A new study published by the Columbia Law School Sabin Center for Climate Change Law found US jails and prisons grossly unfit for dealing with rising temperatures, which place inmate and staff health at risk. The study urged policy makers and administrators to begin taking steps to prepare for heat waves associated with climate change.
California has agreed to restrict the use of long-term solitary confinement in a settlement agreement filed in federal court this week. Restrictions are expected to reduce the number of inmates in isolation, cap the number of continuous years an inmate can spend in solitary confinement to five, and establish measures by which inmates can more easily achieve release back to general population.
Corrections Corporation of America Acquires Re-Entry Facilities As Private Prison Industry Pursues New Business
On Monday, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) announced it acquired four residential re-entry facilities from another private contractor for $13.5 million. According to a company press release, the re-entry facilities each have about 600 beds and were leased by Community Education Centers, Inc. (CEC) to the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections and the Philadelphia Prison System.
The Tennessee Department of Corrections is threatening and intimidating corrections officers speaking out against dangerous work conditions, according to a letter [PDF] published on August 27 by the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee. The organization asked the DOC to clearly state it will not seek to silence or retaliate against employees for their speech.
A transgender inmate was raped by a corrections officer in a medical clinic on Rikers Island and the New York City Department of Correction has declined to punish him for the last three years, according a federal civil rights lawsuit filed this week. The inmate, known as “MT,” claims Corrections Officer L. Galan sexually harassed her “openly and repeatedly” for months before raping her in the clinic, where security cameras could not capture the encounter.
Two ongoing federal lawsuits against for-profit jailhouse medical contractor Armor Correctional Health Services (ACHS) describe lengthy delays and negligent care that put inmate health in jeopardy. Companies like ACHS sign lucrative agreements that promise to deliver medical care to inmates at a lower cost than governments can provide themselves. In court filings, however, the company is alleged to have financial disincentives in its contracts which encourage staff not to give inmates access to emergent and off-site treatments.
LGBTQ prison abolition group Black & Pink began publishing letters from inmates in solitary confinement last month in an effort to shed light on the abuse and harassment they suffer. Black & Pink explained that last summer, their Chicago chapter contacted to over 100 inmates in isolation to ask for their experiences.
An inmate suffered a Grand Mal seizure after deputies at the Santa Rita jail in Alameda County, California denied his repeated requests for epilepsy medication, according to a federal lawsuit [PDF] filed against the county and various sheriff’s deputies at the end of July.
New York City left private jail medical contractor Corizon Health Services to defend itself against a federal lawsuit brought by the mother of a deceased inmate named Bradley Ballard. Ballard’s death was one of the motivating cases behind the wave of reforms currently aimed at the city’s jail system.
New York City will begin a surveillance pilot program aimed at keeping juvenile defendants accused of committing certain felonies off of Rikers Island. As The New York Times reported on August 14, eligible youth between the ages of sixteen and eighteen will be outfitted with lightweight bracelets tethered electronically to smartphones that are to be carried with them at all times and cannot be turned off.