates get a foot in the door with potential employers. The New York nonprofit 100 Suits for 100 Men is committed to giving recently released men, women and gender non-conforming people a “boutique experience.” Founded by Kevin Livingston, the organization has given out more than 13,200 suits since 2011, and more than 800 since the start of this year.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Why are so many people dying in US prisons and jails?
2019-05-26, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/may/26/us-prisons-jails-inmate-deaths

On 10 July 2015, 28-year-old Sandra Bland was pulled over in Prairie View, Texas, for what she was told by Texas state trooper Brian Encinia was failing to use her turn signal. Three days after Blands arrest, she was found dead in her jail cell. The death was ruled a suicide but remains shrouded in mystery over how a wrongful arrest stemming from a minor traffic violation resulted in death. Surges in the number of Americans dying while incarcerated have occurred against a backdrop of an increase in the US prison population by 500% over the last 40 years. Based on the latest national figures available from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 4,980 prisoners in US correctional facilities died in 2014, a nearly 3% increase from 2013. In state prisons, the mortality rate was 275 for every 100,000 people, the highest since data collection began in 2001. Since 2014, a Guardian investigation has found several states, including Texas and Florida, with the first and third highest prison populations in the US, respectively, have reported either record mortality rates in prisons or jails or significant surges. A 2017 report published by the Rand Corporation on identifying the needs to reduce prison mortality rates suggested several high-priority needs. A national medical examiner system should be implemented because of the additional rigor these professionals have and more consistency with how they do investigations and classify cause of death, said Joe Russo, the lead author of the report.

Note: Read an excellent article titled "How The For-Profit Prison Industry Keeps 460,000 Innocent People in Jail Every Day." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on prison system corruption from reliable major media sources.


Alleged CIA leaker: Manhattan jail is worse than North Korea
2018-10-29, New York Post
https://nypost.com/2018/10/29/alleged-cia-leaker-manhattan-jail-is-worse-than...

An ex-CIA technician believed to be behind one of the worst leaks in agency history says the conditions at the federal jail in lower Manhattan are so bad that hed rather be a prisoner in North Korea. Joshua Schulte ... described the Metropolitan Correctional Center as a living hell where inmates are dragged from their cages and beaten and maced, forced to bathe in st-filled showers, thrown into solitary confinement for no reason and improperly barred from communicating with their lawyers. They even refuse us pens and stamps so we cant even write, Schulte told a judge in a letter that he says he was only able to write after he borrowed a pen from a medical assistant. The ex-CIA software engineer has been in the MCC since last year after the feds raided his New York apartment on suspicion that he had leaked classified documents to WikiLeaks. Immediately following the raid, he was ... charged with possession of kiddie porn. It wasnt until this year that the feds slapped Schulte with a 13-count superseding indictment for leaking classified information, including national defense information, that he believed could be used to the injury of the United States and the advantage of a foreign nation. The MCC has been the target of numerous complaints in recent months. Reputed mobster John Porky Zancocchio recently got sprung from the lockup, where he was sent for a bail violation, after his lawyer complained that the food there was hurting his clients already failing health.

Note: Read more on the "Vault 7" CIA files Schulte is accused of leaking. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing prison system corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Hundreds of prison and jail deaths go uncounted by the federal government, report finds
2022-09-20, NBC News
https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/hundreds-prison-jail-deaths-go...

The Justice Department is failing to adequately and efficiently collect data about deaths in state prisons and local jails, with at least 990 incidents going uncounted by the federal government in fiscal year 2021 alone, according to a newly released bipartisan Senate report. The report's findings were the focus of a hearing ... which took the federal Bureau of Prisons and then-Director Michael Carvajal to task this summer over accusations of unsanitary and unsafe conditions at a penitentiary in Atlanta and other allegations of misconduct across the federal prison system. Now, the conclusion of a 10-month investigation into how the Justice Department oversees the federal Death in Custody Reporting Act accuses the agency of missing death counts that are readily available on public websites and in arrest-related databases. The law requires that states and federal agencies report in-custody death information to the attorney general. The information was due at the end of 2016, but the Senate report says it won't be completed until 2024. "DOJ's failure to implement DCRA has deprived Congress and the American public of information about who is dying in custody and why," the report says. "This information is critical to improve transparency in prisons and jails, identifying trends in custodial deaths that may warrant corrective action — such as failure to provide adequate medical care, mental health services, or safeguard prisoners from violence — and identifying specific facilities with outlying death rates."

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the prison system from reliable major media sources.


Man who earned degree, 2 masters while in prison set to bag PhD
2020-08-18, MSN News
https://www.msn.com/en-xl/news/other/man-who-earned-degree-2-masters-while-in...

Stephen Akpabio-Klementowski, an ex-convict and lecturer, has transformed his life through education after he earned his undergraduate degree and two masters while serving a 16-year jail sentence. Without any qualification, he managed to defy the odds and studied to earn a degree from The Open University and two masters from Oxford Brooks. Stephen was serving a 16-year jail sentence for the importation of class A drugs. In spite of the major setbacks and bitter life experiences, Stephen managed to transform his life, and his extraordinary story has inspired many across the world. Stephen defines his decision to pursue a degree as a "seminal moment in his life". Stephen is now studying for his PhD in criminology while working part-time as the regional manager for The Open Universitys Students. In 2019, 17 inmates, police officers and former convicts graduated from the Kamiti Maximum Prison in Nairobi with law degrees from the University of London. Ten of the inmates were drawn from Kenyan and Ugandan prisons, three were former convicts who enrolled for the program while still in prison while the rest were prison officers and one African Prison Project staff. John Muthuri, the legal aid manager noted there were few lawyers to serve more than 54,000 prisoners in the country and as such the project would ensure convicts behind bars got affordable legal representation. We are creating innovative ways to ensure that everyone behind bars who cant afford legal representation is represented, Muthuri said.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


GEO Group Runs Out of Banks as 100% of Banking Partners Say No to the Private Prison Sector
2019-09-30, Forbes
https://www.forbes.com/sites/morgansimon/2019/09/30/geo-group-runs-out-of-ban...

All of the existing banking partners to private prison leader GEO Group have now officially committed to ending ties with the private prison and immigrant detention industry. These banks are JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, SunTrust, BNP Paribas, Fifth Third Bancorp, Barclays, and PNC. This exodus comes in the wake of demands by grassroots activists many under the banner of the #FamiliesBelongTogether coalition shareholders, policymakers, and investors. Major banks supporting the private prisons behind mass incarceration and immigrant detention have now committed to not renew $2.4B in credit lines and term loans to industry giants GEO Group and CoreCivic. This shift represents an estimated shortfall of 87.4% of all future funding to the industry. As a brief historical recap: the American private prison industry is a relatively new phenomenon, with the first private prison opening in 1984. Given their business model depends on keeping a consistent and increasing number of people incarcerated, it's been speculated and critiqued that this is why GEO Group and CoreCivic have spent $25M on lobbying over the past three decades to push for harsher criminal justice and immigration laws. A cycle emerges when one follows the money: everyday people put their money in banks, banks lend that money out to the private prison industry, the private prison industry uses that financing for ... lobbying, which successfully funnels more detainees into their facilities, and banks reap a payoff.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on prison system corruption from reliable major media sources.


Racism, gruesome errors, and botched executions: Inside America’s four-person, 48-hour execution spree
2022-11-23, The Independent (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/crime/death-penalty-executi...

Even for the US, one of few countries that still uses the death penalty, last week was exceptionally violent, with four executions planned in the span of 48 hours. The killings were marred with errors, accusations of racism and discrimination, and claims of innocence. One was called off after officials took more than an hour and were unable to place an IV line. Officials can't seem to carry off an execution in which the right drugs are used, an IV is placed quickly and the inmate doesn't suffer ... but state officials disclose little about who conducts executions or how they are trained. "The recent spate of botched lethal injection executions have shown that, whatever the drug, whatever the protocol, condemned prisoners often spend their final moments in agonising pain and distress,” Maya Foa, director of advocacy group Reprieve US, said.With each gruesome scene in the death chamber, we are witnessing the consequences of persisting with a broken method of execution in real time.” Numerous people on death row suffer from severe mental illness, so [Kat Jutras of Death Penalty Alternatives for Arizona is] hoping mental health reform can limit the pipeline of people heading towards the execution chamber. “Mental health is not a political issue. There are people on both sides of the aisle who can identify with loved ones suffering from mental health issues,” she said. “We can address why our death row has 110 people on it, starting with mental health.”

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the prison system from reliable major media sources.


‘It’s inhumane’: how US prison work breaks bodies and minds for pennies
2022-07-13, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/jul/13/us-prison-work-breaks-bodies-...

Among the more than 1.2 million Americans imprisoned in federal and state prisons, two out of three are forced to work while imprisoned. The 13th amendment of the US constitution abolished slavery or involuntary servitude, but included an exception for prisoners; critics have called prison work modern-day slavery. [Susan] Dokken’s pay started at 12 cents an hour and prisoners have the ability after positive reviews to increase their pay to 24 cents an hour, while they’re charged full price when they buy basic necessities through the commissary. Dokken explained that if prisoners refused to work, they would have privileges revoked and possibly get written up, which would follow them on their record to parole and probation. According to a June 2022 report published by the American Civil Liberties Union, prison labor generates more than $11bn annually, with more than $2bn generated from the production of goods, and more than $9bn generated through prison maintenance services. Wages range on average from 13 cents to 52 cents per hour, but many prisoners are paid nothing at all, and their low wages are subject to various deductions. The ACLU report said 76% of workers surveyed reported they were forced to work or faced additional punishment, 70% said they could not afford basic necessities on their prison labor wages, 70% reported receiving no formal job training and 64% reported concerns for their safety on the job. Prison workers are also excluded from basic worker protections.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on prison system corruption from reliable major media sources.


A British judge said US prisons are dangerously inhumane. Sadly, she's right
2021-01-09, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/jan/09/a-british-judge-said-us...

What does it say about the humanitarian condition of US prisons and jails when one of the United States’ closest allies refuses to extradite a person for fear that American prison conditions would drive him to suicide? This is exactly what happened ... when a British court ruled against the United States’ extradition request for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange due to concerns that his health and safety cannot be assured in US custody. The United States fought vigorously to extradite Assange so that he can stand trial for alleged violations of the US Espionage Act, as well as other alleged cyber crimes. Judge Baraitser denied extradition due to the significant risk that Assange would be placed in solitary confinement, which she concluded would likely lead to his death by suicide. Assange has a long and documented history of mental illness. Prolonged solitary confinement – defined as the practice of confining people for 22 to 24 hours per day without meaningful human contact for a period of more than 15 days – can amount to torture, according to the United Nations. According to the Prison Policy Initiative, an estimated 37% of people incarcerated in US state and federal prisons have a diagnosed mental illness, as do an estimated 44% of incarcerated people in local jails. And studies have shown that approximately half of all suicides and incidents of self-harm in American prisons and jails occur among people held in solitary confinement.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on prison system corruption from reliable major media sources.


FBI probing if Jeffrey Epsteins death was the result of a criminal enterprise, prisons chief says
2019-11-19, CNBC News
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/11/19/jeffrey-epstein-death-in-jail-under-fbi-inves...

The FBI is investigating whether a criminal enterprise played a role in the controversial jailhouse death of well-connected sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein, the head of the federal prison system told a Senate committee Tuesday. But Bureau of Prisons Director Kathleen Hawk Sawyer also testified that there is no indication, from anything I know, that the wealthy investors demise on Aug. 10 was anything other than a suicide. At the time Epstein died, the former friend of Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton was awaiting trial on child sex trafficking charges. Sawyers testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee came on the same day that two guards from a Manhattan jail operated by the BOP were criminally charged with falsifying official records to cover up the fact that they never conducted mandated safety checks on Epstein and other inmates in the hours before he was found unresponsive with a noose around his neck. The New York City medical examiners office has ruled Epsteins death was a suicide by hanging. But Dr. Michael Baden, a forensic pathologist hired by Epsteins brother, has said that the injuries found on Epsteins neck were more consistent with those found in homicides. During Tuesdays hearing, one senator underscored to the prisons boss how skeptical many people are about the official ruling that Epstein killed himself. Christmas ornaments, drywall and [Jeffrey] Epstein. Name three things that dont hang themselves, said Sen. John Kennedy, R-La.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Jeffrey Epstein from reliable major media sources. Then watch an excellent segment by Australia's "60-Minutes" team "Spies, Lords and Predators" on a pedophile ring in the UK which leads directly to the highest levels of government. A second suppressed documentary, "Conspiracy of Silence," goes even deeper into this topic in the US.


Hope to those serving long prison sentences
2018-12-03, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
https://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/openforum/article/Former-lifers-mentor-Ca...

[California] Gov. Jerry Brown has issued more than 1,100 pardons and commuted more than 150 sentences since taking office in 2011 - far more than have his recent predecessors. The governors intervention creates a new pathway to justice for people serving long prison sentences under some of the nations harshest sentencing laws. His action moves California away from the brutality of mass incarceration and toward a renewed focus on rehabilitation and redemption. I know well the power of hope in the darkness behind prison walls. In 2012, I was released after serving 24 years of a life sentence. Now I lead the Hope and Redemption Team, an initiative funded by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to provide rehabilitative programming inside seven state prisons. Our model is unique. Every member of our full-time staff is a former lifer who has served decades of time and is now a living example of redemption. Success stories rarely make the news, but I see them every day. Graduates of our program and job-readiness training offered by the Anti-Recidivism Coalition have earned their release and built careers in the building and construction trades, prison ministry, higher education, entertainment and tech. Trained in violence prevention, they go into juvenile halls and work with youth to break the cycle of incarceration before it begins. They are contributing to society and making communities stronger and safer - things that prison can never accomplish.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Federal Bureau Of Prisons Faces Many Challenges In 2024
2023-12-29, Forbes
https://www.forbes.com/sites/walterpavlo/2023/12/29/federal-bureau-of-prisons...

With 2023 drawing to a close, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) completed its first full year under the leadership of Director Colette Peters. The BOP has huge responsibilities in the care and feeding of over 150,000 prisoners in its care and over 36,000 staff. It has an $8.7 billion annual budget and houses some of the most infamous criminals in the United States. It also houses nearly 50,000 inmates who are low and minimum security prisoners, many of whom are eligible for earlier release due to the First Step Act, a 2018 law that can decrease a sentence term by up to a year. The BOP’s facilities are, for lack of a better term, falling apart. As of May 2022, the BOP’s estimated cost for needed, major repairs was approaching $2 billion. However, an Office of Inspector General audit found that the BOP’s budget requests have been far below its own estimates of resource needs: for example, BOP sought less than $200 million for its infrastructure needs from Congress in FY 2022, and Congress appropriated $59 million. One of the reasons cited for the BOP not receiving more funding was its lack of a strategic plan on how to effectively spend funds it may be given. The BOP will see more push for congressional oversight. Senator Chuck Grassley recently pushed to make the director of the Bureau of Prisons a Senate-confirmed position, adding that he has "... inquired about reports of rife abuse in the past and continue to push for transparency in the federal prison system."

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on prison system corruption from reliable major media sources.


Abuse-clouded prison gets attention, but will things change?
2022-05-05, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/abuse-clouded-prison-gets-attention-b...

An Associated Press investigation had revealed a culture of abuse and cover-ups that had persisted for years at the Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin, California, a women-only facility called the “rape club” by many who know it. Because of AP reporting, the head of the federal Bureau of Prisons had submitted his resignation in January. Yet no one had been named to replace him, so he was still on the job. “It’s absolutely horrible. I’ve never experienced anything like this. In my career, I’ve never been part of a situation like this.” Those words, spoken about the troubled Dublin facility, come not from an activist or inmate advocate, not from any elected official, not from anywhere outside the prison walls. They come from Thahesha Jusino, its newly installed warden. Her predecessor, Ray J. Garcia, is one of five Dublin employees who have been charged since last June with sexually abusing inmates. Garcia is accused of molesting an inmate on multiple occasions from December 2019 to March 2020 and forcing her and another inmate to strip naked so he could take pictures while he made rounds. Investigators said they found the images on his government-issued cellphone. Garcia is also accused of using his authority to intimidate one of his victims, telling her that he was “close friends” with the person investigating staff misconduct and boasting that he could not be fired. In February, more than 100 inmate advocacy organizations sent a letter to the Justice Department calling for “swift, sweeping action” to address abuse at Dublin.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on prison system corruption from reliable major media sources.


Lawsuit Accuses California of Endangering Female Prisoners By Forcing Them to Share Housing with Biological Males
2021-11-17, Yahoo News
https://www.yahoo.com/video/lawsuit-accuses-california-endangering-female-223...

A feminist advocacy organization sued the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation on Wednesday, accusing the agency of putting female prisoners at risk by housing biological males in women’s prisons. The Women’s Liberation Front lawsuit ... argues that the state department of corrections of is violating the First, Eighth and 14th amendments with a new law known as the Transgender Respect, Agency, and Dignity Act, or SB 132. Plaintiff Krystal Gonzalez says she was sexually assaulted by a biological male who was transferred to Central California Women’s Facility under the law. According to the suit, when Gonzalez filed a complaint and requested to be housed away from men the prison’s response called her alleged attacker a “transgender woman with a penis.” “Krystal does not believe that women have penises and the psychological distress caused by her assault is exacerbated by the prison’s refusal to acknowledge the sex of her perpetrator,” the lawsuit says. [The law] requires the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to “house transgender, gender-nonconforming and intersex (TGI) individuals in a manner that matches their gender identity while supporting health and safety.” Under the law, the prison system must house the individual in a “correctional facility designated for men or women based on the individual’s preference.” A total of 295 inmates who were housed in an institution for males had requested to be moved to a women’s facility.

Note: Read lots more on the irony and unfairness of this case in this Matt Taibbi article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on prison system corruption from reliable major media sources.


Guantánamo Bay: Inside the world’s most notorious detention centre as the war on terror fades away
2021-07-21, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/guantanamo-bay-biden-war-on...

Nashwan al-Tamir, wearing a white robe and long beard, does not pause to study the rows of people who fill the room. In the nearly 15 years since his capture, and seven since he has faced formal charges of being a high-level al-Qaeda operative who oversaw plots to attack Americans in Afghanistan, the 60-year-old Iraqi has gone through four judges, 20 defence lawyers and several prosecution teams. The courtroom here at Guantánamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba has moved, and the base in which it sits has grown larger. The only constant in these proceedings is Tamir himself, but he has grown older, and moves slower now, due to a degenerative disease. The world outside has changed dramatically in that time, too. Susan Hensler, Tamir’s lead defence counsel since 2017, says the military court system through which her client is being prosecuted ... has yet to catch up to the new reality. “This process doesn’t work,” [she said]. “The fact that the 9/11 trial is still going on 20 years later is good evidence that it doesn’t work. The fact that my client’s trial has been going on for seven years and yet today we’re discussing how to start over from the very beginning, again, is evidence that it doesn’t work.” This case has seen some 40,000 pages of briefings and orders and 3,000 pages of transcripts, but Tamir’s trial is yet to begin. The same is true of the alleged masterminds of the 9/11 attacks. Many imprisoned here were subjected to torture, including waterboarding, sleep deprivation, sexual harassment and physical abuse.

Note: Read excerpts from a letter by Sharqawi Al Hajj, a Yemeni citizen detained at Guantanamo Bay. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and 9/11 from reliable major media sources.


