Prisons

  • 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.

  • 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.