Prison

  • 03.07.17

    Trends In U.S. Corrections

    This fact sheet gives an overview into statistics in the U.S. Corrections system. It begins with a broad overview of the U.S. Federal prison population which has increased dramatically since the 70's and incarceration rates in the U.S. (670 per 100,000) compared to other countries, the country with the next highes...

    This fact sheet gives an overview into statistics in the U.S. Corrections system.

    It begins with a broad overview of the U.S. Federal prison population which has increased dramatically since the 70's and incarceration rates in the U.S. (670 per 100,000) compared to other countries, the country with the next highest incarceration rate is Russia (439 per 100,000.) "The United States is the world's leader in incarceration with 2.2 million people currently in the nation's prisons and jails."

    The fact sheet then looks at the prison population by offense - where almost half of individuals in the federal prison population are there due to a drug related offense.  It also delves into the female prison population, racial disparities in the prison system, youths in prison, felony disenfranchisement by state, and the increase in life sentences.

    Trends in US Corrections IMAGE

  • 08.31.16

    Review of the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ Monitoring of Contract Prisons

    In 1997 the Bureau of Prisons started contracting privately operated institutions (private prisons/contract prisons.)"As of December 2015, contract prisons housed roughly 22,660 of these federal inmates, or approximately 12 percent of the BOP's total inmate population." This article is the executive summary taken f...

    In 1997 the Bureau of Prisons started contracting privately operated institutions (private prisons/contract prisons.)"As of December 2015, contract prisons housed roughly 22,660 of these federal inmates, or approximately 12 percent of the BOP’s total inmate population." This article is the executive summary taken from a Bureau of Prisons report.

    The report finds that:

    • In a majority of the categories  examined, contract prisons incurred more safety and security incidents per capita than comparable BOP institutions.

    • With the exception of fewer incidents of positive drug tests and sexual misconduct, the contract prisons had more incidents per capita than the BOP institutions in all of the other categories of data we examined. For example, the contract prisons confiscated eight times as many contraband cell phones annually on average as the BOP institutions. Contract prisons also had higher rates of assaults, both by inmates on other inmates and by inmates on staff.

    • The three contract prisons we visited were all cited by the BOP for one or more safety and security deficiencies, including administrative infractions

    • Two of the three contract prisons we visited were improperly housing new inmates in Special Housing Units, which are normally used for disciplinary or administrative segregation, until beds became available in general population housing.

    The report concludes that the Bureau of Prisons needs to reevaluate how it monitors contract prisons in order to ensure the safety of inmates, and the prisons' compliance with the law.

  • 06.30.16

    The Price We Pay: Economic Costs of Barriers to Employment for Former Prisoners and People Convicted of Felonies

    This article from the Center for Economic and Policy Priorities looks at employment within the former prison population as well as those with felony convictions. The report finds that "hat there were between 14 and 15.8 million working-age people with felony convictions in 2014, of whom between 6.1 and 6.9 million...

    This article from the Center for Economic and Policy Priorities looks at employment within the former prison population as well as those with felony convictions.

    The report finds that "hat there were between 14 and 15.8 million working-age people with felony convictions in 2014, of whom between 6.1 and 6.9 million were former prisoners." These individuals face a number of barriers to employment including "erosion of basic job skills, disruption of formal education, and the loss of social networks that can improve job-finding prospects. Those with felony convictions also face legal restrictions that lock them out of many government jobs and licensed professions."

    As a result, "this report finds that there was a 0.9 to 1.0 percentage-point reduction in the overall employment rate in 2014, equivalent to the loss of 1.7 to 1.9 million workers. In terms of the cost to the economy as a whole, this suggests a loss of about $78 to $87 billion in annual GDP."

  • 03.01.16

    Recidivism Among Federal Offenders: A Comprehensive Overview

    This report from the United States Sentencing Commission investigated recidivism rates among a swath of the incarcerated population. It finds that "Over an eight year follow-up period, almost one-half of federal offenders released in 2005 (49.3%) were rearrested for a new crime or rearrested for a violation of su...

    This report from the United States Sentencing Commission investigated recidivism rates among a swath of the incarcerated population. 