Missouri Inmates Sew Custom Quilts for Foster Children
2021-07-12, U.S. News & World Report
https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/missouri/articles/2021-07-12/missouri...

Every so often, Jim Williams wakes up in the middle of the night and lies awake inside his prison cell, thinking about quilt designs. As his fellow inmates at South Central Correctional Center snore and shift in their sleep, Williams mulls over the layout of cloth shapes, rearranging them in his mind. “I’m kind of a perfectionist,” he said. “I’ll wake up at 2:30 in the morning and think, ‘That color really isn’t going to work.’” It wasn’t always this way. Williams had never touched a sewing machine until last year, when he was recruited to sew face masks for prison inmates and staff during the pandemic. Now he’s part of a small group of volunteers at the Licking, Missouri, prison who spend their days making intricately designed quilts for charity. The quilting program offers the men a temporary “escape from the prison world” and a chance to engage with the community, said Joe Satterfield, case manager at South Central. To join the group, an inmate cannot have any recent conduct violations on his record. “You can see a change in their attitude,” said Satterfield, who runs the program. “A light flips on like, ‘Oh, this is a new avenue. I can actually be a part of something.’” The project hinges on the concept of restorative justice, which emphasizes community-building and rehabilitation over punitive measures. In the sewing room at South Central, members of the close-knit group are working toward a common goal: finishing more than 80 unique quilts for children in the Texas County foster care system.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Connecticut becomes first state to make calls free for inmates and their families
2021-06-22, CNN News
https://www.cnn.com/2021/06/22/us/connecticut-free-prison-phone-calls-trnd/in...

A bill in Connecticut makes calls from prison free for the inmates and their families, becoming the first state to do so. The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Josh Elliott and Sen. Martin M. Looney, will make all voice communication, including video and electronic mail services, free to those incarcerated and those who are receiving the communication. According to the bill, the services will also be free of charge to those in juvenile detention facilities. Inmates will get 90 minutes of phone calls at no charge and the cost will be provided by the taxpayers. Gov. Ned Lamont signed the bill into law June 16, and it will go into effect on October 22, 2022, for adult facilities and October 1, 2022, for juvenile facilities. "Today, Connecticut made history by becoming the first state to make prison calls, and all other communication, free," Bianca Tylek ... of Worth Rises, a non-profit that works for prison reform, said. "This historic legislation will change lives: It will keep food on the table for struggling families, children in contact with their parents, and our communities safer." In 2019, New York became the first major city to offer inmates free calls.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Biden orders DOJ to end private prison contracts as part of racial equity push
2021-01-26, CNBC News
https://www.cnbc.com/2021/01/26/biden-to-announce-racial-equity-plan-and-sign...

President Joe Biden ordered his Department of Justice on Tuesday to phase out its contracts with private prisons, one of multiple new planks of Biden’s broad-focused racial justice agenda. Biden signed four additional executive actions after laying out his racial equity plan at the White House. The actions are aimed at combating discriminatory housing practices, reforming the prison system, respecting sovereignty of Tribal governments and fighting xenophobia against Asian Americans, especially in light of the Covid pandemic. “I ran for president because I believe we’re in a battle for the soul of this nation,” Biden said before signing the actions. “And the simple truth is, our soul will be troubled as long as systemic racism is allowed to persist.” “For too many American families, systemic racism and inequality in our economy, laws and institutions, still put the American dream far out of reach,” domestic policy advisor Susan Rice said at a press briefing preceding Biden’s speech and signings. “These are desperate times for so many Americans, and all Americans need urgent federal action to meet this moment,” Rice said. “Building a more equitable economy is essential if Americans are going to compete and thrive in the 21st century.” Rice noted in the briefing that Biden’s order to the DOJ does not apply to private-prison contracts with other agencies, such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement. That order is “silent on what may or may not transpire with ICE facilities,” she said.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Under Trump, black prison rate lowest in 31 years, Hispanics down 24%
2020-10-23, MSN News
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/under-trump-black-prison-rate-lowest-in-31-...

America’s imprisonment rate has dropped to its lowest level since 1995, led by a dive in the percentage of blacks and Hispanics sent to jail during the Trump administration, according to a new Justice tally. For minorities, the focus of President Trump’s First Step Act prison and criminal reform plan, the rate is the lowest in years. For blacks, the imprisonment rate in state and federal prisons is the lowest in 31 years and for Hispanics it is down 24%. “Across the decade from 2009 to 2019, the imprisonment rate fell 29% among black residents, 24% among Hispanic residents and 12% among white residents. In 2019, the imprisonment rate of black residents was the lowest it has been in 30 years, since 1989,” said the report. Explaining the rate, Justice said, “At year-end 2019, there were 1,096 sentenced black prisoners per 100,000 black residents, 525 sentenced Hispanic prisoners per 100,000 Hispanic residents and 214 sentenced white prisoners per 100,000 white residents in the U.S. Among sentenced state prisoners at year-end 2018 (the most recent data available), a larger percentage of black (62%) and Hispanic (62%) prisoners than white prisoners (48%) were serving time for a violent offense.” For its report, Justice counts those in prison for more than a year. The report did not cite any reasons for the drop. Trump recently led a bipartisan coalition to push through criminal reforms with the First Step Act that have helped to cut prison terms for some.

Note: See the official Bureau of Justice statistics at https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/press/p19_pr.pdf. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Behind prison walls, cats and inmates rehabilitate each other through animal care program
2020-10-19, Indianapolis Star (A leading newspaper of Indianapolis)
https://www.indystar.com/story/news/local/indianapolis/2020/10/19/cats-inmate...

Cats are unable to distinguish between street clothes and prison uniforms – and that’s exactly what makes the relationship between the men at Pendleton Correctional Facility, a maximum-security prison outside of Indianapolis, and the cats that live there, so special. For six hours a day, seven days a week, a handful of men receive unqualified love from the more than 20 cats that live in the prison as part of the FORWARD program, or Felines and Offenders Rehabilitation with Affection, Reformation and Dedication. In exchange for care and a place to stay before being adopted, the cats at Pendleton offer inmates untampered, non-judgemental affection. Through the 5-year-old program, a select few incarcerated men are paid 20 cents an hour to spend their days caring for abandoned and abused cats, preparing them for adoption. Or, as some inmates will say, for a reason to get up in the morning. In partnership with the Animal Protection League of Indiana, the program removes cats from a traditional shelter and places them in the prison’s “cat sanctuary,” a wide-open room with scratching posts, climbing structures and nooks to hide in. The program houses them with incarcerated caregivers, who, incidentally, gain skills such as empathy, responsibility and self-esteem. The caregivers spend their days cleaning the cat sanctuary, changing litter boxes, and feeding and giving water to the cats. Everything but medical care is under the inmates’ purview. The work, albeit behind prison walls, is a full-time job.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Epsteins alleged quadruple murderer cellmate: I tried to save him, not kill him
2020-01-22, Miami Herald
https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/crime/article239494813.html

Jeffrey Epsteins name was uttered just once in the federal courtroom but his memory hovered like a cloud over Wednesdays hearing for an ex-cop who shared a cell with him on the day last July when the accused sex trafficker allegedly tried to kill himself. Nicholas Tartaglione faces a possible death penalty if convicted of the gangland-style killing of four men in a soured drug deal. He has become entangled in the Epstein saga because many found it curious that the most high-profile inmate in the nation would be kept in the same jail cell as an alleged quadruple killer. As Epsteins cellmate at the time of the July incident ... Tartaglione [is] requesting the surveillance video from outside the jail cell, to prove that he helped save Epstein during the financiers abortive suicide try. Defense lawyer Bruce Barket said video of the incident would back up Tartagliones story that he alerted guards to Epsteins plight. That fact could be used before a judge and jury. The problem is that the Bureau of Prisons says it no longer has the video. It was accidentally destroyed. The fact that the video is gone, which was reported earlier this month to great consternation, was yet another embarrassment for the Bureau of Prisons. Epstein died weeks later, on Aug. 10, in what was classified as a suicide by hanging, although some, including Epsteins brother, have suggested it could have been murder. By the time of his death, Epstein had no cellmate and was inexplicably no longer on suicide watch despite the earlier incident.

Note: This New York magazine report has a wealth of information on Jeffrey Epstein's very strange death. Explore a complex yet very informative timeline of Epstein and his relationship to the Mossad and much more. Many links are made here with verifiable information that the major media has failed to report. A drone video also explores the island owned by Epstein and a strange "temple" found there. Lots more available here. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Jeffrey Epstein from reliable major media sources.


Judge in Jeffrey Epstein case says jail death was unthinkable
2019-11-26, CNBC News
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/11/26/judge-in-jeffrey-epstein-case-calls-for-priso...

The federal judge who oversaw Jeffrey Epsteins child sex trafficking case says it is unthinkable that any jail inmate let alone one with such a high profile as Epstein would die in custody, as the wealthy investor did this summer. Judge Richard Berman also is calling for reforms to be carried out in the U.S. prison system in light of Epsteins death in a Manhattan federal jail. Berman, in a letter to The New York Times, said the indictment last week of two guards there for allegedly covering up their failure to check on Epstein in his cell in the hours before he died Aug. 10 is not the full accounting to which Mr. Epsteins family, his alleged victims and the public are entitled. We all agree that it is unthinkable that any detainee, let alone a high-profile detainee like Mr. Epstein, would die unnoticed at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, Berman wrote in his letter to the Times. Berman added, There is at the very least anecdotal evidence that chronic understaffing, subpar living conditions, violence, gang activity, racial tension and the prevalence of drugs and contraband are the norms in many of our prisons. Federal prosecutors last week said that two M.C.C. guards, Michael Thomas and Tova Noel, failed to conduct scheduled head counts on all inmates in that special housing unit or do other required rounds for up to eight hours before Epstein was found dead. Instead, prosecutors charged, Thomas and Noel browsed the Internet, strolled around a common area in the unit and appeared to sleep for about two hours.

Note: How is it that the lawyer defending some of Jeffrey Epstein's victims, David Boies, was also the lawyer defending convicted sexual offender Harvey Weinstein, as mentioned in this NY Times article? Does it make sense for the lawyer of a major sex offender to be defending Epstein's victims? Is this a way for power elite to control the situation? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Jeffrey Epstein and prison system corruption from reliable major media sources.


California bans private prisons including Ice detention centers
2019-09-12, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/sep/12/california-private-prison-ban...

The private prison industry is set to be upended after California lawmakers passed a bill on Wednesday banning the facilities from operating in the state. The move will probably also close down four large immigration detention facilities that can hold up to 4,500 people at a time. The legislation is being hailed as a major victory for criminal justice reform because it removes the profit motive from incarceration. It also marks a dramatic departure from Californias past, when private prisons were relied on to reduce crowding in state-run facilities. Private prison companies used to view California as one of their fastest-growing markets. As recently as 2016, private prisons locked up approximately 7,000 Californians, about 5% of the states total prison population, according to the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics. But in recent years, thousands of inmates have been transferred from private prisons back into state-run facilities. As of June, private prisons held 2,222 of Californias total inmate population. The states governor, Gavin Newsom, must still sign AB32, but last year he signaled support for the ban and said during his inaugural speech in January that the state should end the outrage of private prisons once and for all. The bills author, the assemblymember Rob Bonta, originally wrote it only to apply to contracts between the states prison authority and private, for-profit prison companies. But in June, Bonta amended the bill to apply to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agencys four major California detention centers.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


The San Quentin prison doctor who performed over 10,000 human experiments
2019-08-13, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
https://www.sfgate.com/sfhistory/article/leo-stanley-gland-rejuvenation-surge...

San Quentin Chief Surgeon Leo Stanley ... was experimenting with putting animal testicles into men, but human-to-human transplants were preferred. Working at San Quentin gave him access to the organs of recently dead young men at a rate few other doctors could boast. In the next 20 years, he would perform over 10,000 testicular implants within the walls of San Quentin State Prison. Upon arriving, Stanley remarked later, he was upset by the lack of racial segregation among the inmates. "Whites, Negroes, and Indians commingled here indiscriminately,” he complained. A lifelong eugenicist — a belief he continued to hold well past Nazi horrors being revealed — Stanley set about making changes immediately. Before he hit on gland implants, his favorite fix was sterilization. In 1909, California passed the first of several eugenics-driven laws that allowed for the forced sterilization of inmates and mental hospital patients considered “unfit” for society. Stanley once said he believed at least 20% of inmates were “feeble minded” and lamented he could not sterilize more inmates than he was legally allowed. Those he could not forcibly sterilize, he attempted to talk into the procedure. In 1935, he put up a poster in the prison yard extolling the virtues of the surgery: "This simple operation prevents the man from producing children, but it does not interfere with his normal pleasures. In fact, it is claimed that sexual vigor is increased.” In two decades, Stanley sterilized 600 prisoners, far more [than] other California prisons.

Note: Read more about the disturbing history of government and industry experiments on human guinea pigs. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on prison system corruption from reliable major media sources.


Do Prisons Make Us Safer?
2019-06-21, Scientific American
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/do-prisons-make-us-safer/

One person is sentenced to state or federal prison every 90 seconds in the United States, amounting to almost 420,000 per year. The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world. But how much safety does all this imprisonment actually buy us? A study I recently published with colleagues shows the answer is very little, especially in the long-term. The study found that sentencing someone to prison had no effect on their chances of being convicted of a violent crime within five years of being released from prison. This means that prison has no preventative effect on violence in the long term among people who might have been sentenced to probation. It also found a preventative ... effect in the short term, during the time when prisoners were still in prison, but this effect is smaller than we typically assume. Preventing one person who was previously convicted of a violent crime from committing a new violent crime within five years of their sentence requires imprisoning 16 such individuals. The short-term and small preventative effect of prison means those dollars could be better spent on other violence prevention or public safety strategies. The high costs of prison combined with concerns about the negative collateral consequences for prisoners, their families, and communities have prompted renewed efforts ... to reduce imprisonment. Yet despite the fact that over half of prison inmates were convicted of a violent crime, most criminal justice reforms exclude those with violent pasts.

Note: The above was written by David J. Harding, author of On the Outside: Prisoner Reentry and Reintegration. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on prison corruption from reliable major media sources.


New York Could Become First State To Be Completely Done With Private Prisons
2019-06-18, Forbes
https://www.forbes.com/sites/morgansimon/2019/06/18/new-york-to-become-first-...

With many corporations having capitalizations that make them larger than countries, it can sometimes feel hard to imagine governments effectively being able to set limits on companies let alone entire industries. One interesting exception to this rule is the private prison industry; where the government (given they are the largest client) is uniquely positioned to effectively regulate the sector or, as many would argue, to eliminate private prisons entirely, given their problematic incentive to encourage the criminalization of vulnerable communities. New York State has been leading the way in flexing its muscles with respect to the private prison industry, having taken three concrete actions against private prisons: 1. prohibiting private prisons from operating within the state, 2. divesting state pension funds from the largest private prison companies, GEO Group and CoreCivic, and then just last week, 3. passing Bill S5433 in the State Senate, which would prohibit NY State-chartered banks from investing in and providing financing to private prisons. As Senator Benjamin noted in introducing the bill, in front of a Bank of America branch, The goal is to starve private prisons of capital. My constituents do not put their hard-earned savings in a bank like the one we are standing in front of today expecting that those funds will be used to finance mass incarceration. Whether through organizing and community pressure, or tools like the bill I am announcing here today, we can and we must bring an end to private prisons.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on prison corruption from reliable major media sources.


Leaked reports reveal severe abuse of Saudi political prisoners
2019-03-31, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/mar/31/leaked-reports-reveal-abuse-sau...

Political prisoners in Saudi Arabia are said to be suffering from malnutrition, cuts, bruises and burns, according to leaked medical reports that are understood to have been prepared for the countrys ruler, King Salman. The reports seem to provide the first documented evidence from within the heart of the royal court that political prisoners are facing severe physical abuse, despite the governments denials that men and women in custody are being tortured. The Guardian has been told the medical reports will be given to King Salman along with recommendations that are said to include a potential pardon for all the prisoners, or at least early release for those with serious health problems. Pressure on Saudi Arabia over the detention and treatment of political prisoners has been growing in recent months amid claims that some female activists have been subjected to electric shocks and lashings in custody. With the kingdom also reeling from the aftermath of the murder of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, King Salman is said to have ordered a review of the decision to arrest and detain about 200 men and women in a crackdown ordered by his heir, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. According to the medical reports seen by the Guardian, the comments about the detainees suggest many have been severely ill-treated and have a range of health problems. In almost all cases, the reports demanded the prisoners be urgently transferred from solitary confinement to a medical centre.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


A prison where the inmates have to go and find jobs
2019-02-04, BBC
https://www.bbc.com/news/stories-47093046

At Sanganer prison, in the Indian city of Jaipur, inmates get a roof over their head, but no money and no food. This prison has no bars or walls, no security guards at the gate, and prisoners are allowed - even encouraged - to go out into the city and work every day. This prison, which has been open since the 1950s, is home to 450 prisoners and is one of about 30 such institutions in the state of Rajasthan. I go to Sanganer with Smita Chakraburtty, the woman behind a campaign to make open prisons the norm across India. "The criminal justice system addresses an incident ... and doesn't know what to do with an individual," Chakraburtty argues. Her cause is gaining momentum: four other states in India established new open prisons last year. I sit on the floor in a children's nursery at the front of the prison grounds and talk with a group of men and women who are inmates. When I ask them why they're in prison, many simply say, "302," referring to Section 302 in India's Penal Code which dictates the punishment for murder. To get to Sanganer, they all have to have served at least two-thirds of their sentences in closed prisons. Every day, most of them leave the prison grounds to earn a living: men convicted of murder work as security guards, factory workers and daily labourers. I even meet one inmate who's a yoga instructor and another who's a supervisor in a nearby school. The only real rule, I'm told, is that prisoners must make roll call every evening.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


We asked for Gitmo prisons book policy in 2013. It arrived this week, censored.
2018-03-28, Miami Herald
http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/guantanamo/articl...

The U.S. military took more than four years to process a Freedom of Information Act request for a copy of the Guantnamo guidelines for censoring prison library material - and censored the guidelines when it processed the request. The paperwork the military released appeared to leave out three pages of the prisons procedure for handling the Quran. The Miami Herald sought the Nov. 27, 2013, document in a Dec. 10, 2013, FOIA request. The U.S. Southern Command apparently released the document, with redactions, on March 21 but didnt put it in the mail for five more days. It arrived at the Herald newsroom, which is next door to Southcom, on Tuesday. The Guantnamo prison is a Law of War detention site run by the Pentagon; left unclear was the U.S. militarys law enforcement or prosecution function related to the Detainee Library, which circulates books among 26 of the prisons 41 detainees. Of those 26, only two have been convicted of war crimes. Former CIA captives at the clandestine Camp 7 prison, including those accused of plotting the 9/11 attacks, dont have privileges at the main library but can draw from a different, secret collection. In May 2016, a U.S. Army officer in charge of detainee diversionary programs told reporters that negative screening criteria included military topics, extreme graphic violence, nudity, sexuality and extremism. Many of the prisons current detainees were held by the CIA for weeks or years before their transfer to U.S. military custody.

Note: A letter titled, "Will I Die At Guantanamo Bay? After 15 Years, I Deserve Justice" was recently published by Newsweek. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the intelligence community.


