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Sylvia A. Harvey
Julia Salazar, Zellnor Myrie, Harvey Epstein, and Latrice Walker
Adam M. Rhodes
Chris Blackwell, Antoine E. Davis, Jonathan Kirkpatrick, Aaron Edward Olson & Raymond Williams
On Election Day, voters in Alabama, Louisiana, Oregon, Tennessee, and Vermont will decide whether to close loopholes in their state constitutions allowing the forced labor of incarcerated people.
Women told The Appeal they found the routine practice degrading and dehumanizing. Prisons around the country have long humiliated people for menstruating.
Detainees at New Mexico’s Torrance County Detention Facility recently launched a hunger strike, motivated in part by the August death of a 23-year-old asylum seeker in custody.
Eduardo Campos Lima
New York’s landmark solitary confinement reform law created a new, “rehabilitative” type of isolation unit. State prisons aren’t on board with the changes.
Data obtained by The Appeal show nearly 2,000 people in Mississippi and Louisiana are serving long—and sometimes life—sentences after they were labeled “habitual offenders." But most are behind bars for small crimes like drug possession.
An upcoming court ruling could decide the fate of a plan to detain “problematic youth” at a facility that previously housed prisoners awaiting execution.
Patrick Stephens, a formerly incarcerated writer, explains how arbitrary, byzantine, and punitive visiting rules tear apart the families of the incarcerated—especially after the pandemic.
Thousands of deaths in jails, prisons, and police custody have gone uncounted in recent years. Now the DOJ is calling for changes to federal law.
County officials agree that conditions have deteriorated at L.A.’s Inmate Reception Center. But they’re resisting calls for substantive change.
Prison officials allegedly used solitary confinement to get the plaintiff to submit to an invasive examination prohibited under federal law.
“They were destroying me,” said one person placed in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s “Program for the Aggressive Mentally Ill Offender.”
The ban had helped the Broome County Sheriff rake in hundreds of thousands of dollars in profits from detainee video and phone call fees.
Incarcerated people need opportunities to learn and grow.
Phillip A. Jones
A federal monitor says substandard healthcare persists—with horrific consequences—more than a decade after a lawsuit was supposed to compel changes.
Women at the Fluvanna Correctional Center say they’ve been threatened with disciplinary action for asking about symptoms at medical appointments.
Water at 12 state prisons has tested positive for the bacteria this year.
Thousands of elderly people are released from U.S. prisons each year, and advocates say states urgently need to scale up their capacity to provide them with compassionate care.
The real aim of these operations might be to boost support for cops.
I wanted to have a better diet in prison. But when you’ve been stripped of your freedom, it can be impossible to make the “right” decisions.
Police and prosecutors will now be tasked with enforcing state anti-abortion laws.
Model state legislation proposed by a leading anti-choice group would impose felony charges for a broad new set of activities related to abortion.
More than two years into the pandemic, the Broome County Sheriff’s Office is still prohibiting all jail visits. The policy helped them take in more than a half-million dollars in 2021.
Expert says trauma from childbirth, not shaking, led to the death of Danyel Smith's two-month-old child.
Advocates say the policy, aimed at eliminating contraband, will harm prisoners and their loved ones by making it much harder to send fresh food and other essentials into prisons.
As politicians look to build public support for homeless encampment sweeps, they’re using tactics popularized in LA—the site of one of the nation’s most intense battles over the unhoused.
Accused of faking his symptoms, Joshua Lee Smith was dragged from his hospital bed, called a “junkie,” and thrown in jail, his lawsuit says. Then, he woke up paralyzed.
A Supreme Court decision overturning the constitutional right to an abortion could force thousands of incarcerated people to carry pregnancies to term.
An incarcerated writer reflects on what her "going home" story will look like when home no longer exists.
Jessica Phoenix Sylvia
One incarcerated author used skills from an HIV/AIDS group to push imprisoned people and prison guards to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Cynthia Alvarado was raped in jail before she was sentenced to life in prison for a murder she did not commit. Now that her sentence has been overturned, Alvarado is fighting for women like her.
Legionella bacteria was found in five Illinois prisons in March.
Our team at the University of North Carolina analyzed death-in-custody reporting policies at every state and federal carceral entity. Data collection is a mess—and many states don’t follow the law at all.
M. Forrest Behne, Craig Waleed, Meghan Peterson, and Lauren Brinkley-Rubinstein
Gloria Williams, who became known as “Mama Glo” behind bars, was released Tuesday, more than two years after the state parole board first recommended that her sentence be commuted.
But if he loses his appeal and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul declines to grant him clemency, he will likely be sent back to prison.
