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One incarcerated author used skills from an HIV/AIDS group to push imprisoned people and prison guards to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Apr 26, 2022
Mar 29, 2022
Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, “prison warehousing”—which used to be a derogatory term—would look like an upgrade. At least warehouses care about the value of the goods they store.
Nick Hacheney, Tomas Keen
Mar 24, 2022
Less than two years after racial justice protests sparked calls to “defund the police,” states and jurisdictions are using pandemic aid to pad already bloated law enforcement budgets.
Mar 23, 2022
Mar 22, 2022
A cycle of hopelessness is taking its toll in prisons across the country, amid continued restrictions on the things that make life more bearable.
Mar 11, 2022
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg, Meg O'Connor
Dec 21, 2021
Nov 16, 2021
Leaving prison often hinges on completing rehabilitative programming. The pandemic caused many of these required courses to be put on hold.
Jun 29, 2021
There has been a ‘parabolic increase’ in cities and states giving tenants a right to counsel to help fight evictions.
Jun 01, 2021
Only 7 percent of tenants in the state have legal representation in eviction proceedings. A bill in the Connecticut house is trying to change that.
May 03, 2021
A Department of Justice memo from January could have a devastating effect on many federal prisoners who have been released on home confinement.
Apr 05, 2021
Activists are calling for a number of new policies to expand the reach of community land trusts.
Mar 29, 2021
One of the leading candidates for Anchorage’s mayoral race is backed by a far-right Facebook group tied to the U.S. Capitol riot.
Mar 23, 2021
Biden’s American Rescue Plan is a start, but more public investment is needed to address racial inequality in the labor market.
Mar 18, 2021
After more than a year in office—and despite pushback—the San Francisco DA’s policies have kept people out of jails and prisons.
Ensuring renters have representation in housing court would help close a “justice gap” and be a life-saving intervention for those at risk of losing their homes.
Mar 10, 2021
It’s time for congressional Republicans to listen.
Mar 02, 2021
In many of America’s major cities, the early efforts to reduce incarceration during the pandemic have been reversed.
Feb 03, 2021
Policies that helped keep people in their homes—and keep the utilities on—reduced COVID-19 deaths and infections.
Jan 28, 2021
The attorney general could pick a new head of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. That person should have public health experience, formerly incarcerated activists say.
Jan 26, 2021
On Tuesday, Harris County Commissioners will decide if the D.A. and Sheriff will get more money to continue their neglect in the face of a public-health crisis.
Jan 25, 2021
The percentage of people held pretrial for six months or longer is up six percent from January of last year, according to a UCLA School of Law report.
Jan 21, 2021
The move is part of a broader criminal justice reform bill that also ends prison gerrymandering, and mandates body cameras for all police departments.
Jan 14, 2021
In Granite City, Illinois, landlords have been penalized for refusing to evict tenants who have criminal records or are simply living with someone who does.
Jan 11, 2021
Decades of exploitation, abuse, and racism in medicine have cost many Black Americans their lives during the pandemic. Now the government can act to prevent further harm.
Dec 18, 2020
In the new year, every prosecutor’s office should commit to protecting victims and workers, holding police accountable, and keeping families together.
Dec 17, 2020
The Philadelphia Community Bail Fund, which recorded and published the complaints, paid for the release of some incarcerated women on Saturday.
Dec 16, 2020
The report found that spread inside correctional facilities contributed to community spread, particularly in California, Florida and Texas.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg, Ethan Corey
Dec 15, 2020
The Court’s willingness to infer discrimination against Judeo-Christian religions from poorly articulated remarks that accompanied a public health response to COVID-19 may make other laws and policies vulnerable to claims of religious discrimination as well.
Dec 09, 2020
The coronavirus has ripped through our prison and jail populations, infecting and killing hundreds of thousands of people most vulnerable to COVID-19.
New York City’s jail population is close to reaching pre-pandemic levels. Advocates say dishonest fearmongering about bail reform—and the politicians who capitulated to it—have created a very real safety crisis.
Nov 30, 2020
In addition to the releases he has already ordered, the New York governor can grant commutations to free more incarcerated people to protect them from the disease. He has issued only three since the pandemic began.
Alana Sivin, Joshua Vaughn
Nov 25, 2020
The governor has rolled back bail reform, not released enough prisoners during the pandemic, and failed to rein in police abuses, advocates and prisoners say.
Nov 24, 2020
The Rittenhouse case raises particularly pointed questions about what we are really talking about when we talk about bail.
Grown adults have voted their way into the current morass in this country. Now is the time for a younger generation to lead the way.
David A. Love
Nov 03, 2020
If he wins his bid to represent the state’s Sixth District, Hoadley says he would reallocate police funding, improve health care, and invest in rural communities.
Dawn R. Wolfe
Nov 02, 2020
The Second District candidate, who has been endorsed by more than 50 Black leaders in Omaha, also wants to make investments in Black and Latinx neighborhoods.
Oct 30, 2020
The chef and restaurant owner is running for State Assembly in part to fight for a $15 minimum wage and other pro-worker reforms from within the halls of government.
Dawn R. Wolfe
Leger Fernandez, whose district includes Navajo Nation and several Pueblo reservations, wants to pass universal healthcare and improve infrastructure in tribal and rural communities.
Oct 28, 2020
A California appeals court orders San Quentin prison to reduce its population by half, the ACLU’s Death by Incarceration project paints a stark picture of COVID-19’s toll, and a new law grants early release to 3,000 New Jersey prisoners.
Oct 21, 2020
Efforts by elected leaders in several states are making it harder to get to the polls and fomenting misinformation about the election amid a pandemic.
Since the pandemic began, vital programs that enable children to receive free meals, such as the National School Lunch Program, haven’t been reaching the families in need of support.
