prison

The Painful Lessons of a Corrections Crisis

When the Washington Department of Corrections learned a software programming error led to the erroneous early release of 3,000 prisoners, it took three years to address the problem. That led to at least two deaths—and some hard lessons about the need to recognize non-traditional emergencies before they became crises, according to a case study published this month.

prison

Private Prisons Offer ‘Poor Compensation, Instability’ to Employees: Study

An Oregon State University professor says his comparative study of prison demographics also supports critics who claim private prisons “skim the best inmates with the lowest needs in their attempt to minimize costs.” The study found that inmates in for-profit institutions serve disproportionately shorter sentences than those incarcerated in state and federal prisons.

Meek Mill

Why Meek Mill is Not Alone

The recent sentencing of the Philadelphia rap artist over a probation violation underlines why America’s system of community supervision needs to change, argue two prominent justice reformers.

prison

Prison Story: When ‘Extraction Squad’ Comes for You

A former inmate at Pelican Bay State prison in California recounts being shackled, beaten with nightsticks and Tasered because he neglected to hand over a pack of coffee. The humiliation, he writes in an essay for The Beat Within prison writers’ workshop, was nearly as awful as the pain.

judgement

When Inmates Sue, Are They on a Level Playing Field?

A Louisiana newspaper investigation finds a significant number of prisoner lawsuits alleging inhumane conditions in a facility that says it is committed to rehabilitation. Finding the truth is complicated by the fact that U.S. inmates get little professional legal help to press their case, say advocates.

health care

Pew Study Calls for Better Monitoring of Prison Health Care

State corrections authorities spend more than $8 billion a year on health care programs for prisoners, but are they cost-effective? A study by Pew Charitable Trusts says the aging of America’s prison population adds renewed urgency to monitoring—and improving—efforts to treat prisoners’ special health needs both during and after incarceration.