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Prison News | Correctional Policy & Decision-Making

Recent events concerning the corrections industry and the topic of Correctional Policy & Decision-Making. Comments, suggestions and contributions (below) appreciated.

  • How Voters, Not Politicians, Are Reforming California's Harsh Sentencing Laws
    California voters approved a sweeping change to sentencing on Tuesday by passing Proposition 47 and knocking most drug possession and "petty theft" charges down from felonies to a misdemeanors. Only months earlier, Governor Jerry Brown vetoed similar, and more modest, changes to California's sentencing laws, claiming that the state's plan to "realign" convicts from state prisons to county jails required more time to fully take effect....[more]

  • California Begins Dismantling the Prison Industrial Complex
    The tough on crime period of the 1980s led to the passage of a flurry of laws that made many nonviolent crimes punishable by prison sentences. Over the next 20 years, the incarceration rate increased exponentially, and the number of people in the prison system has swelled to more than 2 million in the United States. California led the way for incarceration, with one of the largest prison populations in the country....[more]

  • You May Have Missed It, but There Was an Election Debate on Criminal Justice Reform
    It is no secret that the United States prison population surpasses that of any other nation, that the country has very harsh sentencing laws for minor offenses, and that, as many argue, the inherent racial bias in the system is powerful and detrimental to society....[more]

  • Californians Vote to Weaken Mass Incarceration -- With the approval of Proposition 47 Tuesday, the Golden State will make major reforms to its sentencing laws.
    California's Proposition 47 wasn't one of the most followed votes in Tuesday's midterm election, but it could change thousands of lives soon. Under the ballot initiative, dozens of nonviolent property and drug crimes will be reduced from felonies to misdemeanors, potentially freeing tens of thousands of prisoners. Funds that would have otherwise been spent on their incarceration will now be funneled into mental health and drug-treatment programs....[more]

  • California’s Proposition 47: softer on crime
    The measure would change many crimes from felonies, which generally require prison terms, to misdemeanors that usually carry penalties of probation, fines or very short jail time....[more]

  • Opposing private prisons in Arkansas
    Shipping incarcerated people across state lines into for-profit prisons rather than prioritizing reforms that would reduce the number of people behind bars exemplifies our state's dangerous reliance on incarceration, particularly incarceration for profit. This costly tactic, which fails to address the root causes of mass incarceration, severely diminishes prisoners’ ties to family and community while private prison companies profit handsomely....[more]

  • Dealing with jail crowding to be costly for county
    The number of inmates has grown along with the population in the region, which is on the fringe of the booming oil patch. The jail has 104 beds but was housing more than 150 inmates. The state Corrections Department this week told the county to address the problem....[more]

  • Furlough program released violent inmates early
    LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska's prison system freed 162 inmates convicted of violent crimes under an early release furlough program that was approved without public hearings, a prominent state senator revealed Wednesday....[more]

  • OBAMA ADMINISTRATION CAUGHT LYING ABOUT RELEASE OF CRIMINAL ILLEGAL ALIENS
    In this case, it’s about illegal immigrants, a subject upon which it is extremely difficult to find a single instance of the Administration telling the truth. Citizenship is being stolen from you, my fellow Americans, and the thieves’ contempt for you is so complete that they don’t feel obliged to give straight answers to any questions… not even when the truth is printed on documents that are bound to come to light eventually, not even when their actions put our lives at risk....[more]

  • Proposal to house inmates in Ky. on ‘back burner’
    CHARLESTON, W.Va. — With inmate populations trending downward, and with opportunities for several new in-state facilities, a proposal to house state prisoners at a private, for-profit prison in Kentucky is no longer a priority, West Virginia’s corrections commissioner told legislators Monday....[more]

  • Official: Heineman wasn't told of prisons program
    Corrections Director Mike Kenney also defended the temporary placement program in a letter to the legislative committee that's investigating Nebraska's prison problems, saying he alone created it while state officials rounded up hundreds of inmates who were released too early because their sentences were miscalculated....[more]

  • Local jails refusing to hold illegal immigrant offenders, forcing feds to track them down
    Local police agencies across the country are frustrating efforts at the federal level to detain and deport criminal illegal immigrants, leaving immigration officials scrambling to track them down.

    In the last nine months, 275 counties have refused to honor requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement that they be notified before releasing an illegal immigrant from custody....[more]


  • Report: Mississippi Incarcerates More People Per Capita Than Russia and China . . . Combined
    There is a rather shocking statistic out of the International Centre for Prison Studies this week: Mississippi locks up more people per capita than China and Russia combined. It turns out the “Hospitality State” may continue to have one of the lowest rankings in public education and employment but they will put you in jail faster than Vladimir Putin can say do svidaniya....[more]

  • Lawyer's Book Says Conn. Should Slash Prison Population Lawyer says reforms should emphasize support programs over incarceration
    But the author of a new book calling for a mass overhaul of Connecticut's criminal justice system says that Connecticut should adopt some of the best practices that have helped Texas reduce its prison population. Texas has reduced the number of inmates so much that the Lone Star State is closing prisons.

