‘Wireless Prisons’ Exploit Inmates With High User Fees, Claims Study

Prisons should be wary of private communications firms that “exploit” incarcerated individuals by charging high fees for the use of their services, the Prison Policy Initiative warned in a study of a computer tablet program offered to Colorado prisoners.

Prisons should be wary of private communications firms that “exploit” incarcerated individuals by charging high fees for the use of their services, the Prison Policy Initiative (PPI) warned in a report today.

In a study of a contract awarded by the Colorado Department of Corrections to GTL (formerly Global Tel*Link) to provide computer tablets to inmates of the state’s prisons, PPI charged prisoners would be forced to pay “exploitive pay-to-play” and subscription-based fees far higher than they would pay outside.

For example, inmates would have to pay 49 cents per electronic message or $19.99 a month for a music subscription. The contract gives GTL the power to raise prices when it suits the company’s interests, or “to back out of the contract if it doesn’t make as much money as it hopes to,” wrote Stephen Raher in the report, entitled, “The Wireless Prison: How Colorado’s tablet computer program misses opportunities and monetizes the poor.”

“What makes the Colorado/GTL contract especially frustrating is that it could have been an innovative step toward providing incarcerated people with useful technology,” Raher wrote. “Experts who have studied government technology contracting warn that projects often fail because details are not sufficiently thought through.

“The Colorado DOC seems to have walked down this familiar path by focusing largely on its own financial interest without giving much thought to the user experience or the financial impact on incarcerated people and their families.”

Raher said his study should serve as a “cautionary tale” to other state corrections systems who are using or contemplating similar programs.

He noted that Pennsylvania now has a similar system, where inmates are charged $147 for the tablet. South Dakota has selected GTL to roll out tablets later this year; Indiana has accepted bids for a tablet system in its prison system, and hopes to award a contract later this year; and the Alabama prison system may be soliciting bids late. In addition, several larger jails also offer tablets.

“One of the most common complaints about life in prison is the overwhelming boredom,” Raher wrote. “Thus, selling entertainment to incarcerated people is somewhat like selling food to hungry airplane passengers: there’s one source, and the provider can charge what it wants, regardless of quality.”

The full PPI report is available here.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Nicholas Tankersley: The Peep-Show Jailer

     Small town jail guards, while near the bottom of the criminal justice hierarchy, wield power and control over inmates temporarily housed in county lock-ups. It’s not easy recruiting qualified corrections officers willing to work for…

     Small town jail guards, while near the bottom of the criminal justice hierarchy, wield power and control over inmates temporarily housed in county lock-ups. It's not easy recruiting qualified corrections officers willing to work for peanuts among drunks, drug addicts, petty thieves, burglars, sex offenders, and inmates awaiting trial for aggravated assault, rape, and criminal homicide. Most people would find working in a jail disgusting and depressing.

     Nicholas Tankersley worked the midnight-to-eight shift at the Morgan County Jail in Martinsville, Indiana. In early January 2013, a former female inmate of this central Indiana lock-up wrote a letter to a corrections official regarding the 21-year-old night guard. According to the complainant, Tankersley, in exchange for jailhouse favors, had asked a dozen or so female inmates to pose naked for him.

     The former inmate's letter led to an internal investigation which revealed that Tankersley, during the period November 15, 2012 to January 11, 2013, had rewarded several female inmates who sexually exposed themselves, with extra sheets, pens, batteries, oranges, and other items. A Morgan County inmate, in exchange for one of Tankersley's favors, allegedly let him fondle her.

     After confessing to several of these expose-yourself-for-favor incidents, Tankersley, on January 17, 2013, was fired, arrested, and charged with sexual battery and official misconduct. If convicted, he faced up to three years in prison for each of these felonies.

     Investigators learned that Tankersley had "friended" several former female inmates on his Facebook page. When his wife found out about this, she ordered him to "unfriend" these women.

     Following his arrest, Tankersley, who went by the name "Tank," was held in a neighboring county jail. A public defender was assigned his case. The ex-jailer, through his attorney, pleaded not guilty to all charges.

