The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has dealt a blow to the constitutional rights of imprisoned writers. On December 11, 2012, after serving a lengthy sentence for arson-related crimes in connection with environmental activism, Daniel McGowan was released to the Brooklyn House Residential Reentry Center (RRC) to serve the remainder of his sentence.…Read More
By Catherine Prigg Concerned citizens began the first American prison system in Pennsylvania in 1787, and a clergyman, William Rogers, was the first educator (PrisonEducation.com, 2012). There has been ongoing national debate since then concerning what we as a nation should do with wrongdoers, including whether the criminal justice system should focus solely on…Read More
By Christopher Zoukis A report compiled by a well-respected prisoner group indicates that while the Massachusetts Department of Corrections is diligent in collecting profits from prisoners’ commissary purchases, it has failed to spend those funds on prisoner benefit purchases, as required by state regulation — to the tune of a $2 million surplus for the…Read More
By Chris Zoukis Prison officials at the medium security California State Prison, Solano have offered little explanation for their apparently lackadaisical investigation into the gruesome murder and disembowelment of a 24 year old man whose body was not found stuffed in a trash can until nearly 15 hours after prisoners in his cellblock were locked…Read More
By Chris Zoukis A 55-year-old mother of seven died in a Pennsylvania jail cell on June 7, 2014 while serving a 48-hour sentence for failure to pay truancy fines and court costs that totaled about $2,000. Eileen DiNino was jailed by Berks County District Judge Dean Patton for debts that had been accruing since 1999.…Read More
Tragic photos capturing the horrific realities of many of the world’s refugee populations have been making the rounds recently. And while I choose my words carefully here—refugees are not the same as migrants—it all relates back to the way we treat those seeking out better opportunities for themselves and their loved ones. The reasons behind…Read More
By Christopher Zoukis For 55 years, the international community has used the “Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners” as a guideline to structuring their criminal justice and penal systems. The document had never been amended (aside from one additional rule in 1977), let alone revised, until this year. On May 22nd, the United…Read More
By Christopher Zoukis Excerpt from original article published in The Huffington Post on May 27, 2015. In an era where American prison administrators are losing the battle against illicit cell phone usage in our nation’s prisons and lawmakers are creating draconian criminal statues to punish offenders, New Zealand’s newest prison, the high-security Auckland South Corrections Facility…Read More
I am a huge supporter of the struggles of transgender people in prison, especially after a recent incident with a prisoner in Virginia. That’s why I was so happy to contribute this article in Vice: http://www.vice.com/read/the-uphill-battle-to-make-prison-safer-for-trans-women If you have a chance to read it we highly recommend it. Photo of Ashley Jean Arnold by…Read More
By Jason Neff
I’m struggling this morning to not fly off the handle. As usual I’m beyond frustrated dealing with the incompetence, and ridiculous bullshit that is the norm in the Bureau of Prisons.
Counselor Bob De la Torre arrives at my cell pushing a cart with a box. He mentions my lawyer was waiting out front to pick up boxes of my legal work.
About a week after returning from the hole, I was given some of my property, but Lt. Montgomery would not permit me to have 2 boxes of discovery, claiming they were books, and I had too many already. When in reality the bag he thought was my property that contained several books belonged to another inmate who had returned from the hole over a month ago. It was his property which was never returned to him. Upon going through the voluminous disarray of my new property contained in trash bags, I realized it wasn’t all mine, and based upon the book selections another inmate helped me locate the correct owner, who was quite happy. Of course with property lists and procedure for securing property, one has to question how this is so commonplace. The guy mentioned when he returned from the hole, they had even given him someone else’s stuff and failed to return his property. The property given to him by SHU (Special Housing Unit, which is what they refer to as the hole, solitary, segregation in the feds) Property Officer B. Jones was random mail, and family photos of an inmate who had just left to prison that had been in the hole.
Anyhow, I went into my cell with this empty box provided from the counselor standing at my cell door, quickly stacked legal papers inside, added a photo album, stacks of pictures that were somehow mostly damaged through my transfer to the hole by staff, and a few stacks of envelopes and letters I’ve received over the last few years.