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March 13, 2014
Certain types of cases result in too many Americans going to prison for far too long, and at times for no truly good public safety reason.
Attorney General Eric Holder • While outlining a new proposal to the U.S. Sentencing Commission that would drastically reduce the amount of jail time being served by non-violent drug offenders. The changes include an 15 month reduction in the mandatory minimum sentencing requirements for felony crack and cocaine possession charges, and the combined changes should reduce the average drug offender’s period of incarceration by 17 percent. source
18:24 // 6 months ago
August 27, 2013

California needs to cut its inmate count, so it wants to move them to other prisons

  • $315M the amount California Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing the state spend on a program that would move prisoners to private jails or county jails—a response to a court order which requires the state de-crowd its prisons. Rather than releasing the prisoners—as has been done in the past—Brown is suggesting moving them to other spaces, a costly proposition which is far from certain to pass. source
19:21 // 1 year ago
September 29, 2011

California inmates hunger strike en masse … for the second time

  • first Roughly 6,600 prisoners went on a hunger strike in California, protesting the rough conditions due to lack of human contact. Officials said they would review their procedures.
  • then Officials reviewed their procedures, and decided, well, maybe there’s something to this whole prisoner-treatment thing, and said they would make changes.
  • now They haven’t done enough: Roughly 4,200 inmates haven’t eaten since Monday, despite the threat of punishment for inmates on hunger strikes. source

» Treating “gang members” differently: Many of the concerns the prisoners have with their treatment revolve around the fact that they were put into fairly extreme prison cells, designed to limit human contact, due to their perceived affiliation with gangs. One of the ways they can get out involves a process called “debriefing,” where the prisoner renounces his gang affiliation and discloses information about possible members — which has the effect of putting the prisoner directly in danger. Activists consider this damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t approach to handling prisoners akin to torture. “These are inhumane conditions designed to extract information from someone,” noted Carol Strickman of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, an activist group.

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22:46 // 2 years ago
May 24, 2011
The gates of California prisons aren’t going to be opened, and 30,000 prisoners aren’t going to walk out tomorrow. The court ordered a very slow, conscientious process that gives state prison and law enforcement officials compete discretion on how to accomplish it.
Prison Law Office attorney Don Spector • Pointing out that the process of releasing 30,000 prisoners in California might be a bit … complicated. There are some ideas, though, including having short-term non-violent offenders serve at the county level rather than the state level, which might ease the prison system’s burden. Gov. Jerry Brown signed that plan in April. Unfortunately, that plan hasn’t received funding from the state due to disagreements with the legislature on the issue. Other options: Finding a different way to fund the state-to-county thing, coming up with a new plan — or shipping off prisoners to other states. The state has shipped around 10,000 California to nearby states like Arizona, Oklahoma or Mississippi (wait, that’s not nearby!), and they might increase the number, based on the Supreme Court’s decision. Either way, this is a logistics nightmare. source (viafollow)
10:46 // 3 years ago
May 23, 2011

SCOTUS rules CA prisons unconstitutionally overcrowded

"Incompatible with the concept of human dignity": So said Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the 5-4 Supreme Court majority that ruled California’s state prison system is so overcrowded that they say it violates constitutional rights (the level of health services available to inmates who sorely need them has been a relevant issue of late). As such, the ruling may force the state to release nearly 40,000 prisoners. “The release of prisoners in large numbers … is a matter of undoubted, grave concern, yet so too is the continuing injury and harm resulting from these serious constitutional violations,” said Kennedy. source

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15:42 // 3 years ago
December 29, 2010
This is the last thing I thought I would be doing when I came to prison.
Nevada inmate James Redmon • Regarding his gig training wild mustangs in prison. Which we admit is pretty darn cool. But it sounds like he could be talking about doing something else, doesn’t it? (Re: The link in that last sentence – yeah, we know, terrible movie, right? But we still heart Bob Odenkirk and Will Arnett.) source (viafollow)
10:04 // 3 years ago