law books

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.

Arizona prisons

Arizona Prisons Grapple with Upsurge in Inmate ‘Self-Harm’

More than 80 inmates tried to hang themselves so far this year, and 138 attempted drug overdoses, at a time when the Arizona Department of Corrections is under fire over allegedly inadequate health care. The state still has no mental health director, according to a report by the Phoenix public radio station.

Starting Over: ‘So Many People Want You to Succeed’

A program launched this year by the Illinois Department of Corrections transfers inmates with less than four years remaining on their sentence to a facility that provides life-skills training and job counseling. The sense of hope among participants is hard to miss, says a reporter who attended a recent “Day with Dad” weekend at the Kewanee Re-Entry Center.

OK Grapples with High Female Incarceration Rate

Oklahoma leads the nation in female incarceration – at a rate more than twice the national average. On Wednesday, legislators, activists and academics will explore how to reduce the rate in a livestreamed conference hosted by The Atlantic magazine in collaboration with Reveal, of California’s Center for Investigative Reporting.

Getting Bail Right

Releasing the wrong defendants can increase the risk that they won’t appear in court as directed—or commit additional crimes. But holding people unnecessarily can be costly. A series by The Sentinel studies the impact of bail decisions in two Pennsylvania counties.

 ‘There’s No One Left to Hurt But Me’

In an essay written for the San Francisco Beat Within prison-writing workshop, a California inmate looks back on the mistakes that landed him behind bars for most of his life, a process he says has taken him from “blame to shame.”