July 31, 2013

Oklahoma Prison Staff Pay Creates Crisis

$11.83/he to work among unhappy inmates. Sure sounds like a disastrous job ad to me! But that's what's happening, and why OK has such a staffing shortage. That creates overtime--and many of those hours are not voluntary, which makes l1fe difficult for those guards who actually get to leave the prison and get home
July 26, 2013

Calif. Officials Will Meet Inmate Supporters Next Week

California continues to defy federal court orders. Justice Kennedy is having to step in. Meanwhile, the American Friends and other supporters will get a meeting with some prison and government officials next week-but not Corrections Secretary Jeffrey Beard. Nope. Rather, he said he hopes "that they'll eventually make their point, and get it over, and we can continue to move forward in a positive way." So here we all are, three weeks into a deadly hunger strike, wondering what "positive way" he has in mind.
July 25, 2013

Remaining 9,000 Calif. inmates are “dangerous.’ Really?

California governor and prison officials insist that, to comply with the federally ordered reduction in prison overcrowding, they will have to release 'dangerous' inmates. Really? How dangerous? Who decided which are dangerous? The same people who decided which inmates belong to gangs? So the question floats again upwards, this time to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Kennedy, who has a long and complicated history with the California litigation.
July 22, 2013

Calif: Third Week Hunger Strike: cell doors sandbagged

Surely there is a law against putting sand bags along the floor of prison cell? In an emergency, how could officials open doors fast enough to save the inmates? But officials throughout the Calif. system are using this technique to keep inmates from corresponding and communicating during the hunger strike. They have moved some strike leaders to SHU, and some to units specifically for snitches--what these fellows ain't.
July 19, 2013

N. Y. Times Investigates Calif. Prison Strike

It's nice when a major news outlet covers stories about the prison complex. This story is even better: the author looks at causes of the current, wide-spread hunger strike throughout the California prison system, and concludes conditions must be really, really bad or men and women wouldn't risk what little freedom they have to help those being punished in solitary confinement.
July 18, 2013

What Prompts Solitary Confinement? Cards, Stars…

While California prisoners are starving themselves to death to call attention to prison conditions, Mother Earth has published a list of actions etc that can get an inmate thrown into prison. Included are drawing the Northern Star on a Christmas card ... drawing birds ... confidential reports from fellow inmates who weren't even in that prison at the time of the 'incident,' etc. Solitary should be reserved for the worst of the worst, not Christmas card artists.
July 18, 2013

Calif. Prisons Illegally Using Ad Seg as Punishment

Federal and state law, plus all prison policies, make retaliation for grievances a crime. Yet the staff and administration of the California system has been accused of just that during this now 10-day hunger strike. Inmates are being placed into the very condition they are striking to close down--cement cells with no windows, no comforts, no human contact.
July 14, 2013

Tulsa Jails and Prisons Overcrowded; Jails Suing Prisons!

Seems most of the people in Tulsa are in jail or prison or out working to pay taxes to support the prisoners. "The sheriff's office say drastic times call for drastic measures. They say the overcrowding is so bad they had no choice but to file the lawsuit. They say overcrowding is dangerous for the employees, bad for inmates and is costing taxpayers money. Tulsa County's jail has been dealing with overcrowding for the past year, to the point many inmates are sleeping in "boats," plastic beds placed on the floor." There's a logical answer to the problems, but if you read the Readers' Comments for the accompanying NewOn6 story, you'll learn that half of the Tulsa responders want to just kill 'em all. Problem resolved. That wasn't the logical answer I was thinking of...
July 13, 2013

Four U.S. congressmen ask for DOJ prisons investigation

What's it take to encourage four national Congressmen to ask the DOJ to step in and investigate one state? Lots of trouble, apparently. And Louisiana prisons have lots of trouble. "The congressmen said they have evidence that Louisiana prison officials held prisoners in solitary confinement for unprecedented lengths and "colluded" with members of the state attorney general's office to cherry-pick evidence from inmate phone calls to justify longer confinement sentences." Let's hope the DOJ responds with guns blaring!
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