Prisons thrive on poverty
Axios: Stef W. Kight
June 8, 2019
By the numbers: In the 8 years leading up to incarceration, about half of people in prison had no income, according to a 2018 study by the Brookings Institution. Less than 10% made $25,000 or more in any one year over the same period.
The states where private prisons are thriving
Axios: Erica Pandey
June 8, 2019
Since the first private prison opened in 1984 in Tennessee, for-profit incarceration has ballooned into a $5 billion industry. In 2017, 121,420 people — about 8% of the U.S. prison population — were housed in private facilities, but the share is much higher in some states.
Why it matters: Private prisons tend to hire fewer guards than state and federal prisons and often are more dangerous.
The case for capping all prison sentences at 20 years
Vox By German Lopez :: Feb 12, 2019
America’s prison sentences are far too long. It’s time to do something about it. America puts more people in jail and prison than any other country in the world. Although the country has managed to slightly reduce its prison population in recent years, mass incarceration remains a fact of the US criminal justice system.
It’s time for a radical idea that could really begin to reverse mass incarceration: capping all prison sentences at no more than 20 years. It may sound like an extreme, even dangerous, proposal, but there’s good reason to believe it would help reduce the prison population without making America any less safe.
A Rare Inside Look at a Private Prison: Reporters found weapons, drugs, and rampant violence
Slate by Mary Harris
At a prison in southern Mississippi, guards can’t do basic population counts. They can’t keep cellphones, drugs, and weapons out of the building. They are at the mercy of gang leaders to control the inmates. Is this just what happens when you try to do corrections on the cheap?
Guests: Joseph Neff and Alysia Santo, staff writers for the Marshall Project. Read their story on Wilkinson County Correctional Facility.
Murphy signs law limiting solitary confinement in N.J. prisons
nj.com by S.P. Sullivan
A lengthy and vocal campaign to strictly limit solitary confinement in New Jersey’s prisons came to a close Thursday when Gov. Phil Murphysigned a long-stalled reform measure into law.
“I am proud to stand together with New Jersey’s criminal justice reform advocates and legislators to advance a humane correctional system that allows for the safe operation of facilities and focuses on strengthening reentry initiatives, substance use disorder treatment, and recovery programs,” the Democratic governor said in a signing statement Thursday.
Supporters say the measure is among the most comprehensive controls on the controversial practice of placing prisoners in isolation in the United States.
PBS :: Terun Moore on prison as a teen and getting a second chance
March 18, 2019
At age 17, Terun Moore was convicted of murder and sentenced to life without parole. But in 2012, the Supreme Court ruled such sentencing of minors unconstitutional. Now on parole after 19 years, Moore is enrolled in community college and working with the People's Advocacy Institute, which aims to reduce violence in Jackson, Mississippi. He offers his brief but spectacular take on second chances.
Profiting from prison
Axios: Stef W. Kight and Dan Primack
June 8, 2019
A handful of American businesses have their fingers in almost every aspect of prison life, raking in billions of dollars every year for products and services — often with little oversight.
The big picture: Taxpayers, incarcerated people and their families spend around $85 billion a year on public and private correction facilities, bail and prison services, according to the Prison Policy Initiative.
BONUS The prison labor you benefit from
Prison labor is behind some products and services Americans use every day — from call centers and Whole Foods goat cheese to farmer's market fruit, Stef writes.
Formerly incarcerated people are building their own businesses and giving others second chances
ABA Journal by Kevin Davis
As he prepared to leave prison for the second time, David Figueroa decided he was going to walk away from the Chicago street gang he belonged to since he was a boy and build a better life for himself. “I wanted to do the right thing this time,” he says. “I wanted to get a job. I wanted to get married. I wanted to have children.”
He knew finding work would be hard because of his criminal record. “It was a very scary moment,” recalls Figueroa, whose hands, fingers, arms and chest were covered with gang tattoos when he left prison in 2005 at the age of 29. He thought at the time: “Wherever I go, I will be looked at as a scary person.”
Figueroa grew up in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood, notorious for its violent street gangs in the ’80s and ’90s. He wanted out, and he hoped to work in construction. But doors began slamming as soon as he filled out job applications. “Every time I checked the box that asked whether you were a convicted felon, I never got a call back,” he says.
Private prison stocks fall after Elizabeth Warren says they should be banned
CNN Business by Anneken Tappe
New York (CNN Business)Friday was a bad day for private prisons
Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren is calling for private correctional and detention facilities to be banned. Shares of private prison operators dropped following her remarks.
Private prison operator CoreCivic's (CXW) stock was down 5%. Shares of The GEO Group (GEO), a Florida-based private prison and detention company, fell 5.6%. The broader stock market was flat to slightly higher on Friday.
Warren's campaign said it was unfazed by the stocks' slump.
"They shouldn't have a share price because they shouldn't exist," said Kristen Orthman, spokeswoman and director of communications for the Warren campaign.
A spokesperson for the Geo Group said its facilities are "highly rated by independent accreditation entities."
"Senator Warren's announcement is a continuation of politically-motivated attacks based on false narratives," the spokesperson said, adding the company would welcome lawmakers like Warren to come visit.
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