Four inmates have committed suicide so far this year in Alabama state prisons—three of them in solitary confinement units. Prisoner advocates say it reflects the failure of state corrections officials to improve conditions in solitary, and the system’s inadequate treatment of mentally ill inmates.
A study released by the Urban Institute Tuesday suggests turning youth prisons, which have been slowly closing over the past decade, into places where the community can access social services, business growth, and neighborhood revitalization.
Civil rights attorneys say a Florida ban on a publication critical for inmates fighting abuse and neglect behind bars sets a dangerous precedent for press freedom. But editor Paul Wright’s one-man battle against what he calls prison censorship has largely been ignored by the media.
Maryland prison officials reversed a statewide policy that limited access to books for thousands of inmates as part of an effort to reduce drug smuggling. Prisoners can immediately begin receiving book shipments directly from relatives and online retailers.
Charges and convictions against the inmates could be overturned if a judge finds prosecutors violated attorney-client privilege by listening to the recordings. Securus, the company responsible for recording the calls, has already faced legal action for illegally taping communications.
Every dollar invested in correctional education reduces future criminal justice costs by five dollars. But despite studies bearing this out, policymakers hesitate even to revive programs that were scrapped in the tough-on-crime era, says a leading prison reformer.
Jimmy LeBlanc, the head of Louisiana’s Corrections Department, said his agency would have to release 10,000 inmates starting July 1 if the legislature does not raise more revenue by then. LeBlanc said the department could not weather the $75 million in cuts voted for this week.