Slicing and Dicing the Prison Commissary Business

Three american prisoners in orange jump suits surround a picnic table outdoors enjoying their prison commissary

By Christopher Zoukis The Prison Policy Initiative, a non-profit advocacy group, recently released a study examining how state prison commissaries operate. One observation made in the report: commissaries often exploit incarcerated persons, by shifting the costs of incarceration from the state to inmates and their families. The central problem, according…

Continue reading

Private Prison Populations Grew Five Times Faster than Prisons Overall

A study of the statistics from the Department of Justice shows private prison populations are increasing five times faster than prisons overall.

By Christopher Zoukis The Sentencing Project, a non-profit advocacy group, recently released a short study on privately-owned prisons in the U.S.  One of the most striking facts documented by the study, Capitalizing on Mass Incarceration: U.S. Growth in Private Prisons, was that in the first sixteen years of this century,…

Continue reading

Pricey Video Services Increasingly Supplant In-Person Prison Visits

Video chat replacing in-person prison visits?

By Christopher Zoukis Video visitation services are already available in more than 600 penal institutions, and the upward trend shows few signs of the growing trend slowing down. They’ve also sparked a debate over whether the services are a valuable, lower-cost alternative to in-person visits to distant locations (as the…

Continue reading

States Act to Protect Detainees from Frisky Officers

New York State passes legislation to protect detainees from sexual misconduct

By Christopher Zoukis Police can take people into custody for various reasons, and numerous laws limit and define what can happen after. The legislatures and governors of two states recently acted to place one significant new restriction on police-detainee interactions: having sex has been legislated to be taboo, something a…

Continue reading

House of Representatives Passes Federal “Blue Lives Matter” Bill

Blue Lives Matter bill passes - NYPD cruiser

By Christopher Zoukis With surprisingly little notice, on May 16 by a huge margin, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Protect and Serve Act (H.R. 5698), which would create new federal penalties for anyone who knowingly causes “serious bodily injury to a law enforcement officer, or attempts to do…

Continue reading

Virginia Pays $100K to Settle Suit over Inmate Suicide

Dai'yaan Longmire obituary picture

By Christopher Zoukis On November 8, 2014, 19-year-old Dai’yaan Longmire was an inmate in Virginia’s Indian Creek Correctional Center in southern Chesapeake, placed in solitary confinement during the third year of a four-year term. He was serving time after pleading guilty to a total of five felonies and two misdemeanors.…

Continue reading

“Making a Murderer” Defendant Asks Supreme Court to Undo Conviction

Brendan Dassey appeals to U.S. Supreme Court to reverse decision

By Christopher Zoukis Brendan Dassey, the younger defendant convicted of crimes covered in the hugely popular 2015 Netflix documentary series, Making a Murderer, has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse his conviction, arguing police coerced him into making false confessions. Dassey’s uncle, Steven Avery, is serving a life sentence…

Continue reading