Prison Conditions

Today’s post is all about prison conditions.

The articles are about the rampant abuse in the system that has been largely ignored.

  • Judge Allows Class-Action Suit Over Mississippi Prison Conditions
  • Heat takes toll on prison inmates
  • What Happens When Inmates in Solitary Confinement Blow the Whistle on Their Abuse

The last article is by former NY Governor and AG Eliot Spitzer on How to Deal with Prison Brutality.

Judge Allows Class-Action Suit Over Mississippi Prison Conditions
Timothy Williams, NY Times, Oct. 1, 2015

Excerpt:
“Inmates at a privately run Mississippi prison where, they say, guards arranged for prisoners to attack one another, ignored fires set by inmates to signal distress, and allowed prisoners to trade whiskey and cellphones will be permitted to file a class-action lawsuit against the facility, a federal court judge ruled this week.

“The judge, William H. Barbour Jr., granted the request by inmates at the East Mississippi Correctional Facility in Meridian on Tuesday in their lawsuit against the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

“Judge Barbour wrote in his opinion that there was sufficient evidence that the prison had failed to appropriately address complaints that inmates were being denied ‘adequate food, shelter, medical and mental health care, and safety.'”

***

Heat takes toll on prison inmates
Jeff McDonald, San Diego Union Tribune, Oct. 5, 2015

Excerpt:
“There’s no easy in hard time.

“Prison is supposed to be unpleasant and uncomfortable, a deterrent for people who veer from the straight and narrow. But when temperatures rise across San Diego County, as they have at record highs this year, the heat climbs even higher inside the concrete cells at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility.

(…)

“’It’s 94 degrees inside my cell at 12 o’clock at night and there is no ventilation going in or out of these cells,’ said William Nible, 57, who was handed a life sentence on his third strike when he was arrested a few years ago for resisting arrest. ‘You don’t sleep at night. You’re irritable. There’s always the potential for violence because of that.'”

***

What Happens When Inmates in Solitary Confinement Blow the Whistle on Their Abuse?
Molly Crabapple, VICE Magazine, Oct. 5, 2015

Excerpt:
“On April 28, 2010, in the Restricted Housing Unit of Pennsylvania’s State Correctional Institution at Dallas, Carrington Keys heard his friend Isaac Sanchez scream. Like Sanchez, Keys had spent years locked in the “hole.” It had been years since he’d hugged his mom. Years confined to a filthy box, drinking rust-brown water, enduring beatings by guards. Years beneath a fluorescent light that never went off, freezing in winter, smothering in summer’s heat, the sole window to a bare hallway covered with Plexiglas. Years in which each day dragged the same as the last, their monotony punctuated only by explosions of violence.”

***

How to Deal with Prison Brutality
It’s time to take these cases away from local prosecutors.
Eliot Spitzer, The Marshall Project, Oct. 5, 2015

Excerpt:

“With almost metronomic regularity, investigative reports have shed light on a lawlessness that seems to pervade the prisons of New York. From Rikers to Attica, Clinton to Ulster and Fishkill, well documented and widespread reports of abuse by corrections officers have been detailed in a manner that evokes images of an era we thought long gone. And just as troubling, these instances of reported abuse are met with only marginal inquiry and minimal prosecution from authorities who appear all too comfortable being merely passive observers.

(…)

“This is a moment when prosecutorial choices and police behavior on the street are properly garnering much attention; perhaps it is time we also extend that scrutiny to a venue too often shielded from the public eye – our prisons.”

 

Mahalo for remembering all our brothers and sisters serving sentences near and far. Please send some aloha their way … and also their loved ones … they need your support.

 

 

 

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