Alerts

California inmates win class-action status over race-based treatment

A federal judge in Sacramento on Wednesday awarded class-action status to California prison inmates who allege that their rights are violated by what they say are widespread instances of race-based punishment.

Prison officials acknowledge they respond to outbreaks of violence by ordering sanctions, including sweeping lockdowns, that can last for months. They say every inmate is assigned a race or ethnic code: black, Hispanic, white or other, and at some prisons, inmates live in cells where their race is denoted by color-coded signs.

Why Won't California Release Innocent Men from Prison?

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Jerry Brown and the legislature have been cutting down on prison overcrowding to comply with a federal court order, thus leading to a "realignment" policy that moves inmates from state-run prisons to county jails and a policy that may result in some early releases.

The U.S. Supreme Court Is Marching in Lockstep with the Police State

"[I]f the individual is no longer to be sovereign, if the police can pick him up whenever they do not like the cut of his jib, if they can 'seize' and 'search' him in their discretion, we enter a new regime. The decision to enter it should be made only after a full debate by the people of this country."--U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas.

Gov. Jerry Brown's prison reforms haven't lived up to his billing

Nearly 15 months after launching what he called the "boldest move in criminal justice in decades," Gov. Jerry Brown declared victory over a prison crisis that had appalled federal judges and stumped governors for two decades.

Diverting thousands of criminals from state prisons into county jails and probation departments not only had eased crowding, he said, but also reduced costs, increased safety and improved rehabilitation.

"The prison emergency is over in California," Brown said in early 2013.

The numbers tell a different story.

Bringing Prison Abuse Out of the Shadows to End It

The Netflix show "Orange Is the New Black" makes jail look horrible. In reality, it's much worse, as we at the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) know from collecting stories from prisoners and their families for decades.

California expands parole for elderly, medically frail

California parole officials Monday said the state is ready to begin the early release of elderly and frail prisoners who meet new criteria for parole.

The program's details were released publicly for the first time at a meeting of the Board of Parole Hearings. They were ordered by a panel of federal judges earlier this year, as part of required steps the state must take to reduce prison crowding to acceptable levels.

Assembly Committee Seeks Boost to Post-Prison Services

A special legislative committee created last fall in the wake of federal court orders to improve state prison conditions and reduce crowding is calling for increases in the services and spending the state devotes to rehabilitation efforts and post-prison work programs. In a letter sent this week to Assembly Speaker John Perez, whose term ended Friday, committee co-chairs Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) and Reginald Jones-Sawyer (D-South Los Angeles) recommended increased

The Role of the Prison Guards Union in California’s Troubled Prison System

Jailing is big business. California spends approximately $9 billion a year on its correctional system, and hosts one in seven of the nation’s prisoners. It has the largest prison population of any state. The number of correctional facilities, the amount of compensation for their unionized staffs, and the total cost of incarcerating a prisoner in the state—$44,563 a year—have exploded over the past 30 years. Over that same period, the quality of the state’s prison system declined precipitously.

Defend & Free Political Prisoners in North America

2014 North American Anarchist Black Cross (ABC) Conference

People engaged in support work for political prisoners/prisoners of war from across North America will be gathering together this September to create new strategies for freeing our imprisoned comrades and to figure out ways to strengthen existing efforts. We need help from everyone who wants to see our comrades walk free to make this crucial yearly gathering happen this fall! We need $7000 to pull off this year's conference!

New ACLU Report Examines Devastating Impact of Solitary Confinement on Women

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Today, the ACLU released Worse than Second Class: Solitary Confinement of Women in the United States. Recognizing that women in solitary are often ignored, the report examines the gendered impact of solitary and issues a series of recommendations. These recommendations assume that vulnerable populations will continue to be incarcerated and focus on ameliorating the harmful effects of solitary.

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