If you’re still not caught up on the California prison overcrowding case, NPR’s Nina Totenberg and the Christian Science Monitor published useful overviews (best read alongside this earlier CSM piece on why California’s distinctive parole system is the key to its overcrowding problem). And McClatchy has a handy chart so you can compare which states have the most and least overcrowded prisons — you may be surprised! In other news…
- A slideshow of new prison technologies, plus an explanation of why Taser shotguns are not as useful as they may seem. (Hey, I just provide the links.)
- The Los Angeles Times reports on contraband cellphones in the California prison system.
- In Canada, a debate over whether the prison system should provide sex-change surgery.
Local jail issues
- Atlanta debates whether the Fulton County Jail still needs a court-appointed monitor.
- New Orleans debates downsizing its jail system. Well, we’ll see what happens, but I’m glad to see that consultant James Austin‘s involved, as he was instrumental in helping Mississippi to basically eliminate its solitary confinement wing.
- After 15 years of court monitoring, a lawsuit over the Pierce County Jail (Tacoma, Wash.) appears to be nearing a final resolution.
State prison issues
- Wednesday was World AIDS Day; the ACLU Blog of Rights gave an update on discrimination against HIV-positive prisoners in Alabama and South Carolina.
- The Colorado Department of Corrections commissioned a study to show that solitary confinement does not worsen mental illness symptoms. Psychiatric experts say the study is so methodologically flawed as to be useless.
- Idaho private prison, which also holds Oklahoma inmates, may be federally investigated in light of a video showing one inmate severely beating another, while prison guards stand by and watch.
- Illinois sues former inmate for reimbursement of what it cost to incarcerate him.
- Massachusetts inmates sue over new HIV medication procedures.
- New York law will allow mothers to keep parental rights while incarcerated.
- Virginia settles with Muslim inmate who claimed he was refused access to Islamic newspapers and programs.