prisons

Ross Reynolds interviews Alison Holcomb, head of an initiative from ACLU to reduce the number of people incarcerated in the U.S. by half. 

Seattle's city hall was a mishmash of additions, including a basement where some prisoners were sent and brutally treated, fed a minimal diet of bread and water.
Seattle.gov

Little surprises Knute Berger, writer and local historian, when it comes to Seattle history.

So when he discovered that Seattle had used chain gangs – ball and chain style – into the 1900s, he thought, “Chain gangs? That’s a Southern thing.”

blind justice law court
Flickr Photo/Scott* (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Jeannie Yandel talks with  Susan Craighead, King County Superior Court presiding judge, about why she's pushing to eliminate racial disparities in King County's juvenile justice system.

Flickr Photo/Still Burning (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds speaks with Rep. Zack Hudgins, D-Tukwila, about bipartisan legislation being considered in Olympia this week. House Bill 1885 and its companion Senate Bill 5775 aim to reduce Washington state's high property crime rate by, in part, reducing jail time for burglars and thieves. The proposal is backed by extensive data and research from The Council of State Governments Justice Center

The American corrections system been outsourcing some of its services – health care, food, telephone and money transfers are some examples of services that are helping for-profit prisons try to increase their profits by cutting costs.

In some cases, this adds an extra burden to inmates and their families by adding extra costs. Reporter Rowan Moore Gerety looks at a jail in Washington state that has brought in something new: paying for web video visits.

At the juvenile detention facility in King County, Washington, strip searches are common practice at intake for serious and violent offenders or those accused of a drug crime.

King County Jail in downtown Seattle.
King County Photo

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is protesting a new King County policy to release more felony suspects after booking them. King County says it’s a budget decision involving nonviolent offenders. The mayor says it’s a threat to public safety.

Every week, Dr. Michael Poshkus visits the John J. Moran Medium Security prison in Cranston, R.I., to see patients infected with hepatitis C.

Until recently, their only treatment option was a weekly injection in the stomach for at least a year. It worked less than half the time and caused debilitating side effects. But everything has changed.

It seems long ago now, but in the 1960s, '70s and '80s, murders and robberies exploded as cocaine and other illegal drugs ravaged American cities.

Then came June 19, 1986, when the overdose of a college athlete sent the nation into shock just days after the NBA draft. Basketball star Len Bias could have been anybody's brother or son.

Congress swiftly responded by passing tough mandatory sentences for drug crimes. Those sentences, still in place, pack federal prisons to this day. More than half of the 219,000 federal prisoners are serving time for drug offenses.

The work of rearing threatened plants and animals for restoration to the wild takes time and patience and it is labor intensive. In Oregon and Washington, a growing population doing that work is inmates.

Two Washington prison inmates have committed suicide in recent weeks at the state’s main intake facility in Shelton.

King County's juvenile court and jail are located south of Capitol Hill. Ivan wrote his essay, which was published in the Interagency Academy 2012 literary journal, from the school at the detention.
Flickr Photo/jseattle

It’s April now, and I’m wondering how it came down to this, and how I stooped this low, and how I am in here because of these so-called friends.

We just got back from school, and soon it will be lunchtime. We walk over to G-unit, and I walk straight up the stairs to my room while others stand around wasting time talking to Officer Rob, annoying him.

Rob is the guard assigned to our unit. He’s younger than the others and kinder too. He sings R&B songs to himself throughout the day and he doesn’t send us to our rooms for little things.

In a growing number of Northwest prisons, inmates are rearing endangered plants, butterflies, turtles and frogs for release in the wild.

Amy Czerwinski

Prison is no place to be vulnerable. For inmates with intellectual disabilities, autism or traumatic brain injury, it can be dangerous.

Flickr Photo/Still Burning (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with Margaret Noonan, statistician for the Department of Justice, about why the death rate at the Snohomish County Jail is high, but unsurprising.

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