Big Money As Private Immigrant Jails Boom
2017-11-21, NPR
https://www.npr.org/2017/11/21/565318778/big-money-as-private-immigrant-jails...

In recent months, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has called for five new detention facilities to be built and operated by private prison corporations across the country. ICE spends more than $2 billion a year on immigrant detention through private jails like [the Joe Corley Detention Facility], owned by GEO Group, the nation's largest private prison company. ICE and the U.S. Marshals Service pay GEO $32 million a year to house, feed and provide medical care for a thousand detainees. Between 2013 and 2014, Douglas Menjivar was one of those ICE detainees. Menjivar says he was raped by gang members in his cell, and when he reported it to the medical staff they mocked him. His lawyer has filed a federal civil rights complaint. Menjivar also says he was forced to work for a dollar a day. The forced labor allegations are part of two class-action lawsuits in federal court. But these are just the latest grievances against the business of immigrant incarceration. Human rights groups ... claim corporations skimp on detainee care in order to maximize profits. In its latest budget request, ICE has asked for more than 51,000 detainee beds - a 25 percent increase over the last year. The two largest private corrections corporations, GEO Group and CoreCivic, each gave $250,000 to Trump's inaugural festivities. The Obama administration [phased] out contracts with private prisons that house immigrants. Since Trump took office, the Bureau of Prisons has restored those contracts.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on prison industry corruption and the erosion of civil liberties.


Ex-LA County Sheriff Lee Baca convicted in jail corruption case
2017-03-15, CBS News/Associated Press
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/ex-la-county-sheriff-lee-baca-found-guilty-in-jai...

Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca was convicted Wednesday of obstructing an FBI investigation into corrupt and violent guards who took bribes to smuggle contraband into the jails he ran and savagely beat inmates. The trial ... cast a dark shadow over a distinguished 50-year law enforcement career that abruptly ended with his resignation in 2014 as the corruption investigation spread from rank-and-file deputies to his inner circle. Baca appeared to have escaped the fate of more than a dozen underlings indicted by federal prosecutors until a year ago, when he pleaded guilty to a single count of making false statements to federal authorities about what role he played in efforts to thwart the FBI. A deal with prosecutors called for a sentence no greater than six months. When a judge rejected that as too lenient, Baca withdrew his guilty plea and prosecutors hit him with two additional charges of conspiracy and obstruction of justice. The federal probe began in 2011 when Bacas jail guards discovered an inmate with a contraband cellphone was acting as an FBI mole to record jail beatings and report what he witnessed. Word quickly reached Baca, who convened a group to derail the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lizabeth Rhodes said during closing arguments that corruption in the nations largest jail system started from the top and went all the way down. Bacas subordinates hid the FBI informant from federal agents [and] tried to intimidate his FBI handler by threatening to arrest her.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the prison system.


China May Still Be Harvesting Organs From Prisoners, Official Says
2017-02-07, Newsweek
http://www.newsweek.com/despite-zero-tolerance-organ-harvesting-prisoners-con...

A Chinese official has suggested China may still be using organs farmed from the bodies of executed prisoners. Huang Jiefu, director of Beijings transplant program, said at a Vatican summit on the topic that organ collection could still be taking place, despite China declaring zero tolerance for the practice at the end of 2014. At the summit held to discuss the practice of organ trafficking, Huang Jiefu told the assembled crowd - which included 80 doctors and NGO representatives - that China was trying to improve on its history of taking organs from those on death row. His attendance at the Organ Transplant and Transplant Tourism Summit was criticized by some attendees, who said that Chinas presence reduced the legitimacy of the conference. The BBC reported that the Doctors Against Forced Harvesting described Chinas involvement as compromising. Reports in the early 2000s suggested organs were frequently harvested from executed prisoners. Reports last year suggested the practice may have continued. The spiritual group Falun Gong, which was outlawed in China in 1999, is one of the most outspoken groups against organ harvesting. Members of the group, and supportive Western politicians, have suggested that waiting times for organ transplantation in China are so short due to the harvesting from prisoners. A 2008 paper ... co-authored by Jiefu published in The Lancet, suggested that more than half of organ transplants in China came from death row prisoners.

Note: For more evidence this practice may still be happening, see this article in the UK's Daily Mail. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Groups begin bailing out strangers to free poor from jail
2017-01-30, Seattle Times (One of Seattle, WA's leading newspapers)
http://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/groups-begin-bailing-out-strangers-t...

Activists who say too many poor people are unfairly languishing in U.S. jails because they cant afford to post cash bail are increasingly deploying a new tactic: Bailing out strangers. Community groups are collecting donations from individuals, churches, cities and other organizations in more than a dozen cities, including New York, Chicago, Seattle and Nashville, to bail out indigent prisoners. Theyve freed several thousand people in the last few years, and the number is growing. The overwhelming majority of defendants still show up for court. Once free, the defendants are better able to fight their case, often leading to charges being dropped or reduced. Many, many people are having their lives ruined pre-trial because they cant afford to get out of jail, said Max Suchan, who co-founded the Chicago Community Bond Fund, which had bailed out 50 people as of December. The bail funds are a step toward a larger goal for some legal reform activists: abolishing the cash bail system. Advocates say it creates two unequal tiers of justice: one for people who can afford bail and one for people who cant. In Chicago the anti-cash bail movement has a seemingly unlikely ally in Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart. He argues the cash system should be abolished and replaced with more thorough background checks; if a person is considered dangerous, they stay in jail and if theyre not, they go free, with access to services such as drug-addiction counseling if needed.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


For Female Inmates In New York City, Prison Is A Crowded, Windowless Room
2017-01-16, NPR
http://www.npr.org/2017/01/16/505315466/for-female-inmates-in-new-york-city-p...

More than a hundred female federal inmates, sentenced to long-term prison, have instead been held for years in two windowless rooms in a detention center in Brooklyn. Conditions for the women have been found to violate international standards for the treatment of prisoners. The problem ... started in [Danbury], Connecticut, in what was the only federal prison for women in the Northeast. The prison population across the country increased nearly 10-fold over the last 40 years, and men's prisons were overflowing. In December 2012, the Bureau of Prisons decided to move the women out of the Danbury prison and move men in. The women were sent to the Metropolitan Detention Center, a jail in Brooklyn, until a new prison could be built. The move was supposed to last 18 months. But nearly three years later, many are still stuck at MDC. A report released by the National Association of Women Judges finds conditions for the women at MDC violate both the American Bar Association's standards and the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for Treatment of Prisoners. The judges said the women had no access to the outdoors and inmates complained of being unable to get appropriate medical care. At least one inmate was visibly pregnant. David Patton, executive director of the Federal Defenders of New York, [a] public defenders' service [says,] "There have been maggots in the food, urine-stained mattresses, dryers that vent into the sleeping area, a lack of fresh air and recreation."

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing prison system corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Prisoners give back, train puppies to guide blind, deaf
2016-09-05, The Detroit News (Detroit's leading newspaper)
http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/macomb-county/2016/09/05/prisoner...

Nico is one of 11 puppies in the Leader Dogs for the Blind Prison Puppies program, trained by 23 inmates at the Macomb Correctional Facility in New Haven. At the ... all-male prison, its common to see inmates toting puppies on leashes through the grounds, eating in the Chow Hall with a lab or golden retriever by their side and passing time with a four-legged cellmate, who takes up a share of the 8-foot-by-11-foot space. Hes with us 24/7, said [Mario] Carines, whos raising Nico with teammate James Fuson. The puppy is a blessing, he said, explaining that since the dogs arrived last summer, the morale of both the inmates and staff has improved. Seeing animals around when the program first began, guys couldnt believe it. I hadnt seen a dog in 22 years, he said. Prison Puppies started in 2002. Leader Dog coordinators noticed a difference in the success rate. Up to 60 percent of puppies raised in prisons become leader dogs, assisting the blind or deaf; the graduation rate of puppies outside prisons is about 45 percent. Many of our dogs raised in correctional facilities go on to ... have long-term successful working careers as guide dogs, said [program coordinator] Melissa Spooner. Prison Puppies is a win-win-win, Spooner said, since it benefits the recipient, Leader Dog and 108 inmates in the voluntary year-long program. In fact, the Bureau of Justice Statistics found only 17 percent of inmates in Prison Puppies return to prison after being released. The national recidivism rate is about 50 percent.

Note: Watch an inspiring short video of this inspiring program.


Extreme torture: Inside Chinas correctional facilities
2016-06-21, News.com.au (A leading Australian news website)
http://www.news.com.au/world/asia/extreme-torture-inside-chinas-correctional-...

Jintao Lius body shuddered in pain as he endured yet another day of extreme torture. He had woken to pins being pushed into his nails before he was forced to stand still in a yard for some 18 hours. During a lengthy stint in a series of Beijing detention centres and labour camps between 2006 and 2009 ... he was subjected to electric shocks, medical tests, forced feedings, beatings, violent sexual assaults and other barbaric forms of torture designed by prison guards to humiliate and inflict maximum pain. Mr Liu, 36, is one of thousands of people who have been incarcerated in some of Chinas worst jails, labour camps and detention centres for practising Falun Gong. Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH) Australia spokeswoman Sophia Bryskine said the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners was still extensive with many being locked up with no legal proceedings. Since the Chinese government outlawed Falun Gong [in 1999], it has detained thousands - most likely hundreds of thousands - of practitioners, according to a 2008 report by the Congressional Commission on China. In 2006 the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Novak, concluded that 66 per cent of all prisoners in China were Falun Gong practitioners. Mr Lin said he witnessed many other political prisoners being tortured and humiliated during his stint behind bars. Some prisoners were tortured to death, he said.

Note: If you can stomach it, several victims give their testimony in a video at the link above. For more, see this news article. Another article reveals how in extreme cases, government officials operate on imprisoned victims to take precious organs and sell them for use in transplants, sometimes resulting in the death of the victims. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the prison system.


Justice Department warns local courts about unlawful fines and fees
2016-03-14, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/justice-department-war...

The Justice Department is asking local courts across the country to be wary of how they slap poor defendants with fines and fees. In a letter ... to the chief judges and court administrators in all 50 states, Vanita Gupta, the head of the departments Civil Rights Division, and Lisa Foster, director of the Office for Access to Justice, wrote that illegal enforcement of fines and fees had been receiving increased attention. Individuals may confront escalating debt; face repeated, unnecessary incarceration for nonpayment despite posing no danger to the community; lose their jobs; and become trapped in cycles of poverty that can be nearly impossible to escape, Gupta and Foster wrote. Furthermore, in addition to being unlawful, to the extent that these practices are geared ... toward raising revenue, they can cast doubt on the impartiality of the tribunal and erode trust between local governments and their constituents. The White House and the department convened a summit on the issue in December. The Justice Department alleged in a recent lawsuit that officers in Ferguson, Mo., were violating citizens civil rights in part because their policing tactics were meant to generate revenue. The financial penalties - typically for minor misdemeanors, traffic infractions or violations of city code - disproportionately affect the poor, who cannot afford to pay immediately and are then hit with arrest warrants or additional penalties. Some towns [derive] 40 percent or more of their annual revenue from [these] petty fines and fees.

Note: Along with relying on municipal fines and fees that disproportionately impact the poor, some police departments simply steal from people when times get tough. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about government corruption and income inequality.


Obama bans solitary confinement for juveniles in federal prisons
2016-01-26, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/obama-bans-solitary-confinement-for-j...

President Obama on Monday announced a ban on solitary confinement for juvenile offenders in the federal prison system, saying the practice is overused and has the potential for devastating psychological consequences. In an op-ed that appears in Tuesday editions of The Washington Post, the president outlines a series of executive actions that also prohibit federal corrections officials from punishing prisoners who commit low-level infractions with solitary confinement. The new rules also dictate that the longest a prisoner can be punished with solitary confinement for a first offense is 60 days, rather than the current maximum of 365 days. The presidents reforms apply broadly to the roughly 10,000 federal inmates serving time in solitary confinement. The reforms come six months after Obama, as part of a broader criminal-justice reform push, ordered the Justice Department to study how solitary confinement was being used by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. How can we subject prisoners to unnecessary solitary confinement, knowing its effects, and then expect them to return to our communities as whole people? Obama wrote in his op-ed. He said he hoped his reforms at the federal level will serve as a model for states to rethink their rules on the issue.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Releasing confidence: prison entrepreneurship programs offer path
2015-12-20, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/Releasing-confidence-prison-entre...

Nearly 50 Bay Area executives and professionals packed into a gymnasium last week at the state prison in Solano County and lined up, toe to toe, with a row of convicted criminals. For most entrepreneurs, it was a ... a place they had never been. But it was all too familiar for Kenyatta Leal, [who] left San Quentin in 2013 after 19 years behind bars. He was among the first to graduate from the Last Mile Program - a prison initiative [run by Defy Ventures, which is] intended to turn offenders into entrepreneurs. In one exercise, inmates and volunteers were given a prompt and told to step forward or backward depending on whether it applied to them. I have been incarcerated, read Brian Moll, Defy Ventures executive director for the Bay Area. Every inmate stepped forward. So did a handful of entrepreneurs. One by one, the professionals fell back - all but Leal, who stood alone in his beige suit. No. No way, said Oakland native Leonard Halfin, 46, who has been incarcerated for 25 years on a second-degree-murder charge. I cant believe that. I would have never thought he was one of us. This, said Defy founder and chief executive Catherine Hoke, is the most important takeaway: It allows felons to realize that they have potential. Hokes hope is that participating in programs like Defys will help inmates formulate plans and sharpen professional skills that can help them become successful.

Note: Watch a great, short video on this impressive program. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Prison Ministry Program Gives Prisoners a Chance to Be Dad Again for a Day
2015-12-11, ABC News
http://abcnews.go.com/US/prison-ministry-program-prisoners-chance-dad-day/sto...

Until recently, 8-year-old Arkinya Graham had never met her father. While they have grown close talking over the phone for the past six months, her father Johnny "Trey" Williams is serving 23 years in a Michigan prison for second-degree murder. ABC News' "Nightline" was given access to go behind prison walls ... as Arkinya met her dad for the first time. Their special visit is part of a prison ministry program called "One Day with God" that is designed to help children reconcile with their parents behind bars. The two-day program is part family reunion, part intervention. On the first day, the dads get a seminar on the importance of fatherhood. On the second day, they get to ... spend a rare day doing various activities with their kids. "Children are the silent victims," said One Day with God founder Scottie Barnes. "[There is an] importance of these boys and girls having relationships with their mothers and fathers who are incarcerated across America." Barnes says her own father ... spent most of her childhood behind bars. "I never had a hug. I never even been told 'I love you' by my dad," Barnes said. "The little children ... want to be loved. They want to be somebody proud of them." Children of incarcerated parents are six times more likely to end up incarcerated themselves. One Day with God is working to end the cycle of reincarceration. At a time when family programs are being cut in prison systems, this program is operating in seven states, [and] expanding to five other prisons in Michigan alone.

Note: Don't miss the beautiful video of these special father-child reunions. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Pope Franciss Philadelphia prison visit highlights crisis in US justice system
2015-09-21, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/sep/21/pope-francis-philadelphia-pris...

Pope Francis will meet more than 100 men and women from a dangerously overcrowded prison population. Some 80% of those inmates at that prison, [Philadelphia's] Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility (CFCF), have not yet been convicted of the crime with which they were charged. Most of them are behind bars because they have not paid or cannot afford to pay bail while awaiting trial. Francis has visited prisons in multiple countries. This particular prison ... presents an extreme microcosm of two of the most pressing national prison problems: pretrial detention and overcrowding. The prison system particularly in holding those who cannot afford to pay bail targets the very people Pope Francis has shown the most concern for: the poor. With 2.2 million people incarcerated mostly in state prisons and jails like Philadelphias, the US now ... spends about $80bn on prisons. At any given time, between 400,000 to 500,000 of those people [are] held in pretrial or midtrial detention, sometimes for weeks, months and even years, usually because they cannot afford to pay bail. The Justice Department estimates that two-thirds of those inmates are non-dangerous defendants.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about income inequality and systemic prison industry corruption.


Chicago OKs $5.5M in Reparations for Police Torture Victims
2015-05-06, ABC News/Associated Press
http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/chicago-approves-55m-package-police-tortur...

Chicago's leaders took a step Wednesday typically reserved for nations trying to make amends for slavery or genocide, agreeing to pay $5.5 million in reparations to the mostly African-American victims of the city's notorious police torture scandal and to teach schoolchildren about one of the most shameful chapters of Chicago's history. Chicago has already spent more than $100 million settling and losing lawsuits related to the torture of suspects by detectives under the command of disgraced former police commander Jon Burge from the 1970s through the early 1990s. The city council's backing of the new ordinance marks the first time a U.S. city has awarded survivors of racially motivated police torture the reparations they are due under international law, according to Amnesty International. "It is a powerful word and it was meant to be a powerful word. That was intentional," Alderman Joe Moore said of the decision to describe it as reparations. "This stain cannot be removed from our city's history, but it can be used as a lesson in what not to do," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who stressed that Chicago had to do more than just pay the victims if it is to really get beyond this stain on its history.

Note: Jon Burge tortured false confessions out of as many as 120 prisoners, and according to the Chicago Reader, may have learned how to do this while serving as a soldier in Vietnam. Chicago police maintain hidden interrogation sites where brutal treatment of suspects is used to obtain criminal confessions. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about civil liberties and government corruption from reliable major media sources.


The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered, and It Is Not What You Think
2015-01-20, Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/johann-hari/the-real-cause-of-addicti_b_6506936...

It is now one hundred years since drugs were first banned. Through this long century of waging war on drugs, we have been told a story about addiction by our teachers and by our governments. Almost everything we have been told about addiction is wrong. Nearly fifteen years ago, Portugal had one of the worst drug problems in Europe, with 1 percent of the population addicted to heroin. They had tried a drug war, and the problem just kept getting worse. So they decided to do something radically different. They resolved to decriminalize all drugs, and transfer all the money they used to spend on arresting and jailing drug addicts, and spend it instead on reconnecting them - to their own feelings, and to the wider society ... so they have a purpose in life, and something to get out of bed for. They are helped, in warm and welcoming clinics, to learn how to reconnect with their feelings, after years of trauma and stunning them into silence with drugs. The results of all this are now in. An independent study by the British Journal of Criminology found that since total decriminalization, addiction has fallen, and injecting drug use is down by 50 percent. For too long, we have talked exclusively about individual recovery from addiction. We need now to talk about social recovery - how we all recover, together, from the sickness of isolation. But this new evidence isn't just a challenge to us politically. It doesn't just force us to change our minds. It forces us to change our hearts.

Note: The above was written by Johann Hari, bestselling author of Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs. Read more about Portugal's stunning success in curbing drug addiction by ending its drug war and cultivating human connection. For more, read about how the science behind the bonding theory of addiction has been suppressed since the 1970's by drug war profiteers.


Company's Struggles Highlight Challenges of Inmate Care
2015-01-19, New York Times/Associated Press
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2015/01/19/us/ap-us-profiting-from-prison-car...

