Since this blog’s subject matter can get depressing, I thought I’d try to put a positive spin on this week’s stories. I also thought that successfully completing this exercise might help me get a job in D.C.:
- As of today, the U.S. government is running one less prison than it was two days ago.
- Sheriff Joe Arpaio: Refusing to lock undocumented immigrants behind metal bars since 1993.
- Sheriff’s department: “It’s safer to be in the Oklahoma County jail than on the streets.”
- Rikers Island, Cook County, and L.A. County jails win national recognition.
- In Britain, not a single man, woman, or child is in prison if you don’t count the 85,000 who are.
- British press apparently views American press as a model for how to cover prison policy.
- 73% of Zambian inmates don’t have HIV.
Joking aside, there is some legitimately good news this week:
- California: San Diego sheriff rails against Arizona’s SB 1070 and California’s Three Strikes law.
- Nice editorial in the Courier-Journal: “Kentucky doesn’t need more prison space; it needs fewer inmates.”
- Ohio: Federal judge spearheads a re-entry initiative; another pilots the concept of “pre-entry.”
- South Carolina has downsized its juvenile jails — from 90 girls in custody in 2003 to just 12 now.
- Tennessee inmate represents himself in undue force lawsuit against prison guards, and wins.
- Britain’s Justice Secretary says something no American politician has the courage to say.
- For low-level crimes, Scotland votes to nix jail stints in favor of community supervision.
And news that even I can’t spin:
- Indy Star editorial on the crisis of sexual abuse in our juvenile prisons. In one Indiana juvenile facility, some 36% of inmates reported being the victim of sexual abuse — 31% at the hands of staff.
- Yet another article in which budget cuts for mental health mean sick people go to jail instead.
- Arizona DOC cuts off inmates’ ability to send money to their families, and a Massachusetts legislator proposes that the state stop paying inmates for their labor.