     On February 27, 2013, the former jail officer pleaded guilty to one count of official misconduct. A few days later, the judge sentenced Tankersley to one year behind bars.

from http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com/

Community Notification About Sex Offenders Works-Time to Expand to Additional Crimes?

Subtitle Should we notify the community about violent offenders released from prison? Author Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr. Thirty-five years of speaking for national and state criminal justice agencies. Former Senior Specialist for Crime Prevention for the Department of Justice’s clearinghouse. Former Director of Information Services, National Crime Prevention Council. Post-Masters’ Certificate of Advanced Study-Johns Hopkins […]

Subtitle Should we notify the community about violent offenders released from prison? Author Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr. Thirty-five years of speaking for national and state criminal justice agencies. Former Senior Specialist for Crime Prevention for the Department of Justice’s clearinghouse. Former Director of Information Services, National Crime Prevention Council. Post-Masters’ Certificate of Advanced Study-Johns Hopkins […]

from http://www.crimeinamerica.net

Inmates Experience ‘Serious’ Stress at Higher Rates than General Population: Study

A study released today by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) revealed that 14 percent of state and federal prisoners and 26 percent of jail inmates reported experiences that met the threshold for serious psychological distress (SPD).

A study released today by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) revealed that 14 percent of state and federal prisoners and 26 percent of jail inmates reported experiences that met the threshold for serious psychological distress (SPD).

In comparison, the BJS study found that one in 20 persons (5 percent) in the U.S. general population with similar sex, age, race and Hispanic origin characteristics met the threshold for SPD.

The data on the prison and jail inmates are from the BJS’s 2011-12 National Inmate Survey and the general population data are from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The NSDUH data were standardized to match the sex, age, race and Hispanic origin of the prison and jail populations.

The report examined the prevalence of mental health problems among inmates based on two indicators: self-reported experiences that met the threshold for SPD in the 30 days prior to the survey and having been told at any time in the past by a mental health professional that they had a mental health disorder.

Among the incarcerated population, the study also found that females in state and federal prisons reported experiencing feelings that met the threshold for SPD at higher rates (20 percent) than males (14 percent). In jails, 32 percent of females and 26 percent of males met the threshold for SPD.

Similar to the pattern for SPD, two-thirds of female inmates in both prisons (66 percent) and jails (68 percent) had been told by a mental health professional that they had a mental health disorder, compared to around a third (33 percent) of male prisoners and 41 percent of male jail inmates.

Thirty-seven percent of state and federal prisoners had been told by a mental health professional in the past that they had a mental health disorder. The most common disorder was a major depressive disorder (24 percent), followed by a bipolar disorder (18 percent), post-traumatic stress or personality disorder (13 percent) and schizophrenia or another psychotic disorder (9 percent).

Among jail inmates, 44 percent had been told in the past that they had a mental health disorder. Nearly a third had been told that they had major depressive disorder and a quarter had been told they had bipolar disorder.

Among inmates who met the threshold for SPD, more than half (54 percent) of prisoners and a third (35 percent) of jail inmates had received mental health treatment since admission to their current facility. About three-quarters of prisoners (74 percent) and jail inmates (73 percent) who met the threshold for SPD said they had received mental health treatment at some time in their life. Treatment included prescription medication, counseling or therapy, or both.

Other findings from the inmate survey—

  • White prisoners (50 percent) were more likely than black prisoners (30 percent) to have been told they had a mental disorder.
  • White jail inmates (57 percent) were more likely than black jail inmates (36 percent) or Hispanic jail inmates (31 percent) to have been told they had a mental disorder.
  • Seventeen percent of state and federal prisoners incarcerated for a violent crime and 16 percent of those incarcerated for a property crime were more likely to have met the threshold for SPD than those incarcerated for DWI/DUI (14 percent), another public order offense (13 percent) or a drug crime (10 percent).
  • Jail inmates incarcerated for a violent offense (29 percent) were more likely to have met the threshold for SPD than those incarcerated for a property crime (27 percent), another public order offense (26 percent), a drug crime (25 percent) or DWI/DUI (24 percent).
  • Prisoners who met the threshold for SPD (14 percent) or who had been told they had a mental disorder (12 percent) were more likely to be written up or charged with a verbal or physical assault against a correctional officer, staff or another inmate than prisoners without an indicator of a mental health problem (4 percent).

