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Tag: Prison


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


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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



Chelsea Clinton Attacks Bernie Sanders: ‘We Are Not Electing a King’

The former first daughter joined her father in hitting out at her mother’s rival Tuesday, leveling harsh criticism at Bernie Sanders’ proposal to end mass incarceration in the U.S.

Posted on Feb 16, 2016 READ MORE



Pentagon Releases Almost 200 Photos of Bush-Era Military Abuse

After a decade-long legal battle, the Department of Defense releases 198 photos of detainee abuse at two dozen U.S. military sites across Iraq and Afghanistan.

Posted on Feb 6, 2016 READ MORE



An Assault on Justice

About a year ago, I finished a 23-month stay in a federal prison for blowing the whistle on the CIA’s torture program. I couldn’t believe some of the things I saw there.

Posted on Jan 27, 2016 READ MORE



‘An Affront to Our Humanity’: Obama Bans Solitary for Children

In an op-ed for The Washington Post, the president outlined new measures to curb the use of isolation in federal prisons.

Posted on Jan 26, 2016 READ MORE



Let’s Put Prison Sentences on Probation

Judges share the blame for America’s burgeoning imprisoned population. They seem to have missed the movement against mass incarceration.

Posted on Jan 20, 2016 READ MORE



A Most Unhappy New Year at Guantanamo

As the clock counts down to the new year, another clock will continue ticking, counting the days, hours, minutes and seconds since May 23, 2013, the day President Barack Obama promised to free all those prisoners at the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay who have been cleared for release.

Posted on Dec 31, 2015 READ MORE



America’s Incarcerated Population, Bigger Than Any Other Nation’s, Grew Even More Last Year

The Intercept reports that the federal government’s Bureau of Justice Statistics reveals that “about 1 in 36 adults in the United States was under some form of correctional supervision at yearend 2014.”

Posted on Dec 31, 2015 READ MORE



The 2015 SCOTUS Awards: A Look Back at the Highs, Lows and Yearly Shenanigans of the Supreme Court

Justice Antonin Scalia earned his stripes as the court’s loosest cannon for his remarks on Obamacare and same-sex marriage, while Justice Clarence Thomas was honored for making it through his ninth year without asking a single question during oral arguments.

Posted on Dec 29, 2015 READ MORE



Bernie Sanders Shows No Signs of Giving Up on a Political Revolution

The presidential candidate is continuing to prove he’s taking his role as an insurgent seriously; a writer ponders whether there is a difference between Caitlyn Jenner and Rachel Dolezal; meanwhile, some people are in jail based on inaccurate crime lab results—a problem that is getting worse. These discoveries and more after the jump.

Posted on Nov 1, 2015 READ MORE


VIDEO: Chris Hedges Calls Out Corporate America for Exploiting Prison Labor

Watch Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges’ rousing speech on the effects of police violence and mass incarceration on families. Hedges spoke at Saturday’s Rise Up October rally in New York.

Posted on Oct 28, 2015 WATCH & LISTEN



Truthdiggers of the Week: The Bard Prison Initiative Debate Team and Its Supporters

Since federal funding for prison education programs was eliminated in 1995, Eastern New York Correctional Facility has had one of the few U.S. programs granting college degrees to prisoners. Recently, it produced an underdog story that made headlines.

Posted on Oct 10, 2015 READ MORE



The Prominence and Plight of Girls in the Juvenile Justice System

Girls, many of whom have suffered a range of traumas at home, make up a growing share of children arrested and detained across the country.

Posted on Oct 6, 2015 READ MORE


VIDEO: John Oliver Dares Politicians to Actually Do Something About Mental Health

“If we’re going to constantly use mentally ill people to dodge conversations about gun control,” comedian John Oliver said angrily on Sunday’s episode of “Last Week Tonight,” “then the very least we owe them is a fucking plan.”

Posted on Oct 5, 2015 WATCH & LISTEN



Is Oklahoma About to Murder an Innocent Man?

On Wednesday, Richard Glossip will face execution by the state of Oklahoma despite mounting evidence pointing to his innocence.

Posted on Sep 30, 2015 READ MORE



Richard Glossip Execution Halted by Oklahoma Court

An Oklahoma appeals court has granted a reprieve for death row inmate Richard Glossip just hours before his scheduled execution. As Truthdig’s Bill Blum recently explained, “His case is the kind that should keep people of good conscience awake at night.”

Posted on Sep 16, 2015 READ MORE


VIDEO: Chris Hedges, Eddie Conway and Ojore Lutalo on the Dehumanization of American Prisoners

“I think their goal was to dehumanize every prisoner because if you have a dehumanized prisoner, you can control him and the environment,” former Black Panther Conway says.

Posted on Sep 3, 2015 WATCH & LISTEN



Young Black Man Jailed Since April for Alleged $5 Theft Is Found Dead in Cell

A young black man who reportedly had mental health problems was found dead in jail in Portsmouth, Va., after spending almost four months behind bars without bail on suspicion of stealing groceries worth $5.

Posted on Aug 29, 2015 READ MORE



Israel Passes Law Allowing Force-Feeding of Prisoners on Hunger Strikes

Palestinians held in Israeli jails have used hunger strikes as a method of nonviolent resistance to protest the policy of detention without charge or trial.

Posted on Jul 30, 2015 READ MORE



Federal Judge Reveals the Shocking Truth About Our Broken Criminal Justice System

Alex Kozinski, a Reagan-appointed California judge, explains why Americans need to open their eyes and realize that the U.S. justice system is far from just.

Posted on Jul 29, 2015 READ MORE


VIDEO: John Oliver: Mandatory Minimum Prison Sentences Are a Relic of Reagan-Era Drug Paranoia

The “Last Week Tonight” host makes the compelling case for not only getting rid of mandatory minimum prison sentences for drug offenses, but for passing legislation that would allow existing prisoners to apply to have their sentences reduced retroactively.

Posted on Jul 27, 2015 WATCH & LISTEN



An Oklahoma Man Awaits a ‘Cruel and Unusual’ Execution

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that Richard Glossip can be executed in September, despite the strong evidence of his innocence and the intense pain that Oklahoma’s injection cocktail is known to cause.

Posted on Jul 20, 2015 READ MORE



How Whole Foods Exploits Prison Labor

It has been revealed that in addition to allegedly overcharging and mislabeling its products, the company is using prison labor at a base pay of just 60 cents per day.

Posted on Jul 18, 2015 READ MORE


VIDEO: Watch the Moment of ‘El Chapo’s’ Prison Break

Footage has surfaced of the moment Joaquín Guzmán Loera, the infamous drug lord known as “El Chapo,” escaped from his cell in Mexico’s Altiplano prison.

Posted on Jul 15, 2015 WATCH & LISTEN



Obama Calls for Overhaul of Criminal Justice System

On Tuesday, fresh off the news of a successful nuclear deal with Iran, President Obama turned his attention to another fraught issue, this one on the domestic front.

Posted on Jul 14, 2015 READ MORE



VIDEO: Obama Reduces Sentences of 46 Prisoners in Largest Clemency Grant Since the 1960s

President Obama granted clemency Monday to 46 men and women convicted of nonviolent drug crimes, most of whom were serving sentences of at least 20 years.

Posted on Jul 13, 2015 READ MORE


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