In Iowa, A Commitment to make prison work better for women
NPR by Joseph Shapiro
October 17, 2018
The warden at the women's prison in Iowa recently instructed her corrections officers to stop giving out so many disciplinary tickets for minor violations of prison rules, like when a woman wears her sweatshirt inside out or rolls up her sleeves.
It's a small thing. But it's also part of a growing movement to reconsider the way women are treated in prison.
Called "gender-responsive corrections," the movement is built on a simple idea: that prison rules created to control men, particularly violent ones, often don't work well for women. That women come to prison with different histories from men — they're more likely to be victims of violence, for example — and they need different rules.
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In Prison, Discipline Comes Down Hardest On Women
NPR by Joseph Shapiro, Jessica Pupovac, Kari Lydersen
October 15, 2018
When Monica Cosby, Tyteanna Williams and Celia Colon talk about the years they spent as inmates at women's prisons in Illinois, their stories often turn to the times they would be disciplined for what seemed like small, even absurd things.
Cosby was playing Scrabble in her cell once when a guard asked what she was doing. She responded sarcastically: "What does it look like I'm doing?" He wrote her up for "contraband" (the Scrabble set) and for "insolence."
Williams got written up once when her cellmate, who had diabetes, passed out and Williams cursed at the officer she thought was too slow to help.
Colon got a disciplinary ticket for "reckless eye-balling." She had made a face when a corrections officer gave her an order. She says she ended up in solitary confinement as a result.
"You could get a ticket for anything," Colon said.
Especially, it turns out, if you're a woman.
Article/Podcast: IL Inmates Hope to get into this Prison
WBEZ by Miles Bryan
In Illinois’ Department of Corrections, there’s a prison so attractive that inmates write essays to get in. It’s only housing about 220 prisoners, but more than 1,500 have applied to get in. At the Kewanee Life Skills Re-Entry Center, inmates are free to walk where they please, take art classes, and even garden.
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UUPMI Members note that this while we work toward a total reduction in prison population this is a model of how prisons should be run to ensure people live in dignity and care.
Meha Ahmad, Daniel Tucker
April 18, 2018
In the early 2000s, the Illinois Department of Corrections spent an average of $750,000 a year on books for prisons. Last year, it spent just $276 dollars. Research suggests that’s not a winning strategy for preventing recidivism because many inmates rely on books to figure out how to reshape their lives after their release.
Listen to segment - 13 min.
Written Inside: Stories About Prison Cells From WBEZ
Written Inside is a podcast about life inside a maximum-security prison cell. Adapted from essays written at Stateville Correctional Center near Chicago, these intimate stories speak to the everyday experience of being incarcerated. Each inmate's story is voiced by a Chicago actor. Created by journalist Alex Kotlowitz and produced by WBEZ Chicago.
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Podcast: Some Cook County Judges Often Deny Public Defenders When Defendants Post Bond - Heffernan WBEZ
Peter McCray sat in a Cook County courtroom in June after being charged with illegal possession of a prescription painkiller — a felony. He faced up to three years in prison.
He knew he had to pay $1,000 to get out of jail until his case was resolved. But what he didn’t know is that some Cook County judges often deny access to a free court-appointed lawyer, known as a public defender, once bond is posted. McCray got one of those judges.
WBEZ recently went to numerous courtrooms throughout Cook County and saw some judges routinely deny a public defender based on whether a defendant posted bond, a practice that some legal experts said is unconstitutional. This practice can add further financial burdens on cash-strapped defendants and even compromise their access to a fair trial, lawyers and criminal justice advocates said. Judges were advised by Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans in 2013 to stop denying public defenders purely on whether a defendant posted bond, but some judges have ignored Evans.
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Meet the Creators of the New Podcast From Inside San Quentin Prison
The inmate-produced show will tell intimate stories of daily life behind bars.
“Ear Hustle” — the phrase is slang for eavesdropping — is a collaboration between Earlonne Woods and Antwan Williams, both prisoners at San Quentin, and Nigel Poor, a Bay Area visual artist who teaches photography classes at the prison. Williams, 29, has served more than 10 years on a 15-year sentence for armed robbery. Woods, 45, has served more than 19 years of a 31-years–to-life sentence for attempted second-degree robbery. Their chemistry is one of the best parts of the show: the three share a deep rapport that is at times funny, frank, and raw.
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