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Prison System Corruption News Articles

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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.

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