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.”
Under a new contract with CenturyLink, the cost of a typical 15-minute phone call will drop from about $4 to 90 cents. CenturyLink will install technology to allow for video visitation from major metro areas to rural areas.
The state is charging $20 to see its 160-year-old former prison, once one of the nation’s largest, where men once were doubled into cells not much larger than farm wagons, with little ventilation, scant sunlight and no toilets until the 1950s.
The planned 19-day strike, the first such nationwide action in the U.S. in two years, appears to be gathering traction, according to unconfirmed reports. Organizers hope to bring to public attention the spate of deaths in custody as well as what they say are inhumane living conditions.
Overdoses on synthetic cannabinoids, sometimes known as K2 or Spice, are the latest deadly epidemic in Florida prisons. The Florida Department of Corrections suspects K2 is behind a dramatic uptick in prison deaths.
While politicians in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere debate prison reforms, a group of abolitionists — young, mostly black lawyers, academics, artists, authors and community organizers — believe that the criminal justice system as we know it is inherently cruel, perpetuates systemic racism, and must be overhauled completely.
After a deadly year for North Carolina prison workers, state leaders will significantly stiffen penalties for inmates who assault staff members. Inmates who attack employees will be put in solitary confinement and lose visitation privileges for at least a year under a new policy.
The investigation follows a similar Justice Department probe of a women’s prison in Alabama. “It seems that Lowell has a real cultural problem, and the Florida Department of Corrections, in general, has a huge cultural problem in the way they handle sexual abuse,” says a former Justice Department civil rights lawyer.