Alerts

2 New York men awarded $36M in wrongful conviction

MINEOLA, N.Y. — Two suburban New York men who spent 18 years in prison for the 1984 rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl, only to be exonerated when a DNA test showed that another unknown assailant had committed the crimes, were awarded $18 million each Thursday in a federal civil rights lawsuit.

Prisons Are the New Gulags for the Mentally Ill

More than ten times the number of mentally ill people are in prisons across the United States then are under treatment in mental health facilities. As of 2012, according to a new report, there were an estimated 356,000 prisoners with severe mental illness – including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other acute forms of brain disease -- in prisons and jails, while state psychiatric hospitals contained approximately 35,000 patients with severe mental illness.

UN Investigator Says Long-Term Solitary Confinement in New York State Prisons Is Torture

United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Méndez has concluded that the state of New York violated the rights of three incarcerated men “to be free from torture” by locking them up them in long-term solitary confinement.  The findings, which were submitted to the UN Human Rights Council last month, were published alongside similar “observations” on the human rights practices of nearly 70 other countries.

Oakland, CA Spent $74 Million Settling 417 Police Brutality Lawsuits

A review of Oakland City Attorney lawsuit data and hundreds of federal and state court cases has found that since 1990, Oakland has spent $74 million dollars to settle at least 417 lawsuits accusing its police officers of brutality, misconduct and other civil rights violations.

California's medical prison beset by waste and mismanagement

FRENCH CAMP, Calif. —California's $840-million medical prison — the largest in the nation — was built to provide care to more than 1,800 inmates.

When fully operational, it was supposed to help the state's prison system emerge from a decade of federal oversight brought on by the persistent neglect and poor medical treatment of inmates.

But since opening in July, the state-of-the-art California Health Care Facility has been beset by waste, mismanagement and miscommunication between the prison and medical staffs.

Man cleared of NYC murder after 25 years in prison

NEW YORK (AP) — From the day of his 1989 arrest in a deadly New York City shooting, Jonathan Fleming said he had been more than 1,000 miles away, on a vacation at Disney World. Despite having documents to back him up, he was convicted of murder.

Prosecutors now agree with him, and Fleming left a Brooklyn court as a free man Tuesday after spending nearly a quarter-century behind bars.

Severely Disabled Man Sues New York State Prisons for Neglect, Abuse

At a time when New York State is winning praise for removing vulnerable people from solitary confinement in its prisons, the case of Mark Gizewski offers a sobering counterpoint.

Although he suffers from extreme physical disabilities and lives with constant pain, Gizewski has been in and out of solitary confinement for various prison rule violations. Now, he is suing the state in federal court, asserting that he has suffered medical neglect and physical abuse while held in New York’s prison system.

Japan frees world’s longest-serving death row inmate after more than 45 years

Forty-eight years. Forty-eight years of professed innocence. Forty-eight years of incarceration, 30 of which were in solitary confinement. Forty-eight years since June 10, 1966 when two children and their parents were stabbed to death and their home set ablaze. And 48 years since Iwao Hakamada, the longest-serving death row inmate in the world, was arrested, thrown in jail and ultimately sentenced to death for it.

An End to ''The Hole''? Six Signs That Solitary Confinement Reform Is Coming

On Tuesday [3-18-14], author and activist Sarah Shourd spoke to Democracy Now! about the time she spent in an Iranian prison after crossing the border from Iraq while on a hike with two friends. Shourd was held for more than one year, and spent much of that time in solitary confinement. Here's how she described the experience:

I spent hours and hours crouched by the small food slot in my door, just listening for sounds, pacing compulsively, eating my food with my hands. And there were times that I screamed and beat at the walls of my cell.

Prison Legal News Wins $802,000 in Fees

PORTLAND, Ore. (CN) - A federal judge Monday [3-24-14] ordered an Oregon county to pay Prison Legal News $802,000 in attorneys' fees and costs for a lawsuit that challenged censorship of inmates' mail.

     Prison Legal News, a nonprofit monthly by and for prisoners, sued Columbia County and its Sheriff Jeff Dickerson in January 2012 after jailers censored the magazine and letters to detainees.

     Columbia County, whose seat is St. Helen's, allowed prisoners to receive only postcards and banned magazines.

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