Reginald Randolph is currently serving a two to four year sentence in state prison for stealing cold medicine
Sky-high email and phone costs, fear of retaliation by prison staff, and isolation create roadblocks for incarcerated people to share their experience and join a growing national conversation on reforming the criminal legal system.
Blind in one eye and at risk of losing vision in the other, 58-year-old Reginald Randolph is now on the verge of being sent to state prison to serve out a maximum of four years.
Justices in the state’s highest court are weighing whether it is unconstitutional to sentence people convicted of murder and aged 18 to 20 to life without parole.
Leaving prison often hinges on completing rehabilitative programming. The pandemic caused many of these required courses to be put on hold.
At the same time, state lawmakers are pushing to incarcerate more people pretrial.
Even with the recent creation of the Juvenile Sentence Review Board, the governor's process for granting clemency remains unclear.
Katie Jane Fernelius
The ACLU’s ongoing battle to force the Florida Department of Corrections to release the formulas it uses to calculate release dates for imprisoned people.
Repealing state and federal mandatory minimums will help address the mass incarceration crisis, advocates hope.
A Department of Justice memo from January could have a devastating effect on many federal prisoners who have been released on home confinement.
Tishaura Jones wants to decriminalize offenses and transfer people out of the Workhouse. Cara Spencer wants to end the contract to house federal detainees.
Brian Stepter, a 61-year-old Black man, has struggled with substance use for decades. Now, prosecutors are leveraging his record against him—and forbidding references to racial justice, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Stepter’s potential sentence, or his health problems at his trial.
A common sense cost-benefit analysis of pretrial detention.
Advocates have been urging Governor Gavin Newsom to make greater use of his clemency power, especially for older prisoners who are more vulnerable to COVID-19.
At the urging of advocates, Governor Tom Wolf signed off on all remaining commutations applications on his desk.
Despite calls to reduce incarcerated populations, the number of people being detained for minor parole violations has been rising.
Virginia’s Department of Corrections has recently settled two lawsuits over its use of solitary confinement—a practice lawmakers are moving closer to abolishing.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics has suffered from years of poor funding and political interference by the Trump administration. Fixing it could be one of the most important tasks on Biden’s criminal justice reform agenda.
The Board of Pardons unanimously recommended Bruce Norris for a commutation in December, but Tom Wolf had yet to approve it.
It’s the latest bill in the state legislature’s long history of meddling with voter-approved amendments.
The Travis County District Attorney’s office had joined the release request and, despite Jimenez being taken into custody by ICE, she is expected to be released today.
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.
At 15, Kenneth Lamont Robinson was convicted for murder under South Carolina’s accomplice liability law, despite not committing the shooting that killed Kedena Brown.
The city says COVID-19 budget constraints will set back its plans to close the jail but people incarcerated there are suffering from the disease right now.
The Philadelphia Community Bail Fund, which recorded and published the complaints, paid for the release of some incarcerated women on Saturday.
The report found that spread inside correctional facilities contributed to community spread, particularly in California, Florida and Texas.
McAuliffe is running to become Virginia governor a second time. If he wins, he would be the only active Democratic governor to have carried out executions in office.
A new study suggests that if counties—rather than states—bear the cost of incarceration, they may be less likely to incarcerate people.
Pennsylvania’s prisons have the second-highest number of people in the country serving life without the possibility of parole. Nine people who were released after being sentenced to die behind bars share their stories.
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.
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.
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.
Progressive lawmakers and activists say Cuomo has failed to adequately protect those who are out of work, at risk of losing their homes, or living behind bars, where the virus has spread rapidly.
Tara Francis Chan,
Researchers with the Covid Prison Project talk about how COVID-19 has opened up possibilities for data collection, a new report shows persistent disparities in L.A. County jails, and Colorado’s El Paso County jail sets a grim state record.
An overview of gubernatorial candidates and their stances on decarceration during the pandemic, a new lawsuit argues that Massachusetts corrections officials are ignoring home-confinement requests, and new infections spike at the Fort Dix federal prison in New Jersey.
A judge dismissed a lawsuit seeking the release of seriously ill prisoners from a facility that is now dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak; despite nationwide calls to shrink prison populations through sentencing reform, only one Election Day ballot measure seeks to tackle the issue; partying corrections officers are blamed for an outbreak at a North Carolina jail.
The ACLU and other groups sue to free people from the deadliest federal prison; a new study finds that coronavirus-driven jail releases hasn’t caused an increase in crime; and half of people in South Dakota prisons have tested positive for COVID-19.
A new watchdog report finds ‘inadequate adherence to basic safety protocols’ during COVID-19 outbreaks in California prisons; advocates call on Gov. Cuomo to release incarcerated people and enhance medical oversight; Abbe Lowell says the First Step Act needs a Second Step Act.
