Stories You May Have Missed
A few notable news stories from the past couple of days:
“With 8th suicide, appeals for change in prison system“–Boston Globe. The article begins:
Suicides in Massachusetts state prisons are occurring at a rate more than four times the national average this year, prompting advocates and inmates’ relatives to call for an urgent response from state officials — and spurring the Patrick administration yesterday to hire a suicide prevention specialist.
With the discovery of an eighth inmate found hanging in his cell at Old Colony Correctional Center in Bridgewater yesterday morning, Massachusetts prisons have reached a suicide rate of about 71 per 100,000 inmates so far this year, more than quadruple the average annual national rate of 16 per 100,000 inmates reported by the US Bureau for Justice Statistics.
“N.J.’s prison population declines, officials credit less crime, prisoner re-entry programs”–Newark Star-Ledger. Highlights:
With 25,263 inmates in the system as of this month, state prisons still hold more people than they were designed for. And 600 additional inmates will be double-bunked this year to save money. But officials say the overall population shrank because crime was cut, drug courts diverted many people from jail, and programs helped inmates prepare for life on the outside.
“It’s a pretty impressive reduction,” said Marc Mauer, executive director of the Sentencing Project, a research and advocacy organization. “We’re not just talking about a tinkering. It comes about through conscious changes in criminal justice policy.”
“Groups sue over banned handbook at Virginia prisons“–Washington Post. Download the complaint PDF here. The basics:
Two civil rights groups have sued the Virginia Department of Corrections for banning a handbook from state prisons that explains the court system, methods for legal research and constitutional rights.
The Center for Constitutional Rights and the National Lawyers Guild filed suit Wednesday morning in the Western District of Virginia, claiming that the state violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.