Chances are you’ve never heard of Susan Burton. Yet her A New Way of Life organization has provided shelter and services to thousands of formerly incarcerated women and their children.
Romarilyn Ralston’s life became a dramatic example of redemption after being convicted of murder when she was 24.
By reclassifying certain nonviolent felonies as misdemeanors, Proposition 47 has helped undocumented immigrants with criminal records. Even one day of a sentence reduction can make a difference between being deported or not.
Co-published by Fast Company
For-profit prison companies contracted to incarcerate undocumented immigrants have recruited former high-ranking government officials and other Washington figures to top posts, including Democratic operative Anthony Podesta and former Clinton administration official Thurgood Marshall Jr.
Co-published by Newsweek
The Adelanto Detention Facility, operated by a private, for-profit prison company for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), is California’s largest immigrant detention center. Recently two detainees died within weeks of each other there.
Somewhere in the middle of Bryonn Bain’s soulful one-of-a-kind show, the playwright/poet/performer recounts an interview between himself and a public defender.
If you thought Wells Fargo’s fake account scandal was bad, get a load of this. Wells Fargo is one of six banks keeping the private prison industry in business.
After Ava DuVernay burst into the mainstream as director of the acclaimed 2014 film Selma, she did not earn an Academy Award nomination for Direction, despite the film earning a Best Picture nod. Whatever doubts anybody might have had about her skill as a director should now be put to rest after her stunning new documentary 13th, now streaming on Netflix.
Since the Justice Department announced in mid-August that it will phase out its use of private facilities for Bureau of Prisons (BOP) prisoners, the stocks of the country’s two largest private prison companies have plummeted. But the companies already have a plan—in fact, they’ve been following it for years.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) just announced its plans to end its use of privately operated, for-profit prisons to incarcerate federal prisoners.
Two weeks ago, the country’s second largest private prison company told its investors it had some bad news…
Sometimes knowing where someone stands on an issue is pretty straightforward. We can be sure about this: the private prison industry doesn’t share our goal of ending mass incarceration.
On April 25 state Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) presented her case in Sacramento for the Repeal Ineffective Sentencing Enhancement (RISE) Act, a bill to roll back a 1985 law extending jail terms for certain repeat drug offenders.
When Grammy Award-winning singer John Legend covered “Redemption Song” last week, his audience—hundreds of prisoners at the women’s prison in Washington State—may have the most grateful ears for such a liberating song.
Last week, the country’s two largest private prison operators, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO Group, released their annual financial reports. The numbers were what we’ve come to expect — staggering. Combined, the two publicly traded companies collected $361 million in profits last year. That’s profit — taxpayer money that could be going to fixing our criminal justice system, which is badly broken.
In the Public Interest ran the numbers and that means CCA made $3,356 in profit for every person it incarcerated, and GEO Group made $2,135. What if we spent that money on mental health care, drug treatment, education or job training for those prisoners? What if, instead of lining the pockets of private prison corporate executives and shareholders, that money was invested in cultivating safer conditions in our jails and prisons?
Most agree that our criminal justice system is in crisis.
This week California – the state that passed the Three Strikes Law in 1994 – voted 59 to 41 percent in favor of Proposition 47. Proposition 47 will reclassify six non-violent felonies as misdemeanors and redirect the savings in prison spending toward substance abuse treatment, mental health counseling and education.
Is this a movement moment for the long-running campaign to end mass incarceration? There does seem to be a lot of positive activity on the issue. And not just in California.
“Fair Chance Hiring Policies”—also known as “Ban the Box” policies—now cover 70 cities and counties, and 12 states, according to the National Employment Law Project. These policies delay consideration of a person’s conviction history until later in the hiring process, making it easier for those who have felonies on their record to find employment. Big retailers, such as Target, have also banned the box.
“A lot of people want to make changes but they don’t know where to go,” said Tiesha Speights on the afternoon of Election Day. So Tiesha went to the people, knocking on doors in Long Beach on behalf of Proposition 47, the California ballot initiative written to reduce the penalties for low-level crimes that involve less than $950, from felony levels to misdemeanors. Speights had been hustling block-by-block for the “Yes on 47” campaign for three weeks. Her work and the canvassing efforts of countless others paid off – Prop. 47 would pass handily Tuesday by a 58.5 percent to 41.5 percent margin.
Speights deeply connected with the measure, which permits re-sentencing for those currently serving a prison term for any of the offenses that the initiative reduces to misdemeanors, including forgery, theft, minor drug offenses and shoplifting. Some 10,000 inmates would be eligible to have their sentences reconsidered.
Saturday, October 25, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. East Los Angeles College, 1301 Avenida Cesar Chavez, Monterey Park. RSVP here
When New York rapper Jay-Z played the Rose Bowl last summer, he surprised 90,000 concertgoers by making a political statement. Before launching into his hit “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem),” he urged fans to vote for a California ballot initiative that would dramatically reduce the state’s prison population and re-direct money into education and treatment programs.
“Prop 47, California! Build more schools, less prisons!” he exhorted.
A few weeks later, two other public figures delivered a similar rap, albeit in a different forum. In a Los Angeles Times op-ed piece, Newt Gingrich, the Republican politician, and B. Wayne Hughes Jr., a conservative Christian businessman, similarly urged Californians to end bloated spending on prisons and reverse tough-on-crime policies that they say have failed to significantly improve public safety. Among other things, Gingrich and Hughes pointed out that California now spends $62,396 per prisoner each year,