An outbreak at Montana’s Cascade County jail demonstrates the risk COVID-19 poses to rural communities, the virus has infected nearly 2,000 children in juvenile-detention facilities, and one large Michigan prison is grappling with an outbreak that’s infected roughly one-third of its staff.
Oct 19, 2020
A new report by researchers at Johns Hopkins University warns prisons and jails that ‘changes are urgently needed’ to prevent more COVID-19 outbreaks; Wisconsin continues to struggle with infections inside and outside its prisons; and a new video series shares the tragic story of a wife trying to get help for her husband amid an outbreak at Chicago’s Cook County Jail.
Oct 17, 2020
How a collaboration between scholars, public health officials, and the Wayne County jail has kept COVID-19 in check; the California prison with the most coronavirus cases kept prisoners working despite the outbreaks; two counties report spikes in infections among juvenile detainees.
Oct 14, 2020
The state representative wants to bar landlords in Pennsylvania from reporting missed or late rent payments to credit agencies.
Oct 13, 2020
A ’freedom fighter’ reports from the San Quentin prisons on Twitter, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reverses a ruling made to protect elderly prisoners, and a class-action lawsuit seeks $400 million from the state of Delaware for ignoring basic COVID-19 precautions.
Oct 09, 2020
Last week’s problems in New York were part of a widespread series of issues, both systemic and targeted, that are only now becoming fully apparent, activists say.
Oct 08, 2020
COVID-19 has exposed a huge gap in knowledge over the rights of hospitalized prisoners, Wisconsin sees a spike in new cases in correctional facilities, and vitamin D might help save the lives of incarcerated people.
Oct 07, 2020
Passing the HEROES Act would provide crucial protections to some of the most vulnerable essential workers, they say.
After being COVID-free for months, Massachusetts facilities see new outbreaks; a New York lawmaker wants to make it easier for people to serve prison and jail sentences at home; and deaths continue to plague a Virginia prison.
Oct 05, 2020
A ruling by a Texas judge slams officials for deliberate indifference toward vulnerable prisoners; in San Diego, an ill-advised hospital visit led to a massive COVID-19 outbreak; and a new report finds an alarming increase of Latinx and Native American youth in juvenile-detention facilities.
Sep 30, 2020
A new report documents pandemic-driven efforts to release people from Chicago’s Cook County jail, how Virginia’s 900-page COVID-19 response plan has failed elderly and ill prisoners and federal prosecutors argue that a life sentence equals a death sentence.
Sep 28, 2020
New Jersey is close to enacting a law that would release up to 3,000 people from prison, advocates urge New York legislators to consider early parole for elderly prisoners, and California prisons see a new spike in coronavirus cases.
Sep 25, 2020
Experts discuss ongoing issues with COVID-19 in prisons and jails, Oklahoma prison officials agree to mandatory testing of all staff, and an incarcerated journalist pens a heart-wrenching account of his experience with coronavirus.
Sep 23, 2020
In the face of a pandemic and police violence, elected leaders have failed to keep us safe and to champion the voices of marginalized communities like mine. Now it is time to determine our own future.
Food insecurity is not an acute emergency, but rather a chronic condition for low-income Americans that existed long before the current public health emergency.
Sep 22, 2020
Documents obtained by the ACLU suggest that restarting executions caused a COVID-19 outbreak at a federal prison; Florida’s Brevard County jail says it quashed an outbreak, but a lack of testing raises questions; and San Quentin’s newspaper is publishing again.
Sep 21, 2020
Despite more than 16,000 COVID-19 infections in Florida’s prisons, the head of the system says his department has protected people from the virus; Science Magazine explores research being conducted on decarceration best practices; and a recent outbreak puts South Dakota on our new infections map.
Sep 18, 2020
After testing positive for COVID-19, Tommy Zeigler, whose case inspired legislation and multiple investigative reports, is missing in a Florida prison; advocates for women inside Oklahoma’s Eddie Warrior Correctional Center want to hear from Gov. Kevin Stitt; and men quarantined in a previously shuttered prison say they’re being forced to pee in cups.
Sep 14, 2020
A court ruling allows the Cook County Jail to return to double-occupancy and dorm-style housing, a state oversight agency makes an example of New York’s Fishkill prison, and we update our ongoing map of new COVID-19 cases.
Sep 10, 2020
Doctors at California’s San Quentin State Prison hope other correctional institutions will learn from their experience, COVID-19 causes one Colorado county to cancel its plans to build a bigger jail, and guards at Oregon’s Snake River Correctional Institution are blamed for an ongoing outbreak.
Sep 08, 2020
Women at California’s Folsom prison fear that men with COVID-19 will be transferred into their building, a new report looks at the shockingly high rate of COVID-19 deaths among incarcerated people, and we update our ongoing case tracker map.
Sep 04, 2020
Between the global pandemic and a nationwide economic crisis, voting rights advocates see a ‘perfect storm of barriers’ ahead that could prevent millions of people from casting a ballot in November.
Sep 03, 2020
As states move toward reopening, jails and prisons continue to report large COVID-19 outbreaks; researchers call for greater transparency in reporting infection rates; and prisoners at a New York federal jail say screening is limited to, ‘Are you OK?’
Sep 02, 2020
Tenants and progressive leaders who cried out for a national action must now grapple with two truths: This eviction moratorium will save lives, but everything about it is a page out of Trump’s re-election playbook.
California’s corrections secretary is retiring amid criticism over his handling of COVID-19 outbreaks, a Baltimore public defender describes his struggle to get an elderly client out of prison, and advocates for incarcerated people in Colorado want Gov. Jared Polis to consider more prisoner releases.
Aug 31, 2020
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown considers releasing more people from prison, how California’s Fresno County quietly became a major COVID-19 cluster, and new updates to our coronavirus outbreak map.
Aug 28, 2020
A new lawsuit uses the lesson of one prison to demand the release of people from New Mexico lock-ups, a new bill would require more transparency in reporting COVID-19 cases in prisons and jails, and deaths of incarcerated people hit a grim milestone.