The report, Indicators of Mental Health Problems Reported by Prisoners and Jail Inmates, 2011-12 (NCJ 250612), was written by BJS statistician Jennifer Bronson and Marcus Berzofsky of RTI International. The report, related documents and additional information about BJS’s statistical publications and programs can be found on the BJS website at www.bjs.gov.

This summary of the BJS report was prepared by Ted Gest, president of Criminal Justice Journalists and Washington Bureau Chief of The Crime Report. Readers’ comments are welcome.

from https://thecrimereport.org

An Imprisoned Dad Reflects: ‘All My Children are Survivors’

A poignant essay by a father in San Quentin prison begins The Crime Report’s second installment of prison letters, rap verses and essays in honor of Father’s Day (this Sunday). The material was provided by The Beat Within, a San Francisco-based prison writing workshop.

On or about January 14, 2017, I wrote to the Salvation Army seeking their assistance to help me find my youngest daughter whom I haven’t seen in over 34 years. To my surprise the Salvation Army responded with my daughter’s information that I requested. Upon receiving my daughter’s telephone number and address, I was happy, but at the same time I had a little fear due to the unknown in which how my daughter would respond to my telephone call—after being absent from their lives for many-many years.

However, I had to find out how my daughter felt about hearing from her father.

When I called for the first time, and told my daughter who I was, we both cried real tears of joy and she kept repeating, “Daddy I love you” over, over and over.

My response was “I’ve always loved you and I would always love you.”

Then her response was “how is your health!”

I said, “Since my incarceration I’ve had over six different heart attacks and one pace maker and my greatest fear, I wouldn’t get the chances to hear, see or speak to any of my children again in this life.”

Then I ask her what do you do for a living?

She said, “Daddy I’m a model.”

Next I asked about my other children and what they are doing. She said her brother Ivan is a doctor, her oldest sister is a cosmetologist and they all lived nearby one-another, including their lovely mother.

My daughter offered to send me some money, or packages, and anything that I might need or want. But as I told her, I am not worried about none of that stuff, my only concern was not to lose contact with my children again, ever.

After being absent out of my children’s lives for over three decades, I realized that all of my children are survivors, just like their mother and father.

I’m extremely proud of the family I started and what all of them have become in life and with the positive choices they have made too.

I can only thank GOD at this time for everything He has done. I thank GOD that my daughter was willing to make herself available and give, while opening up the lines of communication with her father and not having any bitterness, anger, resentment, or hatred toward her father. But instead, my daughters choose to love me unconditionally despite my shortcomings.

-TJC Carpenter, San Quentin State Prison, San Quentin, CA

‘I’ve Always Wanted a Father’

 Something I’ve always wanted was a father. I’ve never had a father before, ever. I’ve had an uncle that’s a role model, but it’s not the same. I’ve always wanted to be able to say the words or hear the words “I love you dad/son.” But I’ve never experienced that type of relationship with him.

Honestly, he’s been out of my life for almost 18 years now, it’s like I don’t know if I even want him in my life anymore because he decided to walk outside that door and close it, and  I don’t know if I’m able to open it back up.

– Alex, Portland Oregon

‘The Monster Within’

The monster in my life is more than just one monster. From my father never being around when I was young, my mother disowning me, drugs, alcohol, and gang related activities, all the way to me not knowing who I am anymore.

As you can tell already my monster is my life. I’m not scared of it nor do I run from it. I simply just keep living life.

I am a young father with a son, Demitri, who is one year and five months old, and another child on the way. And yet even having responsibilities such as work, college, rent, and children, I still can’t seem to escape my monster. It has got to a point where I live with my monster instead of hiding or trying to defeat it.

