Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson says he regrets getting caught up in the “hysteria” of locking people up. He wishes he hadn’t built so many prisons. “We lock up too many people for too long. It’s about time we change the dynamics. I apologize for that,” he said.
Nearly two years after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered an investigation into racial bias in New York prisons after the New York Times reported on it, no findings or recommendations have been released by the state inspector general. A Cuomo spokesman hopes the report will be out in the “very near future.”
The Urban Institute and the American Civil Liberties Union have developed companion tools aimed at helping states understand the factors that drive their prison populations, and fashion policies that can reduce them without affecting public safety. The ACLU says its tool can help produce “transformational change” in the nation’s prison system.
A journalist whose brother was sent to prison for murder recounts the long-term impact on his family and community in “My Brother Moochie.” In a conversation with TCR about his book, Issac Bailey explains how the experience informed his own perspective about race and incarceration in the American South.
The ongoing strike by prisoners around the U.S. “is likely one of the most extensive in the nation’s history,” says David Fathi of the American Civil Liberties Union, who makes the case for raising inmate pay.
The Crossroads Correctional Center is partly locked down 110 days after an inmate riot. State Rep. Brandon Ellington says he was unable to talk to inmates on Thursday despite a state law allowing legislators access.
The U.S. economy has been in a sustained period of low unemployment with many states across the Midwest and Northeast, in particular, experiencing labor shortages and employers who need to reach further for workers looking at prisons. Officials in Maine, which had a 3 percent unemployment rate in July, are inviting employers to the state prison in Warren for a seminar on hiring prisoners in September.
Organizers say prisoner protests are widespread, focused on inmate work for little or no pay. “Prisoners aren’t oblivious to their reality,” said Paul Wright of the Human Rights Defense Center, a longtime critic of prison conditions. “They see people dying around them. They see the financial exploitation. They see the injustice.”