A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine says decarceration is the only way to get the COVID-19 pandemic under control; the CDC changes its testing guidelines after a Vermont prison guard contracts coronavirus; and our ongoing case map shows more than 60 new outbreaks.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Truitt Watts, who is serving a sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole at Oregon State Correctional Institution, describes the programs that helped him recover from addiction and address his past.
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.
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.
Through a loophole in the 13th Amendment, governments and corporations profit from cheap, incarcerated labor.
Michele Bratcher Goodwin
President Trump has appointed a quarter of active federal appellate judges, and they have decisively hampered legal efforts to force prisons and jails to address the coronavirus.
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.
States like California, New York, and Arizona have relied on prisoners to continue working, with little pay and in precarious conditions, during the coronavirus pandemic.
Despite new outbreaks in Oregon prisons, Gov. Kate Brown remains hesitant to release people, federal prison inspector releases an online COVID-19 dashboard to boost transparency, and our ongoing case map suggests widespread trouble for Georgia prisoners.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Accused of shaking a baby to death and facing the death penalty, Amy Wilkerson says she is innocent, but pleaded guilty to spare her life.
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.
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.
Women at California’s Folsom prison report that men with COVID-19 have been moved into their building, an ACLU attorney says federal judges don’t understand the realities of incarceration, and Iowa’s prisons are emptier than they’ve been in 20 years—but are still over capacity.
Through a series of maneuvers, state legislators narrowed the ambitious scope of Senate Bill 14.
Brian Stepter, a 61-year-old with chronic respiratory problems, has struggled with substance use for decades. Police and prosecutors sought the harshest sentence possible after he failed to return the car.
California just made it a tiny bit easier for formerly incarcerated people to become civilian firefighters. But the law still leaves many obstacles in their path.
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.
We should demand that prison officials and our elected representatives honor their constitutional obligation to promote and support youth healing, growth, and change.
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.
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.
Efforts to address the harms of police violence and incarceration must consider the drug war, activists and treatment professionals note, including the punitive models of treatment.
Experts say Black and Native children are disproportionately jailed either for status offenses or for technical violations of probation or parole—and that incarcerating them has far-reaching negative consequences.
Dawn R. Wolfe
Nikki Addimando, convicted of second-degree murder for the death of her boyfriend, whom she said abused her, petitioned to have her sentence reduced under the 2019 law. But a judge ruled against her. If that ruling is affirmed, state legislators say, it will be ‘insurmountably difficult’ for survivors to ever benefit from the law.
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?’
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.
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.
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.
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’.
Taewon Wilson and Candace Chavez-Wilson are part of a growing movement to end life without possibility of parole and other harsh sentences.
As of Thursday, 993 incarcerated women and 62 staffers at Lowell Correctional Institution have tested positive for the virus. Two women have died.
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.
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’.
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.
The state Board of Pardons recommended last year that hundreds of people’s criminal records be cleared. Months later, more than half are still waiting for Tom Wolf’s signature.
Nicole Poston was sentenced in July for punching a police officer after she slipped free from a handcuff. Life sentences, even for nonhomicide offenses like Poston’s, are ‘a major factor’ in mass incarceration in the U.S., a criminal justice expert said.
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.
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.
Judge Mary Ellen Brennan jailed the 15-year-old, known as Grace, for violating her probation by not completing schoolwork. Last month, the Michigan Court of Appeals ordered Grace’s immediate release, which Brennan said left her without the means to ‘issue consequences.’
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
The Michigan Court of Appeals ordered her immediate release pending an appeal of a circuit court judge’s decision to jail the teen, known as “Grace,” in mid-May.
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.
Sixteen-year-old William Haymon has spent more than 500 days in an adult jail in rural Lexington, Mississippi. There are no state rules governing how long a person can be incarcerated without being formally charged with a crime.
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.
To decarcerate New Orleans, we must defund the police department.
Qualified immunity is just one obstacle of many that incarcerated people face when seeking to hold correctional officers accountable for misconduct.
If the justice system’s goal is to produce healthy, safe, and productive members of society, then it must begin with support from corrections staff and healthy relationships with peers.
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.
Judge Mary Ellen Brennan sent the 15-year-old, known as Grace, to juvenile detention in May for violating her probation by not completing online schoolwork. On Monday, the judge said Grace was ‘blooming’ in the facility, despite arguments by Grace that she is falling behind.
A year after state officials said they would take steps to overhaul solitary confinement rules, prisoners remain isolated in conditions that one says is akin to being ‘buried alive.’
State law requires all murder charges be automatically filed in adult court, regardless of age.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
About 20 people in the prison’s Badger section have been on hunger strike for the past few days, three people incarcerated there say.
