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The Life of Caliph Washington

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Tag: Prison


Senators Demand Humane Treatment for Women in Prison

The Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act, introduced by Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker, would protect the federal prison system’s most vulnerable and fastest-growing group.

Posted on Jul 19, 2017 READ MORE


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The Life of Caliph Washington

In a country that expresses reverence for due process, a 17-year-old is arrested, put on trial, sentenced to death, then shuttled among death row cellblocks for 13 years, all for a crime he didn’t commit.

Posted on Jul 14, 2017 READ MORE



At Least Seven States Have Prison Inmates Working in Governors’ Mansions and Capitol Buildings

The 13th Amendment provides a loophole that allows for the legality of unpaid prison labor, which is sometimes called “modern-day slavery.”

Posted on Jun 24, 2017 READ MORE


America’s Incarceration Crisis: Are We Doomed to Repeat the Same Failed Policies? (Transcript Added)

In a new episode of “Scheer Intelligence,” host and Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer and law professor James Forman Jr. (pictured) discuss the mass incarceration of black men and the issue of drug decriminalization. [Transcript added.]

Posted on Jun 23, 2017 WATCH & LISTEN



U.S. Interrogations Held at Secret Yemeni Prison

A new report reveals America may have been complicit in human rights abuses by interrogating detainees who had been tortured by officials from Yemen and the United Arab Emirates.

Posted on Jun 22, 2017 READ MORE


Chris Hedges on How to Create Effective Resistance to Fascism (Video)

Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges, drawing on history and his own experience, outlines how to effectively oppose the Trump regime.

Posted on Jun 9, 2017 WATCH & LISTEN



Military Whistleblower Chelsea Manning Celebrates First Days Free

The soldier, who was serving a 35-year prison term for giving classified government information to WikiLeaks, was released after seven years. President Obama commuted the sentence in January.

Posted on May 18, 2017 READ MORE



Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Blasts 18-Year Marijuana Prison Sentence

In a stinging dissent, Bernette Johnson calls her colleagues’ decision to uphold the verdict “outrageous” and “ridiculous.”

Posted on May 6, 2017 READ MORE



Why Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III Is Unfit to Be Attorney General

In the few short weeks since his confirmation, Sessions has come forth with a number of loathsome actions or statements on race, ethnicity or minority rights. And he’s probably just getting started.

Posted on Apr 23, 2017 READ MORE



Immigrant Detainees Subjected to Forced Labor in Private Prisons, Lawsuit Claims

The class-action suit also alleges Immigration and Customs Enforcement played a part in violating anti-slavery laws.

Posted on Mar 5, 2017 READ MORE



Love Letters From Both Sides of Incarceration

Frankie, who is serving a life sentence without parole, and Yolanda, his wife, reflect on marriage with one spouse behind bars.

Posted on Feb 21, 2017 READ MORE



Part 3: Who Decides What Justice Is?

The author ponders this question as she serves time for an old drunken-driving arrest and fines she failed to finish paying. This is the third of a three-part story in Truthdig’s “Violence Against Women” series.

Posted on Feb 10, 2017 READ MORE


Obsessed [a cartoon from the Netherlands]









Posted on Feb 9, 2017 ENLARGE



Part 1: Paying for an Old Mistake

A drunken-driving arrest comes back to haunt the author, who spends six weeks in jail as a result. This three-part story is part of Truthdig’s “Violence Against Women” series.

Posted on Feb 8, 2017 READ MORE



Ava DuVernay’s ‘13th’ Signals Beginning of a Mass Awakening for Black America

The 2016 documentary has given a voice to African-Americans, who now have more tools to fight for truth, justice and freedom from oppression.

Posted on Feb 3, 2017 READ MORE



Ron Pierce’s Journey

We offer the links to Truthdig’s seven-part series in which an honors student describes how he ended up in prison and the profound changes he experienced during his three decades behind bars.

Posted on Jan 24, 2017 READ MORE



President Obama Commutes Chelsea Manning’s Sentence

The whistleblower, originally set to be released in 2045, will now be freed on May 17.

