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.
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.
A new federal report says overcrowding and under-staffing puts the health of Snohomish County Jail inmates at risk. The report comes after eight deaths at the Everett, Wash., facility in the past three years.
Marcie Sillman talks with Kevin Bovenkamp, assistant secretary for the Health Services Division at Washington's Department of Corrections, about the new challenges prisons are facing with a rapidly aging population including elder care, hospice services and assisted living.
For prison’s toughest inmates, the hardest yoga position is simply closing their eyes.
That’s because these men, housed at Monroe Correctional Complex north of Seattle, have been in solitary confinement, unable to communicate with each other. Until recently, they spent 23 hours a day alone in a cell, without books, without TV, without anyone to talk to.
We talk to a lot of fascinating people on The Conversation: comedians, journalists, politicians, ex-felons, librarians, writers and even pirates. Today, we rebroadcast three interviews with some amazing individuals who have overcome hard times to pursue their dreams.
Piper Kerman was a 24-year-old Smith College graduate in 1993, when she flew to Belgium with a suitcase of money intended for a West African drug lord.
This misguided adventure started when she began a romantic relationship with a woman who was part of what Kerman describes as a "clique of impossibly stylish and cool lesbians in their mid-30s." That woman was involved in a drug-smuggling ring, and got Kerman involved, too, though Kerman left that life after several months.
Some prisoners in Washington state are currently serving life sentences without the possibility of parole for crimes they committed when they were under the age of 18. Is that just? Last year, the US Supreme Court ruled that a mandatory life-without-parole sentence for juveniles violates the Eighth Amendment. Ross Reynolds explores what Washington state must now do.
Yesterday in Olympia the House Judiciary Committee passed a bill that would compensate people who served time in prison for crimes they didn’t commit and were exonerated of. The exonerated people would be given $50,000 for each year spent behind bars. This isn’t the first time this legislation has been proposed but it is the first time that it has bipartisan support. Ross Reynolds takes a closer look at the bill and who it's intended to help.