The trend by states moving to reject life sentences without the possibility of parole for juvenile offenders continued this year when the Washington State Supreme Court ruled the practice unconstitutional on October 18. In State of Washington v. Brian Bassett, the court noted that states were “rapidly abandoning” the practice, since youth are “less criminally…

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Prison Conditions at FCI Mendota pose dangers to inmates and staff

Federal Correctional Institution Mendota, located near Fresno, California, houses about 800 inmates. Opened in 2012, the medium-security male prison in California with an adjacent minimum-security camp has recently been the focus of numerous investigations into whether conditions there pose serious dangers to the health of inmates and staff. Complaints about temperature levels due to a…

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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 to the report, isn’t the prices commissaries charge,…

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Prison food usually makes news only when blamed for hunger strikes or riots, or a supplier is found providing rancid or insect-infested food. Yet it also poses an important but little-studied public health issue, recently tackled by a research team from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which published a study showing outbreaks…

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Inmates housed in the Federal Bureau of Prisons have the right to access law libraries where they can research legal issues and prepare legal filings. This right was established by the U.S. Supreme Court in Bounds v. Smith, 430 U.S. 817, 821 (1997), which required each institution to “establish a main law library[.]” The law…

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Alabama: A March 2, 2014 fight at the Elmore Correctional Facility resulted in eight prisoners being transported to Jackson Hospital, where three were admitted for further treatment. Details on the extent of the prisoners’ injuries and the circumstances of the fight were not released. Argentina: Raunchy photos depicting female jail guards and superintendents in various…

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By Christopher Zoukis The arrival of the mail is the highlight of the day for many prisoners, who crowd around the officer’s station hoping their name will be called. The arrival of the monthly Bargain Books catalogue from mail order bookseller Edward R. Hamilton of Falls Village, Connecticut, is an especial cause of celebration. A…

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Jason Neff sent the following email — via CorrLinks — to friends and family members on Thanksgiving.  PrisonEducation.com thought it was worth reprinting.  We contacted Jason who kindly granted permission to share his heartfelt words.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I love you and miss you all. Know that I’m smiling this morning. I am very happy, as strange as that may sound. It is hard to say I’m “thankful” for a 5th Thanksgiving INCARCERATED but I do acknowledge the many blessings over these last years.

Of course I am thankful to be alive, and wow, to have email-access to send (this) message! I slept well in a warm bunk last night. I have one of 5 cells of 125 that have an actual sink with a handle (the others require a constant button push, which provides a 3 second stream of water). I have even pre-ordered an extra tray for the Thanksgiving meal today, the best of the year (in the feds) for only 10 stamps. On and on I could go…

I have learned to accept what I do have and be thankful. I have learned that worldly things do not equate to happiness. While most of America is sold on the NEW, BETTER, FASTER, more, more & more approach, I have, perforce, come to admire a minimalist approach. Though most of my life I have never had to go without, I’ve never really done without, never been deprived of much. In fact nearly everything I could ever was handed to me all my life; probably somewhat to my detriment. And regretfully, I was never thankful or even recognized it. I’ve had time to reflect, to grow, to think, and to learn – for that I am indeed thankful. This experience is humbling and eye opening. I’ve been forced to learn many things. Also to rescind control to my captors and the powers that be, to learn to accept things I cannot control. (I’m told when to stand up as I’m counted like an animal throughout the day, herded through a line for “chow” at specific times, permitted access to a shower room at specific times, etc.)

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