Months after he landed in Florida's Manatee County Jail, Jovon Frazier's pleas for [medical care] were met mostly with Tylenol. "I need to see a doctor!" he wrote on his eighth request form. Four months later, after Frazier's 13th request resulted in hospitalization and doctors quickly diagnosed bone cancer, his arm had to be amputated, according to a lawsuit filed by his family. But the cancer spread and Frazier died in 2011, months after his release. As an inmate, his medical care had been managed ... by a private company under contract. Corizon, whose responsibility for 345,000 inmates at prisons and jails in 27 states makes it the country's biggest for-profit correctional health provider, is just one of many firms using a similar model to vie for the billions of dollars states and counties spend on prisoner care. The growth of the for-profit prison care industry raises questions. Some critics say privatization, itself, is a faulty strategy, regardless of which company is hired. "The problem is a structure that creates incentives to cut corners and deny care to powerless people that have no other options," said David Fathi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's National Prison Project. [Corizon] generated $1.4 billion in revenue in 2013 and is owned by a Chicago private equity management firm.

Note: The above article shows that lawsuits and investigations in Arizona, Florida, Maine, Minnesota, and New York have all uncovered escalating inmate deaths related to Corizon's for-profit medical services. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about systemic corruption in the prison industry.


Warrior cops on steroids: How post-9/11 hysteria created a policing monster
2014-08-15, Salon
http://www.salon.com/2014/08/15/warrior_cops_on_steroids_how_post_911_hysteri...

Sometime after 9/11 strange stories began to emerge about small town police agencies all over the nation receiving grants from the newly formed Department of Homeland Security to buy all kinds of high-tech equipment to fight terrorism. As Radley Balko thoroughly documented in his book Rise of the Warrior Cop the military industrial complex has created a new industry: the police industrial complex. Since 9/11 the United States has been spending vast sums of money through DHS to outfit the state and local authorities with surveillance and military gear ostensibly to fight the terrorist threat at home. What we have been seeing in Ferguson, Missouri, these past few days is largely a result of that program and an entire industry has grown up around it. In less than a month a group of militarized police equipment vendors across the nation will be gathering for an annual confab called Urban Shield in Oakland, California. It features dozens of sponsors, from the Department of Homeland Security and police agencies all over the country to such vendors as Armored Mobility Inc. The Department of Homeland Security disburses somewhere in the vicinity of $3 billion a year for this sort of thing. Add in the loot thats legally appropriated by police agencies in the war on drugs and you have a massive incentive to turn the streets of Ferguson, Missouri ... into a scene that looks more like the siege of Fallujah. Weve been spending billions of taxpayer dollars for decades to turn the streets of urban America into a war zone at the merest hint of dissent. And now its here.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing military corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Guiding Rage Into Power
2014-06-30, Daily Good
http://www.dailygood.org/story/770/guiding-rage-into-power-janis-daddona

Us versus them is not a paradigm that Jacques Verduin buys into. As the founder and director of the prison program Insight-Out, he believes that prison serves a purpose for people who cannot contain themselves when they act dangerously, but he has also learned that none of us is much different from the incarcerated. Thankfully Jacques has shown that the empowerment and transformation of prisoners is a big part of what prison reform looks like, and San Quentin State Prison has become a successful social experiment that is one of the best-kept secrets around. His programs, the Insight Prison Project and Insight-Out, are teaching prisoners to transform rage and pain into a positive force in the prison community as well as their own neighborhoods. In a year-long program participants make bonds with each other that transcend age [and] racial, economic, and gang differences. It takes time, but as group members get comfortable with the concept, they practice sitting in the fire. As Jacques explains, By sitting with their own primary painthe pain that initiated them into a suppression of their feelingsand their secondary painthe pain associated with hurting othersthey find strength in the midst of their overwhelming emotions. They need a support system to share their struggle of living up to these expectations. Shame runs deep in all of us. We all need a support system to help us connect with our wounded but more authentic self. Rather than fix ourselves, which assumes something is wrong with us, lets accept and talk about our warts. By being vulnerable we take the power out of shame. Thats where authenticity lies.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Ex-deputy details culture of abuse in L.A. County jail
2014-06-04, Los Angeles Times
http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-deputy-trial-20140604-story.html

The deputy described beating inmates unprovoked, slapping them, shooting them with a Taser gun and aggressively searching them to pick a fight something he learned "on the job." He would huddle with other jail guards to get their stories straight and write up reports with bogus scenarios justifying the brutality. If the inmate had no visible injuries, he wouldn't report the use of force, period. He did all this with impunity, former Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Gilbert Michel testified ..., knowing that even if inmates reported the abuse it "wouldn't go anywhere." If they were to put it in writing and drop it in a complaint box, it was his fellow deputies who opened that box too. Michel, 40, took the stand at the obstruction of justice trial of six sheriff's officials accused of impeding a federal civil rights investigation into allegations of excessive force at L.A. County jails. Michel, the first sheriff's deputy to be charged in the wide-reaching, ongoing investigation, faces a maximum of 10 years in prison after pleading guilty in 2012 to a count of bribery and agreeing to cooperate with federal prosecutors. Michel ... described a culture among deputies guarding the high-security floors of the jails that led to excessive force and frequent coverups. He matter-of-factly recounted incidents in which he said he and at least five other sheriff's employees brutalized inmates on the third, or "3000," floor of Men's Central Jail, then falsified reports to legitimize their actions.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing prison corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Netherlands face prison undercrowding crisis
2014-04-11, CBS News/Associated Press
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/netherlands-face-prison-undercrowding-crisis/

The Dutch government is facing an unusual crisis: Prison undercrowding. There are now more guards and other prison staff than there are prisoners in the Netherlands for the first time, according to data released by the Justice Ministry. In 2008, there were around 15,000 inmates, in a country of 17 million. As of March of this year, there were just 9,710 inmates remaining, compared with 9,914 guards. And the number of inmates included 650 Belgian criminals the Netherlands is housing as part of a temporary deal. In the U.S., the figure is more like one guard or staff member per five prisoners. The overall U.S. incarceration rate is more than 10 times higher. Justice Ministry spokesman Jochgem van Opstal said "we're studying what the reason for the decline is." The ministry is already in the process of closing prisons and cutting 3,500 staff. Last week, labor union Abvakabo FNV slammed the cuts, saying they were leading to "staffing shortages." "At this moment you can't say there is any safety in Dutch prisons," union leader Corrie van Brenk said in an interview with Dutch broadcaster NOS. "It's an explosive situation." The government has rejected the criticism, saying violent incidents at prisons have been declining. One change politicians are considering is ending a practice of granting probation to criminals once they have served two-thirds of their sentences.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.


The heir, the judge and the homeless mom: America's prison bias for the 1%
2014-04-02, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/02/dupont-heir-homeless-mom...

In 2009, when Robert H Richard IV, an unemployed heir to the DuPont family fortune, pled guilty to fourth-degree rape of his three-year-old daughter, a judge spared him a justifiable sentence indeed, only put Richard on probation because she figured this 1-percenter would "not fare well" in a prison setting. Richards ex-wife filed a new lawsuit accusing him of also sexually abusing their son. Since then, the original verdict has been fueling some angry speculation ... that the defendant's wealth and status may have played a role in his lenient sentencing. Inequality defines our criminal justice system just as it defines our society. It always has and it always will until we do something about it. America incarcerates more people than any other country on the planet, with over 2m currently in prison and more than 7m under some form of correctional supervision. More than 60% are racial and ethnic minorities, and the vast majority are poor. There is an abundance of evidence ... that both conscious and unconscious bias permeate every aspect of the criminal justice system, from arrests to sentencing and beyond. Unsurprisingly, this bias works in favor of wealthy (and white) defendants, while poor minorities routinely suffer. In August of last year the Sentencing Project, a non-profit devoted to criminal justice reform, released a comprehensive report on bias in the system. This is the sentence you need to remember: "The United States in effect operates two distinct criminal justice systems: one for wealthy people and another for poor people and minorities."

Note: For more on systemic injustice within the US prison/industrial complex, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


Feds: 18 LA sheriff's deputies face charges
2013-12-09, CBS News/Associated Press
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/18-la-sheriffs-deputies-face-us-charges/

Federal officials on [December 9] unsealed five criminal cases filed against 18 current and former Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies as part of an FBI investigation into allegations of civil rights abuses and corruption in the nation's largest jail system. Four grand jury indictments and a criminal complaint allege unjustified beatings of jail inmates and visitors at downtown Los Angeles jail facilities, unjustified detentions and a conspiracy to obstruct a federal investigation into misconduct at the Men's Central Jail. The FBI has been investigating allegations of excessive force and other misconduct at the county's jails since at least 2011. [An] official said the arrests were related to the abuse of individuals in the jail system and also allegations that sheriff's officials moved an FBI informant in the jails possibly to thwart their probe. Among those charged with conspiracy and obstruction of justice in the 18-page indictment are two lieutenants, one of whom oversaw the department's safe jails program and another who investigated allegations of local crimes committed by sheriff's personnel, two sergeants and three deputies. All seven are accused of trying to prevent the FBI from contacting or interviewing an inmate who was helping federal agents in a corruption and civil rights probe. In an attempt to find out more information about the investigation, one lieutenant and the two sergeants sought a court order to compel the FBI to provide documents, prosecutors said. When a state judge denied the proposed order, the two sergeants allegedly attempted to intimidate one of the lead FBI agents outside her house and falsely told her they were going to seek a warrant for her arrest, the indictment said.

Note: For more on government corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


Are Prisons Bleeding Us Dry?
2013-12-01, The Daily Beast/Newsweek
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/12/01/are-prisons-bleeding-us-dry....

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants to introduce a mandatory prison sentence for anyone caught with an illegal firearm. But reams of data shows that incarceration creates more crime. One in 100 adults in the U.S. lives behind bars. One in nine African-American men are imprisoned. This countrys addiction to incarceration has not made us safer, but has instead imposed upon us an untenable, senseless tax while unfairly targeting poor communities of color and perpetuating crime and violence in our neighborhoods. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and activists on the left and the right are taking action to roll back imprisonment rates. Chicagos communities have been ravaged by mass imprisonment. The U.S. currently has the dubious distinction of having the highest per capita incarceration rate in the world. And communities on Chicagos West and South sides have incarceration rates that are doubleand sometimes triplethe national average. This is not because more crime occurs in these neighborhoods. A National Institute of Health study that focused on the effects of mass incarceration on Chicagos neighborhoods found that communities marked by poverty and racial segregation experience incarceration rates that are more than three times higher communities with similar crime rates.

Note: For more on the devastating impacts on society of the government-prison-industrial complex, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


America locks up too many people, some for acts that should not even be criminal
2010-07-22, The Economist magazine
http://economist.com/node/16640389

America is different from the rest of the world in lots of ways, many of them good. One of the bad ones is its willingness to lock up its citizens. One American adult in 100 festers behind bars (with the rate rising to one in nine for young black men). Its imprisoned population, at 2.3m, exceeds that of 15 of its states. No other rich country is nearly as punitive as the Land of the Free. The rate of incarceration is a fifth of Americas level in Britain, a ninth in Germany and a twelfth in Japan. Americas incarceration rate has quadrupled since 1970. Similar things have happened elsewhere. The incarceration rate in Britain has more than doubled, and that in Japan increased by half, over the period. But the trend has been sharper in America than in most of the rich world, and the disparity has grown. It is explained neither by a difference in criminality (the English are slightly more criminal than Americans, though less murderous), nor by the success of the policy: Americas violent-crime rate is higher than it was 40 years ago. Many states have mandatory minimum sentences, which remove judges discretion to show mercy, even when the circumstances of a case cry out for it. Three strikes laws, which were at first used to put away persistently violent criminals for life, have in several states been applied to lesser offenders.

Note: For a recent report on the size of the US prison population in comparison with other countries, click here.


Why We Must Fix Our Prisons
2009-03-29, Parade magazine
http://www.parade.com/news/2009/03/why-we-must-fix-our-prisons.html

America's criminal justice system has deteriorated to the point that it is a national disgrace. Its irregularities and inequities cut against the notion that we are a society founded on fundamental fairness. Our failure to address this problem has caused the nation's prisons to burst their seams with massive overcrowding, even as our neighborhoods have become more dangerous. We are wasting billions of dollars and diminishing millions of lives. We need to fix the system. Doing so will require a major nationwide recalculation of who goes to prison and for how long and of how we address the long-term consequences of incarceration. The United States has by far the world's highest incarceration rate. With 5% of the world's population, our country now houses nearly 25% of the world's reported prisoners. We currently incarcerate 756 inmates per 100,000 residents, a rate nearly five times the average worldwide of 158 for every 100,000. All told, about one in every 31 adults in the United States is in prison, in jail, or on supervised release. This all comes at a very high price to taxpayers: Local, state, and federal spending on corrections adds up to about $68 billion a year. Our overcrowded, ill-managed prison systems are places of violence, physical abuse, and hate, making them breeding grounds that perpetuate and magnify the same types of behavior we purport to fear. Post-incarceration re-entry programs are haphazard or, in some places, nonexistent, making it more difficult for former offenders who wish to overcome the stigma of having done prison time and become full, contributing members of society.

Note: The author of this analysis, Senator Jim Webb (D. Va.), is a PARADE Contributing Editor and the author of nine books, including A Time to Fight.


U.S. tops world in prison inmates
2008-02-29, San Francisco Chronicle/Washington Post
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/02/29/MN98VARN7.DTL

More than 1 percent of adult Americans are in jail or prison, an all-time high that is costing state governments nearly $50 billion a year, in addition to more than $5 billion spent by the federal government, according to a report released Thursday. With more than 2.3 million people behind bars at the start of 2008, the United States leads the world in both the number and the percentage of residents it incarcerates, leaving even far more populous China a distant second, noted the report by the nonpartisan Pew Center on the States. The ballooning prison population is largely the result of tougher state and federal sentencing laws enacted since the mid-1980s. Minorities have been hit particularly hard: One in 9 black men age 20 to 34 is behind bars. For black women age 35 to 39, the figure is 1 in 100, compared with 1 in 355 white women in the same age group. When it comes to preventing repeat offenses by nonviolent criminals - who make up about half of the incarcerated population - alternative punishments such as community supervision and mandatory drug counseling that are far less expensive may prove just as or more effective than jail time. About 91 percent of incarcerated adults are under state or local jurisdiction, and the report documents the trade-offs state governments have faced as they have devoted ever larger shares of their budgets to house them. For instance, over the past two decades, state spending on corrections (adjusted for inflation) increased by 127 percent, while spending on higher education rose by 21 percent.


Loaded Gun Found Smuggled Into Jail Where Jeffrey Epstein Killed Himself
2020-03-06, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/06/nyregion/jeffrey-epstein-gun-jail.html

Federal investigators on Thursday found a loaded gun that had been smuggled into the Manhattan jail where the financier Jeffrey Epstein hanged himself last summer while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges, officials said. The discovery of the gun at the jail, the Metropolitan Correctional Center, came amid a weeklong lockdown that began with a tip that a firearm might have been introduced into the building, according to a statement from the federal Bureau of Prisons. The gun was found in one of the jails housing units, the bureau said. The Metropolitan Correctional Center and other federal prisons across the United States have been dealing with rising levels of violence and other safety problems, including an influx of contraband. The problems have coincided with a push by the Trump administration, in its quest to shrink the federal government, to curtail prison hiring, according to a 2018 investigation by The New York Times. In at least one prison, The Times found, people regularly walked up to the double security fence in broad daylight, and, with no guards in sight, tossed weapons, drugs, cellphones and other items to inmates. But a gun is a rare and unique threat. The lockdown and ensuing search were part of the continuing fallout stemming from the suicide of Mr. Epstein in August. Lawyers for Mr. Epstein have challenged the New York City medical examiners finding that his death was a suicide.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on prison system corruption and Jeffrey Epstein from reliable major media sources.


DoNotPay can help ensure mail isn’t rejected before it reaches an inmate’s hands.
2020-10-21, FreeThink
https://www.freethink.com/articles/robot-lawyer

For many of the nearly 2.3 million incarcerated Americans, keeping in touch with people on the outside isn't easy. Though prisons and jails generally do allow inmates to call, email, or video chat with their loved ones, they also often charge exorbitant rates, which leaves physical mail as the best (and sometimes, only) option for people behind bars. Even then, inmates still sometimes don't receive the letters and cards sent by their loved ones because they violate the facility's mail rules, which vary from place to place and can dictate everything from acceptable paper sizes to writing implements. Now, a "robot lawyer" is making it easier for people to send letters to inmates by automating much of the process — just write your message, and it takes care of the rest. The robot lawyer is actually an AI-powered app called DoNotPay, and it's the brainchild of British-American entrepreneur Josh Browder. The robot lawyer ... can now help people dispute evictions, cancel subscriptions, and navigate small-claims court, all for a $3 monthly fee. On October 15, Browder unveiled DoNotPay's new prison mail feature. A user starts by entering the name of the person they want contact in the app's search tool. The robot lawyer then scans the roster of inmates in federal, state, county, or ICE detention centers, all at once. The user then chooses the design they want for the letter and writes their message. DoNotPay then prints the letter, following the facility's specifications, and mails it to the inmate along with the postage they need to send a letter back.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Pope Francis changes Catholic Church teaching to say death penalty is inadmissible
2018-08-02, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/pope-francis-changes-catholic-church-tea...

Pope Francis has changed Catholic Church teaching to fully reject the death penalty, the Vatican announced Thursday, saying it would work to abolish capital punishment worldwide. The revision to several sentences of the catechism, the compendium of Catholic beliefs, has the potential to recast debates around the world on how to handle those accused of the most heinous crimes. The churchs updated teaching describes capital punishment as inadmissible and an attack on the dignity of the person. Previously, the church allowed for the death penalty in very rare cases, only as a means of defending human lives against the unjust aggressor. Francis has for years been a vocal critic of the death penalty, calling it an inhuman measure. The Argentine pontiff has pointed to the churchs stance on the death penalty as evidence of how the Vatican can evolve: The church for centuries permitted executions, but in 1997, John Paul II dramatically narrowed the standards for when the punishment was permissible. Franciss latest move places the issue toward the forefront of his own efforts to overhaul and modernize the Roman Catholic Churchs approach to social justice. The full political significance of the new teaching stands to emerge slowly, as priests and bishops speak more clearly about the death penalty to planets 1.2 billion Catholics. Because the practice has already been abolished in most countries with large Catholic populations ... the United States is among the places where the shift could have the greatest consequence.

Note: In 2014, a major study found that about 300 wrongfully-convicted people had been executed in the US between 1973 and 2004. from reliable major media sources. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing prison system corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


'Calls From Home': How one Kentucky radio station connects inmates and families
2018-02-09, Christian Science Monitor
https://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Society/2018/0209/Calls-From-Home-How-one-Kentu...

