April 25, 2013

“Prove Who Did It and Specific Harm,” say Colorado prison officials

Arnold & Porter and the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, an advocacy group, insist the court step in to end "barbaric treatment more suited to the dungeons of medieval Europe than to a modern American prison." Predictably, "The government said that the suit doesn’t specify which persons allegedly mistreated the five prisoners and doesn’t supply enough information about the ones named as plaintiffs in the action. “There are no facts alleged by any of the five plaintiffs showing a ‘serious harm’ that resulted from the alleged lack of treatment,” the government said in a filing. “Rather, these inmates simply allege that they were denied treatment for unspecified illnesses, with no facts of any resulting harm alleged.”
April 24, 2013

What Makes a Prison Officer an Effective Leader?

In Corrections.com, retired officer Carl ToersBinjs (Florence, AZ), lists five problem areas that prison administrators should focus on to become the best leaders possible. He believes that facing these deficiencies and overcoming shortcomings will help morale and safety. 1) arrogance 2) opaque 3) undisciplined (doesn't delegate), 4) detached (no ownership), 5) self awareness (strengths and weaknesses). Terrific points; hope officer training will address these annually.
April 23, 2013

Major Supreme Court decision: immigrants and recreational drugs

Today the Supreme Court issued Moncrieffe v. Holder, deciding that a non-citizen" is not necessarily barred from discretionary relief" merely for marijuana IF the "state illicit drug trafficking offense" is based on possession but NOT remuneration (getting paid for sharing) or NOT for just "a small amount." That means: no guarantee here, but the Immigration and Nationality Act isn't a solid wall to overcome. Recreational pot smokers can at least argue that they're not a major threat to the security of the U.S.
April 23, 2013

“Lack of imagination” keeping US prison care poor

Dr. Paul Farmer, a U.S. immunologist and co-founder of global Partners in Health, told me last night that it "makes him ill" to think of US prisoners, and he is sad that governments, agencies, human rights groups, and communities can't get together to overcome the obstacles facing health care professionals within the US prison system. He has helped Russia with overcoming a resistant strain of TB in its prisons; we should all become that community and fight to have quality health care in our prisons.
April 21, 2013

Help Dallas Exonorees/Detectives Fund Documentary

Freedom Fighters, a group of exonerees in Dallas, are investigating cases of prisoners who may indeed be innocent but have no DNA to prove it. You may have seen interviews with these men on national news. Now, a San Francisco documentary filmmaker wants to spread the word, and they need your help making a $30,000 film.
April 19, 2013

CCA Announces $675 MILLION dividend

Corrections Corporate of America just announced its yearly dividends for stock-holders: $675 MILLION.
April 18, 2013

Death Row Women Victims of Prison Sexual Violence

Tutwiler Prison, home to death row women in Alabama, is now under investigation--again, this time by the Dept. of Justice. According to easlier investigations, prison officers felt free to not only sexually assault inmates, but to do so violently. That's the report from an independent investigating committee and the Equal Justice Initiative, all of whom found the assaults "frequent" and "severe." Their report instigated another layer of investigation, this time by the Dept. of Justice.
April 17, 2013

We Need More Women in Corrections

More women are entering the corrections work force and we must be prepared to meet the needs of corrections. Recent research reflects the following initiatives must be in place to provide the opportunity for training and advancement. This can also include mixed-gender and gender-specific training; use of role models and mentors to assist in providing guidance, experience, and support. We must ensure all staff know the boundaries of inmate and staff interaction and relationships. Corrections administrators have the responsibility to support women in the work place. The opportunity is now to maximize the use of females in corrections.
April 15, 2013

Guards: Don’t Mess with Chow Hall Food

Lucasville, Ohio, is 'celebrating' its infamous riot of 20 years ago. Now, guard union leader says, history might indeed repeat itself. Budget cuts and privatizing prisons are returning prisons to the dismal conditions of the 80s, say union leaders. They are worried about staff safety if things get ugly again. Human rights observers are also worried about possible violence.
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