White, Rural Counties Become New US Incarceration Leaders

Prison admissions of offenders from big cities have declined sharply over the past decade–by 36 percent in Indianapolis, 37 percent in Brooklyn, 69 percent in Los Angeles County, and 93 percent in San Francisco. The reverse is true many less populous places. A New York Times analysis shows people in small counties are about 50 percent more likely to go to prison than city dwellers, raising questions about equal protection.

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‘The Worst Way to Address Mental Illness’

More than 350,000 people with severe psychiatric conditions are currently languishing in the nation’s jails and prisons. Could early intervention have prevented them from landing behind bars?

How Prisons Trap the Mentally Ill

Our country’s jails and prisons house 356,000 people with serious mental illnesses. Most would be better off outside—if there were sufficient funds for mental health treatment programs.

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‘Locked Up and Shipped Away’

The number of inmates transferred to private prisons outside their home states decreased by about 3,000 between 2013 and 2015, but for-profit prisons continue to delay prison reform, according to a report published by the advocacy group Grassroots Leadership.

Despite High Profile CA Jail Break, Inmate Escapes Are Getting Rarer

Orange County, Ca., Sheriff's officials said they were “extremely troubled” that it took at least 16 hours for deputies to realize three inmates had escaped last week, as new details emerged about the lengths the trio went to break out of the high-security lockup, the Los Angeles Times reports. With the inmates now at large for five days, the jail has come under intense scrutiny for several policies that some believe may have made the escape easier. Jail personnel conduct only two physical head counts of inmates per day, one at 5 a.m., the other at 8 p.m. Investigators believe the three men vanished after the 5 a.m. check, and the escape was not discovered until late Friday night. Although this is the second major jailbreak to make national news within a year, prison escapes are actually rare and getting rarer in the U.S., the Christian Science Monitor reports. In 2000, the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics reported 37.1 escapes per 10,000 prisoners.

MN Incarceration Rate Spikes, State Runs Out Of Room For New Inmates

Minnesota is running out of places to put its prisoners. With inmate ranks at the state's 10 prisons swollen beyond capacity, the Department of Corrections planned to seek $141 million this year to add space for 500 more prisoners at its Rush City facility. The Minneapolis Star Tribune says Gov. Mark Dayton left the project out of his bonding proposal, effectively killing it, at least for now, and instead offered a more modest $8.5 million plan that would house less than a quarter of the roughly 560 inmate overflow. Dayton wants to work with the department and lawmakers this year on a long-term strategy to reduce the state's prison population, calling major building projects “a solution of the last resort.” The dramatic difference in proposals underscores the difficulty of solving a complicated and politically fraught problem decades in the making.

Companies Ask Wardens To Buy Wares At American Correctional Association

Louisiana, home of one of the world’s highest incarceration rates, is hosting the American Correctional Association (ACA) winter conference in New Orleans this week, reports the International Business Times. the ACA says it is the largest gathering of U.S. corrections personnel. While the conference offers several dozen educational workshops and panels about reforming the criminal justice system, its trade show offers a peek into the sprawling private industry around incarceration. Men and women stand by their companies’ booths, wearing polo shirts adorned with their logos, handing out free pens, tote bags and brochures. The convention is closed to the public, and the customers on the trade show floor are mostly prison wardens, jail officials and directors from state corrections agencies.