Tom Sexton leans forward into a microphone. Coming up by request, he says in a softened-for-radio Appalachian drawl, going out to Sporty Black from his wife, this is Kendrick Lamar with LOVE. The melodic R&B track then begins to emanate from the heart of this small eastern Kentucky town. Tonights shows are targeted for a very specific audience. People like Sporty Black. More than 5,000 men are incarcerated in the six federal and state prisons in the broadcasting range of WMMT. Every week, for almost 20 years, the station has produced a show called Calls From Home that broadcasts recorded messages from the inmates friends and family members. WMMT bills itself as a 24 hour voice of mountain people, and as far as the station is concerned, if the inmates can tune in, then they are mountain people too. Theyre here and part of our communities, says Elizabeth Sanders, WMMTs co-general manager. Anything we can do to help make the barriers between them and their families a little bit less, then were fulfilling part of our mission as the radio station here, she adds. The show has become something of a national phenomenon. Every Monday night calls flood in to the station. Some of the calls come with children discussing a report card, a happy birthday rendition, or more somber family news. The costs of calling prisons directly ... have been rising for years, reaching in excess of $10 a minute. Having a toll-free number can help families keep in touch a little bit more, says Sanders.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Inmate deaths reveal torturous use of Tasers
2017-12-06, Reuters
https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/usa-taser-jails/

Tasers have been misused or linked to accusations of torture or corporal punishment in U.S. prisons and jails. Reuters identified 104 deaths involving Tasers behind bars, nearly all since 2000 10 percent of a larger universe of more than 1,000 fatal law enforcement encounters in which the weapons were used. Of the 104 inmates who died, just two were armed. A third were in handcuffs or other restraints when stunned. In more than two-thirds of the 70 cases in which Reuters was able to gather full details, the inmate already was immobilized when shocked. Tasers have high potential for abuse behind bars, said U.S. Justice Department consultant Steve Martin, a former general counsel for the Texas Department of Corrections who has inspected more than 500 U.S. prisons and jails. When you inflict pain, serious pain, for the singular purpose of inflicting pain ... it meets the definition of the legal standard of excessive force, but its also torturous. San Bernardino County paid $2.8 million this year to nearly 40 current and former inmates to settle a series of lawsuits that included allegations Tasers were regularly used for torture at the countys West Valley Detention Center. The suits alleged an array of abuses at the 3,347-bed jail ... including guards stunning inmates in the genitals. Inmate John Hanson testified he was shocked nearly five times a day from February to March 2014 in surprise attacks as he delivered meals to inmates. Deputies were truly enjoying the control and affliction of pain, he said.

Note: For lots more, see the entire Reuters series on Tasers on this webpage. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on prison system corruption and non-lethal weapons.


Police arrest more people for marijuana use than for all violent crimes combined
2016-10-12, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/10/12/police-arrest-more-peo...

On any given day in the United States, at least 137,000 people sit behind bars on simple drug-possession charges, according to a report released Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch. Nearly two-thirds of them are in local jails. The report says that most of these jailed inmates have not been convicted of any crime: They're sitting in a cell, awaiting a day in court, an appearance that may be months or even years off, because they can't afford to post bail. "It's been 45 years since the war on drugs was declared, and it hasn't been a success," lead author Tess Borden of Human Rights Watch said in an interview. "Rates of drug use are not down. Drug dependency has not stopped. Every 25 seconds, we're arresting someone for drug use." Federal figures on drug arrests and drug use over the past three decades tell the story. Drug-possession arrests skyrocketed, from fewer than 200 arrests for every 100,000 people in 1979 to more than 500 in the mid-2000s. The drug-possession rate has since fallen slightly ... hovering near 400 arrests per 100,000 people. Police make more arrests for marijuana possession alone than for all violent crimes combined. The report finds that the laws are enforced unequally, too. Over their lifetimes, black and white Americans use illicit drugs at similar rates. But black adults were more than 2 times as likely to be arrested for drug possession. The report calls for decriminalizing the personal use and possession of drugs, treating it as a public-health matter.

Note: This latest report adds to the evidence that the war on drugs is a trillion dollar failure. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in policing and in the prison system.


Judicial errors take high toll on inmates, taxpayers, report says
2016-03-09, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/crime/article/Judicial-errors-take-high-toll-on-inmates...

692 felony convictions in California ... were thrown out between 1989 and 2012 based on errors or misconduct by police, prosecutors, defense lawyers or judges, according to a new study by researchers at UC Berkeley and the University of Pennsylvania. The report ... didnt include misdemeanor cases, which amount to about 80 percent of all prosecutions, or juvenile cases. And it also excluded the costs of jailing people who were later released without charges, which may amount to $70 million a year, the report said. The study examined only records from California and ... looked at cases in which felony convictions were overturned and the defendants were later cleared. More than half the cases involved prosecutors wrongful withholding of evidence. One example was that of former Black Panther Elmer Geronimo Pratt. Pratt was convicted in 1972 of murdering schoolteacher Carolyn Olson [in 1968] and was sentenced to life in prison, based in part on [witness] testimony. He was freed in 1999 after a judge found that prosecutors had withheld evidence that the witness was an informant for the FBI, which was then trying to discredit Pratt as part of its Cointelpro campaign. The authors questioned long-standing laws that shield prosecutors from lawsuits by criminal defendants. They said they knew of no other profession that received immunity for intentional wrongdoing that gravely injures another.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the prison system.


FCC gives inmates price break on prison phone calls
2015-10-22, Miami Herald/Associated Press
http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/national/article40887486.html

The Federal Communications Commission voted to cap the price that phone companies can charge for calls to and from prison inmates, which they say can run up to a staggering $14 per minute. The rates for prison phone calls far exceed those of the general public, with the financial burden falling on the families of the more than 2 million incarcerated Americans. Under the new rules, scheduled to go into effect in early 2016, most prison inmates will not be charged more than 11 cents per minute for any call. The rules will ... also curb the extra charges that can often tack on up to an extra 70 percent, according to the commission. The truth is that each of us is paying a heavy price for what is now a predatory, scaled market regime, said Democratic FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn. Not one of us here would ever consider paying $500 a month for a voice-only service where calls are dropped routinely for no reason. While they dont ban them outright, the new FCC rules also strongly discourage what they describe as kickbacks, the commission phone companies usually pay correctional facilities to win lucrative phone service contracts. Incarceration is a policy choice, and its imminently unfair to then ask the families to pay for the correctional budgets, said Aleks Kajstura, legal director at the Prison Policy Initiative ... citing the case of one inmate who faced a $56 bill for a four-minute conversation with a pro bono attorney.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing prison industry corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Dont Get Cancer if Youre in Prison
2015-07-22, Newsweek
http://www.newsweek.com/2015/07/31/dont-get-cancer-if-youre-prison-356010.html

There are constitutional requirements for providing adequate health care to our incarcerated populations. In 1976, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in Estelle v. Gamble that deliberate indifference to serious medical needs of prisoners constitutes the unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain ... proscribed by the Eighth Amendment. In 1993, in Helling v. McKinney, the court decided that prison officials cannot expose inmates to environments that pose an unreasonable risk of serious damage to their future health. Since then, however, frequent reports and lawsuits ... strongly suggest that many U.S. prisons and jails have ignored these rulings. Allegations of subpar care in Arizona provide a good example of how correctional health care dysfunction puts cancer patients at extreme risk. In March 2012, the ACLU and allied prisoners rights groups filed a lawsuit against the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) and several state officials [that] points to several cases of what it describes as poorly treated, or untreated, cancer. The American Friends Service Committee-Arizona released a report in October 2013 [which] found that some 105 prisoners died in custody from March 2012 to June 2013. The AFSC studied 14 deaths in depth. Six involved metastatic cancers. This clearly indicates that the conditions were long-standing and suggests that these deaths might have been preventable had the individuals received more timely care, the report charges.

Note: In 2013, the ADC terminated its contract with prison health contractor Wexford. A billion dollar company named Corizon then got the lucrative contract. According to the New York Times, inmate deaths increase at Corizon-serviced facilities. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about the corrupt prison industry.


Mass Incarceration Is Destroying America
2015-07-21, Time Magazine
http://time.com/3965245/john-legend-mass-incarceration/

America ... is indecently over-incarcerated. We lock up far more people per capita than any nation even close to our size: roughly 2.4 million men, women, and children. The financial toll of mass incarceration is irresponsible; the human toll is unconscionable. Just 40 years ago, our incarceration rates were much lower, and on par with our peer nations. Since then, however, our prison population has ballooned by about 700%. What happened? We launched the so-called War on Drugs. Criminalizing drug abuse only further shatters people and families that are already in pieces. Our criminal-justice system ... takes people whom we have failed since birth subjecting them to substandard food, poor living conditions, failing schools, unsafe communities and then tries to correct them through inhumane, over-punitive treatment. For four decades, we have embraced the lie that incarceration ... protects us. Mass incarceration does not make us safer; it makes us more vulnerable. It destroys communities, wastes resources, separates families, ruins lives. It is the result of policies that criminalize poverty and make prisons and jails become warehouses for deeply damaged people with little or no access to mental health or substance abuse treatment. Instead, lets invest those resources in our neighbors and family members so they dont end up in the system to begin with, and if they do, so they can get back on their feet.

Note: What is not mentioned here is the role of the greedy prison-industrial complex which has privatized prisons and made imprisoning people profitable. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about the corrupt prison industry built upon by systematic violations of civil rights.


Report: Judge said du Pont heir wouldn't "fare well" in prison
2014-03-31, CBS News
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/report-judge-says-du-pont-heir-wont-fare-well-in-...

A judge who sentenced a wealthy du Pont heir to probation in the rape of his three-year-old daughter said in court documents that he would "not fare well" in prison. The rape case against Robert H. Richards IV became public this month after his ex-wife reportedly filed a lawsuit seeking damages for the abuse of his daughter. According to a lawsuit filed by his ex-wife, Richards raped his daughter, now 11, in 2005 when she was 3, telling her "to keep what he had done to her a secret." The girl told her grandmother in October 2007, and Richards pleaded guilty in June 2008 to one count of fourth-degree rape to avoid jail time, court records show. The lawsuit also alleged that Richards abused his toddler son. Superior Court Judge Jan Jurden's sentencing order for Richards suggested that he needed treatment instead of prison time and considered unique circumstances when deciding his fate, reports the [News Journal of Delaware]. Attorney General Beau Biden initially indicted Richards on two counts of second-degree rape of a child, punishable by ten years in prison for each count. But as part of a plea agreement days before his 2008 trial, Richards pleaded guilty to fourth-degree rape -- reportedly a Class C violent felony that can bring up to 15 years in prison, though guidelines suggest zero to 2 1/2 years. At Richards' 2009 sentencing, prosecutor Renee Hrivnak recommended probation. Richards, a great-grandson of du Pont patriarch Irenee du Pont, is unemployed and supported by a trust fund, [and] owns a 5,800-square-foot mansion in Greenville and a home in the exclusive North Shores neighborhood near Rehoboth Beach.

Note: For more on sexual abuse scandals, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


Serco: the company that is running Britain
2013-07-29, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/jul/29/serco-biggest-company-never-h...

In May this year, a huge company listed on the London Stock Exchange found itself in the midst of controversy about a prison it runs for the government Thameside, a newly built jail ... in south-east London. Two months later, the same company was the subject of a high- profile report published by the House Of Commons. Again, the verdict was damning: data had been falsified, national standards had not been met, there was a culture of "lying and cheating", and the service offered to the public was simply "not good enough". Three weeks ago, there came grimmer news. The company ... was one of two contractors that had somehow overcharged the government for its services, possibly by as much as 50m; The firm that links these three stories together is Serco. Its range of activities, here and abroad, is truly mind-boggling. As a private firm it's not open to Freedom of Information requests, so looking into the details of what it does is fraught with difficulty. But the basic facts are plain enough. As well as five British prisons and the tags attached to over 8,000 English and Welsh offenders, Serco sees to two immigration removal centres. You'll also see its logo on the Docklands Light Railway and Woolwich ferry. But even this is only a fraction of the story. Serco is responsible for air traffic control in the United Arab Emirates, parking-meter services in Chicago, driving tests in Ontario, and an immigration detention centre on Christmas Island.

Note: Serco is possibly the largest company you've never heard of. Did you know that the Obama administration awarded Serco a $1.25 billion contract to help implement online health insurance exchanges under Obamacare, as reported in this Reuters article? Watch this video to see just how powerful and pervasive they are.


Police shootings rise as crime falls
2012-06-17, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/06/15/INLN1MO222.DTL

It's a curious paradox: Crime rates continue to fall in California, but the number of people killed by the police keeps rising. In Los Angeles County, for example, the number of 2011 homicides was a historic low of 612 people. But the number of fatal police shootings skyrocketed by nearly 70 percent that same year, to 54. That number of fatal shootings by officers was almost equal to 10 percent of the county's homicides last year. Los Angeles is not alone. Nationwide, officer-involved shootings are on the rise, with cities as disparate as Dallas and Albuquerque registering sharp spikes in fatal police shootings. What's going on? It's too soon to know whether 2011 was just an unusual year or the start of a trend. In 2011, 72 officers across the country were killed by perpetrators - a 75 percent increase from 2008. This rough equation makes some sense - if the police are encountering suspects who are more likely to fire on them, they're going to fire back. California is struggling with decades-old budget decisions that have left far too many mentally ill people out on the street, where they can be a danger to themselves and others. Police officers, not caseworkers, are all too often first responders to the mentally unstable. [And] California's ... draconian sentencing laws - followed by prison overcrowding and early release programs - haven't made anyone safer. Legislators and governors have tinkered around the edges of these issues without attempting a full overhaul, but a full overhaul is what the state needs.

Note: For more on corruption within the judicial system and "prison-industrial complex," click here.


Corrections Corp of America on Buying Spree - State Prisons For Sale?
2012-02-14, Forbes
http://www.forbes.com/sites/walterpavlo/2012/02/14/corrections-corp-of-americ...

Corrections Corporation of America ... president and CEO, Damon Hininger, [spoke] in a conference call with analysts ... about the recent purchase (January 2012) of a state prison in Ohio. CCA purchased the Lake Erie Correctional Institution for $72.7 million as part of Governor John Kashichs ... prison privatization program. According to a press release from the state, tax payers will realize an estimated $3 million in annual savings. CCA is not stopping at Ohio though. CCAs Chief Corrections Officer Harvey Lappin, former Director of the Bureau of Prisons who joined CCA less than a year ago, is making similar offers to buy prisons in other states. CCA offers to buy the states prison with cash up front in exchange for a 20-year management contract plus an assurance that the prison will remain 90% full over that period. In Ohios case, that meant that for the big chunk of cash up front, it would guarantee payments to CCA for 20 years for inmate per diem, occupancy fee ($3 million/year) and a guarantee that the minimum inmate population would be no less than 90% of capacity. Selling the facility has its downfalls. Once a state has sold its facility, it leaves little opportunity to contract with another prison management company in the event of a dispute or to save money. CCA, in the case of buying a prison, could be in the drivers seat to dictate prison policy to the state.

Note: For revealing reports from major media sources on corruption in the prison-industrial complex, click here.


Mexican Officials Say Prisoners Acted as Hit Men
2010-07-26, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/26/world/americas/26mexico.html

Prisoners in a northern Mexico jail were allowed out at night to carry out murder-for-hire jobs using jail guards weapons and vehicles, officials said [on July 25], revealing a level of corruption that is stunning even in a country where prison breakouts are common as guards look the other way. The prisoners carried out three massacres this year in the city of Torren in which 35 people were killed, Ricardo Njera, the spokesman for the attorney generals office, said at a news conference. Among them, the authorities said, was last weeks attack on birthday revelers at a party hall. The gang shot randomly into the crowd, they said, killing 17 people. Ballistics studies confirmed that four guns used in the shooting were the same as those assigned to jail guards, Mr. Njera said. The criminals carried out their executions as part of a settling of scores against members of rival gangs linked to organized crime, he said. Unfortunately, in these executions the criminals also cowardly murdered innocent civilians and then returned to their cells.


Ex-US judge pleads guilty to child prison scam
2010-07-23, BBC News
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-10747919

Former Pennsylvania judge Michael Conahan has pleaded guilty to a racketeering conspiracy charge for helping put juvenile defendants behind bars in exchange for bribes. He is accused along with former judge Mark Ciavarella of taking $2.8m (1.8m) from a profit-making detention centres. Prosecutors in a federal court in Scranton, Pennsylvania, said Conahan had closed a county-owned juvenile detention centre in 2002, just before signing an agreement to use a for-profit centre. Prosecutors say Mr Ciavarella, a former juvenile court judge, then allegedly worked with Mr Conahan to ensure a constant flow of detainees. The two men were originally charged in early 2009 with accepting money from the builder and owner of a for-profit detention centre that housed county juveniles in exchange for giving children longer, harsher sentences. A spokeswoman for the non-profit Juvenile Law Center alleges that Mr Ciavarella gave excessively harsh sentences to 1,000-2,000 juveniles between 2003 and 2006. Some of the children were shackled, denied lawyers, and pulled from their homes for offences which included stealing change from cars and failure to appear as witnesses.

Note: To understand just how corrupt our judicial system is, watch Consipiracy of Silence at this link.


Drugs in Portugal: Did Decriminalization Work?
2009-04-26, Time Magazine
http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1893946,00.html

Portugal [in] in 2001 became the first European country to officially abolish all criminal penalties for personal possession of drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine. At the recommendation of a national commission charged with addressing Portugal's drug problem, jail time was replaced with the offer of therapy. People found guilty of possessing small amounts of drugs are sent to a panel consisting of a psychologist, social worker and legal adviser for appropriate treatment (which may be refused without criminal punishment), instead of jail. The recently released results of a report commissioned by the Cato Institute ... found that in the five years after personal possession was decriminalized, illegal drug use among teens in Portugal declined and rates of new HIV infections caused by sharing of dirty needles dropped, while the number of people seeking treatment for drug addiction more than doubled. "Judging by every metric, decriminalization in Portugal has been a resounding success," says Glenn Greenwald, an attorney, author and fluent Portuguese speaker, who conducted the research. "It has enabled the Portuguese government to manage and control the drug problem far better than virtually every other Western country does." Compared to the European Union and the U.S., Portugal's drug use numbers are impressive. Following decriminalization, Portugal had the lowest rate of lifetime marijuana use in people over 15 in the E.U.: 10%. The most comparable figure in America is in people over 12: 39.8%. Proportionally, more Americans have used cocaine than Portuguese have used marijuana.

Note: For an inspiring interview with a sociologist who serves on one of the drug commissions in Portugal, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.


Pennsylvania rocked by 'jailing kids for cash' scandal
2009-02-23, CNN
http://articles.cnn.com/2009-02-23/justice/pennsylvania.corrupt.judges_1_dete...

At a friend's sleepover more than a year ago, 14-year-old Phillip Swartley pocketed change from unlocked vehicles in the neighborhood to buy chips and soft drinks. The cops caught him. There was no need for an attorney, said Phillip's mother, Amy Swartley, who thought at most, the judge would slap her son with a fine or community service. But she was shocked to find her eighth-grader handcuffed and shackled in the courtroom and sentenced to a youth detention center. Then, he was shipped to a boarding school for troubled teens for nine months. The justice system in Luzerne County, in the heart of Pennsylvania's struggling coal country, has also fallen prey to corruption. The county has been rocked by a kickback scandal involving two elected judges who essentially jailed kids for cash. Many of the children had appeared before judges without a lawyer. The nonprofit Juvenile Law Center in Philadelphia said Phillip is one of at least 5,000 children over the past five years who appeared before former Luzerne County President Judge Mark Ciavarella. Ciavarella pleaded guilty earlier this month to federal criminal charges of fraud and other tax charges, according to the U.S. attorney's office. Former Luzerne County Senior Judge Michael Conahan also pleaded guilty to the same charges. The two secretly received more than $2.6 million, prosecutors said.

Note: Yet another example of corruption in the legal system. Sadly, federal officers of high rank are often as easily overcome by greed as the average person.