    It finds that "Over an eight year follow-up period, almost one-half of federal offenders released in 2005 (49.3%) were rearrested for a new crime or rearrested for a violation of supervision conditions." Almost a third were reconvicted and one quarter were reincarerated. 

    The report also looks at the characteristics of inmates that make recidivism more likely. They found that of those offenders who recidivated, most did so within the first two years. A federal offenders criminal history, and their age at time of release were closely associated with likelyhood to recidivate. Those with more criminal history points and those who were younger were more likely to recidivate. 

  • 12.31.14

    Criminal Justice Facts

    This fact sheet by the Sentencing Project goes through a number of key facts about the prison system in the United States. Including: 1) The U.S. is the world leader in incarceration with 2.2 million people in the nation's prisons and jails. 2) Between 1980 and 2014 "a series of law enforcement and sentencing pol...

    This fact sheet by the Sentencing Project goes through a number of key facts about the prison system in the United States. Including:

    1) The U.S. is the world leader in incarceration with 2.2 million people in the nation's prisons and jails.

    2) Between 1980 and 2014 "a series of law enforcement and sentencing policy changes of the 'tough on crime' era resulted in dramatic growth in incarceration."

    3) Harsher sentencing has also occured: "Harsh sentencing law like mandatory minimums, combined with cutbacks in parole release, keep people in prison for longer periods of time."

    4) Incarceration is more prevalent in specific gender and racial groups. "Today, people of color make up 37% of the U.S. population but 67% of the prison population. Overall, African Americans are more likely than white Americans to be arrested; once arrested, they are more likely to be convicted; and once convicted, they are more likely to face stiff sentences."

    5) "Studies suggest that rising imprisonment has not played a major role in" the decreasing crime rates.

    This fact sheet also looks at key legislation that has recently stabilized the prison population and looks at "where do we need to go from here?"

    Figure 2 Criminal Justice

  • 02.17.14

    Harry Belafonte NAACP Award Speech

    In 2013, Harry Belafonte was awarded the Spingarn Medal by the NAACP. The Spingarn Medal is awarded annually by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for outstanding achievement by an African American. In his acceptance speech, Harry Belafonte call upon all artists to use their art...

    In 2013, Harry Belafonte was awarded the Spingarn Medal by the NAACP. The Spingarn Medal is awarded annually by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for outstanding achievement by an African American.

    In his acceptance speech, Harry Belafonte call upon all artists to use their art and their positions as celebrities to address many of the unfairness and discrimination leveled at the black community. Belafonte specifically focuses on gun and criminal justice issues.

    He points out that "The group most devastated by America’ obsession with the gun is African Americans" and that the majority of the prison population in the United States is African American. When white America talks about Constitutional rights, no one is talking about the "Racial carnage" that is affecting the black America. 

    Belafonte ends his speech calling on the artist community to make a difference: "Our nation hungers for today’s artists radical songs. Let us not sit back silently. Let us not be charged with patriotic treason...Our children, those who are waiting in the prisons of America are waiting for us to change the system."

     

  • 02.18.13

    Danny Glover On His Documentary: The House I Live In

    In this interview, Danny Glover talks about the documentary "The House I Live In" and the broader societal issues that are addressed in the documentary about the war on drugs that Glover summarizes with the statement: "The war on drugs is not a war on drugs itself, it is a war on people." The issues that Glover sp...

    In this interview, Danny Glover talks about the documentary "The House I Live In" and the broader societal issues that are addressed in the documentary about the war on drugs that Glover summarizes with the statement: “The war on drugs is not a war on drugs itself, it is a war on people.”

    The issues that Glover specifically mentions are the rotating prison pipeline where individuals "are caught up in this perpetual chain of in and out of jail", the disenfranchisement of the population who has served time in jail, and ultimately the "unintended consequences of [the war on drugs] policy" that has adversely affected the African American community. 

    Glover mentions that it is important for society to take a step back and conduct a civilized conversation about this situation. He states that "we have abandoned certain groups and said that the value of their live if not as important as the value of someone else" and therefore, it is important for people have conversations about their experiences and humanize that population. In so doing, we can raise awareness about the policy, its effects, and demand change.

    He believes that we need to take a step back and question the status quo.