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Current Events (135)

Former inmates cleaning an alleway
Members of the Camden, New Jersey Special Services District Clean Team rake an alley off Sherman.
September 15, 2011|By Claudia Vargas, Inquirer Staff Writer

What started with a retired Camden police corporal's counseling one at-risk youth in April has grown into a city-run prisoner reentry program that has put 14 formerly incarcerated men to work.

The men, who were recruited by Camden's new Office of Prevention and Reentry, are working with the Camden Special Services District Clean Team, sweeping and raking city parks and its business corridors.

One of the participants, Adrian Muse, 39, said the job keeps him busy and is a way to give back to his community.

"I no longer take life for granted," Muse said after Camden, New Jersey Mayor Dana L. Redd launched her "Safe Schools/Safe Corridors" fall cleanup event Tuesday. Muse and the other Clean Team members helped clean up the area around Bonsall Elementary School.

Nacogdoches Counth Jail Inmates
Nacogdoches County Probation-Office
Nacogdoches county probation-officer
Over a quarter of Americans on probation are in Texas
Posted: Oct 04, 2011 6:53 PM EDT
Updated: Oct 04, 2011 7:05 PM EDT

Just hours ago the Nacogdoches County courthouse was busy with inmates making pleas before any indictment.

The "Jail Call" helped clear-out cells, but it adds to the case load of probation officers.

Half the jail was called to the courthouse. In all, about twenty inmates made the trip. Many pleaded guilty to their crimes, allowing them to get out of jail on probation.

"We have a wide range of sanctions that we use. Of course, with jail being the last one," said Probation Officer Ty McCarty.

In the initial meeting, probation officers tell new probationers the importance of not messing up. Unfortunately, the odds are stacked against them.

"It's a little bit pessimistic I think for all of us when anyone goes on probation just because there is a pretty good likelihood that they're not going to successfully complete the probation," said Nacogdoches County District Attorney Nicole Lostracco.

Written by
Elizabeth Crisp
Jimmie E. Gates

Mississippi corrections officials have saved about $5 million in seven years by releasing 89 terminally ill inmates to their homes or other care facilities.

They are just a fraction of the 21,432 prisoners in the state's corrections system and also represent a small number of those released early for various reasons.

But they are among the most expensive to keep behind bars, so their release often yields the biggest savings.

Of those freed on medical release, some have suffered from cancer, lung disease, heart failure, liver disease and AIDS among other terminal illnesses.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The state's prisons chief is trying to limit violence linked to gangs and isolate their leaders by putting troublemakers in new units where they could be restricted to their cells nearly around the clock.

The Plain Dealer in Cleveland reported Sunday that Ohio's 50,000 inmates have been warned that they could face stiffer punishments if they fight with staff or one another.

"I have directed ... every institution to begin enforcing higher penalties against inmates who are combative with staff and refuse an order to stop fighting (or) assaulting," Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Director Gary Mohr wrote to inmates in an Aug. 12 memo.

"I cannot and will not tolerate this behavior."

Parolee wearing electronic monitoring on his ankle
The use of electronic tagging has grown rapidly since it was first used in 1999 by courts to enforce curfews. Photograph: Chris Radburn/PA

More than 30 firms said to be keen to bid for new contracts as Ken Clarke seeks to improve confidence in alternatives to prison.

Ministers are preparing for a massive expansion in offenders electronic tagging , with private security companies being invited to bid for more than £1bn worth of contracts next month.

The use of electronic tagging has grown rapidly since it was first used in 1999 by courts in England and Wales to enforce curfews. Now more than 20,000 offenders are monitored by private security firms on any given day.The current eight-year contracts, which are held by G4S and Serco electronic monitoring services, are due to end shortly.

Monday, 12 September 2011 17:56

Old man of death row dies at 83

Written by

BY JOSH SHAFFER - Staff Writer

RALEIGH -- John Henry Fleming was nearing 70 when he arrived at Central Prison, a house-builder and former church deacon who strangled his girlfriend's father.

Fleming had never learned to read or write. He'd never made it past the fourth grade. He spent his final 14 years in the state's most notorious cell block, the oldest man on death row.