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.
The two men have been awaiting Tom Wolf’s signature for more than six months.
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.
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.
‘As long as there’s a jail, there’s going to be police trying to put our poor folks in it,’ one activist said.
Prosecutors wanted to make an example of Justin Dixon, who has been in an Arizona prison for 14 years, with 37 ahead of him. Now, as COVID-19 spreads in the facility where he’s being held, his family is desperate for him to be released.
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.
Citing the pandemic, state legislators asked all agencies to trim their budgets. The cuts could eliminate positions for public defenders who can show a trial or sentence was unjust, overturn convictions, or reduce a person’s time.
The Department of Justice is leaving researchers, policymakers, and advocates in the dark about deaths in police custody, prisons, and jails.
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.
Prisoners are reluctant to report when they’re feeling sick, because they know they’ll be sent to solitary confinement.
Juan Moreno Haines
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.
The lawsuit says the Small Business Administration overstepped its authority by imposing ‘arbitrary and capricious’ restrictions on a loan program passed by Congress.
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
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.
As the country reopens, we can’t quickly forget these failures of government, which have disproportionately harmed Black, Latinx, and Native people.
David A. Love
James ‘Bumpy’ Bennett, who had twice survived cancer, was 71 and had served 48 years of his life without parole sentence.
Robert Saleem Holbrook
Mark Zuckerberg could engage in criminal legal reform by bringing Facebook's policies in line with CZI's mission and allow people to request that their mugshot be taken down.
Sarah Esther Lageson
‘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.
Public safety is not improved by stricter probation and parole rules, researchers have found.
Lauren Lee White
Harris, now 72 and blind, had been serving a life sentence for the shooting death of her husband, a man she said had abused her for years. Last month, the Arkansas Parole Board agreed to free her.
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.
After protests broke out in several cities in response to George Floyd’s death, the agency ordered the first nationwide lockdown in 25 years.
Advocates question why Chicago judges continued to order people to home detention instead of releasing them on their own recognizance.
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.”
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.
The Maricopa County Attorney's Office waited four years to charge Danielle Sutherland for one of the DUIs. After serving time for the others, she received treatment for her substance use issues and pursued a degree.
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.
New York attorneys have launched a campaign to release transgender, gender nonconforming, and nonbinary prisoners during the pandemic.
Both incarcerated brothers are at an increased risk of complications from COVID-19—and one has tested positive.
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.
Five years after statewide hunger strikes and a landmark settlement, men incarcerated in a California prison say they’re still isolated for up to 22 hours a day.
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.
For weeks, two houses in Illinois’ Vienna Correctional Center ran on generator power and had intermittent failures, multiple prisoners told The Appeal. The outages made it harder to use the shared bathroom, one of the few places they could wash their hands.
Harris, now 72 and blind, was sentenced to life in prison in 1985. Since she first started petitioning for executive clemency in 1998, the state’s parole board recommended her for release five times.
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.
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,
The women are kept in cramped, unsanitary quarters, the suit says, and are not permitted the same job opportunities as men held at the same facility.
Coronavirus infections climb at the state’s only maximum-security facility for women, and those held there fear for their safety.
Lyra Walsh Fuchs
Freddy Butler, Oliver Macklin, and Charles Goldblum are among the 17 people who received recommendations for commutations of life sentences in 2019, but Governor Tom Wolf has yet to sign off on their releases.
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.’
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.
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.
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.
John Wesley Parratt Jr. was scheduled to appear before the parole board in July. After the novel coronavirus arrived in San Quentin State Prison, he feared for his health.
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.
The governor’s requirements for release are too narrow in light of the threat from COVID-19, they say.
The plaintiffs want an independent expert to assess whether the facility has implemented social distancing measures, testing procedures, and hygiene practices adequate enough to reasonably protect detainees from contracting COVID-19 while in custody.
We did it in San Francisco. If we are smart about how we respond to COVID-19 in the criminal legal system, then we can simultaneously tackle two crises.
Cristine Soto DeBerry
An Erie County judge said the pregnant 20-year-old would be ‘safer’ in jail from the COVID-19 outbreak.
California Governor Gavin Newsom said he’s releasing thousands of prisoners. But that doesn’t necessarily include some of the state’s sickest patients.
‘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.
Faculty members of the Yale School of Public Health, the Yale School of Medicine, and the Yale School of Nursing wrote to the governor that sending patients there is “inhumane and ineffective.”
Criminal justice reform advocates question why the BOP plans to move people around rather than reduce prison populations.
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.
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.
People incarcerated in the Otay Mesa Detention Center decry crowded units and substandard medical care as COVID-19 tears through the facility.
