Category Archives: Prison

California signs private-prison deal

Private companies like CCA have been losing contracts in some states, but not in CA – the state signed an agreement with the GEO Group for two lower security facilities.

I am not for or against privatization as a whole – there are pluses and minuses to it – but one thing is absolutely true: it’s not an easy transition from a state to a private facility.  You can’t just snap your fingers, change out the staff, and everything keeps running the way it had before.  Those facilities (and the inmates in them) are in for a rocky ride.

Read more about the CA deal here.

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Most Ohio prison suicides are committed by violent predators, watchdog group says

If you are not living under a rock, you may have heard about some recent suicides in Ohio’s prison system.  The state legislative committee charged with prison oversight published a report today with some key characteristics regarding inmates who have committed suicide in the Ohio prison system since 2000.

Here are some key findings:

  • The DRC experienced 88 completed suicides from 2000 to present.
  • The total number of suicides in any given year fluctuates.
  •  Inmates classified as white accounted for 76.1 percent of suicides.  Male inmates were responsible for 94.3 percent of all suicides since 2000.    

  • Higher security and reception institutions generally experience more suicides.

  •  The average age of inmates who committed suicide was 35.

  •  The majority of inmates committed suicide after having been incarcerated for less than two years or for ten or more years.  The median length of time served was 1.8 years prior to suicide.

  •  75% of inmates committing suicide had sentences of five or more years.

  •  Suicides generally happen in segregation or general population cells. Hanging is the most common method of suicide.

  •  Suicide is most frequently committed by inmates convicted of violent crimes against other persons.  86.4% of all suicides were committed by an inmate convicted of one of the following offenses (including attempts and aggravated offenses): murder, assault, rape, robbery, sexual battery, or burglary.

  •  Ohio is below the national rate of prison suicide.

Read more from a news article on the report here.

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WA: Prison inmates learning aerospace work

From the article: “About a dozen inmates are enrolled in a program that will make them certified aerospace composite technicians. Their goal is a post-prison chance to land jobs at companies like Boeing and its suppliers.”

Prison industries – one of the best defenses against recidivism and an opportunity for an inmate to learn skills that will help him find employment post-release.  Some people equate prison industries to slave labor, but it could not be further from the truth (at least not in Ohio – I can’t speak for other states) and it remains a valuable component of true rehabilitation.  We don’t have aerospace education in our prisons, but it sounds like a neat opportunity.

Read more of the article here.

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Florida Department of Corrections ends cigarette ban in work camps: smoke em if you got em

I think this is what’s known as the “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” philosophy of corrections…

From the article: “Department of Corrections officials say they lifted the prohibition on tobacco-related products in the work release programs because they didn’t want prisoners so close to completing their sentences to have to go back behind bars for breaking the rules.”

Read the article here.
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OH: State report rips Toledo prison

From the article: “The 164-page report from the Correctional Institution Inspection Committee shows that inmate-on-inmate assaults increased by nearly 113 percent and inmate-on-staff assaults increased nearly 74 percent from 2010 to 2012. The legislatively established committee monitors prison facilities, conducts unannounced inspections of prisons, and writes reports of their activities.”

Read more here.

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PA: Audit cites training deficiencies at state prisons

From the article: “A report by the state auditor general has found the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections failed to monitor and review employee training as required by agency policy and the standards of the American Correctional Association.”

Read more here.
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Probes underway in death of Vermont inmate

Another inmate suicide.

“Robert Mossey, 38, known to family and friends as R.J., was found unconscious in a mop closet. He apparently hanged himself. The medical examiner’s report is still out. And state police are trying to rule out foul play, though that doesn’t appear to be the case right now.”

Read more here.

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California prison hunger strike called off

From the article: “Inmates in several prisons were demanding an end to long-term solitary confinement and a halt to what is known as the “debriefing” policy, in which inmates are required to provide information on prison gangs to get out of solitary.”

Not sure how to feel about this.  On the one hand, I don’t support hunger strikes and I definitely don’t want inmates to endanger their lives.  I also think that giving in to the hunger striker demands (as we have done in Ohio) encourages people to hunger strike and perpetuates the problem.

On the other hand, kind of feel bad for the inmates that they fought the system…and lost.

Read more here.

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Inmate Suicides in South Carolina Prisons

I think Castro has prompted a lot of interest in inmate suicide in general.  This article discusses suicide in SC prisons.  Since 2000, SC experienced 38 suicides.  In the same time period, 24 inmates were the victims of homicides.  The homicide number seems a bit high to me, because we definitely have a higher suicide to homicide ratio in Ohio.

Read more about SC prison suicides here.

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