Category Archives: Prison

Delaware prison sex abuse agreement in dispute

From the article: “In addition to adequate staffing levels, the ACLU is concerned that DOC officials do not have written policies and procedures in place to ensure compliance with all provisions of the consent agreement stemming from a lawsuit in which a female inmate claimed she was raped by a prison guard in 2008. State officials settled that underlying case and now argue that the ACLU is making unfounded assertions that they are not complying with the consent agreement.”

Read more here.

Tagged , , , , ,

OH: Toledo Correctional inmate dies after getting attacked

Well, there’s been another homicide at TOCI.  The Toledo Blade had earlier reported that with three homicides, TOCI had more than the entire MI correctional system (within a year).  With four, I’m thinking it might be the deadliest prison in the Midwest.

Read more here.

Tagged , ,

El Salvador prison overcrowding creates horrific conditions in police station holding cells

From the article: “El Salvador’s prisons are wretched, overcrowded hellholes, among the worst in Latin America, but for William Romero Cartagena a trip to prison would be a step up in life. Romero is among 3,000 or so detainees currently housed in police station holding cells, unable to get remanded to one of the nation’s 19 prisons. The holding cells are even more crowded and ghastly than the prisons.”

Read more here.

Tagged , , ,

Ohio adds new execution method after supplies of go-to lethal injection drug dry up

From the article: “The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction on Friday announced it would soon allow a new chemical cocktail to be shot intravenously during lethal injections.”

Read more here.

Tagged , ,

CA: Solitary confinement case set to expand

From the article: “A federal judge Thursday said she is likely to allow a lawsuit alleging that solitary confinement conditions at Pelican Bay State Prison amount to psychological torture, to be expanded from the cases of 10 prisoners to include about 1,100 inmates now held in indefinite isolation.”

According to the article, there are 500 men who have been held in solitary confinement (defined in the article as 22.5 hour per day lockdown) for more than a decade.  Unbelievable.

Read more from the article here.

The reality is that not all solitary confinement is created equally.  Speaking from my state, some segregation units are relatively humane, with inmates who have access to adequate food, lighting, recreation opportunities, reading material, and who report few concerns.  Other segregation units (I am thinking of one in particular) are the not-so-good scenario, with inmates who are in a sensory-deprived environment, where they can only get books if they pay off a porter, recreation is limited, etc.

What makes the difference?  Well, I can tell you.  The first issue is overcrowding.  Segregation is a microcosm of prison and just as on the compound, overcrowding taxes staff resources and makes staff go into “survival mode,” where they do even less than they might have otherwise done for a population that they could handle.  This results in a negative spiral, as inmates’ issues are not addressed, so they become frustrated, so they act out, so staff react negatively, etc.

The second issue is the time that inmates are kept in segregation, which is not always (sometimes not even frequently) within the control of staff, particularly if inmates are waiting for a disciplinary transfer.  They could be back there for months, or even a year.  This results in a huge amount of frustration (understandably, in my opinion).  Staff feel helpless.  Again, a negative spiral.

The third issue is in fact the type of inmate that you’re housing, although in my opinion this is less of an issue than the above two.  The inmate is in the most secure environment, so security classification seems less of an issue.  However, it is certainly the higher security inmates who engage in the most disruption (breaking off sprinkler heads, flooding the range, creating a disturbance, etc).

So, is it always psychological torture?  I would say no when you are talking about a short term stay in an under-capacity unit with a manageable population.  But a definitive yes to the overcrowded, under-resourced segs where inmates just sit with nothing to do for months.  The only question is, what do you do with the inmates who have legitimately misbehaved in order to place themselves in the unit?

h/t Vera Institute

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

OH: Director views inmate suicides as failures; new steps being taken

From the article: “Prisons officials are taking new steps to prevent suicides: using “safe cells,” disposable paper uniforms, soft food and paper eating utensils for inmates on suicide watch; spot-checking video to make sure corrections officers are making rounds; training employees to be watchful for signs that inmates might be suicidal; and reviewing mental-health assessments done when inmates enter the system. But [Director] Mohr cautioned that no amount of vigilance, precautions and staff attention will stop all inmates who are determined to take their own lives.”

Read more here.

h/t Vera Institute

Tagged , , , , ,

IA: Union: System in crisis, prison understaffed

From the article: “Dozens of union members picketed Friday outside the Iowa Medical and Classification Center, protesting what they say are dangerously low staffing levels and calling for the resignation of the state’s corrections director.”

Read more here.

Tagged , , ,

Ohio prison officials to face future executions with new drug to replace expired supply

From the article: “Ohio is looking to the future of its execution procedure after the lethal injection of a killer whose death exhausted the state’s last unexpired dose of its execution drug, the powerful sedative pentobarbital.”

Read more here.

Tagged , , ,

Utah prison murder meant to look like suicide

From the article: “When 62-year-old Rolando Cardona-Gueton was found dead April 20 in his cell at the prison in Gunnison on, it looked like he may have committed suicide. But now police and prosecutors believe his cellmate, Steven Crutcher, killed him.”

Read more here.

Tagged , ,