This week, the World AIDS Conference met in Vienna. On the agenda: how bad criminal justice policy exacerbates the pandemic. Prisons have become a breeding ground for HIV, and the criminalization of drug addiction has fueled its spread. You can sign the Vienna Declaration, calling for “the incorporation of scientific evidence into illicit drug policies,” here. Meanwhile, poll data shows nearly two-thirds of Americans agree that the War on Drugs has been a failure. In other prison news:
- The Economist‘s sobering primer on the U.S. criminal justice system: “First, it puts too many people away for too long. Second, it criminalises acts that need not be criminalised. Third, it is unpredictable.”
- Now on HBO2: “A view of prison life—from the inside.” (Specifically, from a contraband video camera.)
- Georgia: The Southern Center for Human Rights launches the Damon Lee Project for Accountability and Transparency in the Criminal Justice System, named for an inmate who was beaten to death.
- Louisiana: BP takes advantage of having spilled its oil in the state with the world’s highest incarceration rate, and hires inmate labor for its clean-up crew; coastal residents and the NAACP complain.
- Also in Louisiana: New report calls for reforms to protect LGBT youth from abuse in the Pelican State’s notorious juvenile prisons.
- Update on Montana teenager in solitary confinement; the boy has attempted suicide several times.
- Nevada settles with ACLU in lawsuit over medical care at Ely State Prison. Among other things, inmates complained that they were not receiving needed prescriptions or treatment for chronic illnesses.