Illustration by Kashif Mardani via Flickr

My own father physically, mentally, emotionally abusing my siblings and me when he came around; my mother disowning me for gang banging. Everything in my life puts me toward the penitentiary. My brother is in jail for seven years. While one of my brother’s lay six feet deep because of me not ever meeting him and when I do, I met him while I was intoxicated with a 40 caliber in my hand. Now he’s dead and through all this I wake up every morning with that on my mind. But it’s my life and my monster. It’s how my life is and that’s all that matters. You don’t always have to defeat your monster, you could just live with it.

-Young Dad, Portland Oregon

 

‘No One Ever Told Me Your Name”

 Dear Father Red

I apologize for calling you by your street name, but for some unknown reason no one ever told me what your real name was. Mom named me after her first husband Alec Bellard Senior. I became Bellard Junior. I eventually changed my name to Mom’s maiden name Briggs.

I was eight years old when you were murdered. Even though I didn’t remember what you looked like at that time, when I got the news I cried. The relatives who raised me and nourished me were puzzled by my reaction but you were my dad and I guess that’s all my heart needed to know.

Many years later my big brother, Melvin, showed me a picture of you and guess what, dad, I look like your twin.

Dad, I was told you weren’t a good person but that’s okay, because I forgave you and God has forgiven you as well and I never held you responsible when Mom took her own life. I want you to know that since we look so much alike, I’ve tried to represent you in the best possible light. Take care, Dad, and I hope to see you someday.

Lastly, I have a daughter, your granddaughter, Tabora. She has our eyes and our smile and she has a son, your great grandson, Kimani, and low and behold he’s the spitting image of us.

-Alex Briggs, San Quentin State Prison

 Happy Father’s Day Mom!

You always had my back since I was back in the womb.  Daddy was a deadbeat, so it always was me and you.  I’m forever grateful that you didn’t abort me because a woman raising a man is the hardest things to do.

You know you’re my favorite lady.  I know I’m your favorite dude.  Your love never changes, even thou we got different views.  I want you to quit drugs.  You want to me to quit cutting school.  None of us got what we want.  So guess we both lose.

I didn’t get much for my Christmases as a lil child, but you still went out of your way to find a way to make me smile.  Wish I could feel your warm embrace. Lord knows it’s been a while.  Your son hard headed. Momma, it took a min but I get it now.  All the sweet stuff and street stuff that you taught me. A gentleman and a gangsta, how could you ever fault me?  Hope you don’t fault me.  I hope you don’t fault yourself.

Love is a cold dealer.  We played the hand we dealt.

I thank you for never giving up, never giving me away.  I thank you ‘cause the lesson you taught me made me who I am today.  You tell me to go down on my knees, so I pray.  I love you is what I truly want to say.  By the time you read this.

Lee Butta, San Francisco County Jail, San Bruno, CA

 “You’re My Best Friend Forever”

 Daddy:

Because you love me

Because you’re my best friend forever

Because I’ll always love you

Because I’m a pain

Because I’m in a bad spot

Because you’re always there

Because you’re mine

Because we’re alive

Because I’m not perfect

Because I’m a diamond in the rough

Because I feel alone but not

Because you were the first one I saw

Because you stayed with me the whole time after I was born

Because you care

Daddy I love you forever and always

Even when death parts us

-Child, Billings Shelter Care, Billings Montana

 “He Has Always Been There For Me”

 Because he has always been there for me

Because he’s smart

Because he’s talented

Because he’s my dad

Because I love him

Because he’s funny

Because he’s smart

-Loyal, Billings Shelter Care, Billings Montana

 ‘I’m Sorry I Was So Angry”

 I will start when my mother committed suicide. I was but 8 years old and my dad walks into my room and tells me and that my brothers are coming to live with us. At first I was happy because my brothers will be coming up to live with me. I didn’t think my mom was dead.

A few days after we were able to see her and say goodbye. That is when my problems started. I was so angry at my dad for leaving her. I felt like I didn’t have a soul anymore, I just didn’t care anymore. I felt destroyed.

