Inmate deaths reveal “torturous” use of Tasers

In ‘The Prisoners,’ published this week, Reuters documented 104 deaths of inmates behind bars after jailers stunned them with Tasers, often as part of a larger mosaic of force. Most inmates were stunned though video footage showed they were already immobilized, many in handcuffs.  The story and video package revealed abuses so severe UN watchdogs…

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Texas arrests have dropped, but more women than ever are being jailed

The number of Texas women awaiting trial in jail has jumped by 48 percent since 2011 while the number of men only increased by 11 percent. These numbers, as The Dallas Morning News found, don’t reflect any wider upward trend in Texas crime. In reality, women’s arrests have gone down by 20 percent and the…

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Probe uncovers $150M deal to detain immigrants in New Mexico

An investigation by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting into a New Mexico prison contractor unveiled an enormous for-profit operation that is contracted to make $150 million in five years by detaining immigrants. Although New Mexico is generally immigrant friendly and at times resists complying with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE,…

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Judges steer defendants into work camps for private industry

Across the country, judges increasingly are sending defendants to rehab instead of prison or jail. These diversion courts have become the bedrock of criminal justice reform, aiming to transform lives and ease overcrowded prisons.  But in the rush to spare people with addiction from prison, judges are steering defendants into rehabs that often are little…

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Georgia inmates left to suffer, deprived of treatment

The medical director at one of the most important prison healthcare facilities in Georgia is now facing allegations that she treated inmates with a callousness bordering on cruelty, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Six former healthcare workers at the prison accused her of withholding vital treatment and medication from sick or injured inmates.

Jailed to Death, a five-part series looking into inmate deaths in North Carolina

Jailed to Death, a five-part series in The News & Observer looked into more than a decade of inmate deaths at North Carolina county jails. The series found more than 50 deaths in the past five years in which inmates were not properly supervised; in some of those cases, inmates had not been checked for…

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How taxpayer dollars fund sex, drugs, and abuse in NC prisons

A Charlotte Observer investigation found that a hidden world of drugs, sex and gang violence thrives inside North Carolina’s prisons and that the officers who are paid to prevent such corruption are instead fueling it. Prison officers frequently team up with inmates on crimes that endanger staff members, inmates, and the public. 

Pretrial diversion offers defendants a second chance – if they can pay

Pretrial diversion is designed to alleviate crowded courts and jails, and help low-risk defendants avoid the damaging consequences that come with a criminal record. But an investigation by The New York Times found that diversion programs vary widely from state to state and that second chances are often only granted to those who can afford…

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Designed for fairness, Florida’s sentencing system fails to account for prejudice

“Bias on the Bench,” a yearlong investigation by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, found that judges across Florida sentence black defendants to longer punishment than whites, even when they committed the same crimes under almost identical circumstances. The four-part series shows that racial inequalities in criminal sentencing are rampant throughout Florida. Blacks are found guilty more often…

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