While adults in the county have been granted expedited release in groups, the juvenile court continues to review cases individually.
Attorneys for prisoners say the policy goes against public health warnings and will ‘promote and facilitate a viral outbreak.’
An appellate court says officials at Federal Correctional Institution, Elkton, must begin identifying prisoners vulnerable to the novel coronavirus.
After a man incarcerated in a New Jersey state prison was hospitalized with COVID-19, he said he was handcuffed for 36 hours. The cuffs got tangled in his IV, causing it to rip out, he said. “It was so painful. You have no idea.”
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.
Political concerns are slowing efforts to depopulate prisons in the state, advocates say.
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.
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.
Prisons, one graduate writes, should be institutions of learning, not ‘wastelands’ that willfully overlook human potential.
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.’
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.
Cayce French, who is serving life in prison at the Oregon State Correctional Institution, describes how getting clean and participating in rehabilitation programs has transformed his identity.
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.
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.’
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.
One prisoner says a man collapsed while waiting for a temperature check and was sprayed down with disinfectant as he lay on the floor. BOP denied it.
The Bureau of Prisons could send those without homes to alternative halfway houses far from D.C. or back to prison at the end of the month.
‘I would go to the hospital very often and they wouldn’t do anything for me.’
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.
‘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.
Ramos v. Louisiana is a long-overdue affirmation of the constitutional rights of criminal defendants—and sets the stage for dramatic Supreme Court fights in the years ahead.
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.
‘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.
A sheriff’s deputy in Louisiana is caught on video choking a man after he says he asked for COVID-19 treatment.
Peter Lucas was jailed overnight at a time when prosecutors across the country are actively working to reduce the number of people behind bars to stem the spread of COVID-19.
Approximately 100 men will be transported to Draper Correctional Facility, which has long been known for its nightmarish conditions.
A man describes his ordeal in medical isolation while awaiting trial.
FCI Ray Brook was slow to respond to the spread of coronavirus among correctional officers. Now the outbreak has reached prisoners.
Governor Mike DeWine, critics say, ‘is risking turning low-level prison sentences into death sentences.’
With programming paused and prison jobs reduced, people inside will not be able to earn good-time credits and are cut off from a means of supporting themselves.
The Pennsylvania Innocence Project was seeking the exoneration of Rudolph Sutton when he died on April 8 from complications related to COVID-19.
His attorney says the Suffolk County DA’s office tried to send “an innocent man to his death.”
By letting people out now, we can avoid overwhelming our healthcare system with sick prisoners later.
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.
Tom Wolf said Friday he will use his reprieve power, a form of clemency, to reduce the state prison population.
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.
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.'
People are dying in jails and prisons because elected officials hesitated at the worst possible moment.
They tell Tom Wolf that taking any unilateral actions to reduce the state’s prison population would endanger public safety.
Louisville, Kentucky judges are ordering people with COVID-19 who have allegedly defied quarantine to wear GPS ankle monitors, raising ethical questions about the government's role in a pandemic.
Twenty-eight people were to attend weeks-long drug treatment programs after violating parole. The COVID-19 pandemic nearly trapped them in jail indefinitely.
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.
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.
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.
I am trying my best to take care of myself in the midst of this pandemic, no different from you, no different from any other human being. But it’s impossible to do that at this jail.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Public defenders in Fairfax County say their clients are being sent into harm’s way.
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.
The ruling is a setback for the state's so-called junk science statute.
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.
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.’
We can’t allow “violent criminal” rhetoric to justify leaving some of the most vulnerable people in dangerous conditions.
People held in Bristol County are ‘extremely agitated and panicking’ due to unsanitary conditions and overcrowding amid the coronavirus outbreak.
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.
Prisoners are “especially vulnerable to contracting and spreading COVID-19,” Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker wrote in his executive order.
“They are treating it like any epidemic in prison—that is to isolate, treat and then release back to the population.”
State governors and the president have the authority to grant commutations and reprieves to people in prison across the country as COVID-19 spreads.
“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?’”
“Still no hand sanitizer, no bleach.”
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.
Seth J. Prins
Up to 1,000 people will have their sentences delayed or suspended.
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.
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.
The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Seifullah Chapman's Eighth Amendment Rights were violated by federal prison staff who were indifferent to his medical needs.
Conditions at the Newark jail where the strike is taking place were dire even before the threat of COVID-19.
A man with multiple medical conditions incarcerated on a technical violation urgently needs to be released, his attorney says.
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.
To prevent more people from being infected with COVID-19, defense attorneys are calling for courts to release people.
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.
Advocates worry the widespread confusion may have a chilling effect on eligible voters.
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.
I learned later than I should have what you probably already know: that it is strength not weakness to lean on somebody when you feel vulnerable and defeated and let them help you.