Every night I relive what I saw and what I’ve done and can never get a break from it. People think I use this as an excuse but this is some real stuff.

I look around and all I see is negativity. I’ve seen a man shot right in front of me. Hell is how I would describe my life.

My future is, I see myself as a Navy man with a family.

At 14 years old I have been doing drugs. I have been in and out of juvie and placements.

Dad, I am sorry I was just on drugs and so angry at the time. I have been a thief most of my life.

-Kaleb, San Bernardino

 ‘It’s All About Perspective’

 My mom came to visit me this week. She told me I need to be grateful for the things I have instead of stealing and hurting people. She told me a little story after, I’ll try to explain. There was this boy who lived in the worst house on the block. All of the other houses were three stories tall. The boy’s house had only two stories. The boy would complain to his father and ask why they were the poorest family on the block. One day the dad said, “Come with me, son, I’m going to take you to where I grew up.”

The father drives across town with the boy and takes him to where he grew up. As the boy is looking out the window of the car, he sees rundown houses with some windows boarded up and all the houses are one story. The father tells the boy, “Son, it’s all about perspective.” The son looks the father in the eyes and says, “I’m sorry, Dad.”

-Lil Bane, Santa Clara

 “The Last Time I Said, ‘I Love You’”

The last time I said “I love you” to someone was to my dad on the phone of juvenile hall’s ten minute call.  I was catching up with my dad over things that happened two weeks ago, because when I called him twice in different days he didn’t answer.  I guess he was working.  He told me he missed me and I felt sad because he really sounded hurt.  I have court tomorrow.  Hopefully, I get out.

-Yareli, San Mateo

 His Footsteps

I think it does affect children when their parents are incarcerated, because not having both of your parents can affect kids in a negative way. It can leave them wondering why their mom or dad isn’t there, and it may make them feel unloved and neglected.

For example, when I was younger, my dad was always in and out of jail. I guess it affected me a little more as I got older, and as you can see, I am just following his footsteps. It is not too late to change. I guess once you realize you need to change, it makes it a little easier.

-Affected Child, San Mateo

 These essays and letters have been slightly edited and condensed for space. Readers’ comments are welcome.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Offender Recidivism: What Works-What’s Hogwash

Subtitle We may be making progress as to reducing recidivism in the United States. Author Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr. Thirty-five years of speaking for national and state criminal justice agencies. Former Senior Specialist for Crime Prevention for the Department of Justice’s clearinghouse. Former Director of Information Services, National Crime Prevention Council. Post-Masters’ Certificate of Advanced […]

Subtitle We may be making progress as to reducing recidivism in the United States. Author Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr. Thirty-five years of speaking for national and state criminal justice agencies. Former Senior Specialist for Crime Prevention for the Department of Justice’s clearinghouse. Former Director of Information Services, National Crime Prevention Council. Post-Masters’ Certificate of Advanced […]

from http://www.crimeinamerica.net

Parole Caseloads Longer, More Violent, More Challenging Since 2005

Subtitles The use of discretionary parole increased dramatically. The parole population from 2005 to 2015 included the same percentage of active cases (83 percent) when they were supposed to decline. Caseloads grew more challenging with more violent offenders. The increased use of parole rather than mandatory release means that offenders will be on parole and […]

Subtitles The use of discretionary parole increased dramatically. The parole population from 2005 to 2015 included the same percentage of active cases (83 percent) when they were supposed to decline. Caseloads grew more challenging with more violent offenders. The increased use of parole rather than mandatory release means that offenders will be on parole and […]

from http://www.crimeinamerica.net

Educate a Prisoner, Save a Life

Prison-based higher education programs can transform the incarcerated, and they’re a cost-effective investment in public safety. But a Washington State inmate cautions they should only be offered to individuals who will really use them.

I would like to introduce you to someone who once was a menace.

Rather than describe him myself, allow me to present the portrait that his probation officer painted under oath:

Despite his small size, he is violent and extremely aggressive, particularly when caught engaging in criminal conduct. A hallmark of his many police reports is his use of flight, intimidation and violence to avoid apprehension [ ] He has shown a dogged persistence in coming back after a victim after he left the scene of an initial attack. [He] has proven that he is dangerous and capable of monstrous acts.

