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Prison System Corruption News Articles

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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.


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