The state’s attorney general decided to support resentencing hearings in two high-profile cases, though she had fought appeals in the past.
A federal lawsuit alleges lack of due process in a rural Tennessee county, and reform advocates say its jail is hardly an outlier.
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.
The public defender and district attorney both directed their staffs to keep individuals who are more vulnerable to the virus out of jail.
More than 100 people signed an open letter to Eric Holcomb requesting that he begin releasing people most likely to be seriously harmed or killed by the coronavirus.
A complaint filed in 2013 on behalf of 500 currently and formerly incarcerated youth alleged that they were assaulted and harassed by incarcerated adults and corrections staff in adult prisons and jails across the state.
Lawmakers are recognizing the harms of mass incarceration. But some governors are reluctant to use their clemency power to address them.
The U.S. representative said her husband helped her realize that when one person is incarcerated, many more are affected.
The Appeal and Oregon Justice Resource Center announce “Left Behind,” firsthand accounts of growing-up in prison from individuals sentenced as children.
In Travis County, thousands of people continue to be prosecuted for low-level drug possession charges that reform-minded district attorneys elsewhere have committed to dropping.
Prison-based gerrymandering takes political power away from Black and Latinx communities—power that could be used to push for more funding for schools, social services, infrastructure, and other important reforms.
A survey of roughly 1,000 people found that 1 in 5 had been turned down for a diversion program because they couldn’t afford the costs of drug tests and monitoring devices.
Josh Norman was one of the 17 people to die in Mississippi prisons so far this year. His death raises important questions about the state’s failures.
The Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act allows judges to consider shorter sentences, as well as non-prison sentences, if abuse factored significantly in the crime.
The Democratic candidate also pledged to expunge prior criminal convictions for marijuana and invest in the communities most affected by the war on drugs.
Advocates say the narrowing field of Democratic candidates did not seize an opportunity to lay out clear visions on criminal justice reform to contrast the former New York City mayor’s record on policing.
Prisoners avoid admitting they are sick because they don’t want to be put in solitary, so nurses go cell to cell to take their temperatures.
The court found that a law that critics described as a poll tax violates the Constitution.
A Department of Corrections official knew the extrajudicial practice was going on but little has been done to correct it.
Arthur’s story speaks to a troubling tendency in the legal system, reform advocates say: to treat mental health crises as criminal matters, rather than matters of public health.
An Appeal documentary on life without the possibility of parole—and its impact on loved ones—in the state.
Advocates say junk science was used to convict Jimenez. DA Margaret Moore has not yet decided whether she will drop charges or retry her.
Mistaken identifications have been involved in nearly 70 percent of post-conviction exonerations based on DNA evidence.
A review of charging dockets in Lebanon County shows Ashley Menser was the only person charged with felony retail theft in 2018 to receive a 7-year maximum sentence.
A year after Alfonzo Riley returned from prison, he’s helping to vet innocence claims.
Elmer Daniels served nearly 40 years in prison before he was exonerated in 2018. He's one of at least three people who could receive $50,000 for every year spent behind bars.
Jails in New Orleans and Cleveland have had significant population drops, yet conditions of confinement remain poor. Communities harmed by these jails should experiment with new accountability measures to maintain political pressure against jail administrators.
A fiery debate outlined what’s at stake in the race to lead the largest prosecutor’s office in the country.
Legislators are considering giving the DEA dangerous authority, harm reduction advocates say.
The father of Nicole Rathmann says his daughter was “not made safe by employees” while incarcerated at the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility. She was one of 16 prisoners to die in state custody in August 2018.
The state Supreme Court erred this month when it failed to invalidate Willie Nash’s sentence as cruel and unusual punishment, his attorneys argue.
State Representative Todd Stephens has introduced a bill to impose a five-year minimum prison sentence for illegally possessing a firearm, but the governor, advocates, and others say it’s the wrong approach.
Activists hope Chesa Boudin will press charges, and push for systemic changes to address the criminalization of mental illness.
Unlike other states, Arizona offers minimal early release credits for the prisoners it sends to fight its wildfires.
The bill would disproportionately affect the 140,000 people whose voting rights were recently restored.
It’s the first time since 2014 that someone on Georgia’s death row has been granted clemency.
The death of 27-year-old India Cummings in 2016 garnered national media attention and a renewed push by local activists over conditions of confinement in the New York county’s jails. But the deaths haven’t stopped.
The state said Michelle Heale shook the baby to death, but some experts say her conviction was based on debunked science.
Stories that uncritically blame child welfare agencies for the deaths of children at the hands of their parents can contribute to increases in child removals—with devastating consequences for families.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposal purports to take sexual violence seriously, but it aggressively ignores reality in favor of lazy solutions.
