Prisons and Jails

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.

California Opens a Path to Professional Firefighting for Formerly Incarcerated People

In California, many wildfires are fought by incarcerated people trained to be firefighters. Their criminal records barred them from continuing in the field after release—until now.

Jail Populations Are On the Rise

While many jails acted quickly at the beginning of the pandemic to release people and reduce overcrowding, a new analysis shows those efforts have slowed.

Investigators Found Alabama’s Prisons Are Plagued by Rampant Violence. Is Sentencing Reform the Answer?

The Justice Department says much of the abuse in the state’s prisons stems from overcrowding. Advocates say overcrowding is caused by laws that result in harsh prison sentences that are out of sync with the rest of the country.

Families of Prisoners Sue Over High Cost of Phone Calls

The lawsuit alleges three private companies that provide telecom services in prisons lied to state and local governments about the cost of doing business.

Prisons and Jails Remain Outbreak Vectors for Coronavirus

A new report from the ACLU and Prison Policy Initiative found that state responses to outbreaks in correctional facilities have been largely inadequate.

Prosecutorial Discretion: The Prosecutor’s Role in Curbing Infections in Prisons

COMMENTARY | The rapid spread of Covid-19 in jails and prisons puts us all at risk. Prosecutors’ should flex their authority to reduce the chance of infection among the incarcerated population by limiting new arrests, pushing for early releases when prudent and ensuring sanitary conditions for those in custody.

Being in Jail Has Become a ‘Death Sentence,’ Advocates Say. Detainees Are Suing to be Released.

People in jails with medical vulnerabilities and short times left on their sentence are suing for release—and if that fails, they want masks, gloves, and the space to socially distance.

Coronavirus Makes Bail Reform Efforts More Urgent

Some jurisdictions have released many pretrial detainees in an effort to decrease jail populations during the pandemic, taking steps bail reform advocates sought for years.

New Jersey Set to Release 1,000 Jail Inmates to Limit Coronavirus Spread

Up to 1,000 people could be eligible for release. Other jurisdictions around the U.S. are also taking steps to curb their jail populations.

Uniquely Vulnerable During Disease Outbreaks, Prisons and Jails Brace for Coronavirus Cases

Prisons and jails across the country are preparing for the coronavirus, while advocates push for measures to release more people.

Deploying Body-Worn Cameras in a County Jail

A sheriff's office in Wyoming recently began using body-worn cameras on deputies working inside the county jail, the first in the state to test the technology in a correctional setting.