    Brian Moran, a partner at Robinson & Cole in Stamford, is the principal author of the book: "The Justice Imperative: How Hyper-Incarceration Has Hijacked the American Dream."...[more]


  • What Happens When A City Decides to Offer Addicts Services, Not Prison Sentences?
    For decades, the United States has tried to punish and shame people out of drug addiction with courts, jails and criminal records. It has been massively unsuccessful, as the nationwide rise in opiate addiction over the last few years demonstrates, and few people are more aware of its failure than the police officers tasked with arresting addicts....[more]

  • Texas succeeds with new laws intended to disrupt school-to-prison pipeline
    Discovering the (perhaps somewhat unexpected) success of reforms in (perhaps somewhat unexpected) states is one of the great joys of following closely state-level criminal justice policy and practice. For example, this new local article showcases how Texas is achieving success at addressing problems often stressed by juvenile justice advocates. The piece is headlined "New laws drastically cut prosecutions of Texas students," and here is how it starts:...[more]

  • NYC jail boss questioned at oversight hearing
    NEW YORK (AP) — The head of the city's troubled jail system was barraged with questions from lawmakers Wednesday about what he is doing to improve conditions for 16- and 17-year-old Rikers Island inmates following a scathing federal review that found that guards often use excessive force against them....[more]

  • Surprise! Conservatives and Liberals Are Backing a Law to Reduce Some Prison Sentences
    Cocaine and heroin possession are felonies in California, whereas those found with ketamine or “bath salts” only face misdemeanor charges—but this could change if a bipartisan-backed proposition to change some crime classifications succeeds on November’s ballot....[more]

  • Rand Paul, Racism, and Prison
    Norm Ornstein is one of those Washington "centrist" lifers whom the commentariat loves to deploy against the hard-line partisans allegedly fouling our national discourse. A liberal at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, Ornstein helped craft the speech-squelching Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, which the Supreme Court, mercifully, has largely overturned. In April 2012, along with fellow centrist think-tanker Thomas Mann, Ornstein wearily declared in a Washington Post op-ed, "Let's just say it: The Republicans are the problem." ...[more]

  • Lawmakers will look at new prison sentencing issue
    LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A legislative committee will investigate Nebraska's newest prison sentencing problems, which took place while officials were rounding up inmates who were released too early.......[more]

  • Federal regulators float an aggressive new plan to cut the cost of prison calls
    It was back in 2003 that a Washington, D.C., grandmother named Martha Wright filed a petition to the Federal Communications Commission asking federal regulators to address the high inmate telephone rates that were keeping her from keeping in touch with her grandson, then locked up in an Arizona prison....[more]

  • Federal prison population drops for first time in 3 decades, Justice Dept. says
    The federal prison population has dropped by nearly 5,000 inmates this year, the first decline in decades, according to the Justice Department.

    In a speech Tuesday at New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. highlighted the decline as a breakthrough for criminal-justice reform advocates who have tried to reverse the trend of rising incarceration. He said that in fiscal 2016, the federal prison population is projected to drop by 10,000 inmates, or the equivalent of six federal prisons....[more]


  • N.D. incarceration rate climbing; no dramatic drop in crime rate
    Putting more criminals behind bars has not led to a huge drop in North Dakota's crime rate, a new study indicates.

    A Pew Charitable Trust study found that despite locking up 175 percent more people in 2014 than it did in 1994, North Dakota has seen just an 18 percent drop in its overall crime rate during that same period. It is less than half the national average....[more]


  • Prison Firm CCA Seeks to Reduce Number of Repeat Offenders -- Company Pushes to Reduce Costs Associated with Recidivism
    The nation's largest private prison company is shifting its focus toward helping release more inmates and keep them out—a reaction, company officials say, to changing policies around the country on the severity of criminal punishment....[more]

  • Escape draws heightens concerns at Ohio prison
    LIMA, Ohio -- The escape by three inmates, including the killer of three students in the 2012 Chardon High School rampage, from the Allen Oakwood Correctional Institution drew accusations from union officials about inadequate staffing levels and security problems at the facility....[more]

  • Florida DOC launches inmate deaths website
    Inmate Bryan Kendzia called his mother from Okeechobee Correctional Institution on May 13– hours before he slashed himself with razor blades. Within two days, he was dead as a result of an apparent suicide.

    Sketchy details about Kendzia’s death and those of several other inmates are now available online as part of Department of Corrections (DOC) Secretary Michael Crews’ effort to give the public a behind-the-scenes glimpse when prisoners die....[more]


  • State’S Prison Costs Outstrip Colleges -- A sobering discussion on spiraling costs
    Arizona holds 23 percent of its prisoners in 15 private prisons, an expensive proposition, said Dianne Post, spokesperson for the Arizona Justice Alliance, a group that educates the public on the current state of prisons in Arizona....

    ...[more]


  • Dan Walters: Prison population drops, but local jails become overcrowded
    Under heavy pressure from federal courts to relieve prison overcrowding, but unwilling – for political reasons – to directly release inmates, Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature devised realignment.

    Newly convicted felons whose crimes were presumed to be nonviolent, nonsexual and nonserious would be diverted into local jails, and local probation and rehabilitation services, thereby reducing the prison population by attrition....[more]


  • Oregon’s prison population beginning to decrease -- Study suggests additional reductions would not increase crime rate
    In November 2008, there were 13,615 inmates in Oregon prisons. Five years later, the number of Oregon inmates reached its all-time high of 14,707. Since then, thanks in part to 2013 legislative reforms easing mandatory minimum sentences on certain drug and property crimes, the total has gradually ticked down to 14,632 as of July 1....[more]

  • 'Empty' Prisons Dotting the USA
    After reading the recent story about a "correctional officer" intimidating a network news reporter for accidentally filming an empty prison at Wilton, NY, I googled "empty prison."

    As it turns out, there are several around the USA....[more]



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