In Washington State, Visitation Is Becoming Monetized

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Here’s how it works: Homewav installs video stations in each cell block at no cost to the jail. Then it charges families for each video visit. Lewis County takes a 40 percent cut and Homewav keeps the rest.”

Click here for the full Northwest Public Radio interview.

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Bronx Prison Transformed into Reentry Center

Fulton Community Correctional Facility

 

The Marshall Project recently reported on the Bronx’s Fulton Correctional Facility, a former prison now to be used “as a reentry center for newly released inmates”, among other repurposed prisons and jails.

Click here for the full article.

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College Courses in Washington Prisons and PLAP’s Book Drive!

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A recent Seattle Times article highlighted the Freedom Education Project of Puget Sound (FEPPS), a program which offers inmates in Washington the opportunity of a college education: “Education does more than offer inmates a credential, “… it teaches them how to be the people we want our fellow citizens to be — thoughtful, critically aware of the world around them, disciplined and able to recognize authority.”

This, plus the 2013 RAND Corp. study which concluded that “… every dollar spent on inmate education translated to $4 to $5 saved on re-incarceration” (along with many other reasons) are why PLAP is now holding a prison book drive! All donated books will be disseminated to prisons nationwide by the Prison Book Program, an organization run out of Quincy, MA that is dedicated to furthering the education of America’s incarcerated population. Donations can be brought into PLAP’s office until the book drive ends on 2/4/15, though books can always be mailed to Prison Book Program directly.

For the full Seattle Times article, click here.

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Rikers Set to Increase Minimum Age for Solitary Confinement to 22 in January 2016

“Effective immediately, the new rules will reduce the maximum amount of time inmates age 18 and older can be sentenced to solitary confinement to 30 days, from 90. The department also will eliminate so-called owed time. In the past, inmates who left Rikers before completing their stint in solitary confinement returned there if they went back to the jail.”

Click here to read the full New York Times article.

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MADOC Correctional Recovery Academy Shows Promise for Reducing Recidivism Rates

“Research has shown drug treatment for drug involved offenders is effective in lowering the rates of recidivism (Mackenzie, 2006; Sherman, et al, 2002; MADOC, 2009). The focus of this study was toidentify and describe differences in the recidivism rates of offenders who participated in the Massachusetts Department of Correction (MADOC) Correctional Recovery Academy (CRA) program to determine if expected decreases in recidivism could be noted for this population. CRA is an intensive six month skill-based residential substance abuse treatment program. There are a total of 503 residential treatment beds located across six separate MADOC institutions. The CRA targets substance abuse, anger management, criminal thinking, and relapse prevention utilizing a therapeutic community social learning approach with an advanced cognitive behavioral curriculum that promotes positive social learning.”

Click here to read the full report.

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“Prison is Not for Punishment in Sweden. We Get People into Better Shape”

“Our role is not to punish. The punishment is the prison sentence: they have been deprived of their freedom. The punishment is that they are with us,” says Nils Öberg, director-general of Sweden’s prison and probation service.

The United States prison system is widely regarded as broken. Prisons were supposed to “rehabilitate” offenders who have wronged society by punishing them with a prison sentence. Unfortunately, the United States prison system has failed to rehabilitate thus producing high recidivism rates and overall crime. In Sweden, they are testing a new approach to crime. Oberg, the director-general, believes in addressing the inmate’s needs in order for he or she to correct the behavior that led them to prison in the first place. Sweden’s prison rates are significantly lower after they implemented this approach. They’ve also been fortunate enough to actually close prisons because of the lowered crime rate.

Posted in Civil Rights, Corrections, Federal Corrections, Federal Courts, International, Legislation, National, Prison Conditions, Prison Reform, Publications, Media and Advocacy, Recidivism, Reentry Programs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Prison Denied Both Me and My Roommate Proper Cancer Treatment

“It was serious—but I knew leukemia is very treatable. I didn’t understand what was happening or why she wasn’t receiving treatment”- Sue Ellen Allen (left) on her friend Gina’s (right) lack of medical care.

In a previous post, attorney Joel Thompson was on HuffPost Live to discuss the inadequate healthcare and medical treatment inmates receive when they become a prisoner of the state. One woman, Sue Ellen Allen, has experienced both sides of medical treatment. Six months before she was to enter prison, Sue Ellen Allen was diagnosed with stage 3B breast cancer. Cancer, in itself, is scary. Cancer, while a prisoner, is unimaginably terrifying.

