Monthly Archives: September 2012

Los Angeles County jails still use excessive force: report

From the article: “”Multiple witnesses, both inmates and non-inmates, described numerous instances in which (sheriff’s) personnel used force when no threat was present, used force disproportionate to the threat posed, used force after the threat had ended, or enabled inmates to assault other inmates,” it said.”

Read the Reuters article here, an NPR article here, and a local newspaper article here.

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Al Qaeda suspects escape Iraq prison in deadly break

According to the article, 81 inmates escaped in this prison break.  They even had enough time to burn all the prison records, so that the authorities are not even sure who they’re looking for.

“Everything is under control,” says one local official.  Really?  Ten guards and two inmates are dead, another 32 were wounded, and 45 of the original 81 escaped inmates are still on the run.

“This is a regrettable security breach,” says another.

I salute you, Captain Understatement.

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More on the high costs of healthcare in jails

Similar to yesterday’s post on Alabama jails’ healthcare costs, here are two more from Indiana and Pennsylvania.

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Inmate’s handwritten request will get a rare hearing before Supreme Court

This is definitely a case to keep an eye on.  The U.S. Supreme Court will consider the legal liability of prison guards.  According to the inmate litigant, officers at a prison forced him to perform a sexual act.

Read more here.

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The Catholic Eye

This one reported by USA Todayis another in many creative ways to allow prisoners to do work that is socially good and economically productive.

An excerpt.

“LITTLEROCK, Washington (AP) — Taylor Davis has dedicated himself to saving endangered Oregon spotted frogs. He spends hours each day tending to eggs or doting on tadpoles, feeding, nurturing and meticulously recording their development.

“He’s in no hurry.

“We have nothing but time here,” said the 28-year-old Davis.

“He added, “It’s perfect for a prison setting.”

“Washington state inmates such as Davis have been working as ecological research assistants, partnered in recent years with scientists doing conservation projects. Their efforts include breeding threatened butterflies and growing native flowers and prairie grasses.

“The programs are part of a push by the state Department of Corrections that has gained momentum recently, with one project earning an expansion grant from a federal agency this year and prison…

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LaPorte County Sheriff: Inmate overcrowding causes ‘mini-riot’ at jail

Another example of budgetary battles with the jail – and the inmates – caught in the middle.  From the article:

“The Sheriff recently requested $70,000 from the council to cover overtime costs for guards and staff that work at the jail.”

“The council turned down the sheriff’s request and so Mollenhauer suspended overtime, laid some staff off, closed the entire 5th floor of the jail, and squeezed the inmates in with other prisoners.”

“Mollenhauer said the overcrowding caused that “mini-riot” Friday.”

Read more here.

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Inmate medical care strains budgets

Medical costs continue to skyrocket for county jails to treat inmates, specifically in Alabama in this case.  Some cost-cutting options discussed in Ohio include allowing inmates’ families to bring in medication to the facility and using a central pharmacy for bulk-rate prices.

Read the article here.

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Sheriff’s jailers unnecessarily strike inmates on head, ACLU says

More excessive use of force in a jail.  See also Lorain County, Ohio.

From the article: “Los Angeles County sheriff’s jailers have routinely hit inmates with unnecessary blows to the head, according to allegations in a report released Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California.”

I agree that there needs to be more oversight of use of force in jails.  I do not agree that officers need to be in fear for their lives prior to striking inmates.  Most correctional systems have a use of force spectrum that shows escalating inmate behavior and corresponding officer action that is deemed appropriate.  Officers can strike an inmate if they feel that their safety or the safety of others is in jeopardy, but not necessarily to the point that they fear death.

Read the article here.

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A Biscuit In The Sun

As one who has read my share of Solzhenitsyn, I found this map –and the scale of human tragedy it suggests– wholly horrifying.

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