In the aftermath of the nation’s worst prison riot in 25 years, a group of South Carolina state representatives say they have received troubling texts and images of chaotic conditions inside Lee Correctional Institution. State corrections chief Bryan Stirling has promised an independent investigation.
Beyond the ideological debates about prison privatization, privately run corrections facilities are likely to continue to be used by cash-strapped governments. In a new book, Lauren-Brooke Eisen of New York University says it’s time to explore how the private corrections industry can become a partner in reducing recidivism.
Jared Kushner visited Capitol Hill to lobby for prison legislation. Some Republicans and many Democrats want a broader bill that includes sentencing reform. The House Judiciary Committee could take up the issue next week.
“This was about contraband, this was about cellphones,” said South Carolina corrections director Bryan Stirling after seven inmates died in fights. He and Gov. Henry McMaster asked the Federal Communications Commission to allow the jamming of cellphone signals in prisons.
Fights in three housing units of South Carolina’s Lee Correctional Institution started Sunday night and continued into early Monday morning. Eventually, seven prison were were killed and 17 others required medical attention.
A woman who says she wore a hidden mike to help build a case against a Denver Women’s Correctional Facility canteen supervisor accused of sexually harassing and assaulting inmates sued Colorado prison investigators because the man was not charged for groping her crotch during the sting.
A new medical furlough law allows sick, old and dying people to be released from prison. Now, state legislators are moving to exclude from the program those who have been convicted of first-degree murder.
There have been hundreds of lawsuits, findings that private prisons save taxpayers little to no money, and evidence of repeated constitutional violations, yet the number of privately housed inmates has risen faster since 2000 than the overall number of prisoners.
In Echo Yard at Donovan prison, cells are racially integrated. Sex offenders and transgender inmates are housed with everyone else. Gangs are banned. So far, it has been so trouble-free that it requires only one-third the staffing of an ordinary prison yard.