prisons

Incarceration
7:27 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Long Sentences, Aging Inmates May Strain Washington's Clemency System

Members of the public raise their hands in support of a commutation for a three-strikes offender at a recent meeting of Washington's Clemency and Pardons Board.

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 6:08 pm

In just a few years, Washington will need another 1,000 prison beds. There’s been talk of building a new state lock-up, but that would cost hundreds of millions of dollars at a time when the Supreme Court has said school funding must be the priority.

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Corrections
7:42 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Washington Prisons Will No Longer Punish Inmates For 'Self-Harm'

Originally published on Thu July 3, 2014 3:27 pm

Washington’s prison system has announced a major policy change when it comes to inmates who harm themselves. The Department of Corrections said Thursday that it will no longer sanction inmates for cutting or other acts of self-injury.

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Prison Reform
7:09 am
Wed June 25, 2014

Inslee Launches Review Of Prison Population Growth

Governor Jay Inslee meets with his newly-appointed Justice Reinvestment taskforce.

Originally published on Wed June 25, 2014 8:06 am

Washington state’s prison system is projected to need 1,000 new beds by 2018. And that growth has Governor Jay Inslee concerned.

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DNA Exonerations
7:39 am
Mon June 16, 2014

When Innocent People Go To Prison, States Pay

A pair of hands gripping jail-door bars.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon June 16, 2014 2:04 pm

Suppose you spent five years in prison for a crime you didn't commit. How much does the government owe you?

Over the past few decades, the rise of DNA exonerations has made this a more pressing question. And many states have created explicit policies to answer it.

But those policies vary wildly from state to state.

Twenty-one states provide no money — though people who are exonerated can sue for damages. Twelve states and the District of Columbia award damages on a case-by-case basis. Another 17 states pay a fixed amount per year of imprisonment.

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Prison Reform
8:23 am
Mon June 9, 2014

As Washington Prisons Crowd, Could Some 'Lifers' Get A Second Look?

In 2009, three-strikes offender Stevan Dozier was granted clemency. He stands in front of a mural at King County Juvenile Court that reads “never lose hope.”

Originally published on Fri June 6, 2014 3:51 pm

Stevan Dozier's crimes were violent purse snatchings. The final time, he hit his 69-year old victim in the face, knocked her to the ground and stole her wallet. As a result, Dozier was one of the first to be sentenced under the voter-approved "three strikes" law back in 1994.

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Feature Interview
3:11 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

'I Am Home Now,' Says Gerald Hankerson, Former Lifer

Gerald Hankerson
Seattle.gov

Marcie Sillman talks with Gerald Hankerson, director at Main Street Alliance, president of the local NAACP and former lifer at the Washington state penitentiary.

Medical Costs
12:35 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Effective But Costly: Prison Officials Debate New Hepatitis Drug

Inmates at the Washington Corrections Center in Shelton receive certificates after a seminar with Rich Feffer of the Hepatitis Education Project.
KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

About 3.2 million people in the U.S. have hepatitis C, a highly contagious virus that can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer.

Dr. Jody Rich, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at The Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University in Rhode Island, said prisons carry a heavy load of the disease, but they also have built in health care.

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Labor And Industries Report
12:32 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Washington Department Of Corrections Fined For Unsafe Asbestos Removal Program

A known carcinogen, asbestos needs to be removed with the use of safety equipment including respirators. L&I determined that the DOC failed to enforce the use of respirators in its asbestos removal program.
Flickr Photo/Asbestos Testing (CC-BY-NC-ND)

The State Department of Corrections has shut down a decades-old program staffed by inmates to remove asbestos from prison facilities.

The Department of Labor and Industries originally fined the DOC $141,000 after determining that inmate workers were exposed to asbestos dust, but the penalty was reduced to $70,500 in a settlement.

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Racial Disparity
4:12 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Why For-Profit Prisons House More Inmates Of Color

An inmate walks through the yard at the North Central Correctional Institution in Marion, Ohio, which recently switched to private management.
Ty Wright Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 7:03 am

A new study by a UC-Berkeley graduate student has surprised a number of experts in the criminology field. Its main finding: Private prisons are packed with young people of color.

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Medicaid Expansion
7:37 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Affordable Care Act Opens Door To More Inmate Enrollment

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

Health care enrollments so far have been focused on people without insurance. But there’s another population officials are trying to get covered – people locked up behind bars.

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Prison
12:53 am
Thu January 2, 2014

Food As Punishment: Giving U.S. Inmates 'The Loaf' Persists

Lisa Brown for NPR

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 12:49 pm

In many prisons and jails across the U.S., punishment can come in the form of a bland, brownish lump. Known as nutraloaf, or simply "the loaf," it's fed day after day to inmates who throw food or, in some cases, get violent. Even though it meets nutritional guidelines, civil rights activists urge against the use of the brick-shaped meal.

Tasteless food as punishment is nothing new: Back in the 19th century, prisoners were given bread and water until they'd earned with good behavior the right to eat meat and cheese.

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Prisons
8:01 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Recruiting Prison Health Care Workers Could Get Harder Under Affordable Care Act

Eric Larsen is an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner for the Washington Department of Corrections.
Eric Hernandez Washington Dept. of Corrections

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 9:21 am

It’s no easy task to find doctors, nurses and other health care professionals to take a job in a prison. The stigma alone is a major barrier. Not to mention concerns about personal safety.

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Legislature
7:17 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Inslee Proposes More Prison Beds, No Teacher COLAs In Budget Update

Members of the Washington Education Association wore these buttons to Governor Jay Inslee’s supplemental budget rollout to signify five years without voter-approved cost-of-living increases.
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 9:01 am

More prison beds, but no cost of living raises for school teachers are two takeaways after Washington Governor Jay Inslee proposed a modest update to the state’s two-year budget.

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Mexico
10:02 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Daughter Of Jailed Renton Woman: Mom Is Political Prisoner In Mexico

Nestora Salgado's daughter Griselda Rodriguez wipes away tears as she talks to the crowd in Seattle Tuesday.
Alex Garland

Community activist Nestora Salgado lives in Renton, normally.

She grew up in Olinala, Mexico, and over the last few years she’s been returning frequently and getting involved in the community – so involved that she ended up running a legal community police force. Mexican law allows indigenous communities to form such groups.

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Author Interview
3:58 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

Michelle Alexander On How Incarceration Is "The New Jim Crow"

Michelle Alexander's book "The New Jim Crow."

Ross Reynolds talks with Michelle Alexander, author of "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness", about the US criminal justice system and racial control.

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