More than one in four admissions to state prisons are individuals who have violated “technical” terms of their parole or probation. The state legislative efforts will help reduce mass incarceration, reports the Pew Public Safety Performance Project.
The mishaps occurred against the backdrop of a highly stressed prison health care system, a crisis that has left the Department of Correction vulnerable to taxpayer-funded settlements of inmate lawsuits.
According to a study of the Michigan Department of Corrections, prison workers are more likely to show symptoms of depression and anxiety or suicidal ideation than even first responders or members of the military.
The federal prison system paid $1.6 million in bonuses to its top executives and wardens during the past two years despite chronic staffing shortages and sharp Congressional critiques of prison management, reports USA Today.
“The people in Oklahoma are not more criminogenic than the people in other states, and yet we have the highest incarceration rates,” said Kris Steele of Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform. The state legislature largely failed to act on the issue this year.
Attorney General William Barr visited a federal prison in Edgefield, S.C., last week to view training for inmates, from computer skills to cooking, auto mechanic training and factory work. Barr’s visit signaled a major policy shift since his first stint as attorney general in the 1990s, when he promoted a tough-on-crime approach.
“What’s happening out there is just ugly,” said Joe Allbaugh, recently resigned Oklahoma corrections director. “There’s no other way to describe it. Each time I bring it up, people see dollar signs. They don’t want to hear about money issues.”