Pa. judges accused of jailing kids for cash
2009-02-11, MSNBC/Associated Press
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29142654

For years, the juvenile court system in Wilkes-Barre [PA] operated like a conveyor belt: Youngsters were brought before judges without a lawyer, given hearings that lasted only a minute or two, and then sent off to juvenile prison for months for minor offenses. The explanation, prosecutors say, was corruption on the bench. In one of the most shocking cases of courtroom graft on record, two Pennsylvania judges have been charged with taking millions of dollars in kickbacks to send teenagers to two privately run youth detention centers. Ive never encountered, and I dont think that we will in our lifetimes, a case where literally thousands of kids lives were just tossed aside in order for a couple of judges to make some money, said Marsha Levick, an attorney with the Philadelphia-based Juvenile Law Center, which is representing hundreds of youths sentenced in Wilkes-Barre. Prosecutors say Luzerne County Judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan took $2.6 million in payoffs to put juvenile offenders in lockups run by PA Child Care LLC and a sister company, Western PA Child Care LLC. The judges were charged on Jan. 26 and removed from the bench by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court shortly afterward. The high court ... is looking into whether hundreds or even thousands of sentences should be overturned. Among the offenders were teenagers who were locked up for months for stealing loose change from cars, writing a prank note and possessing drug paraphernalia. Many had never been in trouble before. Some were imprisoned even after probation officers recommended against it.

Note: For many insights into government corruption from reliable sources, click here.


U.S. Prison Study Faults System and the Public
2006-06-08, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/07/AR20060607020...

Not only are America's prisons and jails largely failing the 13.5 million adults who pass through them each year, but the American public is also failing the prisons and jails. Politicians have passed laws dramatically increasing the inmate population to 2.2 million on a given day without understanding life behind bars or funding programs likely to help prisoners return home and not commit more crimes. Even the data that would help specialists make sense of U.S. crime and punishment are lacking. "We should be astonished by the size of the prisoner population, troubled by the disproportionate incarceration of African-Americans and Latinos, and saddened by the waste of human potential," [a] panel said in a report to be presented to Congress. The recent boom in imprisonment has not always made Americans safer. Each year, the United States spends an estimated $60 billion on corrections. The report...finds too much violence and too little medical and mental health care, as well as a "desperate need for the kinds of productive activities that discourage violence and make rehabilitation possible." Studies...suggest that the most accurate indicator of a successful return to society is the inmate's connection to family. The panel described the high-security segregation of inmates as "counter-productive," often leading to greater prison violence and more serious crimes upon release.

Note: Certain elite groups are making large profits on the dramatic increase in numbers of prisoners across the nation over the past two decades. The prison-industrial complex sadly draws very little media attention.


The world's biggest prison system
2006-04-07, BBC News
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4858580.stm

About the same time that President Bush was condemning the abuse of prisoners in Iraq as un-American, a year-long inquiry began into the mistreatment of prisoners at home. More than 2.1 million people are in jail in the US at any one time; that is about one in 140 Americans. One of the biggest drivers of the expanding population are the tough policies brought in over the last 20 years ... like the "three strikes" laws that hand out long, mandatory sentences to repeat offenders. Bland, bureaucratic phrases like management control or secured housing unit describe regimes where solitary confinement is an almost permanent way of life, with prisoners locked in spartan cells for at least 23 hours each day. Gary Harkins, is an officer at the maximum security Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem, and also a member of Corrections USA, a group which represents about 120,000 prison guards and opposes the growing number of private prisons. The roots of the problem may be closer to home, as suggested by words attributed to former Pennsylvania prison guard Charles Graner - ringleader of the Abu Ghraib abuses - which came out during court testimony. "The Christian in me says it's wrong, but the corrections officer in me says, 'I love to make a grown man piss himself.'"

Note: This article neglects to mention that prisons are a major industry bringing huge profits to government contractors. When profits are a driving force, the decisions made often do not reflect what is best for all involved.


Washington state governor OKs bill banning for-profit jails
2021-04-14, ABC News
https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/washington-state-governor-oks-bill-...

One of the country’s largest for-profit, privately run immigration jails would be shut down by 2025 under a bill signed Wednesday by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. The measure approved by the Washington Legislature bans for-profit detention centers in the state. The only facility that meets that definition is the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, a 1,575-bed immigration jail operated by the GEO Group under a contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. "Washington has not supported use of private prisons, and this bill continues that policy by prohibiting private detention facilities from operating in the state,” Inslee said before signing the bill. Washington joins several states, including California, Nevada, New York and Illinois, that have passed legislation aiming to reduce, limit or ban private prison companies from operating. But Washington is only the third — following Illinois and California — to include immigration facilities as part of that ban. “Widespread civil immigration detention is one of the greatest miscarriages of justice that currently exists in our political system,” Matt Adams, legal director at the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, said. “This bill is an important step towards rejecting the privatization and profiteering model of immigration detention centers that has pushed the massive expansion of immigration detention.” President Joe Biden has instructed the Justice Department not to renew contracts with private prisons, but that order doesn’t apply to the immigration detention system.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


ABC Four Corners: Gillian Triggs calls for inquiry into youth detention abuse
2016-07-26, Sydney Morning Herald (One of Australia's leading newspapers)
http://www.smh.com.au/national/abc-four-corners-gillian-triggs-calls-for-inqu...

The president of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Gillian Triggs, has called for an inquiry into juvenile detention after the ABC aired harrowing footage of apparent abuses of young people in custody in the Northern Territory. The program also prompted the leader of the NT, Adam Giles, to pledge he would seek advice on establishing a royal commission. The ABC's Four Corners program on Monday night aired footage of a 17-year-old boy, one of six boys tear-gassed at a juvenile detention centre near Darwin, being hooded and strapped to a mechanical restraint chair. The footage is part of a catalogue of evidence obtained by Four Corners of the repeated assault and mistreatment of boys at youth detention centres in the Northern Territory. Amnesty International has described the abuses carried out against children as shown in the Four Corners program as a violation of both the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention Against Torture. Julian Cleary, Indigenous rights campaigner at Amnesty International Australia, called for an end to the systemic abuse of children in youth detention. "To see a crying, distressed child seized by his neck, forced to the ground, manhandled, stripped naked by three grown men and left naked in a cell is just sickening," he said. "The footage of guards laughing at a child being tear-gassed and in distress defies belief." The NT has the highest rate of youth detention in Australia, and 95 per cent of detainees are Aboriginal.

Note: Unlike the US, Australia has signed and ratified The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. A follow-up article suggests that the UN may take action on prison system corruption in Australia.


Momentum builds to stop the automatic shackling of juveniles in court
2015-08-14, Christian Science Monitor
http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2015/0814/Momentum-builds-to-stop-the-au...

In some juvenile court systems around the country, young people regularly appear at hearings in handcuffs, leg irons, or both. But 21 states five this year alone have reformed such shackling practices. Skye Gosselin was 12 the first time court officers shackled her. She had been charged with disorderly conduct. At 14, she spent several hours handcuffed to another girl as she awaited her hearing, this time for skipping school. Then she was taken into court with metal bands wrapped around both her wrists and ankles, said the now-16-year-old. "The dehumanizing experience shaped not only how others saw me, but how I saw myself for many years. (It) made me think of myself as a criminal, [she said]. Children as young as 9 have been shackled, as have children who have been abused by their parents. Up to 100,000 youths are shackled each year. [Reformers] say the automatic use of restraints is not in line with the rehabilitative purpose of juvenile court, limits youths ability to participate in their defense, tends to hurt and humiliate them, and, in some cases, traumatizes them. It makes little sense that adult courts typically have to follow guidelines to determine if shackling is really needed, but juvenile courts in many states dont, says Shakyra Diaz, policy manager for the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio. The US Supreme Court has ruled that routine shackling of adults in court is unconstitutional because it can undermine the presumption of innocence.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing civil liberties news articles from reliable major media sources.


How mass incarceration creates million dollar blocks in poor neighborhoods
2015-07-30, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonkblog/wp/2015/07/30/how-mass-incarcerat...

[There is a] perverse form that public investment takes in many poor, minority neighborhoods: "million dollar blocks." Our penchant for incarcerating people has grown so strong that, in many cities, taxpayers frequently spend more than a million dollars locking away residents of a single city block. There are 851 blocks in Chicago where the public has committed more than a million dollars to sentencing residents to state prison. The total tops a million dollars for nonviolent drug offenses alone in 121 of those blocks. Most of Chicago's incarcerated residents come from and return to a small number of places. And in those places, the consequences of incarceration on everyone else children who are missing their parents, households that are missing their breadwinners, families who must support returning offenders who are now much harder to employ are concentrated, too. Million-dollar blocks exist too in New York and New Orleans and many big cities. When the spatial concentration of all this money is mapped ... the picture poses a critical question: What would happen if we poured the same resources into these same struggling parts of any city in very different ways? What if we spent $2.2 million dollars not removing residents from the corner of West Madison and Cicero but investing in the people who live there? Evidence suggests that such investments could do more to deter crime than locking people away.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about the corrupt prison industry.


Why most of the $100 million L.A. spends on homelessness goes to police
2015-04-17, Los Angeles Times
http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-homeless-cost-police-20150417-sto...

A report showing that more than half the $100 million the city of Los Angeles spends each year on homelessness goes to police demonstrates that the city is focused on enforcement rather than getting people off the streets. This city is doing almost nothing to advance housing solutions but continues down the expensive and inhumane process of criminalization that only makes the problem worse," said Becky Dennison of Los Angeles Community Action Network. Almost 15,000 people the LAPD arrested in 2013 were homeless, or 14% of those arrested, according to the report from the city administrative office. Labor costs for the arrests were estimated between $46 million and $80 million. Officer Deon Joseph, a longtime skid row senior lead officer ... said he frequently arrests the same people over and over because of the revolving door for mentally ill people and others between the jails and prisons and skid row. "I do not believe prison is the answer for most people struggling with mental issues," Joseph wrote. "Sadly in today's system we have to wait until they commit a violent crime to get them 'help' in a jail cell. The report ... was commissioned by the City Councils housing committee, which questioned why the homeless population grew 9% between 2011 and 2013 even as the city contributed millions to the homeless authority.

Note: When poverty and mental illness are criminalized, the prison industrial complex has an endless supply of slave labor under a corrupt government.


5 Links Between Higher Education and the Prison Industry
2014-06-18, Rolling Stone
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/5-links-between-higher-education-an...

American universities do a fine job of selling themselves as pathways to opportunity and knowledge. But follow the traffic of money and policies through these academic institutions and you'll often wind up at the barbed wire gates of Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO Group, the two largest private prison operators in the United States. A series of policies, appointments and investments knit America's universities into the widening net of the criminal justice system and the prison industrial complex. Institutions of higher education have now become a part of what sociologist Victor Rios has called the "youth control complex"a tightly bundled network of institutions that work insidiously and in harmony to criminalize young people of color. Here are five ways that universities buy into private prison companies. 1. Investing In Private Prisons: The clearest link between havens of higher education and private prisons, are direct investments of a university's endowment in CCA and GEO Group. Columbia University ... owns 230,432 shares of CCA stock worth $8 million. 2. College Applications: At many of American colleges and universities, children and young adults with criminal records need not apply. A Center for Community Alternatives report found that two thirds of colleges collect criminal justice information from their applicants. 5. Funding University Research: Private prisons [bankroll] university research to generate greater profits for their booming industry.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing prison-industrial complex news articles from reliable major media sources.


How lawmakers and lobbyists keep a lock on the private prison business
2012-09-27, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/sep/27/lawmakers-lobbyists-keep-...

America's three largest private prison companies ... spent in the region of $45m over the past 10 years in lobbying state and federal governments. During the same period, these companies saw their profits soar as they scored more government contracts. [Also] during the same period, various pieces of legislation got passed ensuring that immigrant detention, in particular, would remain a lucrative growth market. Thanks to mandatory sentencing laws and the "war on drugs", the prison population has exploded over the past 30 years to the point where it has become an untenable burden on state budgets. The private prison business [is] reliant on state and federal governments to provide them with their customer base: that is, bodies to fill their cells. The companies maintain that their lobbying efforts have nothing to do with this expansion and insist that it is their policy to "expressly prohibit their lobbyists from working to pass or oppose immigration legislation", such as the Arizona immigration bill SB1070, which provides for the mandatory detention of immigrants who cannot produce papers on request. [Then] where are the private prison firms spending those millions of lobbying dollars? A report compiled by the Justice Policy Institute issued in 2011 and using data from the National Institute on Money in State Politics found that between 2003 and 2010, the [Corrections Corporation of America] contributed a total of $1,552,350 to state election campaigns. Approximately half was to candidates, more than a third was to party committees and around one tenth was spent on ballot measures.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on corruption in the prison/industrial complex, click here.


Netherlands to close prisons for lack of criminals
2009-05-20, NRC International (One of the Netherlands' leading newspapers)
http://www.nrc.nl/international/article2246821.ece/Netherlands_to_close_priso...

The Dutch justice ministry has announced it will close eight prisons and cut 1,200 jobs in the prison system. A decline in crime has left many cells empty. During the 1990s the Netherlands faced a shortage of prison cells, but a decline in crime has since led to overcapacity in the prison system. The country now has capacity for 14,000 prisoners but only 12,000 detainees. Deputy justice minister Nebahat Albayrak announced on Tuesday that eight prisons will be closed. The overcapacity is a result of the declining crime rate, which the ministry's research department expects to continue for some time.

Note: Isn't it interesting that this country, which is one of the very few to have legalized marijuana and prostitution, has a shortage of criminals?


Private federal prisons more dangerous, damning DoJ investigation reveals
2016-08-12, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/aug/12/private-federal-prisons-more-...

Privately operated government prisons, which mostly detain migrants convicted of immigration offenses, are drastically more unsafe and punitive than other prisons in the federal system, a stinging investigation by the US Department of Justices inspector general has found. Inmates at these 14 contract prisons, the only centers in the federal prison system that are privately operated, were nine times more likely to be placed on lockdown than inmates at other federal prisons and were frequently subjected to arbitrary solitary confinement. In two of the three contract prisons investigators routinely visited, new inmates were automatically placed in solitary confinement as a way of combating overcrowding. The review also found that contract prison inmates were more likely to complain about medical care, treatment by prison staff and about the quality of food. These facilities house around 22,000 individuals, mostly deemed low risk, at an annual cost of $600m. They are operated by three private companies: Geo Group, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), and Management and Training Corporation (MTC). These facilities were also more dangerous than others in the federal system. For example, the report found that inmate on inmate assaults were 28% higher in contract prisons. This is the latest in a whole series of reports and investigations that have found very serious issues with Bureau of Prisons shadow systems of private prisons, said Carl Takei, a staff attorney with the ACLU.

Note: Immediately following this inspector general's investigation, the US Justice Department announced plans to phase out private federal prisons. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing prison system corruption news articles.


New York Announces 'Dramatic Reform' Of Solitary Confinement Rules
2015-12-16, NPR
http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/12/16/459983006/new-york-announce...

Finalizing the settlement of a class-action lawsuit that alleged overuse of solitary confinement, New York will change the way it handles such confinement in its prison system. The 79-page agreement ends a lawsuit filed by New York's ACLU chapter, which accused one of the largest prison systems in the country of using inhumane and torturous methods in dealing with prisoners. New York state will immediately move roughly 1,100 inmates into alternative programs. They will also develop training programs for corrections officers designed to encourage the use of forms of discipline and security other than isolation. Prisoners still held in solitary for more than 180 days will receive additional counseling, social time, and access to telephones. Today's change comes months after California changed how it handles solitary confinement, settling a lawsuit that said the practice of putting people in long-term isolation violates the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment. The New York settlement also includes a change in diet, requiring the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision "to replace the Loaf ... with a nutritious, calorie-sufficient, and palatable alternative meal composed of regular food items." Providing an example, the settlement says "a sack lunch consisting of fruit, cheese, cold cuts, sandwich bread, and coleslaw would meet the requirements of this subsection." That would be a step up from the notorious "Loaf," which The New York Times describes as "a foul-tasting brick."

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Unfair Phone Charges for Inmates
2014-01-07, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/07/opinion/unfair-phone-charges-for-inmates.html

The Federal Communications Commission ended a grave injustice last fall when it prohibited price-gouging by the private companies that provide interstate telephone service for prison and jail inmates. Thanks to the F.C.C. order, poor families no longer have to choose between paying for basic essentials and speaking to a relative behind bars. Research shows that inmates who keep in touch with their families have a better chance of fitting in back home once released. The commission now needs to be on the lookout for and crack down on, if necessary similar abuses involving newer communication technologies like person-to-person video chat, email and voice mail. Before the recent ruling, a 15-minute interstate telephone call from prison could easily cost a family as much as $17. The cost was partly driven by a commission a legalized kickback that telephone companies paid to state corrections departments. The commissions were calculated as a percentage of telephone revenue, or a fixed upfront fee, or a combination of both. The F.C.C. ruled that rates and fees may not include the commission payments that providers pay to prisons. It also set a cap for interstate calls: 25 cents a minute for collect calls and 21 cents a minute for prepaid and debit calls. And it required the companies to base charges on the actual costs of providing service.

Note: Another article further exposes this practice which pads the pockets of the jailers at the expense of inmates. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Pennsylvania judge gets 28 years in 'kids for cash' case
2011-08-11, MSNBC
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44105072/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts

A longtime judge has been ordered to spend nearly three decades in prison for his role in a massive juvenile justice bribery scandal that prompted the state's high court to toss thousands of convictions. Former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella Jr. was sentenced ... to 28 years in federal prison for taking $1 million in bribes from the builder of a pair of juvenile detention centers in a case that became known as "kids-for-cash." The Pennsylvania Supreme Court tossed about 4,000 convictions issued by Ciavarella between 2003 and 2008, saying he violated the constitutional rights of the juveniles, including the right to legal counsel and the right to intelligently enter a plea. Ciavarella, 61, was tried and convicted of racketeering charges earlier this year. Federal prosecutors accused Ciavarella and a second judge, Michael Conahan, of taking more than $2 million in bribes from the builder of the PA Child Care and Western PA Child Care detention centers and extorting hundreds of thousands of dollars from the facilities' co-owner. Ciavarella, known for his harsh and autocratic courtroom demeanor, filled the beds of the private lockups with children as young as 10, many of them first-time offenders convicted of petty theft and other minor crimes.

Note: For lots more from reliable sources on government and corporate corruption, click here and here.


Quaker Project Offers Inmates Alternatives to Violent Actions
1996-08-11, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/1996/08/11/nyregion/quaker-project-offers-inmates-alte...

Alternatives to Violence Project is a conflict-resolution workshop for inmates with a history of violent behavior at Sing Sing Correctional Facility. It is a program started by the Quakers in 1975 and still has strong Quaker involvement from meetings around the county. Each month the program conducts workshops at the prison for some of the most violent offenders in the New York State prison system. "Quakers have been involved in prison ministry for a long time because the founders like George Fox were incarcerated for civil disobedience," said Fred Feucht, 65, a Quaker from the Purchase Meeting and an outside coordinator for the project at the prison. Although the program is steeped in the nonviolent beliefs of the Quakers, most of the volunteers are not Quakers and believe that people need to learn conflict-resolution skills to avoid violence. "We grew out of the Quakers but we reached outside for most of our leaders," Mr. Feucht said. "A lot of our inside leaders are Muslims." Inside, leaders are inmates who have completed the ... workshops and now work as volunteers to conduct and administer the program. Volunteers in the project advocate that violence is the basic cause for people being incarcerated. Many remain involved with the program outside prison, and a group of former project facilitators formed a support group called the Landing Strip. With tougher sentencing laws today, repeat violent offenders may never be freed. For many graduates of the program, it is seen as a last chance.