Aug 26, 2020
Tom Wolf said Tuesday that legalizing and taxing recreational use of marijuana could help solve fiscal woes that arose from the pandemic, and address long-standing racial injustices.
What makes Ohio prisons so deadly, the CDC urges corrections officials to conduct mass testing, and the Washington Post editorial board finds a surge in jail and prison COVID-19 outbreaks ’morbidly unsurprising’.
Aug 24, 2020
As of Thursday, 993 incarcerated women and 62 staffers at Lowell Correctional Institution have tested positive for the virus. Two women have died.
Aug 21, 2020
Gov. Ron DeSantis ignores calls to release elderly people from Florida prisons, quarantines are no longer hampering California prison fire crews, and an update to our ongoing COVID-19 outbreak map.
Aug 20, 2020
Amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks in state prisons, Oregon lawmakers grapple with decarceration plans; the Sacramento County Sheriff won’t share infection data with the oversight board; and Oklahoma corrections officials use CARES Act money to ’boost morale’.
Aug 19, 2020
California prison watchdog finds lapses in COVID-19 screening procedures, the ‘trailer jails’ that officials in one Missouri county praised as ‘innovative’ are the site of an outbreak, and the U.S. Marshals Service is blamed for spreading infections among federal detention facilities.
Aug 17, 2020
Newspaper fearmongers around releasing people from prison due to COVID-19, oversight agency urges state DOC to ease restrictions on people in prison who have faced months of lockdown due to pandemic, sheriff orders staff not to wear masks.
Aug 13, 2020
New outbreaks continue to hit California prisons, advocates have harsh words for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and a longtime journalist weighs in on a sheriff’s decision to take a battle with the ACLU to the Supreme Court.
Aug 12, 2020
In difficult moments like this, we can’t let bad faith attacks set our community back. What our families need are resources and investment, not more police on the streets.
A new research project aims to better understand how COVID-19 spreads through jails, the virus continues to sweep through California’s death row, and federal prison employees are suing for hazard pay.
Aug 10, 2020
If the bill is signed into law later this month, about 20 percent of the state’s prison population could see their sentences reduced to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus, including some people who have served lengthy sentences for violent crimes.
In New York, fewer people who have experienced sexual assault or rape have sought forensic exams at hospitals during the pandemic. But advocates suggest that’s not evidence of declining sexual violence.
Attorneys file a class-action lawsuit over the outbreak at a California forensic psychiatric hospital, cases increase among Vermont prisoners sent to Mississippi, plus a map of new cases.
Aug 07, 2020
They shared their stories as part of a lawsuit seeking urgent changes to protect prisoners. One prisoner wrote that a jail officer denied his request for a mask, so he tied old underwear around his face.
Despite the growing consciousness around the need for reforms, thousands of prisoners who might also deserve clemency or early release are slipping through the cracks.
Aug 06, 2020
Amid sustained lockdowns and deteriorating conditions, prisoners and guards are reaching a breaking point; a new study shows decarceration is slowing amid increasing outbreaks in detention facilities; and HuffPost interviews a Rikers Island whistleblower.
Aug 05, 2020
Incompetence and inaction by California’s leaders are driving illness and death inside the state’s prison system.
According to people incarcerated and their loved ones, state officials are ignoring the spread of COVID-19 at New Haven Correctional Center.
Connecticut Bail Fund Hotline Volunteers
A deadly pandemic should not be used as a bargaining chip against poor, detained people charged with crimes.
Aug 04, 2020
Dozens of Vermont prisoners sent to an out-of-state private prison test positive for COVID-19, new study shows the prison infection rate is more than four times the general public’s, and Jay-Z’s Team Roc sues a Mississippi prison over “sub-human and deplorable” conditions.
Aug 03, 2020
Lawyers and activists are calling on prosecutor Kym Worthy to dismiss charges against those who have been arrested. As of July 29, 451 Detroiters had been arrested for violating Michigan’s concealed carry law, an increase of 190 percent compared to July 2019.
Precautions meant to minimize the spread of COVID-19—like remote hearings by video conferencing—have drastically changed the way people experience the judicial process, leaving some at a distinct disadvantage.
Jul 31, 2020
California watchdog agency that repeatedly warned of "dire consequences" of prison overcrowding urges lawmakers to implement reforms; human rights org tweets "keep-you-up-at-night horrifying" stories from Georgia jail; and we map out four days of coronavirus outbreaks.
Jul 30, 2020
COVID-19 tears through a Texas prison for medically fragile women; California prisons are flattening the curve on new diagnoses, but deaths continue to climb; and the ACLU finds jails releases haven’t led to an increase in crime.
Jul 27, 2020
Housing rights activists in California are pushing for taxation of rich residents to help the hundreds of thousands of people who may be at risk of losing housing after COVID-19 eviction restrictions end.
Hundreds were forced from an encampment to fenced-in, asphalt parking lots with no shade in Phoenix’s triple-digit summer heat. At least three people have died.
Jul 24, 2020
The advocates describe the reopening as unsafe and unnecessary amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jul 23, 2020
All lawmakers have a duty to use every available lever to reduce the number of people in prison, whether by compassionate release or expanded use of furloughs or some other mechanism. Taking these steps will demand immense political courage. But not doing it means consigning people—some just months away from release—to die preventable deaths.
Sharon Dolovich, Brendan Saloner
As thousands of people are freed from local jails, a group of nonprofits and activist organizations says the city's housing authority must revamp its policies that banish the formerly incarcerated.
Jul 22, 2020
All but nine of California’s 35 prisons house more people than the facility was designed to hold.
Juan Moreno Haines, Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg
Jul 21, 2020
Prisons that have lagged on releasing people have also seen significant COVID-19 outbreaks, one Indiana sheriff is spending his CARES Act money on high-tech virus prevention tools and California’s corrections chief says he’ll crack down on staff who refuse to wear masks.