Posted on Jan 17, 2017 READ MORE



Part 7: A Freed Felon’s Hard and Perilous Path

Once released, felons become part of a criminal caste system, and most don’t make it on the outside. State prisons have a five-year recidivism rate of 76.6 percent, which keeps the prison-industrial complex full and profitable.

Posted on Jan 17, 2017 READ MORE



Part 6: Out of the Halfway House, and Then a Scare

After more than 30 years in prison and halfway houses, the 58-year-old author walks free in the world.

Posted on Jan 16, 2017 READ MORE



Part 4: Restarting Life in a Halfway House

The transition from convict to parolee can be difficult, with more restrictions in the reintegration facility than in prison. But thoughts of the free world keep the author going.

Posted on Jan 14, 2017 READ MORE



Part 3: The End of Incarceration

The author gets his day before the parole board after more than 30 years in prison for murder.

Posted on Jan 13, 2017 READ MORE



Part 2: Welcome to Prison, and Rediscovering Humanity

After receiving a 30-year minimum life sentence for murder and an additional seven years for armed robbery, the author learned to use his energy in a positive way while serving time in New Jersey penitentiaries.

Posted on Jan 12, 2017 READ MORE



Part 1: Innocence Lost—From Abused Child to Convicted Murderer

The author was recently released from prison after spending 30 years behind bars. In this seven-part series exclusive to Truthdig, he recounts his experience, starting with his early years.

Posted on Jan 11, 2017 READ MORE


Prison Population









Posted on Dec 19, 2016 ENLARGE



Are Obama’s Immigration Prisons for Families Legitimate ‘Child Care Facilities’? Judge Says No

After the ruling, nearly 500 mothers and children were released from detention centers in Texas.

Posted on Dec 11, 2016 READ MORE



How Power Works

Historian Heather Ann Thompson’s book on the 1971 Attica prison uprising details the government’s brutality, lies and propaganda, demonization of the poor, obstruction of justice and silencing of those who tried to tell the truth. She exposes the American blueprint for social control.

Posted on Oct 23, 2016 READ MORE



California’s Proposition 62 Can End the Suffering Caused by—and the Expense of—the Death Penalty

The state’s 38-year failed attempt to make capital punishment constitutional has resulted in more than 1,000 death verdicts and 13 executions—at a total cost of $5 billion.

Posted on Oct 20, 2016 READ MORE



Experience ‘RIKERS,’ Face to Face

For the first time in an extended documentary, former detainees at Rikers Island talk directly into the camera about their experience in New York City’s largest and most notorious jail.

Posted on Oct 11, 2016 READ MORE


Robert Scheer Interviews Gary Tyler, Wrongly Imprisoned for Decades

Tyler tells Truthdig’s editor in chief how he survived his years in the penitentiary after being wrongly convicted of murdering a 13-year-old boy. (Transcript added.)

Posted on Sep 30, 2016 WATCH & LISTEN



Striking Prisoners Are Bending the Arc of the Moral Universe Closer to Justice

Right now, under some of the most repressive circumstances that exist in the United States, a national movement is growing for prisoners’ rights.

Posted on Sep 29, 2016 READ MORE



Prisoners Gear Up for Mass Strike to Protest State-Sponsored ‘Slavery,’ Racism

The national and international action is scheduled to begin Friday—the 45th anniversary of the infamous Attica prison uprising.

Posted on Sep 6, 2016 READ MORE



The Intellectuals We Abandon

The late political philosopher Sheldon Wolin explicated the mechanisms of control and manipulation used by the powerful. But those who most need to read his work have been left in darkness by an academy that has turned its back on the oppressed and caters to the elites. (Pictured, Wolin and James Baldwin, right.) 

Posted on Sep 4, 2016 READ MORE



The Man Who Captured Abu Zubaydah Says It’s Time to End His Ordeal and Send Him Home

If the government decides you are an “enemy combatant,” you cannot defend yourself in court. It’s a terrible precedent and a threat even to U.S. citizens. We should immediately release the alleged terrorist.

Posted on Aug 26, 2016 READ MORE



Obama Administration Gave Nation’s Largest Private Prison Company a No-Bid, $1 Billion Contract

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency skipped the standard public process of bidding and offered the Corrections Corporation of America a generous deal to build a massive detention facility for women and children seeking asylum.