The move is made possible by a Texas law that legalized the production of hemp last year.
Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez of Texas told The Appeal about her vision for a complete overhaul of her state’s legal system.
Many liberals support reform in theory. But when unpopular decisions need to be made, it’s back to the 1990s “Tough on Crime” playbook.
Adam H. Johnson
The violence that has left at least five people dead is the result of longstanding issues that have been ignored, justice advocates and prisoners’ family members say.
Republicans are leading an effort to get rid of blanket restrictions on where some people with sex-offense records can live. A Democratic governor is blocking them.
Tia Hamilton’s State v. Us focuses closely on the criminal legal system, especially as it applies to people of color, who are statistically overrepresented in the carceral system.
One man, Paul Houser, is serving 60 years on a drug conviction for purchasing cold medicine and batteries. He’s one of 2,600 people incarcerated as a result of the state’s three strikes laws.
Sensational headlines may score short-term partisan points, but long term they contribute to a toxic culture of Willie Hortonism.
Guards at the Mark Stiles Unit in Beaumont are alleged to have led the victim to a hallway where there were no security cameras.
The suit is the latest of at least three complaints filed against the Portage County Jail this year.
Officers at the Cuyahoga County Jail in Ohio are accused of pepper-spraying and assaulting a man for merely asking about his release date.
In a federal lawsuit, Hardel Sherrell’s mother accuses the staff at a Minnesota jail of allowing her son to die.
Staff at the troubled Orleans Justice Center are also accused of violating Edward Patterson’s constitutional rights by failing to treat his drug addiction.
Alternative approaches to rehabilitation and healing still face resistance, even though the criminal legal system’s reliance on punishment has done little to move the needle on addressing sexual violence.
Prison deaths in Mississippi have climbed nearly 40 percent in recent years, from 62 in fiscal year 2014 to a high of 85 in fiscal year 2018.
Prosecutor Jessica Cooper of Oakland County, Michigan, has aggressively pursued life without the possibility of parole for children, critics say. She recommended the sentence for Barbara Hernández, who at 16 was a ‘slave’ to an abusive boyfriend who drew her into a plan that ended in murder.
Harris’s record as a prosecutor was representative of a politics of the past. The nation has moved on.
In California, a prison program run by people once sentenced to life shows how even the most serious offenders are more than the worst things they’ve done.
Kyle C. Barry
The poor healthcare that Bobbie Jean Johnson received during her more than 40 years in prison contributed to her death, family members say.
Some pretrial prisoners and immigration detainees are forced to work without pay in violation of the 13th Amendment, according to attorneys.
More than 5,400 people in the state are sentenced to life without parole. This month, The Appeal went inside one prison that helps provide end-of-life care for men.
A report from an advocacy group says that deaths in the state’s jails have soared— and that 2019 could set a record for suicides.
Zachary A. Siegel
People held in courthouse cells were shackled for up to 15 hours a day, and some were unable to eat, change menstrual pads, or use the bathroom, advocates say.
The Appeal spoke with the lawmaker about her “entirely new blueprint for a just society.”
Biden believes that the jury is still out on the question of whether marijuana is a gateway to other illicit substances. But the truth is that it is not—and this has long been a matter of settled science.
After a two-month moratorium, the state parole board reconvened last week, granting parole to 10 out of 87 people.
Under the proposal, localities would be incentivized to significantly decrease prison populations.
Two bills, awaiting Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signature, would help reduce the punitive impact of the child welfare system on kids and their families, including formerly incarcerated parents.
Even after a major class action suit required Illinois to revamp its prison healthcare system, doctors whose alleged neglect resulted in major injury or death still remain on the prison system payroll.
Taylor Elizabeth Eldridge
A claimed victory in Kentucky and wins in Virginia mean hundreds of thousands of people could have their right to vote restored.
Earlier this year, Danville prison removed about 200 books, many of which dealt with race issues. But the new rules don’t go far enough, says one advocate.
More than three years after heavy rains and flooding devastated the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women, officials have reached an agreement to build a new facility.
State law must change to stop judges from using jail time to force the poor into paying penalties they can’t afford, says one advocacy group.
The South Bend, Indiana, mayor says his plan—which includes cutting the incarcerated population by half—will "rebalance" a system that is "unfair and racist in many ways."
Prosecutors can help implement policies that are better for families and communities.
Miriam Aroni Krinsky
A Prisoner Review Board memo released in July requires a minimum of 12 hours of movement with ankle monitors, but some people say they’re still being given far less.
Christopher Lay grew up under the influence of a father who was mentally ill. Drawn into a crime at age 19, he’s now seeking a second chance that could help other young adults demand the same.
