‘Locked Up and Shipped Away’

The number of inmates transferred to private prisons outside their home states decreased by about 3,000 between 2013 and 2015, but for-profit prisons continue to delay prison reform, according to a report published by the advocacy group Grassroots Leadership.

'Baby Steps' Toward Open Courtrooms?

The public wants more access to the judicial system. In the past few years, states have responded by allowing more cameras into more courtroom proceedings. But federal courts have been slower to make change. Following our story last week, “Cameras and 'Making a Murderer”, The Crime Report asked readers: “Should cameras be given unrestricted access to all phases of a courtroom trial?” Some 63 percent responded “Yes.”

2016 Top National Crime Reporting Awards

Beth Schwartzapfel of The Marshall Project, and an investigative reporting team from the Belleville News-Democrat—Beth Hundsdorfer, George Pawlaczyk and Zia Nizami—are the winners of the John Jay College/Harry Frank Guggenheim 2016 Awards for Excellence in Criminal Justice Reporting. “The impressive work of these journalists illustrates why reform of our criminal justice system has risen to the top of our national agenda,” said Jeremy Travis, president of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, in the prize announcement this week. “We are proud to honor them as examples of the critical role the media is playing—and continues to play—in our ongoing national debate.” The annual prizes are administered by John Jay's Center on Media, Crime and Justice (CMCJ)—publisher of The Crime Report. They recognize the year's best print and online justice reporting in a U.S.-based media outlet between November 2014 and October 2015.

Expert Panel Urges Overhaul Of Bloated Federal Prison System

A task force of experts commissioned by Congress called today for a makeover of the federal prison system, from the sentencing of defendants to the treatment of inmates once they get out. The Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections, completing a year-long study, contended its recommendations would  result in safely dropping the number of federal inmates by 60,000, and save $5 billion. The federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) now runs the nation’s largest prison system, with 196,352 inmates, of whom about 161,000 were in federal facilities as of last week and the rest in other lockups. The prisons overall are occupied far above their official capacity, making them dangerous to inmates and corrections personnel alike.  The federal prison population has grown eight-fold since 1980, reaching 220,000 in 2013 before it began to decline recently, partly because the U.S. Sentencing Commissioned has reduced the terms of many prisoners serving long sentences for drug crime. About 6,000 such inmates were released late last year.

‘We Knew Something Bad Was Going to Happen to Him’

“You always look at yourself and say, 'Maybe that was me, or could have been me,'” one young man says in a video made by Youth Today posted earlier this week on Juvenile Justice Information Exchange. The story blends the accounts of six teens and young adults remembering friends who died as a result of drug and alcohol abuse—and reflecting on their own struggles with addiction. “We would go on trips, we would fill up a full tank of gas and just drive down the road,” one young woman remembers. Later, her friend became more withdrawn: “Other groups of people that she was with were pulling her back.” “We knew something bad was going to happen to him,” says a young man, recalling one of his best friends.

Prison Authors: “My Life’s Turning Point”

This essay was originally published by The Beat Within, a justice system writing workshop. It was written at the San Francisco Juvenile Justice Center.The full name of the author has been withheld. It's cold out here and I've been practicing my left hand lay-up for about an hour now. I go up for another lay-up and miss it. It isn't any help that the rim is slightly crooked.