Before she entered prison, Sue Ellen Allen was given competent doctors and availably ready medical treatment to manage the pains of cancer and chemotherapy. Then, she entered prison, and her life and illness were suddenly ignored and worthless. Her chemotherapy treatments were delayed, she was not given any medicine to reduce the nausea, and when she got a mastectomy, she was handcuffed and shackled throughout the entire procedure. Despite all this pain and misery, Sue Ellen Allen found light in her friend, Gina. Gina was another cancer patient in prison who was also a victim of delayed chemotherapy treatments. Together, they cared for each other through their pain and formed a bond Sue Ellen Allen would never forget. Sadly, Gina succumbed to her leukemia very quickly, and passed away on June 19, 2002.

Click here to read the full article.

Click here to learn about Gina’s Team, a non-profit organization dedicated to the  education of incarcerated citizens.

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Why Isn’t Prison Justice on the Ballot This Tuesday?

Help Lady Liberty Out and Read the Full Article Here.

 

It seems as if criminal justice reform has been a mainstream topic since the 1970’s, but continuously we see prison reforms being halted or ignored by congress. The “tough on crime” approach was of major attention when New York City promised to harshly tackle the issue, but now that talk of reforming has taken place, the actual chance to take action on it seems to be absent from campaigns and ballots. Why? Well, most people pay attention to the problem of crime and then demand change, not the problems affecting criminals. However, as the article points out, America wears a scarlet letter of mass incarceration, which is an embarrassment for our country. And with so many people being affected by prison sentences, more people should be demanding change for the current system. Just because the crimes are happening behind prison walls doesn’t mean we can turn a blind eye. In fact, the author suggests, by reforming the criminal justice system, we will see a positive change in other areas, most notably, the economic inequality gap.

 

Posted in Civil Rights, Constitutional Rights, Corrections, Court decisions, Death Penalty, Economics, Legislation, Local, National, Non-Violent Offenders, Parole, Prison Conditions, Prison Reform, Publications, Media and Advocacy, US Senate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Changing Prison From the Inside Out

 

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Mark Olmsted vowed to never forget his fellow inmates that he would leave behind after his release from a nine month prison stint, and he certainly did not. When he got out he continued to keep in contact with his former cellmates, sending them money here and there or just a friendly letter to let them know they haven’t been forgotten by the outside world. As he continued to campaign for prison reform, he received surprising, and seemingly impossible, tweets from an inmate in an Alabama prison. Turns out that some inmates in southern area prisons are networking via contraband cell phones to inform us, the outside world, of their lives and prison conditions. This network has come to be known as the Free Alabama Movement. A part of it’s statement purpose reads, “And this Movement isn’t about getting ‘some outside support,’ or having our family ‘call the politicians or mayor’s office,’ ‘call the news station’ and on and on and on. The reason for this is simple: we can’t form a movement conditioned on ‘outside’ people without first unifying the ‘inside people.'” So, take a moment out of your day to hear the truth about prisons and prison life from the best experts there could possibly be: the inmates themselves. 

Free Alabama Movement Official Website– Here you can listen to the prisoners who have been forgotten, silenced and ignored. Listen to them, let their voices be heard, and spread their message further along in the outside world.

AND the Free Alabama Movement is ALL over youtube, recording their lives on the inside and exposing the hard truths to the outside.

Not only are there youtube videos being posted by FAM, but one inmate actually hosts a talk show from inside the prison, allowing for other inmates with contraband cell phones to call in and speak on his online radio station.

Posted in American Civil Liberties Union, Civil Rights, Constitutional Rights, Corrections, Legislation, Life imprisonment without parole, Mothers in Prison, Non-Violent Offenders, Parole, Prison Conditions, Prison Labor, Prison Reform, Publications, Media and Advocacy, Recidivism, Reentry Programs, Sentencing, US Senate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

PLAP’s Own Joel Thompson on HuffPost Live: Questions Over 15 Deaths in New York Jail

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HuffPost Live Segment “Questions Over 15 Deaths in New York Jail”

HuffPost Live had a segment dedicated to the lack of healthcare prisoners receive while incarcerated, and most importantly, why we should care about the healthcare rights of inmates. Joel Thompson, a PLAP attorney, was invited to be a guest contributer to the segment, enlightening viewers about the carelessness and corruption that plauges inmate healthcare. Watch the clip above to hear it from Joel Thompson himself, as well as other guest speakers, Bradley Brockmann, Jake Pearson, Lumumba Bandele.

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