Up to 10 tornadoes swept through north Texas on Wednesday night, leaving six people dead, dozens injured and widespread destruction. 

Published in Prison Legal News

Extreme heat waves across the country have claimed hundreds of lives over the past few years, including at least 52 heat-related deaths between June 30 and July 6 alone. And prison inmates are especially at risk for succumbing to heat-related health issues, according to a federal court that has ruled in favor of an advocacy group that alleges Texas prison officials are violating prisoners’ constitutional rights with poor conditions during high-temperatures days.

Published in Current Events

Everything is bigger in Texas, the saying goes, and that is now also true of its prison system.

Published in Prison Legal News
By Brent Rose
Oct 24, 2011 12:00 PM

Do prison inmates surf the Internet? Do they have gadgets? Do they make gadgets? Do they make weapons? Where do they get their porn and booze?

On the outside, we enjoy lives built around the fruits of modernity. But what about prisoners? San Quentin sits on the San Francisco Bay, minutes away from the most technologically famous valley in the world, so we went to prison to find out how much of our 21st-century techno-culture has made it behind bars.

San Quentin Prison in San Quentin California

San Quentin State Prison is the stuff of legend. Hell, Johnny Cash wrote a song about it. A lot has changed since The Man in Black visited, but even more striking is what hasn't changed. Recently, Gizmodo had the rare opportunity to get inside this notorious prison. To say that it was enlightening is a serious understatement.

There are a lot of rules when you visit the slam: You can't wear blue, grey, or orange. Not a stitch: Those colors are reserved for inmates only—blue and grey for the full-time residents, and orange for guys who were still being processed and might well end up in a higher security prison. (They kept us far away from the guys in orange.) You also can't bring in a cell phone, a very coveted piece of contraband. And you most definitely cannot bring in anything that could be used as a weapon; not that they're hurting for weapons, as you'll find out tomorrow.

Published in Prisoner Support



At this point, it seems cell phones are pretty much ubiquitous in prisons across the country. Instead of relying on monitored land lines (which are typically either pay phones or make only collect calls), inmates use illegal cell phones to maintain contact with family and friends and some conduct illicit business via the smuggled devices.

Apparently, phones are so widespread, an NPR story reported, that a mother actually called up a Texas prison warden, complaining that her incarcerated son was getting poor reception from his (smuggled) phone.

Reports are flooding in from around the country on how these devices are making their way through the pores of prison walls–and some of these smuggling techniques straddle the fine line between genius and absurd:

Published in Inmate Telephone News
Monday, 02 August 2010 02:11

Prison phone smuggling reduced

By Paul Hammel

LINCOLN -- Two years ago, a cell phone was smuggled to a death-row inmate in Texas, who made 2,800 calls in a month, including some threatening calls to a Texas state senator.

It was later discovered that a guard had been bribed to smuggle in the phone. Texas launched a $10 million initiative to install new metal detectors, body scanners and cell phone trackers in prisons by the end of 2009 and to increase pat searches of corrections officers. Altogether, 1,110 wireless phones were confiscated last year from Lone Star State prison cells.

Published in Inmate Telephone News
Wednesday, 18 August 2010 23:15

Prison Inmate shot

A convicted robber who allegedly tried to escape from a prison in the Texas Panhandle is recovering after being shot in the arm by a guard.

Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark says 26-year-old Gordon Simpson could face escape-related charges. Clark says Simpson was at the Smith Unit in Lamesa on Monday and was being escorted out, with some other inmates, to work on agricultural fields.

Published in Current Events