Note: For more on this excellent program which is powerfully changing lives, watch this inspiring video and see their website.


Inside the Deadly Mississippi Riot That Pushed the Justice Department to Rein in Private Prisons
2016-12-17, The Intercept
https://theintercept.com/2016/12/17/inside-the-deadly-mississippi-riot-that-p...

For nearly two decades, the Bureau of Prisons has contracted with a handful of private companies to incarcerate thousands of non-U.S. citizens. Held in a dozen so-called criminal alien requirement prisons ... the inmates in private custody are, for the most part, locked up for immigration offenses or drug violations. CAR facilities have ... a track record of abuse and neglect. In August, it seemed that years of pressure [from advocacy organizations] had finally paid off, when the Justice Department announced it would begin phasing out private prisons. Under the DOJ directive, the facilities ... would see their contracts reduced or allowed to expire without renewal and the inmates in their custody transferred. Within hours of the announcement, the stocks of industry heavyweights Corrections Corporation of America and the GEO Group plummeted more than 35 percent. The momentum was short-lived. On November 9, as it became clear that Donald Trump had defeated Hillary Clinton in the race for the presidency, Fortune declared private prisons the biggest (stock market) winner in Trumps victory, noting a 49 percent surge in CCA stock. In the weeks that followed, Trump would tap Jeff Sessions as his choice for attorney general. Not only could Sessions ... undo the DOJs directive, but the plans promoted by Trump and his advisers threaten to drastically increase the number of people held by companies that have repeatedly demonstrated the conflict of profit motive when it comes to depriving people of physical liberty.

Note: Read the complete article above for a detailed account of the substandard conditions at a CCA facility which led to inmate and corrections officer deaths. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing prison system corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Louisiana, Prison Capital Of The World, Hosts Biggest US Prison Convention
2016-01-25, International Business Times
http://www.ibtimes.com/louisiana-prison-capital-world-hosts-biggest-us-prison...

The salesman stood outside the prison bus, inviting people inside for a brief tour. The price tag for such a vehicle? About $580,000. This bus, along with hundreds of other products and services, are on display this week at the American Correctional Associations annual winter conference in New Orleans. It has become the largest gathering of corrections personnel in the United States. The trade show ... offers a peek into the sprawling private industry around incarceration. Unlike other conventions, however, this convention is closed to the public, and the customers on the trade show floor are mostly prison wardens, jail officials and directors from state corrections agencies. The exhibitors are there to make their pitch for a slice of the $80 billion incarceration industry in the US. The companies aren't the only ones looking to earn money. In many states, sheriffs and wardens ... look to private companies to help pay the bills. They do this, in many cases, by taking commissions on revenue from goods sold to inmates - everything from phone calls and commissary goods to ... e-cigarettes. The whole idea of a system that exists for the purpose of keeping people locked up for profit creates all the wrong incentives, said Marjorie R. Esma, the executive director of the local American Civil Liberties Union in New Orleans. Such incentives, of course, can lead to more people in jail for petty crime. Look no further than Louisiana, which has been dubbed the prison capital of the world because of its high incarceration rates.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing prison system corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Study: Smaller Counties Driving US Jail Population Growth
2015-12-15, ABC/Associated Press
http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/study-smaller-counties-driving-us-jail-pop...

U.S. jails now hold nearly 700,000 inmates on any given day, up from 157,000 in 1970, and the Vera Institute of Justice found that smaller counties now hold 44 percent of the overall total, up from just 28 percent in 1978. Jail populations in mid-sized counties with populations of 250,000 to 1 million residents grew by four times and small-sized counties with 250,000 residents or less grew by nearly seven times, Vera's analysis shows. In that time large county jail populations grew by only about three times. Exactly what's behind that trend is not clear but experts say a range of factors likely contribute, from law enforcement's increased use of summonses and traffic tickets to the closing of state mental hospitals in that time. Unlike state prisons that hold inmates doing lengthy terms, local jails and county lockups are generally used to house pretrial detainees or those who have been sentenced to serve stints of a year or less for relatively minor crimes. Jail use continues to rise though crime rates have declined since peaking in 1991, the analysis shows. Blacks are jailed at nearly four times the rate of whites and the number of women locked up in jails has grown 14-fold since 1970, according to the Vera report. The number of jails with 1,000 beds or more has soared from 21 in 1970 to 145 in 2014, and the average number of days people stay locked up in jail has grown from nine in 1978 to 23 in 2014.

Note: Violent crime rates have dropped to 1/3 of what they were just 20 years ago. See an excellent graph on this. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on prison system corruption and the erosion of civil liberties.


Out of Debtors Prison, With Law as the Key
2015-03-27, New York Times Blog
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com//2015/03/27/shutting-modern-debtors-pris...

When Jack Dawley returned in 2007 to his hometown, Norwalk, Ohio, after eight years in prison and on parole in Wisconsin, he knew getting by would be difficult. For four years, he ... paid down the $1,400 in fines and court fees he owed. But in 2012, he injured his back, lost his job and missed a payment on his court debt. He was arrested and sentenced to jail for 10 days. When he got out, he had 90 days to make a payment. He failed, and went back to jail. A cycle was beginning: jail every 90 days. Although the United States outlawed debtors prison two centuries ago, that, in effect, is where Dawley kept going. It is crowded there. [In] Ferguson, MO ... the recent Department of Justice investigation of the police and courts portrays a system designed to jail the poor for their poverty. Across America, courts levy fines and fees ... on misdemeanor offenders, and jail them when they cannot pay. You dont go to jail for walking your dog without a leash, making an illegal left turn or burning leaves without a permit, but in many states you will go to jail if you cant pay the resulting fees and fines. We have a two-tier system: The rich pay fines. The poor go to jail. Debtors prison is both senseless and illegal. In 1983, the Supreme Court ruled that courts must inquire about a defendants ability to pay fines and can jail only those who can pay but wont. Yet defendants dont know [that] they can ask for a hearing on their ability to pay, [and] courts routinely fail to suggest a hearing.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about income inequality and systemic prison industry corruption.


More Black Men Are In Prison Today Than Were Enslaved In 1850
2011-10-12, Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/12/michelle-alexander-more-black-men-in...

More black men are behind bars or under the watch of the criminal justice system than there were enslaved in 1850, according to the author of a book about racial discrimination and criminal justice. Ohio State University law professor and civil rights activist Michelle Alexander..., the author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, [says] there are more African American men in prison and jail, or on probation and parole, than were slaves before the start of the Civil War. More than 846,000 black men were incarcerated in 2008, according to U.S. Bureau of Justice estimates. African Americans make up 13.6 percent of the U.S. population according to census data, but black men reportedly make up 40.2 percent of all prison inmates. The criminal justice system is the newest in a long line of societal structures that have disenfranchised people of color, Alexander argues in her book. Alexander writes that despite today's belief in "colorblindness," our criminal justice system effectively bars African American men from citizenship, treating them as a separate caste: "Denying African Americans citizenship was deemed essential to the formation of the original union. Hundreds of years later, America is still not an egalitarian democracy. The arguments and rationalizations that have been trotted out in support of racial exclusion and discrimination in its various forms have changed and evolved, but the outcome has remained largely the same."

Note: For more on the deep injustices of the prison-industrial complex, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


Why are for-profit US prisons subjecting detainees to forced labor?
2018-05-17, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/may/17/us-private-prisons-forc...

In 2017, officials at the Stewart immigration detention center in Georgia placed Shoaib Ahmed, a 24-year-old immigrant from Bangladesh, in solitary confinement for encouraging fellow workers to stop working. His punishment was solitary confinement for 10 days. Stewart is operated by the largest prison corporation in the US, CoreCivic (formerly Corrections Corporation of America), under a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice). A growing number of detained immigrants ... are subjected to forced labor. In April, we filed a lawsuit ... against CoreCivic, alleging that the prison corporation violates human trafficking laws and employs a deprivation scheme to force immigrants detained at Stewart to work for sub-minimum wages, and then threatens to punish them for refusing to work through solitary confinement or loss of access to necessities. A lawsuit against Geo Group, another prison corporation, is moving forward for using similar practices. CoreCivics abuse and exploitation ... constitute a contemporary form of slavery as we detailed in a submission to the UN special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants. None of this bothered a group of 18 Republican lawmakers ... who sent a letter to Jeff Sessions, Ice, and the Department of Labor asking them to help ... Geo Group defend itself against the lawsuits. These legislators support for the prison corporations perhaps should not come as a surprise. Private prison companies contributed $1.6m during the 2016 federal election cycle.

Note: The federal class action lawsuit described in the article above was filed against CoreCivic by Project South jointly with the Southern Poverty Law Center, attorney Andrew Free, and the law firm Burns Charest LLP. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on prison industry corruption and the erosion of civil liberties.


Heated floors and pillow-top mattresses... in prison
2018-03-08, CNN News
https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/08/us/prison-reform-north-dakota-norway/index.html

Norway's prison system is designed with three core values in mind: normality, humanity and rehabilitation. The point of incarceration in Norway, they say, is to make inmates "better neighbors" once they are released - and they take that mission very seriously. In the US, prison is generally seen as punishment for crimes committed. But Norway might change that. In 2015, prison directors and lawmakers from North Dakota traveled to see Norway's prisons for themselves. The trip was part of a program that takes state officials to visit the country, which has one of the lowest recidivism rates in the world. When the leaders returned, North Dakota slowly began making changes to its prison system. The move has been controversial with some prison staff. The changes called for different dynamics between inmates and corrections officers, causing one of them to leave over what he believed was a fundamental shift in their training. North Dakota's prison directors say the benefit in the long run - reducing the state's recidivism rate - is worth giving this new approach a chance. If the goal is to make them better neighbors, North Dakota inmate Jonathan McKinney says it's working. He spent more than two years in and out of solitary confinement during part of his 17-year sentence for murder and other serious charges. Because of Norway's influence, prison officials allowed him to transfer to medium security when he showed good behavior - a move that he would not have been able to make as easily before.

Note: Watch an incredible nine-minute video on the mind-boggling success of Norway's prison system.


In Brazil, Some Inmates Get Therapy With Hallucinogenic Tea
2015-03-28, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/29/world/americas/a-hallucinogenic-tea-time-f...

Dozens of adults and children, all clad in white, stood in a line. A holy man handed each a cup of ayahuasca, a muddy-looking hallucinogenic brew. Among those imbibing from the holy mans decanter were prison inmates, convicted of crimes such as murder, kidnapping and rape. Im finally realizing I was on the wrong path in this life, said Celmiro de Almeida, 36, who is serving a sentence for homicide. Each experience helps me communicate with my victim to beg for forgiveness, said Mr. de Almeida. The provision of a hallucinogen to inmates ... reflects a continuing quest for ways to ease pressure on Brazils prison system. The countrys inmate population has doubled since the start of the century ... straining underfunded prisons rife with human rights violations. Around [2002], Acuda, a pioneering prisoners rights group in Porto Velho, began offering inmates therapy sessions in yoga, meditation and Reiki. Two years ago, the volunteer therapists at Acuda had a new idea: Why not give the inmates ayahuasca as well? Acuda had trouble finding a place where the inmates could drink ayahuasca, but they were finally accepted by an offshoot here of Santo Daime, a Brazilian religion founded in the 1930s. Many people in Brazil believe that inmates must suffer, said Euza Beloti, 40, a psychologist with Acuda. This thinking bolsters a system where prisoners return to society more violent than when they entered prison. At Acuda, she said, we simply see inmates as human beings with the capacity to change.

Note: Read more about emerging research into ayahuasca in Brazil. Articles like this suggest that the healing potentials of mind-altering drugs are gaining mainstream credibility.


FAA Bans Flights Over Ferguson as Tensions Flare Between Police, Residents
2014-08-12, Boston Globe
http://www.boston.com/news/nation/2014/08/12/faa-bans-flights-over-ferguson-t...

The Federal Aviation Agency has declared a no-fly zone over Ferguson, Missouri as tensions between police and protesters continued after last weekends police shooting of Michael Brown. The FAA issued a temporary flight restriction on Tuesday, prohibiting aircraftincluding news helicoptersfrom entering the area. The agency listed the reason as to provide a safe environment for law enforcement activities. The extraordinary move comes days after the shooting of Michael Brown. The 18-year-old was shot multiple times and killed by police Aug. 9. Witnesses to the shooting said Brown had his hands up and was surrendering to police. Law enforcement officials, meanwhile, said the shooting occurred after a physical confrontation with Brown and a friend. The shooting and ensuing controversy has led to protests, looting and a strong police response in the St. Louis-area community.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government secrecy news articles from reliable major media sources.


'Guantanamo North': Inside Secretive U.S. Prisons
2011-03-03, NPR
http://www.npr.org/2011/03/03/134168714/guantanamo-north-inside-u-s-secretive...

Reports about what life is like inside the military prison for terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay are not uncommon. But very little is reported about two secretive units for convicted terrorists and other inmates who get 24-hour surveillance, right here in the U.S. For the first time, an NPR investigation has identified 86 of the more than 100 men who have lived in the special units that some people are calling "Guantanamo North." The Communications Management Units [CMU] in Terre Haute, Ind., and Marion, Ill., are mostly filled with Muslims. About two-thirds of the inmates identified by NPR are U.S. citizens. Prison officials opened the first CMU with no public notice four years ago, something inmates say they had no right to do under the federal law known as the Administrative Procedures Act. The units' population has included men convicted in well-known post-Sept. 11 cases, as well as defendants from the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the 1999 "millennium" plot ... and hijacking cases in 1976, 1985 and 1996. When the Terre Haute unit opened in December 2006, 15 of the first 17 inmates were Muslim. As word got out that the special units were disproportionately Muslim ... the Bureau of Prisons started moving in non-Muslims. Guards and cameras watch the CMU inmates' every move. Every word they speak is picked up by a counterterrorism team that eavesdrops from West Virginia. [Several] inmates have been suing the Federal Bureau of Prisons. They say the special units were set up outside the law and raise serious due process issues. Unlike prisoners who are convicted of serious crimes and sent to a federal supermax facility, CMU inmates have no way to review the evidence that sent them there or to challenge that evidence to get out.

Note: For other major media articles exposing excessive secrecy in government and elsewhere, click here.


Anti-war activist's works banned at prison camps
2009-10-11, Miami Herald
http://www.miamiherald.com/news/americas/guantanamo/v-fullstory/story/1275646...

Professor Noam Chomsky may be among America's most enduring anti-war activists. But the leftist intellectual's anthology of post-9/11 commentary is taboo at Guantnamo's prison camp library, which offers books and videos on Harry Potter, World Cup soccer and Islam. U.S. military censors recently rejected a Pentagon lawyer's donation of an Arabic-language copy of the political activist and linguistic professor's 2007 anthology Interventions for the library. Chomsky, 80, who has been voicing disgust with U.S. foreign policy since the Vietnam War, reacted with irritation and derision. "This happens sometimes in totalitarian regimes," he told The Miami Herald by e-mail after learning of the decision. "Of some incidental interest, perhaps, is the nature of the book they banned. It consists of op-eds written for The New York Times syndicate and distributed by them. The subversive rot must run very deep." Prison camp officials would not say specifically why the book was rejected. A rejection slip accompanying the Chomsky book did not explain the reason but listed categories of restricted literature to include those espousing "Anti-American, Anti-Semitic, Anti-Western" ideology, literature on "military topics." Prison camp staff would not say how many donated books have been refused.


Prisons to Restore Purged Religious Books
2007-09-27, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/27/washington/27prison.html?ex=1348545600&en=0...

Facing pressure from religious groups, civil libertarians and members of Congress, the federal Bureau of Prisons has decided to return religious materials that had been purged from prison chapel libraries because they were not on the bureaus lists of approved resources. After the details of the removal became widely known this month, Republican lawmakers, liberal Christians and evangelical talk shows all criticized the government for creating a list of acceptable religious books. In an e-mail message Wednesday, the bureau said: In response to concerns expressed by members of several religious communities, the Bureau of Prisons has decided to alter its planned course of action with respect to the Chapel Library Project. The bureau will begin immediately to return to chapel libraries materials that were removed in June 2007, with the exception of any publications that have been found to be inappropriate, such as material that could be radicalizing or incite violence. The review of all materials in chapel libraries will be completed by the end of January 2008. Only a week ago the bureau said it was not reconsidering the library policy. But critics of the bureaus program said it appeared that the bureau had bowed to widespread outrage. Certainly putting the books back on the shelves is a major victory, and it shows the outcry from all over the country was heard, said Moses Silverman, a lawyer for three prisoners who are suing the bureau over the program. But regarding what they do after they put them back ... I remain concerned that the criteria for returning the books will be constitutional and lawful.


Prisons Purging Books on Faith From Libraries
2007-09-10, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/10/us/10prison.html?ex=1347076800&en=8aca150d6...

Behind the walls of federal prisons nationwide, chaplains have been quietly carrying out a systematic purge of religious books and materials that were once available to prisoners in chapel libraries. The chaplains were directed by the Bureau of Prisons to clear the shelves of any books, tapes, CDs and videos that are not on a list of approved resources. In some prisons, the chaplains have recently dismantled libraries that had thousands of texts collected over decades, bought by the prisons, or donated by churches and religious groups. Some inmates are outraged. Two of them, a Christian and an Orthodox Jew, in a federal prison camp in upstate New York, filed a class-action lawsuit last month claiming the bureaus actions violate their rights to the free exercise of religion as guaranteed by the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The bureau, an agency of the Justice Department, defended its effort, which it calls the Standardized Chapel Library Project, as a way of barring access to materials that could, in its words, discriminate, disparage, advocate violence or radicalize. Its swatting a fly with a sledgehammer, said Mark Earley, president of Prison Fellowship, a Christian group. Theres no need to get rid of literally hundreds of thousands of books that are fine simply because you have a problem with an isolated book or piece of literature that presents extremism. A chaplain who has worked more than 15 years in the prison system, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is a bureau employee, said: At some of the penitentiaries, guys have been studying and reading for 20 years, and now they are told that this material doesnt meet some kind of criteria. It doesnt make sense to them."


Claims of 'non-stop cycle of torture' involving top officials in Ethiopian jail
2018-07-05, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/jul/05/claims-torture-inv...

Ethiopias new prime minister has been urged to investigate a raft of gruesome torture and abuse allegations involving senior officials in the countrys most notorious prison. Jail Ogaden, officially known as Jijiga central prison, is home to thousands of prisoners and lies at the heart of Jigjiga, the capital of Ethiopias eastern Somali region. According to a report by Human Rights Watch ... prisoners are routinely brutalised and denied access to adequate medical care, family, lawyers, and sometimes food. Many have never been convicted of any crime. Former prisoners claimed they saw people dying in their cells after being tortured by officials. The report provides the most extensive catalogue to date of human rights abuses in eastern Ethiopia under Somali regional president Abdi Mohamed Omar, commonly known as Abdi Iley. The study documents alleged abuses including rape, sleep deprivation, long-term arbitrary detention, collective punishment and forced confessions between 2011 and early 2018. It highlights, in particular, the role of a 40,000-strong Somali special police unit known as the Liyu, which Abdi, then head of regional security, established in 2008 as part of a brutal counter-insurgency campaign targeting the Ogaden National Liberation Front, a secessionist rebel group. Most Jail Ogaden inmates are accused of some affiliation to the group. Torture in detention is a serious problem throughout Ethiopia, but Jail Ogaden is in a class of its own, said Felix Horne, the reports author.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing prison system corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


5 Prisons Improving Life on the Inside
2016-03-14, Yes!
http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/life-after-oil/5-prisons-improving-life-on-...

