In some of the state’s most dangerous prisons, officers have been skipping a crucial part of their job for years by failing to perform their required 30-minute security checks. The negligence may have contributed to the deaths of at least eight inmates. Some blame staffing shortages.
Prisoner rights advocates say the safety of inmates in areas threatened by climate change is dangerously low on the priorities of disaster planners. Exhibit A, they argue, are the thousands of prisoners in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico who were among the victims of this fall’s devastating hurricanes.
For the third time this year, drones have been used in attempts to smuggle contraband into a Michigan prison. Three men are charged in an Aug. 17 drone incursion loaded with three cells phones, razors and marijuana.
In an average year, about 100 inmates attempt suicide in the Canadian province. But 160 tried suicide in just the first six months this year, calling into the question reforms meant to take a more humane approach to inmate care.
Does shrinking the size of prison populations save taxpayers money? Not always, says a study released May 23 by the Vera Institute of Justice. The study found that 25 states increased their spending on prisons even though the nation’s overall prison population has declined.
A single shot of Vivitrol, which is emerging as an antidote to the nation’s opioid crisis, lasts for four weeks and eliminates the need for the daily doses common with alternatives such as methadone. Each shot costs as much as $1,000, but experts say that may be cheaper in the long run for the care of addicted prisoners.
Prison admissions of offenders from big cities have declined sharply over the past decade–by 36 percent in Indianapolis, 37 percent in Brooklyn, 69 percent in Los Angeles County, and 93 percent in San Francisco. The reverse is true many less populous places. A New York Times analysis shows people in small counties are about 50 percent more likely to go to prison than city dwellers, raising questions about equal protection.