The Mayor-for-Life, At Least

Marion Barry, RIP.Look, Barry started out as a civil-rights organizer throwing block parties in the hood, and ended as an advocate for people coming out of prison. In between he presided over a decade and a half in which DC suffered disproportionately from the violence which swept through all US cities in the '80s and '90s. I know it started before we even had "home rule" (ish) and everybody else's city also suffered and hey, at least he didn't declare a state of emergency and try to call … [Read more...]

“Duped By Medill Innocence Project, Milwaukee Man Now Free”: Journal-Sentinel

reports: The first time I wrote about Alstory Simon, then a Milwaukee north sider, was in 1999, right after he confessed to a double murder in Chicago.Simon's shocking admission — not to police but to an investigator working for Northwestern University's Medill Innocence Project — led to the release and pardon of a man on death row for the crime, and ultimately to the death penalty being abolished in Illinois.Two years later, I wrote about Simon again. This time he had reached out to me … [Read more...]

Gouging the Families of Prisoners; and “The Janitors of Good Wishes”

a post with lots to say about political praxis as well as, you know, gouging the families of prisoners: ...There is a salutary purpose to be served by people like Henson, who believe that good government can offer valuable solutions to vexing problems.  The positive wishes for new ideas provide a force that drives innovations that do, in many instances, make things better than they were before.  Even if they don’t turn out perfectly, or as well as hoped, they can be surprisingly better.  Wheth … [Read more...]

“The Gift Shop of the Dead”: I Visit the Museum of Crime and Punishment

for AmSpec: For the past twelve years I’ve volunteered at a crisis pregnancy center serving mainly low-income women in the District of Columbia, and I’ve noticed something about how our clients talk: Nobody ever says “prison.” Boyfriends, husbands, fathers, sons were never “locked up,” “in jail,” or “serving time”; they were always “incarcerated.” There is an unexpected poignancy to the bureaucratic term—a lacy Latinate word suffused with so much pain, as if standardization and abstraction coul … [Read more...]

A Powerful Story of Friendship, Marriage, And Mental Struggles After Wrongful Imprisonment

by Liliana Segura: On a snowy evening in late March, just over a year after walking out of prison, where he had spent 23 years for a crime he didn’t commit, William Lopez entered a CVS in the Bronx and did something inexplicable. After paying for a prescription at the pharmacy counter, he paused to grab some other things—two sticks of Old Spice deodorant and some allergy medicine. Then, without paying, and in full view of a security guard, he walked out. Police were called and Lopez was arr … [Read more...]

Families of Miss. Inmates Pay Protection Money to Gangs and Guards to Keep Their Relatives Safe: Clarion-Ledger

reports: Families have paid thousands of dollars in "protection money" to inmates, gangs and guards to keep their loved ones from being harmed or killed behind bars.Days before last Christmas, Janet Stewart got a telephone call, asking if she wanted to see her son alive again.The caller wanted $400 and identified himself as an inmate at the Wilkinson County Correctional Facility — the same prison where her son was serving time.She took the threat seriously. Gang members had already b … [Read more...]

Corrections Corporation of America Wants to Get into the Post-Prison World: ACLU

blog: ...Currently, post-prison reentry programs, such as halfway houses and day reporting centers, are largely run by local nonprofit organizations or, in some cases, smaller for-profit companies. Hininger notes the small, local nature of reentry services in his speech -- and then claims that CCA can use its size and resources to "provide consistency and common standards" in different facilities, rapidly make new arrangements with multiple agencies "on an as-needed basis," and "scale" (i.e, … [Read more...]


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