prisons

A federal judge in Seattle has made it clear to the state that mentally ill jail inmates need to be evaluated within seven days to see if they’re competent to stand trial.

A juvenile inmate crew from Naselle Youth Camp in Southwest Washington. There were 30 kids part of the fire effort until last week, when a 16-year-old broke free, assaulted one of his supervisors and stole a gun.
Courtesy of Juvenile Rehabilitation Adminstration

Crews of juvenile inmates have been sent to fight wildfires in Washington state since the 1960s.

Until a teen escaped last week, assaulted a supervisor and then shot himself, there were 20 youth working on the fire line at the Chelan Complex Fire in central Washington. Another crew of 10 made sandwiches and meals in Okanogan County.

Prison bars file photo.
Flickr Photo/Neil Conway (CC BY2.0)

A few years ago Theresa Nolte fell in love with Kelly Beard, an inmate at the Monroe Correctional Complex. Nolte was a prison staffer.

Consensual or not, sexual contact between prison staffers and inmates is illegal.

Curtis Carroll discovered the stock market in prison. Through friends and family on the outside, he invests from San Quentin State Prison in Northern California, and he's also an informal financial adviser to fellow inmates and correctional officers. Everyone in prison calls him Wall Street.

"I couldn't believe that this kind of access to this type of money could be accessible to anybody. Everybody should do it. And it's legal!" he says.

Color Guard: Michael Jefferies (front), James Bell, Randy Roth, Chadwick Kallebaugh, Andrew Wood (closest to camera).Stafford Creek Corrections Center in Aberdeen, Washington.
KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

Every morning the flags at Stafford Creek Corrections Center in Aberdeen, Washington, are raised in a color guard ceremony.

The 10 men who do the job are inmates and veterans. 

The state of Washington is on a hiring spree for forensic psychologists. They’re needed to help address a backlog of mentally ill jail inmates whose competency to stand trial is in question.

Updated at 3:30 p.m. ET

In a prison-break likely to draw comparisons to the film The Shawshank Redemption, two convicted murderers have escaped from a maximum-security facility in upstate New York by cutting through steel walls, shimmying through a steam pipe and emerging from a manhole on the outside.

Inmates Richard Matt and David Sweat broke out of the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, near the Canadian border, early Saturday morning.

Prosecutors usually spend their energy putting criminals behind bars, not urging their release. But racial disparities in the system and the huge costs of locking up so many people are pushing some government officials to call for a new approach.

One of them is the woman who now runs day-to-day operations at the Justice Department. Sally Yates says she's hardly soft on crime: "I'm a career prosecutor."

The Washington state Department of Corrections has contracted with The GEO Group, Inc, a Florida-based private prison company, to house up to 1,000 prisoners in Michigan to ease overcrowding.

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.

Pages