The Day Ferguson Cops Were Caught in a Bloody Lie

The officers got the wrong man, but charged him anyway—with getting his blood on their uniforms.  How the Ferguson PD ran the town where Michael Brown was gunned down.

Police in Ferguson, Missouri, once charged a man with destruction of property for bleeding on their uniforms while four of them allegedly beat him.

Lawsuits over Valley fever pile up against California’s prison system

When Jeremy Romo was packed off to prison in 2012 for illegal possession of a firearm, he says he was as healthy as anyone, a construction worker who ran three miles each weekday and five miles on weekends.

By the time he was released in July 2013, the 34-year-old Manteca man says he had become a physical wreck, unable to run, suffering from joint pain and consigned to a life sentence of taking expensive medications to combat the Valley fever he contracted while in prison.

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.


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