Prisons and Jails

Senate Takes Step To Limit Phone Rates For Inmates

A measure passed unanimously by a committee would require the Federal Communications Commission to set “just and reasonable” prices for calls from jails and prisons. States and localities often collect revenue from the fees.

When Counties Need Fines, More Women Go to Jail

"Heavy reliance on monetary sanctions as a source of revenue creates an obvious conflict of interest for local governments: They need people to violate the law in order to keep themselves out of the red," researcher Kate O'Neill says.

Some States Are Cloaking Prison Covid Data

A half-dozen corrections agencies provide less detail than they did a year ago.

Canceled Fines and Fees, $0 Cash Bail. Will Pandemic-era Criminal Justice Changes Stick?

A group that advocates for incarcerated people provides states and localities recommendations for keeping citizens who committed minor offenses out of jails and prisons.

Counties and States Embrace Fentanyl Test Strips in Battle Against Opioids

Arlington County, Virginia announced that it would begin distributing the strips to addiction-prone people leaving the county jail, the latest in a growing number of government agencies to turn to the tests as a way to prevent overdoses.

South Carolina Brings Back the Firing Squad for Executions

Amid a lethal injection drug shortage, the state has put no inmates to death in a decade. Those on death row must now choose between the electric chair and firing squad if drugs are unavailable.

Local Corrections Costs Rose by $25 Billion in Last 40 Years

But the coronavirus has ushered in creative lower-cost alternative jail programs that could last long after the pandemic, local leaders say.

America’s Rural-Jail-Death Problem

Every day, in small towns and cities across the country, thousands of people are booked into local jails, many for minor crimes. Some never come home.

Illinois Becomes First State to Abolish Cash Bail

Judges will instead use a risk assessment tool to determine a defendant's fitness for release. The change is part of a broader criminal justice reform bill Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed this week.

States Offer Perks to Inmates who Get the Covid-19 Vaccine

North Carolina is the latest state to offer incentives—commissary credits, bonus visits and early release—to motivate inmates to receive vaccination shots.

Prioritizing Prisoners for Vaccines Stirs Controversy

A fifth of all state and federal inmates have been infected with COVID-19.

Would Judges Sentence Fewer People to Prison if Local Governments Had to Pay for Their Prison Stays?

In a case where counties had to bear the cost of incarceration, local prosecutors and judges dismissed more cases. For one researcher, this raised a key question: If local governments had to pay for prison sentences, would incarceration rates decrease?

People Convicted of Crimes as Young Adults May See a Chance at Early Release in D.C.

A veto-proof majority of the D.C. City Council passed a bill to open early release to people convicted of crimes they committed before they were 25, saying they deserve the chance for rehabilitation. Victims’ advocates are skeptical.

In One State, a Racial Equity Task Force Suggests 100 Ways to Change the Criminal Justice System

North Carolina’s task force released a sweeping report calling for changes in policing and the courts.

States Halt Jury Trials Again, Leaving Many Defendants in Jail

The pandemic-related backlog of cases could take years to plow through.

States May See a Lot More Money for Crime Prevention with Biden Plan

President-elect Joe Biden's sweeping criminal justice proposal focuses on prevention and diversion in an attempt to prod states away from locking people up.

Federal Intervention in Police Departments to Return Under Biden

The Biden administration will reinvigorate “pattern and practice” investigations into police departments and correctional facilities, while also looking to more aggressively examine prosecutors.

Covid Cases in One State Prison System Are ‘Off the Charts’

A new report from the University of Texas at Austin says that the state’s correctional system has not taken the adequate steps to reduce Covid cases and deaths among incarcerated people and staff.

About 750,000 People Are in Jail On Any Given Day. Can They Vote?

A new report from the Prison Policy Initiative says that most people in jail are eligible to vote, but ultimately won’t be able to due to barriers to voter registration and lack of access to ballots.

California Will Require Prisons to House Transgender People By Gender Identity

A new law will require California correctional facilities to place transgender people in housing units that align with their gender identity, not their sex assigned at birth.