Jul 17, 2020
How governors respond to this pandemic will define their legacy. They all face a choice: save lives in prisons now, or hand down potential death sentences with their inaction and watch harm ripple through communities and exacerbate inequities into future generations.
Chesa Boudin, Miriam Aroni Krinsky
There are nearly 1,000 new cases at Seagoville Federal Correctional Institution in Texas, the Cook County Jail gets praise for its COVID-19 response, and California’s jail oversight board announces plans to collect and publish county-level data.
Jul 16, 2020
Today’s update focuses on major outbreaks in two state prisons in tiny Buckingham County, Virginia that in June gave it one of the highest per-capita COVID-19 infection rates in the U.S.
Jul 15, 2020
Organizations in New York City have stepped in to help families with funeral costs and related matters in communities hit hard by the disease, but their money and resources are strained.
Geriatic prison with the most deaths in Texas has a years-long history of neglect, Kentucky corrections officials won’t say how many people they’ve tested for COVID-19, and an outbreak at a remote Oregon prison grows from 20 to 120 cases in less than a week, all as Gov. Kate Brown has refused calls to decarcerate the state’s prison system.
Jul 14, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic and nationwide protests over police brutality are strengthening the case against mass incarceration, advocates argue.
An Appeal analysis shows that the percentage of people held without bond remains steady, at roughly 33%, although arrests are down during the pandemic.
Critics say California’s release plan is an inadequate response to the COVID-19 outbreak in the state’s prison system, 42 percent of Louisiana prisoners tested for COVID-19 are positive, and conditions at Texas and Indiana prisons get the attention of lawmakers.
Jul 13, 2020
As a ‘heat dome’ descends on much of the country and local governments scramble to provide safe refuges, concern grows over the effect of a disease that has ‘totally demolished the homeless people.’
A new report finds that too many kids, particularly Black youth, continue to be held in dangerous juvenile detention facilities; California prison officials refused offers of free testing before and during San Quentin outbreak; and Gov. Gavin Newsom announces plans to release 8,000 incarcerated people.
Jul 10, 2020
New data obtained through a Freedom of Information Law request paint a dire picture of New York City COVID-19 testing in its jails.
Brad Maurer, Seth J. Prins and Sandhya Kajeepeta
Jul 09, 2020
A new multimedia campaign seeks to amplify voices of people incarcerated in Maryland’s Prince George’s County Jail, a GEO Group stockholder sues the for-profit prison company over its ’woefully ineffective’ COVID-19 response, and widespread testing is turning up thousands of new infections.
Pressure mounts on California’s governor to release people from prison; people with months, even days, left on their sentence are dying in Texas prisons; and a new report finds higher rates of COVID-19 in prison than in the U.S. population.
Jul 08, 2020
Many city residents who’ve served time for sexual crimes have families who want them back, but a 19-year-old law keeps them away.
Legal experts say the IRS is illegally denying CARES Act payments to incarcerated people.
Jordan Michael Smith
Florida media outlets had to sue to obtain information on COVID prison deaths; after preventable outbreaks, California replaces its prison medical director; and the Texas prison where Andrea Circle Bear died grapples with a new outbreak.
Jul 07, 2020
Advocates sue to get people out of ’deplorable’ Detroit jail, Oregon prisons see more COVID cases while governor stalls on commutations, and botched transfer depletes California’s prison fire camps.
Jul 06, 2020
Advocates say the pandemic has exacerbated the overdose crisis in the state by forcing people into isolation and impeding access to treatment.
San Quentin prisoners launch a hunger strike to protest inhumane conditions; amid an outbreak, a for-profit healthcare provider refuses to test everyone in an Ohio jail; and cases are spiking at Washington state’s Coyote Ridge Corrections Center.
Jul 02, 2020
A California lawmaker describes the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s handling of San Quentin outbreak as “abhorrent,” private prison giant CoreCivic turns a profit amid a pandemic and an inspection of a Tennessee jail turns up “inadequate and harmful” conditions.
Jul 01, 2020
A survey published by the National Domestic Workers Alliance in April found that 55 percent of respondents were unable to pay April’s rent, and 84 percent were either not able to or didn’t know if they could afford food.
COVID continues to tear through San Quentin and another botched CDCR transfer results in an outbreak; cases continue to climb in jails and a prisoner at Sing Sing describes prison life amid a pandemic.
Jun 30, 2020
Judge Paul Bonin improperly required people who appeared in his courtroom to purchase ankle monitors from a private company run by one of his former law partners, a lawsuit says.
In Cook County, Illinois, suspected or confirmed fatal overdose deaths doubled over last year in the first five months of this year.
From grocery store workers to nurses, from home care workers to janitors, from teachers to delivery workers to domestic workers -- there is an invisible, undervalued army of people who make our lives possible. Their work is essential, and it always has been.
Jun 29, 2020
The July 4th event will only serve to endanger the Black Hills National Forest, spread contagion, and continue the president’s pattern of sowing hatred and division.
A new report gives all 50 states failing grades on how they’ve handled COVID-19 in correctional facilities, infections continue to creep into jails and the Palm Beach post takes Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to task for his coronavirus failures.
Jun 26, 2020
Workers report facing a difficult choice between earning a living and feeling safe and healthy at their job.
Sacramento jail deputies agree to start wearing masks, the state agency that oversees California jails won't collect COVID-19 data, a lockdown failed to stop infections in a women’s jail, and cases continue to increase at San Quentin.
Jun 24, 2020
Despite early warnings, jails and prisons have seen a rapid spread of the virus—a humanitarian disaster that puts all of our communities, and lives, at risk. Every day, The Appeal examines the scale of the crisis, numbers of infected and dead, around the nation.
