A jailhouse video shows San Luis Obispo, Ca., sheriff’s deputies watching and sometimes laughing as a schizophrenic man, who had been strapped naked to a chair for 46 hours, writhes on the floor of his cell, loses consciousness and eventually dies.
The Maricopa County, Az., Board of Supervisors agreed to pay $7 million to the family of a man who died after a use-of-force incident in a county jail while former Sheriff Joe Arpaio was in office. The decision follows a long line of high-dollar settlements shelled out to those who alleged excessive force and wrongful deaths at the jails during the 24 years Arpaio served as sheriff.
Although African Americans are still “over-represented” in jails—they are 3.6 times more likely to be incarcerated than whites—a doubling of the jailed white population, particularly in rural and small metro countries, significantly reduced the racial gap in US jails between 1990 and 2013, according to the Vera Institute of Justice.
The percentage of U.S. residents in jail dropped 3.4 percent from midyear 2012 to midyear 2016, says the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. County and city jails held 740,700 inmates at midyear 2016, far below the peak of 785,500 in 2008.
Milwaukee County prosecutors charged Armor Correctional Health Services with falsifying health care records of inmates at the Milwaukee County Jail, including Terrill Thomas, who died of dehydration while in custody. Thomas, 38, went seven days without water in solitary confinement before his death.
Given the city’s inaction and protracted 10-year proposal [to close the Rikers jail complex], it is now time for the commission to examine steps to expeditiously close Rikers and to ensure that the constitutional rights of inmates and staff are protected,” the state Commission of Correction said.
The former commander of the Milwaukee County Jail and two other employees were charged with felonies over the death of inmate Terrill Thomas. Water was cut off to his cell, a common but prohibited practice in the jail, says a criminal complaint.
An undercover investigator posing as a correction officer smuggled two scalpel blades, 26.8 grams of marijuana and five strips of Suboxone, a prescription opiate, into the Manhattan Detention Complex and the Brooklyn Detention Complex.
The sentencing overhaul championed by Gov. Bruce Rauner has already cut inmate numbers by 7,000. But reforms at the county level, influencing who goes to prison in the first place, have been a critical ingredient in the state’s success—and could be a model for jurisdictions elsewhere.