Will Potter, investigative journalist and author of “Green is the New Red: An Insider’s Account of a Social Movement Under Siege” recently gave a TED Talk outlining his work on Communication Management Units, (CMU’s) which are special units in the US prison system designed to contain and monitor those labeled as “domestic terrorists.” He was able to contact and meet with environmental activist and former CMU prisoner Daniel McGowan, and he discusses this and other CMU-related information here:
Tag Archives | Prisons
Investigative journalist Will Potter is the only reporter who has been inside a Communications Management Unit, or CMU, within a US prison. These units were opened secretly, and radically alter how prisoners are treated — even preventing them from hugging their children. Potter, a TED Fellow, shows us who is imprisoned here, and how the government is trying to keep them hidden. “The message was clear,” he says. “Don’t talk about this place.” Find sources for this talk at willpotter.com/cmu
Father Daniel Berrigan once said that “writing about prisoners is a little like writing about the dead.” I think what he meant is that we treat prisoners as ghosts. They’re unseen and unheard. It’s easy to simply ignore them and it’s even easier when the government goes to great lengths to keep them hidden.
As a journalist, I think these stories of what people in power do when no one is watching, are precisely the stories that we need to tell.… Read the rest
Bizarre story of the day from the Telegraph:
An inmate at Bristol Prison cut off his own penis and tried to flush it down a toilet, it has been revealed.
The prisoner, who has not been named, was found by prison wardens with serious injuries and taken to hospital.
Paramedics from the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust were called to the jail at around 10am last Friday, after reports a man in his 40s had suffered serious injuries.
A spokesman for the trust said it had received a report from the prison that the man had serious bleeding, and that he might be unconscious.
After they arrived at the scene, paramedics worked to stem the bleeding before taking the man to Southmead Hospital, where he received treatment.
A spokesman for the Prison Service said the injury was self-inflicted and that no other prisoners were involved…
[continues at the Telegraph]
The social harms of mass incarceration spread far beyond prison walls, with families enduring direct human rights abuses and women—who are disproportionately black—bearing the brunt of the poverty and trauma associated with having a loved one locked up.
These are the devastating findings of a year-long collaborative research project led by the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Forward Together, and Research Action Design in partnership with 20 community organizations across the United States.
Entitled Who Pays? The True Cost of Incarceration on Families, the study is based on in-depth interviews with nearly 1,500 formerly incarcerated people, their family members, and employers.… Read the rest
Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan write at Common Dreams:
… Read the rest
Thousands of prisoners will be moved out of solitary confinement in California, thanks to a landmark legal settlement announced this week. Grass-roots organizing can be tough, but when done by prisoners locked up in solitary confinement, some of them for decades, it is astounding. The settlement grew out of a federal class-action lawsuit alleging violations of the constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.
They call themselves the Pelican Bay SHU Short Corridor Collective. This group of men has been subjected to long-term solitary confinement, some for more than 20 years, in California’s Pelican Bay State Prison, located in the far northern corner of the state. From within their small, windowless cells, they began talking, organizing.
Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning, currently serving a 35-year sentence in military prison, now faces the possibility of indefinite solitary confinement for what her supporters and lawyers say are innocuous offenses—like possessing books and magazines related to LGBTQ issues and having expired toothpaste in her cell.
The Chelsea Manning Support Network revealed Tuesday that prison authorities are using the trumped up charges—including “medicine misuse” and “prohibited property”—to silence Manning, who has become a Guardian columnist and outspoken advocate for transgender, privacy, and prisoners’ rights during her incarceration.
Twenty-seven-year-old Manning has already been subjected to nearly a year of solitary confinement under U.S.… Read the rest
This is some scary Big Brother shit right here: Pennsylvania’s criminal justice system may soon allow judges to sentence convicts based on crimes they haven’t committed but are likely to in the future. The Marshall Project investigates:
… Read the rest
Criminal sentencing has long been based on the present crime and, sometimes, the defendant’s past criminal record. In Pennsylvania, judges could soon consider a new dimension: the future.Pennsylvania is on the verge of becoming one of the first states in the country to base criminal sentences not only on what crimes people have been convicted of, but also on whether they are deemed likely to commit additional crimes. As early as next year, judges there could receive statistically derived tools known as risk assessments to help them decide how much prison time — if any — to assign.
Risk assessments have existed in various forms for a century, but over the past two decades, they have spread through the American justice system, driven by advances in social science.
“Even federal prisons know that their inmates need medication-assisted therapy. So why aren’t they changing?” asks Megan McLemore at Politico Magazine:
… Read the rest
Today, Gordon Goodwin is in federal prison in Atlanta. Not too many years ago, he was a student at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, on track for law school. He enjoyed tennis and mountain biking. Today, his future looks bleak—failed by prison drug treatment policies that even the Bureau of Prisons admits don’t work, policies opposed by science and medical professionals, including groups like the World Health Organization.
As criminal justice reform becomes a major topic of conversation in Washington, Goodwin’s journey from would-be law student to prison addict is a cautionary tale of how inmates in the bureaucratic federal system are set up to fail—and how those failures ripple through the prison system and waste taxpayers’ dollars at a time when both states and the federal government are looking to rein in spending.
… Read the rest
New research by a UT Dallas criminologist has found that a substantial number of prison inmates have not received treatment for mental health conditions.
Dr. Nadine M. Connell, assistant professor of criminology in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences (EPPS), analyzed data from 18,185 inmates in state and federal correctional facilities for the study, published in the American Journal of Public Health. Connell worked with co-author Dr. Jennifer M. Reingle Gonzalez, an assistant professor at The University of Texas School of Public Health in Dallas.
Their findings include:
- 1 in 4 prisoners had been diagnosed with a mental health condition in their lifetime.
- Fewer than 1 in 5 of those inmates were taking medication for their conditions when they were admitted.
- Of those, fewer than half of the inmates who reported taking medication at intake were receiving medication for their conditions in prison.
“Two men enter! One man leaves! Two men enter! One man leaves!”
In a world where prisoners’ sentences are reduced for good behavior, the rules at Klong Prem Central Prison, in Thailand, come across as bizarre. They basically have it the other way around – inmates battle foreign fighters in a tournament called ‘Prison Fight’, a charity event organized by Thailand’s Department of Corrections. The organized boxing matches, held regularly across various Thai prisons, give them a shot at reducing their sentences or even gaining their freedom.