Jun 23, 2020
Jun 22, 2020
Legal, medical, and religious groups warn in a new report that the widespread use of solitary confinement in response to COVID-19 risks spreading the disease further and undoing a decade of progress.
Jun 19, 2020
Jun 18, 2020
Jun 17, 2020
Calls to defund the police must also be accompanied with divesting power and discretion from judges.
Yes, we must radically transform policing in America. But we cannot stop there. We must transform the pervasive systems of economic and carceral injustice that are choking our common life.
William J. Barber II, Saru Jayaraman
Jun 16, 2020
Although the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate crisis are both provoked by natural phenomena, the dangers they present are just as political as the crisis of police violence.
Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò
Jun 15, 2020
The accounts by prisoners in Cummins Unit contradict messaging from the state Department of Corrections, which says it has taken aggressive steps to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Jun 12, 2020
Jun 11, 2020
James ‘Bumpy’ Bennett, who had twice survived cancer, was 71 and had served 48 years of his life without parole sentence.
Robert Saleem Holbrook
Jun 10, 2020
Jun 09, 2020
Jun 08, 2020
‘This ruling is a particularly terrible blow because it comes at a time when people are taking to the streets en masse to protest state violence against Black people,’ said Nora Carroll, an attorney for Jalil Muntaqim, who has been imprisoned since 1971.
Jun 05, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed Florida lawmakers’ failure to build affordable housing for its residents.
Jun 04, 2020
The detainees already completed their criminal sentences—but they are prevented from leaving for years. And with the coronavirus spreading, their lives are at risk.
Jun 03, 2020
Jun 02, 2020
Jun 01, 2020
Texas’s governor has proclaimed that ‘safe practices save lives,’ but prisoners say that advice can’t be followed in the state’s prisons, where unsanitary conditions have left the novel coronavirus ‘spreading vigorously.’
“My dad, he’s part of the vulnerable population. If I think about it, it becomes really, really, really scary. So to be completely honest, I’m trying not to think about it.”
May 30, 2020
May 29, 2020
Advocates had hoped Governor Tom Wolf would use his executive reprieve power to release thousands of people from prisons in the face of COVID-19.
Health officials say hand washing is key to avoiding the novel coronavirus, but millions of homeless people continue to have little or no access to hygiene stations.
Despite early warnings, jails and prisons have seen a rapid spread of the virus -- a humanitarian disaster that puts all of our communities, and lives, at risk. The Appeal examines the scale of the crisis, numbers of infected and dead, around the nation.
The state’s public defender asked the state Supreme Court in April to speed up reviews of people held pretrial, but advocates say it’s unclear if district courts have complied.
May 28, 2020
May 27, 2020
While 80 percent of state health departments are recording race as part of their COVID-19 statistics, around half are not including Natives and are simply labeling them as “other.”
May 26, 2020
A U.S. district court judge said the Michigan jail has demonstrated ‘deliberate indifference’ to the lives of ‘medically vulnerable’ prisoners who are at particular risk of the novel coronavirus.
Dawn R. Wolfe
May 21, 2020
Eraina Pretty has served 42 years in prison in connection with a 1978 store robbery. A new law that might have led to her release has been derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The City Council must not let Mayor Eric Garcetti’s unconscionable priorities dictate how Los Angeles responds to the COVID-19 crisis.
The state has recommended the release of 10 women at a coronavirus-ravaged prison—but Governor John Bel Edwards still hasn’t signed the paperwork.
May 20, 2020
The Courier Journal’s Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting on Governor Matt Bevin’s commutations sensationalizes crime at the expense of future clemency efforts.
Zachary A. Siegel, Leo Beletsky
May 19, 2020
If the U.S. Supreme Court or the state’s governor doesn’t step in, Barton’s would be the first execution carried out in the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Coronavirus infections climb at the state’s only maximum-security facility for women, and those held there fear for their safety.
Lyra Walsh Fuchs
May 18, 2020
States must fund stable housing for all formerly incarcerated people to neutralize the spread of COVID-19 and create equitable opportunities for social reintegration.
Demar F. Lewis IV
A district court judge who issued a temporary restraining order in the case said jail officials had not ‘imposed even the most basic safety measures recommended by health experts.’
Dawn R. Wolfe
May 15, 2020
Euka Wadlington was denied clemency by the Department of Justice under Obama. But then he mounted a legal challenge to sentencing enhancements used in his drug case; in April, a federal judge granted his release. Now he’s adjusting to freedom—and life in the coronavirus era.
Expansion of an existing federal rental subsidy program, the Housing Choice Voucher, could stabilize housing for millions of households.
Kirk McClure, Alex F. Schwartz
Jeremy Hix is serving 70 months in federal prison for a sex offense—a conviction that disqualifies him for a Bureau of Prisons home confinement program, despite a health condition that puts him at risk of the coronavirus.
May 14, 2020
The family of Gloria Williams, who has served 50 years in prison, is now pressing Governor John Bel Edwards to commute her sentence 10 months after a parole board recommended she be freed.
Hepatitis C has ripped through prisons and jails, despite more effective treatments for the disease. It is a comorbidity to COVID-19, and the pandemic threatens to cut already weak state funding for prisons to treat those with the disease.
Governor Tate Reeves has touted the state’s testing efforts as ‘aggressive,’ but testing rates in the state’s prisons, where the coronavirus has already claimed at least one life, remain low.
May 13, 2020
‘This is by far, by far, the biggest impact on our people since our return from the Long Walk in 1868,’ a Navajo Nation leader said.
The Fed’s new Municipal Liquidity Facility can be a necessary financial lifeline to states facing a cash crunch -- but only if they use it properly and completely.
Governor Kristi Noem’s threat to sue two South Dakota tribes shows the callousness of her coronavirus plan, which seems to encourage exposure and prioritize the economy over the lives of at-risk Natives.
May 11, 2020
An Erie County judge said the pregnant 20-year-old would be ‘safer’ in jail from the COVID-19 outbreak.
