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incarceration

Jeannie Yandel speaks with Seattle P-I reporter Levi Pulkkinen about his story that looked into the treatment of mentally ill inmates in Washington state jails.  

Rally organizers handed out signs declaring Washington a 'hate-free state.'
KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

Washington elected officials who came out to denounce racism and hate found themselves in a verbal match against protesters.

What started as a show of support for members of a Redmond mosque was disrupted by residents opposing a proposed juvenile detention center in Seattle.


Oregon lawmakers are delaying a decision on whether to open a second women's prison. A legislative panel voted Wednesday to deny a funding request from the Oregon Department of Corrections.

A sentencing calculation error that led to the early release of nearly 3,000 Washington prison inmates over more than a decade came to light one year ago this month. And Washington’s interim Secretary of Corrections has warned a similar mistake could happen again.

Washington’s only maximum security prison for women is overcrowded. That means some inmates are being housed at the Yakima County Jail. Now family members are calling on the Gov. Jay Inslee to halt those transfers.

Washington jails are old, crowded and holding people who are disabled, mentally ill and often haven’t yet been convicted of a crime. County jails are often the first stop for people who enter the criminal justice system.

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Disabled inmates are suffering from discrimination and isolation in Washington jails. That’s the finding of a report out Wednesday from Disability Rights Washington.

The decision to stop calling Washington prison inmates “offenders” is not sitting well with a group of Republican state senators. They’ve written a letter to Secretary of Corrections Dick Morgan challenging the policy change.

A pilot project coming to Washington aims to bring an end to modern-day "debtors prisons."

Past offenders can end up back in jail if they can't pay their legal fees and fines on time. The problem disproportionately affects people of color, according to the Department of Justice.

Kim Malcolm talks with Seattle Times reporter Joseph O'Sullivan about his investigation into how an incorrect sentencing form shaved off community supervision time for some sex offenders in  Washington. In 2010, officials discovered the error, but the problem wasn't fixed until last January.

A group of inmates in Texas is suing the state prison system, the nation's largest, arguing that extreme heat is killing older and infirm convicts. The inmates allege it constitutes "cruel and unusual punishment" and they're asking the courts for relief.

Writer Charles Mudede at Smoke Farm.
Courtesy of Jason Evans

The 8th Smoke Farm Symposium featured talks by professor Tanya Erzen, writer and filmmaker Charles Mudede, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientist Ken Williford and historian and MacArthur Fellow Mott Greene.

Topics included prison reform by Erzen, global migration and citizenship by Mudede, the search for microscopic life on Mars by Williford and science history by Greene.

President Obama shortened the prison sentences of 111 inmates Tuesday, including 35 people who had expected to spend the rest of their lives in federal custody, authorities told NPR.

Execution Halted For Jeff Wood, Who Never Killed Anyone

Aug 19, 2016

From the Texas Tribune:

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has halted the execution of Jeff Wood — a man who never killed anyone — six days before he was set to die by lethal injection.

Michelle Scott, 38, has been arrested at least five times from 2000 to 2007 in Florida, according to court records. Most of her charges stem from stealing cars or some other type of theft. Since her last arrest, Scott has struggled to pull her life together. The mom of a 12-year old boy and an adult daughter, Scott, who is black, struggles with depression, and currently lives in a homeless shelter working less than 20 hours a week as a housekeeper. Because of her criminal history, stable jobs and housing are hard to come by.

President Obama has commuted the sentences of 214 federal inmates — "almost all" of whom were serving sentences for nonviolent crimes. According to the White House, it's the "most grants in a single day since at least 1900."

In light of John Hinckley Jr.'s release from a psychiatric hospital 35 years after attempting to assassinate President Ronald Reagan, Shots is exploring the use of the not guilty by reason of insanity plea. We're talking with legal and medical professionals about how the plea works, and how it doesn't work. In this second of a four-part series, we look at how juries respond to insanity defenses.

A rape survivor is suing Texas' Harris County after she was jailed for more than a month and subjected to beatings and "psychological torture."

According to court documents, she had suffered a mental breakdown while testifying against her rapist, and authorities checked her into the general population at Houston's Harris County Jail because they feared she would flee before finishing her testimony.

Nika Nellum (right) graduated Wednesday from the rigorous King County Juvenile Drug Court program. The program has drawn national attention. But Nellum gave her mother most of the credit.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

It’s graduation week at the King County Juvenile Drug Court. Four teenagers made it through a tough program that’s drawn attention from around the nation. Instead of incarceration, they got help.


Life in prison is no picnic. But imagine being blind or deaf or in a wheelchair behind bars.

A new report out Wednesday says state prison systems should be doing more to accommodate disabled inmates.

Prison bars file photo.
Flickr Photo/Neil Conway (CC BY2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/6NUT6x

Emily Fox talks with Karen Lee, CEO of Pioneer Human Services, about how to disrupt the cycle of convicted criminals returning to prison after they're released. This week, Lee was appointed to Governor Jay Inslee's Statewide Reentry Council.

It’s been five months since Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced that over a 13-year period nearly 3,000 prison inmates were accidentally released early. Wednesday, Washington Senate Republicans issued a 66-page report that places significant blame for the problem not being fixed on former corrections Secretary Bernie Warner.

Kenneth Bae spent two years in a North Korean prison
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

After a year in the North Korean prison, Kenneth Bae softened toward his guards.


According to a report by the Vera Institute for Justice, there are more than 3,000 local jails in America, holding more than 730,000 people on any given day. Nancy Fishman, a project director at the Vera Institute, tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that jails "have impacted a huge number of Americans ... many more than are impacted by state prisons."

The man in charge of Washington’s island-lock-up for sexual predators has resigned after two-and-a-half years on the job. Mark Strong submitted his resignation Friday as CEO of the Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island.

A California parole panel has recommended that former Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten receive parole.

Van Houten, 66, has been serving a life sentence for her role in the 1969 murders of Leno and Rosemary La Bianca, part of the notorious string of slayings carried out by the Charles Manson cult over two nights in Los Angeles.

The California Board of Parole Hearing's legal team will review the case and California Gov. Jerry Brown will make the final decision about whether to grant Van Houten parole, Danielle Karson tells our Newscast unit.

Bonnie Rice was released from prison last year. After a five-year, drug-related prison sentence, she knew she couldn't go back to any of the people who led her into trouble.

"I didn't know where to go, how to go," Rice says with a quiver in her voice. "It was scary." She was completely alone.

She managed to find a place to live in a halfway house. But even though she filled out lots and lots of job applications in the first few months out of prison, she didn't get many calls back. "People look down on you," she says.

The main entrance of Western State Hospital in Lakewood, Wash.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Kim Malcolm talks with state Rep. Laurie Jinkins (D-Tacoma) about the problems facing Western State Hospital and why she believes adding staff and raising pay is a big part of the solution.

Western State Hospital in Lakewood, Washington, pictured Oct. 2015.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Bill Radke talks to Associated Press reporter Martha Bellisle about the recent escapes from Western State Hospital and the facility's ongoing struggle with safety concerns.

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