This week’s Friday Roundup may have to last you through the holiday weekend — I’ll be blogging intermittently if at all through the middle of next week, so check out my category/tag archives or the links in my blogroll if you need something else to read!
Around the States
- Colorado: Gov. Bill Ritter signs criminal justice reform package, including lower penalties for drug offenses and judicial discretion in sentencing nonviolent offenders. More on conditions in Colorado’s prisons, from a woman inmate.
- Florida: Former jail inmate — now quadriplegic — files federal lawsuit, alleges state failure to provide medical care caused him to pass out and break his spine. Note that the jail at issue contracted with Tennessee-based Prison Health Services, which was also the contractor involved in the death of a Vermont inmate. The article notes that PHS has faced numerous similar lawsuits around the country; this is actually the second Florida inmate to sue over becoming paralyzed.
- Massachusetts: State House passes criminal records bill to reform how criminal records are sealed and maintained — goal is to help ex-offenders with reentry and jobs. Note the House version has a lot of changes from the Senate version that passed earlier this year: nixes idea of early parole for certain drug offenders, but also nixes mandatory two-year post-release supervision period for all released inmates.
- Texas: Results of a federal audit of juvenile prisons — conditions improving, but violence and other problems remain.
Around the World
- Afghanistan: BBC goes “inside Afghanistan’s most notorious prison,” Pul-e-Charkhi in Kabul, which holds the Taliban prisoners considered most dangerous.
- Commentary from across the pond: “Britain’s ballooning prison population is a disastrous mess” — a critique of tough-on-crime sentencing from the former Lord Chief Justice; and a critique of high recidivism rates in Ireland.
- Canada: Overcrowding in Manitoba’s “remand prisons,” where pretrial detainees are held. See also this article on remand prisons in the Czech Republic, which alleges a pattern of interference with the rights of the accused.
- Haiti: Haitian government and UN announce task force to investigate police killing of a dozen prisoners in the aftermath of the January earthquake.
- Senegal: Voice of America reports on overcrowding on conditions in the Senegalese penitentiary system.
- Venezuela: Mothers of prisoners demonstrate, urge Chavez to reform overcrowded prisons. Money stat: Venezuela’s prisons have room for 12,500 prisoners; actual prison population is 32,000.
- Zambia: President frees 350 prisoners to celebrate Africa Freedom Day — including a man sentenced to 18 months for defaming the president.