‘Our state and local officials have a responsibility to not endanger those who are under correctional control,’ the ACLU of Georgia’s executive director said.
May 08, 2020
Incarcerated people like John Brookins, who is serving life without the possibility of parole, will have to wait until June or later for a chance at clemency.
May 07, 2020
‘It’s not only poor people standing in food lines, or going to food pantries and soup kitchens. Now you have the middle class and businesses that are suffering, too,’ one organizer said.
Andrea Circle Bear was confined within FMC Carswell while suffering from the novel coronavirus. ‘She was serving a 26-month sentence that ended up being a death penalty,’ one maternity specialist said.
May 06, 2020
Attorneys for prisoners say the policy goes against public health warnings and will ‘promote and facilitate a viral outbreak.’
May 05, 2020
An appellate court says officials at Federal Correctional Institution, Elkton, must begin identifying prisoners vulnerable to the novel coronavirus.
Several states and the District of Columbia have postponed their bar exams because of the pandemic, creating a deadly delay for poor people in need of public defenders.
Stefanie Mundhenk, Emily M. Croucher
Tens of thousands of children are in congregate care settings around the country, and some have already started to get sick.
The onset of COVID-19—and the need for social distancing—gave an unexpected boost to efforts against plans for a new prison in Washington.
May 04, 2020
The pandemic is making it clear that it’s time to radically rethink the social contract.
Amy Castro Baker, Stacia Martin-West
In Hillsborough County, Florida, the jail population is bloated by cash bail, fines, and fees, perpetuating health inequities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Political concerns are slowing efforts to depopulate prisons in the state, advocates say.
May 01, 2020
The state is sending virus-positive people to Angola prison—but those numbers aren’t reported on the Department of Corrections website.
Prisoners feel like they are ‘sitting ducks,’ said a woman whose boyfriend is incarcerated at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center.
Apr 30, 2020
As COVID-19 spreads, Andrew Cuomo and Bill de Blasio are slashing budgets, but leaving funding for police and prisons largely untouched.
An overwhelming majority of Americans support the federal government paying all healthcare costs for the duration of the coronavirus emergency.
Alison P. Galvani
The 2015 shooting left Keith Davis Jr. with respiratory issues. His defense attorney says that as he appeals his case he should be freed from prison.
Apr 29, 2020
Attorneys say the prosecution’s theory of the murder case was ‘concocted out of whole cloth’ and based on ‘outdated racial stereotyping.’
Prisoners say the jail, which has seen more than 800 confirmed cases, is a ‘death trap’ plagued by sanitary issues and a lack of testing. Their testimonies stand at stark odds with the sheriff’s office, which says it is keeping ‘staff and detainees as safe as possible.’
Apr 28, 2020
Faced with inaction on the part of state and corrections officials, incarcerated people in jails, prisons, and detention centers are protesting their treatment during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Dan Berger, Ryan Fatica and Duncan Tarr
Apr 27, 2020
A woman detained by ICE was sick with COVID-19 for days before being removed from a 50-person jail dorm in York County, Pennsylvania, according to women housed with her.
There are certain universal human needs that any governing structure — from local to federal — is responsible for. Among these are housing, healthcare, education, public parks, clean water, and clean air — the things that make life beautiful. These needs touch every single living being and as such, are non-negotiable. They do not belong on the open market.
Molly Beckhardt, Paul Boden and June LS
Apr 24, 2020
The Supreme Court will soon decide the fate of 650,000 so-called Dreamers across the country. Lawyers say terminating protections for them during a pandemic would be 'catastrophic.'
Medical ethics experts have criticized the state’s prison officials and say masks to protect against COVID-19 should be distributed ‘with no strings attached.’
Apr 23, 2020
Governor John Bel Edwards has yet to commute Gloria Williams’s sentence despite a parole board’s unanimous recommendation that she be freed. Now she is in critical condition at a Baton Rouge hospital.
As the coronavirus crisis continues to expand, it is clear that America needs a robust assistance program for the most vulnerable, such as the elderly and physically disabled, to ensure they have what they need to survive. The health, safety, and stability of all communities depend on it.
The state’s law enforcement agencies failed to implement a 2018 data-sharing law. Now officials are struggling to identify high-risk people to release from county jails.
Apr 22, 2020
The current coronavirus crisis underscores our urgent need to look hard at our pretrial justice system. Eliminating money bail is a necessary first step.
Ronal Serpas, Taryn Merkl
Apr 21, 2020
‘This is getting worse,’ one woman said. ‘People just want to sleep or fight. They play with our emotions constantly. This place is scary.’
Towns like Homer, Louisiana, have huge prisons, a tiny populace, and few public health resources—a potentially lethal combination as COVID-19 spreads.
People behind bars are too often forgotten and treated as expendable. We cannot afford to forget them. Our shared survival and shared humanity demand action.
Aya Gruber, Benjamin Levin
Apr 17, 2020
‘It seems like Black people are still being criminalized and are not free,’ one organizer said.
Criminal justice advocates have called Camp J at the Louisiana State Penitentiary ‘a dungeon.’ Now it’s housing prisoners who have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Local budget cuts enacted a decade ago left states and cities dangerously unprepared for COVID-19. We shouldn’t make those same mistakes again.
A sheriff’s deputy in Louisiana is caught on video choking a man after he says he asked for COVID-19 treatment.
Apr 16, 2020
Approximately 100 men will be transported to Draper Correctional Facility, which has long been known for its nightmarish conditions.
FCI Ray Brook was slow to respond to the spread of coronavirus among correctional officers. Now the outbreak has reached prisoners.
Harry August, Alex Garnick
Governor Mike DeWine, critics say, ‘is risking turning low-level prison sentences into death sentences.’
Despite distancing warnings, more than 80 state and federal agents fanned out in an anti-drug operation that, The Appeal has learned, was based on a series of retail-level drug sales.