For the roughly 2.2 million people incarcerated in U.S. prisons and jails, daily life is often violent, degrading, and hopeless. But what if our approach to those behind bars were constructive, rather than destructive? Four-legged companions ... share living quarters with Fulton County Jail inmates as part of the Canine CellMates program in Atlanta. Believing all inmates have a capacity for good is what inspired [Susan Jacobs-Meadows] to found the program at the jail 2 1/2 years ago. More than 100 inmates have participated, and Jacobs-Meadows says it is extremely rare for an inmate to reoffend after completing the program. Since 2009, inmates at Washingtons Stafford Creek Corrections Center ... have planted more than 1.5 million flowers as environmental stewards in the Sustainability in Prisons Projects Prairie Conservation Nursery Program, [which] also offers the potential for college credit. Solitary confinement at Oregons Snake River Correctional Institution used to mean a concrete cell, no bigger than a parking stall. Prisoners spent about 23 hours a day there. [This] often provoked aggressive behavior from prisoners. So guards tried an experiment: Send inmates back to nature or, more accurately, bring nature to them. The Blue Room, implemented in April 2013, immerses inmates in nature for an hour by playing videos of arid deserts, lush forests, and open oceans as they sit in a chair alone, imagining roaming the wide open spaces before them. The room ... has been credited with a reduction in reported incidents of violence.

Note: Read more on these and other creative programs bringing hope and useful skills to prisoners at the link above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Another sign the era of mass incarceration is slowly coming to an end
2016-01-01, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/01/01/the-era-of-mass-incarc...

The Bureau of Justice Statistics has released new evidence that mass incarceration continues to unwind in the United States. The rate of U.S. adults under some form of criminal justice supervision declined for the seventh straight year, dropping to a level not seen since 1996. The criminal justice supervision rate comprises individuals on probation or parole as well as those incarcerated in local jails or in federal or state prison. A total of 6,851,000 adults were under criminal justice supervision in at the end of 2014, a decline of 52,200 from the year before. Evaluating change in the criminal justice system as whole is essential for determining whether the nation is truly making progress on reducing mass incarceration. Research on the state and federal prison population has documented a decline for over half a decade, but such data can be misleading if the criminal justice system is playing a shell game - transferring prisoners to local jails or moving them onto parole. The new Bureau of Justice System report shows that the correctional system is indeed shrinking across the board rather than simply shifting offenders from one form of supervision to another.

Note: This is great news. But it will take a very long time for the era of mass incarceration to end if the criminal justice supervision rate shrinks by less than one percent per year. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing prison system corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Sentence for agender teens attacker: missed chance for justice
2014-11-20, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/openforum/article/7-year-sentence-for-teen-who-...

http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/openforum/article/7-year-sentence-for-teen-who-set-agender...

Last Friday, Richard Thomas was sentenced to seven years in prison for lighting the skirt of Sasha Fleischman on fire on an Oakland AC Transit bus. Thomas, who is 17 years old, was tried as an adult for his crime, and many, including Fleischmans parents, Debbie Crandall and Karl Fleischman, have said the sentence was too harsh. The case represents a clear missed opportunity for a restorative justice solution. Restorative justice provides an effective alternative to the punishment focused model that dominates our criminal justice system. Instead of focusing on what laws have been broken, restorative justice brings the victim and the offender together to determine how to repair harm to the survivor and the community, hold the offender accountable, and reduce future harm. Crandall was supportive of the restorative-justice process, and after Thomas accepted a plea deal, she told KQED: I wish there had been another way for this to be resolved that did not involve adult court a place where Richard would really have the chance for rehabilitation. Juveniles who serve time in adult prisons have significantly higher recidivism rates than those who remain in juvenile facilities. Placing juveniles in community-based centers can help to further decrease recidivism rates. Restorative-justice provider Community Works Wests Restorative Community Conferencing Program illustrates [this]. There is a 15 percent recidivism rate for youth six months after completing Community Works Wests program, compared with 45 percent to 75 percent recidivism rates for youth in and out of the Alameda County Juvenile Justice system.

Note: This teen was sent to prison for seven years despite objections from his victim and his victim's parents. How does that happen? See these excellent, concise summaries of prison corruption news stories from major media sources.


30 Years Later, 2 Men's Convictions Overturned in Rape-Murder
2014-09-03, NBC News/Associated Press
http://www.nbcnews.com/id/55979430/ns/us_news/t/nc-mens-convictions-overturne...

One of North Carolina's longest-serving death-row inmates and his half brother are being freed after three decades in prison after another man's DNA was discovered on a cigarette butt left near the body of a girl the siblings were convicted of killing. On Tuesday, a judge overturned the convictions of Henry McCollum, 50, and Leon Brown, 46, in the 1983 rape and murder of Sabrina Buie, citing the new evidence that they didn't commit the crime. The ruling is the latest twist in a notorious legal case that began with what defense attorneys said were coerced confessions from two scared teenagers with low IQs. McCollum was 19 at the time and Brown was 15. Defense lawyers petitioned for their release after a recent analysis from the butt pointed to another man who lived near the soybean field where Buie's body was found in Robeson County. That man is already serving a life sentence for a similar rape and murder that happened less than a month later. The DNA from the cigarette butts doesn't match Brown or McCollum, and fingerprints taken from a beer can at the scene aren't theirs either, attorneys say. No physical evidence connects them to the crime. Ken Rose, a senior staff attorney at the Center for Death Penalty Litigation in Durham, has represented Henry McCollum for 20 years. "It's terrifying that our justice system allowed two intellectually disabled children to go to prison for a crime they had nothing to do with, and then to suffer there for 30 years," Rose said.

Note: How many thousands of innocent people have been executed or given life sentences like this? For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing prisons news articles from reliable major media sources.


Rikers: Where Mental Illness Meets Brutality in Jail
2014-07-14, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/14/nyregion/rikers-study-finds-prisoners-injur...

Brutal attacks by correction officers on inmates particularly those with mental health issues are common occurrences inside Rikers [Island], the countrys second-largest jail. Reports of such abuses have seldom reached the outside world, even as alarm has grown this year over conditions at the sprawling jail complex. A dearth of whistle-blowers, coupled with the reluctance of the citys Department of Correction to acknowledge the problem and the fact that guards are rarely punished, has kept the full extent of the violence hidden from public view. But [in a four-month-long investigation, The New York Times has] uncovered details on scores of assaults through interviews with current and former inmates, correction officers and mental health clinicians at the jail, and by reviewing hundreds of pages of legal, investigative and jail records. Among the documents obtained ... was a secret internal study completed this year by the citys Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which handles medical care at Rikers, on violence by officers. The report helps lay bare the culture of brutality on the island and makes clear that it is inmates with mental illnesses who absorb the overwhelming brunt of the violence. The study ... found that over an 11-month period last year, 129 inmates suffered serious injuries ones beyond the capacity of doctors at the jails clinics to treat in altercations with correction department staff members. The report cataloged in exacting detail the severity of injuries suffered by inmates: fractures, wounds requiring stitches, head injuries and the like. But it also explored who the victims were. Most significantly, 77 percent of the seriously injured inmates had received a mental illness diagnosis.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing prisons corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Brad Pitt blasts U.S. 'War on Drugs,' calls for policy rethink
2012-10-13, Chicago Tribune/Reuters
http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/sns-rt-us-houseilivein-bradpittbr...

Brad Pitt has thrown his weight behind a documentary that blasts America's 40-year war on drugs as a failure, calling policies that imprison huge numbers of drug-users a "charade" in urgent need of a rethink. The Hollywood actor [recently became] an executive producer of filmmaker Eugene Jarecki's "The House I Live In," which won the Grand Jury Prize in January at the Sundance Film Festival. The film opened in wide release in the United States on [October 12]. Ahead of a Los Angeles screening, Pitt and Jarecki spoke passionately about the "War on Drugs" which, according to the documentary, has cost more than $1 trillion and accounted for over 45 million arrests since 1971, and which preys largely on poor and minority communities. "It's such bad strategy. It makes no sense. It perpetuates itself. You make a bust, you drive up profit, which makes more people want to get into it," he added. "To me, there's no question; we have to rethink this policy and we have to rethink it now." "The House I Live In" was filmed in more than 20 states and tells stories from many sides of the issue, including Jarecki's African-American nanny, a drug dealer, narcotics officer, inmate, judge, grieving mother, senator and others. It also shows that although the United States accounts for only 5 percent of the world's population, it has 25 percent of its prison population. Additionally, African Americans, who make up roughly 13 percent of the population and 14 percent of its drug users, account for 56 percent of those incarcerated for drug crimes.

Note: Some believe that whenever the government declares a war on something, the result is an increase in that thing. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government corruption, click here.


U.S. town turned into an open-air prison
2008-08-15, National Post (Canada)
http://www.nationalpost.com/news/world/story.html?id=726632

The town of Postville, Iowa, population 2,000, has been turned into an open-air prison. On May 12, immigration officials swooped in to arrest 400 undocumented workers from Mexico and Guatemala at the local meat-packing plant, a raid described as the biggest such action at a single site in U.S. history. The raid left 43 women, wives of the men who were taken away, and their 150 children without status or a means of support. The women cannot leave the town, and to make sure they do not they have been outfitted with leg monitoring bracelets. "The women are effectively prisoners," said Father Paul Ouderkirk at St. Bridget's Roman Catholic Church. "What kind of a government makes prisoners of 43 mothers who all have children and then says, You can't work, you can't leave and can't stay?' That boggles the imagination." Since the raid, St. Bridget's, with a staff of four, has raised $500,000 to pay for rent, clothing, food and other necessities of life. The men were taken to the National Cattle Congress building in Waterloo, Iowa, where immigration judges were on hand. They were charged and then sent to nine different prisons around the state. Fr. Ouderkirk said some of the men were deported and others are serving five-month prison terms for violating immigration laws - but he said no one ever explained why some were held and others sent home. The men were all working at Agriprocessors, believed to be the largest kosher meat-packing plant in the world. Fr. Ouderkirk and others have said the plant was a disgrace that abused workers who had little understanding of their rights.

Note: For many disturbing reports on increasing threats to civil liberties from reliable sources, click here.


U.S. War Prisons Legal Vacuum for 14,000
2006-09-17, ABC News/Associated Press
http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=2456625

The U.S. military has created a global network of overseas prisons...keeping 14,000 detainees beyond the reach of established law. Disclosures of torture and long-term arbitrary detentions have won rebuke from leading voices including the U.N. secretary-general and the U.S. Supreme Court. Tens of thousands now have passed through U.S. detention. Many say they were caught up in U.S. military sweeps, often interrogated around the clock, then released months or years later without apology, compensation or any word on why they were taken. Seventy to 90 percent of the Iraq detentions in 2003 were "mistakes," U.S. officers once told the international Red Cross. The detention system often is unjust and hurts the war on terror by inflaming anti-Americanism in Iraq and elsewhere. Human rights groups count dozens of detainee deaths for which no one has been punished or that were never explained. The new manual banning torture doesn't cover CIA interrogators. Thousands of people still languish in a limbo, deprived of one of common law's oldest rights, habeas corpus, the right to know why you are imprisoned. The U.S. government has contended it can hold detainees until the "war on terror" ends. [Inmates] have been held without charge for three to four years. [Guantanamo's] population today...stands at 455. Only 10 of the Guantanamo inmates have been charged with crimes. In only 14 of 34 cases has anyone been punished for the confirmed or suspected killings of detainees. The stiffest sentence in a torture-related death has been five months in jail. In almost half of 98 detainee deaths, the cause was either never announced or reported as undetermined.


Government report says 2.1 million behind bars in U.S.
2005-04-24, MSNBC
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7622824/

Growing at a rate of about 900 inmates each week between mid-2003 and mid-2004, the nations prisons and jails held 2.1 million people, or one in every 138 U.S. residents, the government reported Sunday. While the crime rate has fallen over the past decade, the number of people in prison and jail is outpacing the number of inmates released. In 2004, one in every 138 U.S. residents was in prison or jail. 61 percent of prison and jail inmates were of racial or ethnic minorities, the government said. An estimated 12.6 percent of all black men in their late 20s were in jails or prisons, as were 3.6 percent of Hispanic men and 1.7 percent of white men in that age group, the report said.


Guards accused of cruelty, racism
2010-05-09, Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, CA's leading newspaper)
http://www.sacbee.com/2010/05/09/2737459/the-public-eye-guards-accused.html

Jason Brannigan's eyes widened as he relived the day he says prison guards pepper-sprayed his face at point-blank range, then pulled him through the cellblock naked, his hands and feet shackled. "I can't breathe! I can't breathe!" Brannigan recalled gasping in pain and humiliation during the March 2007 incident. "They're walking me on the chain and it felt just like slaves again," said the African American inmate, interviewed at the Sacramento County jail. "Like I just stepped off an auction block." Brannigan, 33, said the incident occurred in the behavior modification unit at High Desert State Prison in Susanville, where he was serving time for armed assault. He is one of more than 1,500 inmates who have passed through such units in six California prisons. A Bee investigation into the behavior units, including signed affidavits, conversations and correspondence with 18 inmates, has uncovered evidence of racism and cruelty at the High Desert facility. Inmates described hours-long strip-searches in a snow-covered exercise yard. They said correctional officers tried to provoke attacks between inmates, spread human excrement on cell doors and roughed up those who peacefully resisted mistreatment. Many of their claims were backed by legal and administrative filings, and signed affidavits, which together depicted an environment of brutality, corruption and fear.


CIA Secret 'Torture' Prison Found at Fancy Horseback Riding Academy
2009-11-18, ABC News
http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/cia-secret-prison-found/story?id=9115978

The CIA built one of its secret European prisons inside an exclusive riding academy outside Vilnius, Lithuania, a current Lithuanian government official and a former U.S. intelligence official [said]. Where affluent Lithuanians once rode show horses and sipped coffee at a caf, the CIA installed a concrete structure where it could use harsh tactics to interrogate up to eight suspected al-Qaeda terrorists at a time. Lithuanian officials provided ABC News with the documents of what they called a CIA front company, Elite LLC, which purchased the property and built the "black site" in 2004. Lithuania agreed to allow the CIA prison after President George W. Bush visited the country in 2002 and pledged support for Lithuania's efforts to join NATO. "The new members of NATO were so grateful for the U.S. role in getting them into that organization that they would do anything the U.S. asked for during that period," said former White House counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke. "They were eager to please and eager to be cooperative on security and on intelligence matters." Lithuania was one of three eastern European countries, along with Poland and Romania, where the CIA secretly interrogated suspected high-value al-Qaeda terrorists, but until now the precise site had not been confirmed.

Note: For many revealing articles exposing the hidden realities of the "war on terror", click here.


Man who filmed NYPD choke hold video arrested on weapons charges
2014-08-03, Reuters
http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/08/03/us-usa-new-york-chokehold-idUSKBN0G...

A man who filmed a New York City police officer use a choke hold on a suspect who later died has been arrested on weapons charges, law enforcement officials said on [August 3]. Ramsey Orta, 22, and a 17-year-old female were spotted on [August 2] outside a known drug location on Staten Island by narcotics officers who saw Orta put a handgun in his companion's waistband, the New York Police Department said. Orta, who has a previous criminal conviction, faces two charges of criminal possession of a weapon. At some point during his arrest, Orta told officers, "You're just mad because I filmed your boy," an NYPD spokeswoman said. The comment was apparently in reference to the July 17 cellphone video shot by Orta during the arrest of Eric Garner, who was placed in a choke hold by a police officer while being detained for peddling illegal cigarettes. Garner later died, and the New York City medical examiner ruled the his death a homicide. Footage of the incident circulated widely on the Internet, triggering outrage and raising questions about police tactics and use of force. The choke hold is banned by the NYPD, which says it is investigating why the maneuver was used.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


U.S. Seeks Silence on CIA Prisons
2006-11-04, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/11/03/AR20061103017...

The Bush administration has told a federal judge that terrorism suspects held in secret CIA prisons should not be allowed to reveal details of the "alternative interrogation methods" that their captors used to get them to talk. The government says in new court filings that those interrogation methods are now among the nation's most sensitive national security secrets and that their release -- even to the detainees' own attorneys -- "could reasonably be expected to cause extremely grave damage." The battle over legal rights for terrorism suspects detained for years in CIA prisons centers on Majid Khan, a 26-year-old former Catonsville resident who was one of 14 high-value detainees transferred in September from the "black" sites to the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The government, in trying to block lawyers' access to the 14 detainees, effectively asserts that the detainees' experiences are a secret that should never be shared with the public. An attorney for Khan's family, responded in a court document yesterday "the executive is attempting to misuse its classification authority...to conceal illegal or embarrassing executive conduct." Khan's family did not learn of his whereabouts until Bush announced his transfer in September, more than three years after he was seized. Joseph Margulies, a Northwestern University law professor who has represented several detainees at Guantanamo, said the prisoners "can't even say what our government did to these guys to elicit the statements that are the basis for them being held. This is 'Alice in Wonderland.'"

Note: Interesting that not only the government documents, but even this article avoids mentioning the word torture, when that is clearly what this is all about.


Federal prison population drops for 1st time in decades
2014-09-23, San Francisco Chronicle/Associated Press
http://www.sfgate.com/nation/article/Federal-prison-population-drops-for-1st-...

The federal prison population has dropped in the last year by roughly 4,800, the first time in several decades that the inmate count has gone down. In a speech Tuesday in New York City, Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department expects to end the current budget year next week with a prison population of roughly 215,000 inmates. It would be the first time since 1980 that the federal prison population has declined during the course of a fiscal year. The crime rate has dropped along with the prison population, Holder said, proving that longer-than-necessary prison terms dont improve public safety. In fact, the opposite is often true, he said. The Bureau of Prisons accounts for roughly one-third of the Justice Department budget, and the prison population has exploded in the last three decades as a result of well-intentioned policies designed to be 'tough on criminals, Holder said. In August 2013, for instance, he announced a major shift in sentencing policy, instructing federal prosecutors to stop charging many nonviolent drug defendants with offenses that carry mandatory minimum sentences. More recently, the Justice Department has encouraged a broader swath of the prison population to apply for clemency, and has supported reductions in sentencing guideline ranges for drug criminals that could apply to tens of thousands of inmates. We know that over-incarceration crushes opportunity. We know it prevents people, and entire communities, from getting on the right track, Holder said. Holder also said that there should be new ways for the government to measure success of its criminal justice policies beyond how many people are prosecuted and sent to prison.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise's summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Bush Acknowledges Secret CIA Prisons
2006-09-06, ABC News/Associated Press
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory?id=2401691

President Bush on Wednesday acknowledged previously secret CIA prisons around the world. The announcement from Bush was the first time the administration had acknowledged the existence of CIA prisons, which have been a source of friction between Washington and some allies in Europe. European Union lawmakers said the CIA was conducting clandestine flights in Europe to take terror suspects to countries where they could face torture.


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