Fast Company 12.19.2017
by Diana Budds
Can a prison be humane? In socially progressive Scandinavia, perhaps. The Danish Prison and Probation Service and architecture firm CF Møller have designed what they’re calling the world’s “most humane” maximum security prison.
About 70 miles southeast of Copenhagen, in the town of Gundslev, Storstrøm Prison looks more like a university campus than a typical prison. Both the architecture and social policy at the prison aim to reduce recidivism by emphasizing rehabilitation, an approach that Scandinavian countries employ. ...
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Solitary Confinement Is Used to Break People :: by Monica Cosby
Originally printed in TruthOut
There are many names for solitary confinement. In the Illinois prisons where I was incarcerated, it was called "segregation," but most of the women called it "seg" or "jail." No matter the language, it is all solitary -- and it is torture.
Solitary confinement is being locked in a cell alone and segregated from the general population of the prison for 23 hours a day. More often than not, the allowed hour out does not happen. Meals are delivered through a slot in the door, which is kept locked except during the delivery of meals, mail and medication. Being in solitary means being handcuffed for transport to the shower or a visit.
Depending on where in the building the cell is, there may be a window. Often these windows are painted or clouded over, but some windows can be opened and occasionally there is a window that one can actually see through. No spontaneous phone calls are permitted, no matter the circumstances: Prescheduled calls from a lawyer are the only type of calls allowed.
Most people who've never been to prison do not understand what solitary means, or how it affects those who are isolated and their families. Far too many people buy into the myth that only the "worst of the worst" are placed there, but this just is not so.
Does Solitary Make Inmates More Likely To Reoffend - Frontline
by ANJALI TSUI Abrams Journalism Fellow,
As a teenager, Adam Brulotte relished the attention he received from getting into fights at parties. When he was 18 years old, he was arrested for burglary and aggravated assault after punching a man and breaking his jaw in seven places.
Brulotte arrived in Maine State Prison in 2012 to serve a two year sentence for violating his probation.
There, he was sent to solitary confinement for starting a riot on his cell block. During the approximately four months he spent in isolation, Brulotte cut himself, flooded his cell with toilet water and pushed feces under his door. Each incident earned him more time in solitary confinement.
Once he was released, Brulotte tried to find a sense of normalcy. He started dating, got a job at a local convenience store but soon ended up back in jail for driving without a license, an assault and failing to pay court fines.
“It leaves a scar on you that you won’t forget and you can’t heal … you get flashbacks and anxiety,” he said of solitary.
SOLITARY BY THE NUMBERS
April 18, 2017 / by Dan Nolan and Chris Amico :: Frontline
Solitary confinement goes by many names: restricted housing, segregation, isolation. Prisoners are separated from the general population, held in their cells for 22 to 24 hours a day, for at least 15 consecutive days.
In every state and nearly every prison, solitary is used to punish, to prevent, and sometimes for prisoners’ own protection.
There is a growing consensus among policymakers, corrections officials and criminal justice experts that it’s overused, and that it can do more harm than good. More than 30 states are now attempting solitary reforms.
Why Illinois's House Bill 531 or Any Parole Bill or Sentencing Reform Should Be Retroactive: Truth Out - 2/11/2018
Why Illinois's House Bill 531 or Any Parole Bill or Sentencing Reform Should Be Retroactive
By Joseph Dole in Truth Out
Around the country, advocates are pushing for legislation to improve parole policies, making it more possible for people serving long sentences to be released from prison. However, not all of these bills are equally helpful. Illinois is a case in point. A parole reform bill is passing through the legislature, House Bill 531, but it is not "retroactive" -- meaning it will not apply to any of the tens of thousands of Illinoisans currently serving long sentences in Illinois prisons.
Reducing Solitary Confinement, One Cell At A TimeAPRIL 18, 2017 / by PRIYANKA BOGHANI
Maine is among more than 30 states that have moved in recent years to reduce their use of solitary as prison hunger strikes, lawsuits and activism have brought new scrutiny to the mental health effects of isolation, and the risks that freed prisoners might pose following long-term exposure to solitary.
A Different Justice: Why Anders Breivik Only Got 21 Years for Killing 77 People
The Atlantic - By MAX FISHER AUG 24, 2012
Norway's gentler criminal system uses something called "restorative justice," which appears to be potentially better at reducing crime than our own, but at a real cost.
Norway's criminal justice system is, obviously, quite distinct from that of, say, the U.S.; 21 years is the maximum sentence for anything less severe than war crimes or genocide. Still, it's more than that: the entire philosophy underpinning their system is radically different. I don't have an answer for which is better. I doubt anyone does. But Americans' shocked response to the Breivik sentence hints at not just how different the two systems are, but how deeply we may have come to internalize our understanding of justice, which, whatever its merits, doesn't seem to be as universally applied as we might think.
By JONAH ENGEL BROMWICH JAN. 18, 2018
In the eight years since its publication, “The New Jim Crow,” a book by Michelle Alexander that explores the phenomenon of mass incarceration, has sold well over a million copies, been compared to the work of W.E.B. Du Bois, been cited in the legal decisions to end stop-and-frisk and sentencing laws, and been quoted passionately on stage at the Academy Awards.
But for the more than 130,000 adults in prison in North Carolina and Florida, the book is strictly off-limits.
And prisoners around the country often have trouble obtaining copies of the book, which points to the vast racial disparities in sentencing policy, and the way that mass incarceration has ravaged the African-American population.
This month, after protests, New Jersey revoked a ban some of its prisons had placed on the book, while New York quickly scrapped a program that would have limited its inmates’ ability to receive books at all.
Founding director of Twin Cities nonprofit explains why 'We're All Criminals'
January 7, 2018 Star Tribune
Emily Baxter is on the road, driving home a message to prosecutors and law enforcement officials, politicians and business leaders, students and book clubs. None of us is free of a criminal past, she argues. But most of us have been granted, by luck of birth or privilege, “the luxury to forget” our transgressions.
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At 18 Kingley Rowe Went to Prison for 10 years - Now He's 47 and Still Wonders When He'll Be Free: Salon 1-1-2018
Lowering the prison population isn't enough, not if formerly incarcerated individuals are denied jobs after release.
...It comes down to whether, as a nation, for people branded as violent offenders, if “second chances” are not just written into law, but possible. ...
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