But on Sunday, Fleming beat the executioner's needle, dying of natural causes at 83.

In one way, Fleming's aging body accomplished what North Carolina could not. The state hasn't put a prisoner to death since 2006, and execution remains in limbo here, stalled by legal challenges.
Wednesday, 17 August 2011 17:24

Bay Ridge Gardens kids are given CHOICES

Written by
Published 08/16/11

Maryland - When Capt. Mike King started his career, he met a man who had never tasted a Big Mac, visited a 7-Eleven or dated a woman.

That is because King works in the prison system, and the man was an inmate incarcerated before he was even old enough to go to his prom.

His life was one of the examples King and his fellow corrections officers used Friday in an attempt to keep a group of Annapolis children safe. King is part of CHOICES - Children Having Obstacles Involving Choices Eventually Succeed. Members of the group travel the region and show young people how to avoid a life of crime.

"The people who work in these facilities tell you when to go to bed, when to get out of bed, when to start eating, and when to stop," said King, facility administrator of the Poplar Hill Pre-Release Unit in Quantico, Maryland. "We had a guy who was almost beat to death because he snored too loud."

King, along with Capt. Kevin King and Capt. Walter Holmes, gave a presentation to nearly 50 children at the Bay Ridge Gardens Apartments. Group members travel around Maryland, Delaware and Virginia talking to about 5,000 children each year. Last year, this effort won them the Governor's Crime Prevention Award in Maryland.

Holmes displayed images of the Eastern Correctional Institution, a Somerset County facility where he is the housing supervisor. It is the Division of Correction's largest state prison, with 3,200 inmates living on 100 acres. Administratively, Poplar Hill is part of ECI, but is a separate facility.

Oregon Prison Inmate working out in the rec yard
Brian Feulner/The Oregonian  Jessey H. Allen works with fitness cables in the yard at the minimum security unit of Deer Ridge Correctional Institution in Madras. Oregon prisons will hit capacity in the next two years, triggering the opening of two mothballed prisons in 2013 that could cost taxpayers millions of dollars.
Published: Wednesday, July 06, 2011, 8:52 PM     Updated: Thursday, July 07, 2011, 4:45 PM
By Les Zaitz, The Oregonian  

Oregon's most modern prison sits empty, unused since it was finished three years ago.

Though the state borrowed $120 million to build the medium-security unit at Deer Ridge Correctional Institution, it hasn't had the money to guard, feed and otherwise care for inmates the prison was supposed to hold.

It still doesn't.

Oregon taxpayers over the next two years will put more money than ever into the state prison system, but it won't be enough. And the need will only grow as the state braces to add nearly 1,500 prisoners over the next four years.

The state Corrections Department is losing 223 positions. Programs to keep inmates from returning to prison are being weakened. Staff training on topics ranging from gang identification to mental health treatment is being reduced once again. The minimum-security prison next to the Oregon State Penitentiary, closed last fall to save money, will remain dark.


 July 7, 2011

By Mary Wilson

 Planning is under way for a new prison in Montgomery County.

The State Correctional Institution is slated to be built near the existing Graterford prison in Skippack Township, on property already owned by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.

Department of Corrections spokeswoman Susan McNaughton says the majority of state prisoners come from Philadelphia and surrounding counties, so the agency wants to house them close to family and friends.  Montgomery County was a logical location.

"It allows for family members to visit their incarcerated individual and help them maintain their support mechanisms because 90 percent of our inmates are one day going to go home," McNaughton said. "And family support is one of the things that's important to help them re-enter society."

Within the next couple of weeks the Arizona Department of Corrections will be recommending the company or companies that will be awarded a contract with the State of Arizona. That private detention corporation(s) will be charged with building a couple of new facilities to house inmates.

Although we’ve seen a decline in crime and a decline in a need for new facilities, the private prison industry continues to expand their operations in Arizona by and through relationships like the one they maintain with Chuck Coughlin who owns and runs High Ground Public Affairs and who in turn lobbies for Corrections Corporation of America. Coughlin, amazingly enough, is Governor Jan Brewer’s top political adviser. Although much of this may be a refresher course for many of you, it’s crucial to set the foundation for those who may not be aware of these very highly publicized facts.