This is how the powers-that-be saw me 25 years ago.

Dangerous.

Capable of monstrous acts.

That’s not “me”  any more.  The reason for the change is not hard to find: the higher education courses I have been taking during my incarceration.

It is amazing what an education can do.  It can transform the violent and ignorant into the peaceful and intelligent.

Such transformations support many prison reformers’ arguments  for making higher education available in correctional facilities.  With statistics demonstrating the negative correlation between education achievement and recidivism it is, so it seems, a cost-effective means to protect public safety.

I am all for it.  Personal experience is all the evidence I need to see the value of higher education.

Of course, many agree; but are quick to point out the scarcity of resources available to fund even the most basic correctional services.  However, what is often lost in this cost/benefit analysis is the money that would be available to reinvest in college programs behind bars if correctional systems finally abandoned efforts to change those who—quite simply—are content to continue the behavior  which led them to prison in the first place.

Getting twisted (i.e., using drugs).

Sending bitches (i.e., promoting prostitution).

Getting it how you live (i.e., earning money illicitly by any means necessary).

I have never been able to wrap my mind around why correctional officials believe they can force change upon those who are committed to wrongdoing.  Nevertheless, they keep trying.

One of the purposes of punishment in Washington State is to “offer the offender an opportunity to improve himself or herself.”  In practice, the state’s Department of Corrections (DOC) has transformed this legislative decree into a Don Corleone-esque offer that prisoners cannot easily refuse.

DOC uses a carrot and stick approach.

Prisoners can earn a small reduction in their sentence for every month that they follow the dictates of the Facility Risk Management Team (FRMT), which is a group comprised of the prisoner’s counselor and other unit staff, and outlines the programs the prisoner must complete in order to receive this “earned-time.”  This is the carrot.

The stick involves disciplinary sanctions for refusing to abide by the expectations established by the FRMT.  Enough of these, and the prisoner will be transferred to ever more secure facilities until, in the end, he is confined in long-term administrative segregation.

All of this is done in an effort to mitigate the risk that prisoners will commit crimes upon being freed.  The belief is that requiring prisoners to work or go to school or undergo treatment interventions will reduce their likelihood of reoffending.

On its face, such policies are rational.  Nobody wants prisoners to rejoin society in the same sorry state they were in when removed from it.

But the fact remains that resources are often devoted toward recalcitrant prisoners whose words and deeds manifest their commitment to the criminal subculture.  Having watched the same people cycle through prison over and over again, it’s clear to me that this subset of individuals are a bad investment—with diminishing returns.

Moreover, history has demonstrated that even the rack-and-screw is no match against the conviction of true believers, and many prisoners are just as stubbornly unwilling to repent for a life of crime.

You can spot them throughout the penitentiary begrudging the policies that compel them to work or go to school or to participate in treatment programs meant to change them.

He is the slacker in the dish tank talking about how much “paper” he used to make on the streets.

He is the 20-something in the Adult Basic Education classroom spending the school-day freestyle rapping and sleeping.

He is the man in chemical dependency treatment tweaking on methamphetamines.

David Conyers was one such character.  I spent years as a Teacher’s Assistant at Monroe Correctional Complex (MCC) watching him spend the school day daydreaming and gossiping instead of completing his GED.

Years elapsed before he finally graduated; and the only thing that lit a fire in him to begin studying was the possibility of clemency—given that, fortuitously, he was among a small group of prisoners believed to have received a natural-life sentence under the state’s “three-strikes” law unjustly.

There is no doubt that decision-makers took Conyers’ (mandatory) programming in prison into account when deciding to release him back to the community, never realizing that he would put the lie to the correctional pretense that change can be effected through compulsion.

After the Governor signed his commutation and he transferred through lower levels of custody, he swiftly went on a robbery spree upon being discharged from a work release facility. 

Once upon a time, correctional systems had the luxury of trying to change such men. But those days are over.  There is no money left to continue such social experiments.