Posted on Aug 15, 2016 READ MORE



Privately Operated Prisons Are Less Safe for Prisoners and More Punitive, Justice Department Says

Inmates at contract prisons were nine times more likely to be put on lockdown and in solitary confinement than other prisoners in the federal system.

Posted on Aug 12, 2016 READ MORE



Comments of the Week: Getting Down to Business

The national mood is charged with tension and anticipation, and this latest roundup of notable and quotable comments certainly picked up on it.

Posted on Aug 10, 2016 READ MORE



Is the Fight to End Mass Incarceration Wasting Away in Washington?

What happened to that bipartisan push toward reform?

Posted on Aug 10, 2016 READ MORE



Truthdiggers of the Week: Activists Anne Weills, Mollie Costello, Alyssa Eisenberg and Tova Fry

By pressing a civil rights action after being arrested in California, these four won improvements for women being held in deplorable conditions at a Bay Area mega-jail.

Posted on Aug 6, 2016 READ MORE



An American Formerly Imprisoned in Iran Finds a Way to Break Out of ‘The Box’

After experiencing the horror of solitary confinement for over a year, Sarah Shourd now is using storytelling and the theater to heal herself and others.

Posted on Jul 15, 2016 READ MORE



The U.S. Senator Who Thinks We Need More Incarceration

Tom Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas, argues that the U.S. isn’t putting enough people behind bars. He ignores the fact that when ex-felons are allowed to reintegrate into society as productive, tax-paying citizens with voting rights, they are far less likely to reoffend.

Posted on Jun 1, 2016 READ MORE



Private Groups, Not Government, Lead the Charge on Prison Issues

As architects consider a ban on designing death chambers and a major pharmaceutical company stops selling drugs for use in executions, Washington sits on its hands when it comes to reform.

Posted on May 17, 2016 READ MORE



Shaka Senghor: Out of ‘the Hole’ and Into the Light

After 19 years behind bars, including seven in solitary confinement, the best-selling author works for criminal justice reform—and for those he left behind.

Posted on Apr 29, 2016 READ MORE



More Than 10.35 Million People Are in Prison Around the World

A World Prison Brief study released earlier this year found that the number of people held in detention centers worldwide may exceed 11 million.

Posted on Apr 23, 2016 READ MORE



National Prison Strike Campaign Vows to End ‘American Slave System’

Starting Sept. 9, prisoners across the United States will begin a coordinated work stoppage to call attention to what they contend is involuntary servitude.

Posted on Apr 2, 2016 READ MORE



Dying in Prison

Inmates on their deathbeds should be free to spend their final days with their loved ones.

Posted on Apr 1, 2016 READ MORE



America’s Astounding Human Rights Hypocrisy in Cuba

The idea of the United States lecturing Cuba or any other country about human rights comes down somewhere between embarrassing and nauseating.

Posted on Mar 25, 2016 READ MORE



Albert Woodfox, the Last of the Angola Three, Is Finally Free

Woodfox is a living testament to the resilience of the human spirit when subjected to the cruel and unusual punishment of solitary confinement.

Posted on Feb 24, 2016 READ MORE



Without Ending Immoral and Illegal Detention, Obama’s Gitmo Plan Is Just Empty Talk

Critics charge that the plan “offers no viable solution to ending what Guantanamo represents, any more than it offers either freedom or justice for remaining prisoners.”

Posted on Feb 23, 2016 READ MORE


VIDEO: Obama Presents Plan to Close Guantanamo Bay Prison

President Obama on Tuesday proposed to “once and for all” close the U.S. military detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where 779 people have been detained over the years since the 9/11 attacks.

Posted on Feb 23, 2016 WATCH & LISTEN



Albert Woodfox Is Free: Last of the ‘Angola 3’ Who Spent Decades in Solitary Is Released

Amnesty International described his release as “long overdue and undeniably just.” The three Louisiana prison inmates were placed in solitary confinement in April 1972 after the killing of a guard. The other two were released earlier.

Posted on Feb 19, 2016 READ MORE


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