Neither the coronavirus nor anything else is a ‘great equalizer’ because we aren’t, actually, all in this together.
The Pennsylvania Innocence Project was seeking the exoneration of Rudolph Sutton when he died on April 8 from complications related to COVID-19.
Apr 15, 2020
For many people across the U.S. who need methadone treatment, sheltering in place during the coronavirus outbreak is impossible.
Taking emergency measures to protect homeless people from the pandemic is simply common sense.
Apr 14, 2020
The families and partners of those incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Complex at Oakdale are sharing information and support as COVID-19 hits the prison.
Recent successes in stemming the opioid crisis could be reversed if public health budgets are cut or the crisis is seen as secondary to the pandemic.
Jacqueline Goldman, Brandon Marshall
Voters want the government to take common sense measures that meet the scale of the crisis and preserve the economy so that when the coronavirus is contained, economic life can resume as rapidly as possible. It's time for lawmakers in Washington, D.C. to listen.
Lindsay Owens, Ethan Winter
Tom Wolf said Friday he will use his reprieve power, a form of clemency, to reduce the state prison population.
Apr 10, 2020
Doing so will save countless lives, and in the process, they may show us by example how to begin, finally, to dismantle mass incarceration for good.
A Brooklyn teacher tried three times to get treatment for the coronavirus. Now she’s fighting for her life.
Erin Clare Brown
The city’s DA’s office and its public defender association urged judges to adopt video meetings to speed the release of incarcerated people. But emails obtained by The Appeal show that judges took a much more limited approach to decarceration.
'We are still packed in like sardines,' writes Fate Winslow, who's serving a life sentence. 'The prison doesn't supply anything for us.'
Sharon Fahy, whose daughter was murdered in 1988, asked the court to release Walter Ogrod, the man convicted in her killing.
Apr 09, 2020
Michigan was one of several states requiring registrants to report to local police stations in person despite the risk to public health from coronavirus.
Public defenders are working with the courts to secure release for people incarcerated in the Florida county, many of whom are jailed for low-level offenses.
Apr 08, 2020
District attorneys in the state could decarcerate quickly by dropping unnecessary cases.
They make roughly half the average national income, and they’re at risk of COVID-19 exposure as they continue to work to ensure shelves are restocked and communities fed.
Experts are urging large-scale releases. But the Department of Justice often operates contrary to expertise.
'They're not supplying us with masks, they’re not supplying us gloves, they're not supplying us with decent cleaning supplies.'
Despite risks to incarcerated people and the public, Florida is sending prisoners to perform hard labor.
'We literally held an election during a pandemic.'
Apr 07, 2020
In Alabama and elsewhere, canceled hearings and new procedures are complicating the parole process for people hoping to be freed.
It took a prisoner’s death ‘just for them to pass out a single extra bar of soap,’ one incarcerated man said.
As infections and deaths mount, state leaders and law enforcement are turning to tough-on-crime tactics in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Powerful interests exploited Katrina to enrich themselves and transform the city. As a reporter who covered the fallout explains, our government’s lax oversight means the same could happen now, leaving those who most need help behind.
In Austin and across the country, service providers are dealing with spikes in demand, new logistical challenges, and mounting uncertainty about the months ahead.
Apr 06, 2020
Bail will be set at $0 for most misdemeanors and low-level felony offenses.
The state, which accounts for roughly one-third of all positive COVID-19 cases in the country, is facing a rapid spread of the disease in its jail and prison systems.
The emergency program seeks to release a select group of prisoners but does not go far enough to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in prisons, experts and Democratic lawmakers say.
Apr 05, 2020
Incarcerated people, corrections officers, and their families and communities are bound together by the threat of a deadly and fast-moving disease. The sooner we recognize this, and take decisive action, the more lives we will save.
Apr 03, 2020
Lawyers, judges, and advocates for migrant children wonder what it will take to close all 69 immigration courts. ‘I hope that it won’t take a death, but I worry that it will,’ one lawyer said.
Inconsistent rules nationwide mean some people are still registering and reporting in person despite public health directives meant to control COVID-19.
Men in Unit B-2 at the Shawangunk Correctional Facility say staff members have harassed and abused them since they possibly came into contact with an infected officer.
Los Angeles County judges must move quickly to release a broad group of people in custody.
Apr 02, 2020
Telecommunications companies that serve prisons and jails, like Securus Technologies and Global Tel Link, are offering a limited number of free calls, but families say it’s not enough.
Conservative lawmakers are using emergency measures to restrict access to care.
As the novel coronavirus spread in the state, a Solano County judge denied numerous motions to continue a troubled double kidnapping and rape case marred by allegations that a Vallejo police detective withheld exculpatory evidence.
Public defenders in Fairfax County say their clients are being sent into harm’s way.
Delaying trials will mean more people stay in jail while a life-threatening disease spreads throughout the state.
Kyle C. Barry
Apr 01, 2020
With COVID-19 rapidly spreading across the state, there’s heightened concern that the conditions inside Lowell Correctional Institution, coupled with the prison’s sizable elderly and pregnant population, could foster a deadly outbreak.
ICE has adopted no policies aimed at releasing any of the 38,000 people it keeps in county jails and private detention centers across the country.
There are no good reasons for the president to keep vulnerable people behind bars any longer.
Mar 31, 2020
Residents have been told to stay in their homes to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus—but little has been done to ensure they can afford to stay there, activists say.
The Office of General Counsel determined that the governor could likely use reprieves to release vulnerable people from prison to control COVID-19’s spread, but the office is advising against it, according to internal emails obtained by The Appeal.
‘It is progressively getting worse, exponentially worse,’ a resident of one halfway house told The Appeal as part of a survey of facilities. ‘Something is going to happen and it’s not going to be good.’
There’s still a chance to make sure some of the most vulnerable people can benefit from the federal stimulus bill.