Arrogance and paternalism is a combination that is antithetical to fiscal responsibility and sound correctional policies.

The time has come for rehabilitative efforts to be devoted toward prisoners who have the most likelihood of being rehabilitated, rather than those who are most likely to reoffend.  Moreover, such programs should be made available to those who seek it rather than mandating prisoners to participate in them.

Take the University Beyond Bars (UBB) for example.  Every participant in the UBB is there because they want to be, for this higher education program at MCC is entirely voluntary.  Even when college credit cannot be offered due to lack of funding, prisoners readily sign up simply for self-enrichment.

As a member of the Prisoner Advisory Committee for the UBB, I saw such men come to recognize their capacity to complete college studies; and, more importantly, conceive of living lives removed from criminality.

These are the prisoners worth saving.  It may seem cruel, but in an emergency, triage is about not wasting one’s time and efforts on the hopeless.  Correctional systems should adopt the same sense of mission and purpose.

Jeremiah Bourgeois

In such a correctional system, the necessary resources for prisoners to pursue higher education could actually exist.  It is worth the investment.

I used to be dangerous.

Now, I can effectively speak in publicI can present cogent legal arguments

And I’m a columnist.

Jeremiah Bourgeois is a regular contributor to TCR, and an inmate in Washington State, where he is currently serving 25 years to life for a crime committed when he was 14. He will be eligible to go before the parole board in 2017. He welcomes comments from readers.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Federal Prisons Expect To House Two Percent More Inmates

The prison growth is expected to be a boon to private prison companies, which are stepping up lobbying efforts for housing thousands of new inmates and immigrant detainees, reports the Wall Street Journal. About 19 percent of federal inmates are in private prisons or re-entry centers, a proportion analysts say will increase because contractors have more beds available than federal facilities.

The federal prison population is expected to grow next year by 4,171 to 191,493 as the Trump administration steps up prosecutions of illegal immigrants and drug offenders, reversing the trend toward a smaller prison population under former President Obama, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The two percent growth estimate in fiscal 2018 was in a Justice Department budget proposal, which also calls for 300 new federal prosecutors and 75 new immigration judges. The budget doesn’t detail the costs of the prison growth, but it is expected to be a boon to private prison companies, which are stepping up lobbying efforts for housing thousands of new inmates and immigrant detainees.

About 19 percent of federal inmates are in private prisons or re-entry centers, a proportion industry analysts say will increase because contractors have more beds available than federal facilities. Government-run prisons are 14 percent above capacity.

“This is an opportunity for private prisons, absolutely,” said Michael Kodesch, an analyst with Canaccord Genuity, a financial-services firm. Some senators are critical of the new Justice Department policy of tougher prosecution. Republicans Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky and Democrats Richard Durbin of Illinois and Cory Booker of New Jersey told Attorney General Jeff Sessions this week that, “In many cases, the new policy will result in counterproductive sentences that do nothing to make the public safer.’’

The anticipated increase in the federal-prison population contrasts with a growing bipartisan movement to reduce the number of people behind bars. In Louisiana, which imprisons more residents per capita than any other state and also has the highest murder rate, the Republican-led legislature this week approved a criminal-justice overhaul that will reduce sentences for a range of crimes and expand parole, probation and other alternatives to prison for nonviolent offenders.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Despite Reform Efforts, Probation Hasn’t Changed Much Since 2005

Observations  The probation population from 2005 to 2015 included more active cases when they were supposed to decline due to diversions. Treatment doesn’t exist beyond 1 percent. Caseloads grew more challenging with more felonies and more violent offenders. Author Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr. Thirty-five years of speaking for national and state criminal justice agencies. Former […]

Observations  The probation population from 2005 to 2015 included more active cases when they were supposed to decline due to diversions. Treatment doesn’t exist beyond 1 percent. Caseloads grew more challenging with more felonies and more violent offenders. Author Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr. Thirty-five years of speaking for national and state criminal justice agencies. Former […]

from http://www.crimeinamerica.net