Friday Roundup, Plus How You Can Help End Prison Rape
I’m traveling through next week, so I will not be updating the blog for awhile (although I will schedule the blog to update itself with some interesting posts from the past couple of months that newer readers may have missed). In the meantime, why not take five minutes to write a letter to the Department of Justice, urging the adoption of the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission standards? You can print out a sample letter from Prison Fellowship here, or read more about the issue — including an interview with Lovisa Stannow, executive director of Just Detention International, over here at Change.org — Criminal Justice.
- For reasons baffling to all, New Jersey has summarily dismantled a no-cost, all-volunteer, widely praised literacy program in its state prison. The program has served as a model for other states but is no longer available to New Jersey inmates. What’s wrong with this picture?
- And what’s wrong with this picture: Prison populations fall for the first time since 1972, and hedge fund managers are upset about it. See also: Arizona won’t renew Corrections Corporation of America contract for Diamondback prison in Oklahoma; CCA will “continue marketing the facility to other customers”.
- A review of a new history, Texas Tough: The Rise of America’s Prison Empire. (Also reviewed here.) And from Minnesota, a new collection of inmate writing.
- Vera Institute president at Princeton conference: Nation’s parole system is “set up for failure.”
- Courthouse News Service on federal prisons: “swollen by foreigners, druggies.”
- The case for closing rural prisons: They don’t help and may actually hurt local economies.
- Maine State Prison chaplain: Prisoners are “our neighbors.”
Around the Country
- Responses to jail overcrowding: Mississippi counties are using temporary jail pods (think: trailers); Nash County, N.C. experiments with electronic monitoring; West Virginia counties try day reporting centers.
- California’s Chino state prison rebuilds after last August’s riots. A video on arts programming at San Quentin, and a proposal to put the UC system in charge of prison health care.
- Marian Wright Edelman on the “Missouri miracle“: a model approach to juvenile justice.
- Local profile of a New Hampshire woman who went from inmate to reform advocate.
- Erie County, N.Y. jail does some spring cleaning in advance of federal inspections. Local Teamsters president (who represents the jail guards) responds to concerns over recent jailhouse suicides.
- Wisconsin public radio interview with Madison law professor on prison reforms in the Badger State.
Around the World
- England auctions off memorabilia from historic Victorian-era jail on the Isle of Man.
- The BBC reports on Haiti’s chaotic jail situation pre- and post-earthquake.
- Convicts in Georgia (the country) given an interesting choice: Prison or monastery?
- Russia fires deputy justice minister, “architect” of its corrupt prison system.
Litigation and Legislation Roundup
- Four ex-inmates sue Harpersville, Ala. claiming city violates indigent defendants’ civil rights by holding pretrial detainees in Shelby County Jail, where they don’t have access to counsel.
- Rhode Island bill to end prison-based gerrymandering by counting prisoners where they’re from.
- Virginia legislators stand up to bail bondsmen; bail bondsmen call the legislators “cowardly.” (More from the bail bondsmen lobby in this local Texas op-ed.)
- West Virginia legislation, awaiting governor’s signature, would speed up parole for non-violent offenders.