April 10, 2013

Terrific essay on visiting an inmate

"The neglect here is almost unimaginable—and it’s not just neglect from the Beckley staff but from the world itself—the world that has carried on with its daily business while keeping all these men invisibly deposited elsewhere, in a slew of the nation’s most obscure corners. On the outside, you can think about prison for a moment and then you can think about something else. Inside, it’s every moment. It’s impossible to ignore
April 10, 2013

Phone companies, prisons, make $$ on phone calls

When an inmate calls, it's a collect call. The mother/wife/father receiving it is charged for the initial set-up plus per minute. Those costs are profit for both the phone companies and the prison system. But enough is enough, says the Ohio ACLU. And the FCC is now involved.
April 6, 2013

Federal Judge Rejects Gov. Brown plea for No Oversight

Gov. Brown will appeal his latest loss before a federal judge this week, where he asked that 17 years of judicial oversight end.
April 6, 2013

Chicago Police Commander’s Technicalities Refused

The 7th Circuit has turned down an appeal by Chicago's Jon Burge, who commanded a large portion of the Chicago police force until 1993. His original case involved his knowledge (or lack of) about the torture and abuse of suspects by his police department. He was fired. But in 2007, he was caught up in a federal indictment for lying and perjury. Currently in a federal prison, Burge's requests for a new trial were dismissed by the 7th Circuit judges, who saw all his arguments as spurious technicalities. So the guy had a determined lawyer, but an unsuccessful one. Maybe police officers shouldn't put plastic bags over suspects' heads and suffocate them, or hit them with typewriters. Those aren't technicalities.
April 5, 2013

Calif: What to do with Mentally Ill?

California has a problem: in the 60's, the state had 36,853 mentally ill in state hospitals; today, the state has 33,777 inmates judged mentally ill within the state prison system. They didn't go away, did they, when the state hospitals closed down. Donald Specter, head of Prison Law Office, is attempting to get the inmates real help
April 4, 2013

Why Women Guards Are Useful and Needed

Terrific analysis in Corrections.com about the differences between male and female corrections officers. Jessica Herbert studied innate differences in sexes, including responses to stressful situations and also work environments (occassionally the same thing). One conclusion: prisons are hierarchical, and women's strengths are found instead in collaboration and mentoring.
April 4, 2013

Graphic novel on temporary sale–hurry!

For reasons understood only by Amazon.com, the graphic novel for inmates is on sale for almost 40% off. Prison Grievances: when to write, how to write, is a 60-page book of art, drama, and checklists that will help inmates learn when it makes sense to write a grievance. Then it'll teach them how to effectively write one.
April 3, 2013

New Orleans jail makes news, again

Currently a federal court is investigating Parish Prison (city jail) and deciding whether to put it into receivership. The City is balking at the cost it would incure. Meanwhile, a 4-yr-old video shows appalling conditions almost unimaginable--inmates shooting up heroin, playing with loaded gun, drinking beer--all while supposedly being guarded. The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Dept. of Justice have brought a class-action lawsuit against the sheriff.
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