We can’t allow “violent criminal” rhetoric to justify leaving some of the most vulnerable people in dangerous conditions.
Mar 30, 2020
People held in Bristol County are ‘extremely agitated and panicking’ due to unsanitary conditions and overcrowding amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Julia Rock, Sara Van Horn
‘Continuing to maintain these youths in this hotbed of contagion poses an unconscionable and entirely preventable risk of harm,’ one lawsuit states.
Decisive action by governors and the President now can save lives -- of incarcerated people, correctional and medical personnel, and nearby community members. Business as usual will not.
Brie Williams, Leann Bertsch
Mar 27, 2020
Prisoners are “especially vulnerable to contracting and spreading COVID-19,” Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker wrote in his executive order.
The COVID-19 crisis is shining a light on America’s worsening housing crisis and limited resources for response.
“They are treating it like any epidemic in prison—that is to isolate, treat and then release back to the population.”
Juan Moreno Haines
State governors and the president have the authority to grant commutations and reprieves to people in prison across the country as COVID-19 spreads.
Social distancing orders are a necessity, but they create a host of new problems for people in treatment for substance use disorders.
Many programs for people on parole, probation, or supervision take place in group settings—the exact opposite of what public health officials are recommending in order to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Advocates for the area’s homeless residents say the pandemic will worsen the crisis they have already been living through.
Mar 26, 2020
“Based on this analysis, New York City jails have become the epicenter of COVID-19,” a Legal Aid attorney said.
“The doctors said they were going to come and do screenings every day, but for the past two days, they’ve just come into the dorm and stood by the front door and yelled, ‘Does anybody have any symptoms?’”
Mar 25, 2020
Politicians and the general public are ignoring the health and safety needs of those with disabilities and chronic conditions.
“Still no hand sanitizer, no bleach.”
Mar 24, 2020
The island’s Communicable Disease Unit is already overflowing with quarantined people.
New research shows that jails contribute to infectious disease deaths in the greater community.
Sandhya Kajeepeta, Seth J. Prins
In Boston, it’s worse than business as usual at the police department as the pandemic spreads. On a recent day, officers arrested people for charges the district attorney has publicly declined to prosecute.
Up to 1,000 people will have their sentences delayed or suspended.
Mar 23, 2020
The Trump administration’s hardline immigration policies are intersecting with a highly contagious disease at a time when cities across the country are shutting down.
When the dust settles on this pandemic, we need to be clear on what was an emergency response and what is a desirable permanent change.
Advocates have called on Governor Tom Wolf and state Department of Corrections officials to release elderly and infirm people from state prisons. But the law is limiting how quickly they can move.
The H1N1 pandemic, the HIV/AIDS crisis, and other outbreaks have taught us that blanket policies of solitary confinement and isolation have led to harmful outcomes.
The state Department of Corrections confirmed two staff cases of COVID-19. No prisoners have been confirmed to have the virus, the department said.
Mar 20, 2020
While those facing charges appear by video at arraignments, all others—attorneys, officers, the judge—are in the courtroom in close quarters, defense attorneys say.
Organizers have been collecting signatures as part of a ballot initiative known as State Question 805, which calls for the end of sentencing enhancements for people convicted of nonviolent crimes.
Prosecutors say Walter Ogrod is ‘likely innocent’ of the charges that sent him to prison in 1996. Now, his attorney says, ‘every day a decision and/or hearing is delayed is another day that Mr. Ogrod’s health is at grave risk.’
But the proposals on the table are leaving our most vulnerable neighbors behind.
Mar 19, 2020
Late Wednesday, the chief physician at the Rikers jail complex said on Twitter that judges and prosecutors must not leave New York City's jailed population ‘in harm’s way.’
Conditions at the Newark jail where the strike is taking place were dire even before the threat of COVID-19.
Cascading crises have significantly increased the stakes for the city’s most vulnerable residents.
It should not take a global pandemic for our elected officials to acknowledge that we are all safer if everyone can shower and wash their hands.
In Northampton County, advocates say the practice is putting the people charged for minor offenses, and the broader community, in danger.
Kyle C. Barry
Mar 18, 2020
How California, which is home to more than half of the country’s unsheltered homeless population, is addressing the needs of the unhoused.
As COVID-19 spreads, ICE detained a Central American immigrant in a hospital, causing confusion and raising concerns.
A man with multiple medical conditions incarcerated on a technical violation urgently needs to be released, his attorney says.
Sheriffs wield enormous power, and they can direct it in ways that will help contain the spread of COVID-19 and protect incarcerated people.
At a time when it’s vital to reduce jail and prison populations to prevent outbreaks, this data can help advocates identify areas where that is or is not happening.
Mar 17, 2020
In a joint statement, they emphasized the need to reduce the number of people currently incarcerated in order to contain the deadly COVID-19 virus.
To prevent more people from being infected with COVID-19, defense attorneys are calling for courts to release people.
John Hummel was scheduled to be executed on Wednesday. The court, citing the current health crisis, has postponed the execution for 60 days.
Mar 16, 2020
Activists are calling on the governor, district attorneys, sheriffs, and judges to take action to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The individual had no contact with people in custody for at least the past month, according to the DOC.
Experts say evictions cause a ‘downward spiral’ of health problems for renters, and that housing security is necessary to slow the spread of the pandemic.
Mar 13, 2020
Judicial responses to the pandemic have varied and are changing rapidly.
Local jails are notorious amplifiers of infectious diseases. If we don’t move quickly to reduce their population, it may undermine our ability to control the new coronavirus, nationally and locally.
Mar 12, 2020
Andrew Cuomo, who recently announced the state would employ prisoners to make hand sanitizer, must prepare for the particular vulnerabilities of the state’s prison population to COVID-19, advocates say.
Mar 11, 2020
The public defender and district attorney both directed their staffs to keep individuals who are more vulnerable to the virus out of jail.