The mayor claims that building new jails is the only safe way to close Rikers Island jail complex, but the City Council shouldn’t fall for this Faustian bargain.
The Charlotte Observer built a narrative on gun crime that relies almost exclusively on police and prosecutors, ignores the violence of incarceration, and offers zero non-carceral solutions.
Sheriff Sid Gautreaux faces two Democratic challengers in the Oct. 12 election.
Tondalao Hall has served 15 years for allegedly ‘failing to protect’ her kids from their father’s violence. A parole board will now decide if that’s enough.
Increasing the city’s jail capacity will lead to higher incarceration rates, advocates say.
As the presidential election approaches, reformers should focus on the Prison Litigation Reform Act, which restricts the ability of incarcerated people to protest their conditions of confinement.
Some death row prisoners will be moved to another unit with access to direct sunlight, fenced-in recreation, and contact visits, department says.
This month, nine people received commutations from life sentences, and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is calling for changes to the commutations process to give more people second chances.
In April, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that his execution, which experts have said will be bloody and gruesome, does not amount to cruel and unusual punishment. But problems with his case started long before that, his attorneys say.
Young people convicted as adults face a ‘life sentence’ of registry restrictions, attorneys say.
Nearly half of all arrests in the state are drug or alcohol related, compared to just 29 percent nationally.
Richard Rivera served more than 38 years in prison after killing an off-duty NYPD officer during a botched armed robbery. He was released in July after being denied parole five times.
Candidates offered reforms for people accused of low-level, nonviolent offenses, but more than half of U.S. prisoners have committed a violent crime.
A Pittsburgh public radio piece lacked critical reporting about the many problems with jailing children in adult facilities.
The parole board failed to comply with a new law about notifying victims, the board’s director said.
The city comptroller, state lawmakers, and advocates call on the state to end its use of fines and fees in the legal system.
People seeking commutations from life sentences encounter a steep hurdle in the state’s board of pardons. The board will convene on Sept. 13 to review more than 20 cases.
California is one of only six states that allow staff in juvenile facilities to carry pepper spray. But LA’s coming ban is still facing pushback.
In a rare move, a federal court vacated Anastazia Schmid’s murder conviction, saying she’d received ineffective assistance of counsel and had been mentally unfit to stand trial. But Schmid, who’d spent 18 years in prison, remained locked up for three months more.
Advocates warn that overuse of ankle monitors and other forms of electronic monitoring produce consequences of their own.
Barred from other shelters, registrants were left with few options as the hurricane approached.
16-year-olds won’t have to reappear in adult criminal court if they’re arrested when youth court isn’t in session.
How high or low bond is isn’t a measure of how severe the state considers a crime.
The 2020 presidential candidates recently unveiled national criminal justice agendas that reimagine public safety and punishment.
A lawsuit is challenging Mohave County’s practice of charging certain people for mandatory GPS monitoring before trial.
In 1998, prosecutors failed to tell the defense that a key witness in Toforest Johnson’s capital murder trial would receive thousands of dollars in reward money for her testimony, Johnson’s attorneys say. Now a Birmingham judge must decide whether their argument has merit.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics relies in part on states to self-report prison capacity numbers, which can result in a misleading snapshot of overcrowding in the U.S.
Assemblymember Jim Cooper is pushing to roll back changes that have successfully reduced incarceration.
In the wake of the Dayton shooting, Gov. Mike DeWine proposed creating more space in psychiatric hospitals by removing some people who are court-ordered to be there.
The same culture exists across the country, experts say—with devastating effects.
The New York Times’s coverage of the one-off case of a 77-year-old man omits key facts about how older adults are treated by our punitive legal system.
Black Lives Matter and other advocates have pushed county officials to abandon the $2.2 billion project with McCarthy Builders.
In Cook County, Illinois, 99 percent of defendants deemed ‘high risk’ for pretrial violence don’t reoffend.
Richard Kinder thought he would die in an Alabama prison until the Supreme Court ruled mandatory juvenile life without parole unconstitutional. But last year, despite a judge concluding there was “uncontradicted evidence” that Kinder had worked to rehabilitate himself, the state parole board refused him release.
Gloria Williams was in her 20s when she was sent to prison for her part in a robbery that turned deadly. After serving nearly five decades, including one decade in solitary confinement, Williams now has a chance at freedom.
A new report shows that a progressive approach, like the one advanced by Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, can help decrease jail populations—and crime.
In 2016, Madison Jensen died from opiate withdrawal at the Duchesne County jail. New court filings allege that jail staff, including its nurse, ignored her rapidly deteriorating health.
Recent legal victories have spurred counties and states to provide medication-assisted treatment to prisoners struggling with substance use.