By Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance. One of the ugliest policies in the move to privatize public services has been the private prison industry. We have reported on the abuses of private prisons, riots at them and how they put profit ahead of prisoners as these shocking photos show. The private prison industry is a corrupting influence in US politics. We have reported on how “Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is striking deals with private prison companies to lock up a “guaranteed minimum” of mothers with their children in euphemistically-termed family detention centers” and how they are getting wealthy abusing immigrants. Corporations are turning the US justice system into a profit making venture at every step in the process. This decision to continue to use private prisons by the Trump administration ensures that the profit of private prisons will come before treating prisoners humanely. The trend toward corporate profiteering from what is becoming a prison-industrial complex will continue. Injustice will thrive while justice is diminished.
By Jamiles Lartey for The Guardian – Study of 1.5 million prisoners finds that drug treatment, community service, probation or fines would have served as more effective sentences for many. A quarter of the US prison population, about 364,000 inmates, could have been spared imprisonment without meaningfully threatening public safety or increasing crime, according to a new study. Analyzing offender data on roughly 1.5 million US prisoners, researchers from the Brennan Center for Justice concluded that for one in four, drug treatment, community service, probation or a fine would have been a more effective sentence than incarceration.
By Dell Cameron for The Daily Dot – The 35-year-old cause célèbre, convicted in January 2015 after spending more than two years in pretrial confinement, faces a laundry list of post-release restrictions and obligations, including drug treatment, mental health evaluations, and computer monitoring. After departing the Three Rivers federal correctional institution in San Antonio, where Brown continued his work as a writer over the past year, publishing award-winning essays at D Magazine and the Intercept, he will report to a halfway house in Hutchins, Texas, before 4pm CT.
By Jeremy Hammond for Free Jeremy – “When are you going to start doing your time right?” one of the prison administrators tell me on their weekly rounds of the Special Housing Unit. I’m back in SHU again, this time for making hooch. I explain one or two disciplinary shots a year is really what you should expect out of a medium-security prisoner. Seems like all of my comrades behind bars are in solitary these days.
By Staff of Tele Sur – The new editor of one of the most storied magazines in the US is so far on the fringe that even other staunch Zionists criticize his overzealousness. “In five years, however, I believe that the coming invasion of Iraq will be remembered as an act of profound morality.” These are the not-so-prescient words of Jeffrey Goldberg, named this week the new chief editor of the 159-year-old Atlantic Magazine, one of the most famous journalistic institutions in U.S. history.
By Chris Hedges for Truth Dig – Severe state repression and a near-total press blackout make it impossible to determine how many prisoners are continuing the national work strike that began on September 9th. The core demand is an end to prison slavery: the forced low-or-no-wage employment extracted from inmates. “Once we take our labor back,” said an organizer, “prisons will again become places for correction and rehabilitation rather than centers of corporate profit.”
By Bill Moyers for Moyers & Company – Over the years I have landed at New York’s LaGuardia Airport knowing that the island just off and below the tip of the right wing was Rikers, the city’s largest jail, isolated in the East River within sight of the Manhattan skyline and separated from the borough of Queens by a single bridge. Looking across at the stark jumble of buildings, I had often thought of Alcatraz, on the other side of the continent: penal colonies framing America’s gateways.
By Olivia Alperstein for Other Words – Across the country the largest prison strike is taking place, vowing to “finally end slavery in 2016.” Right now there’s a national movement mobilizing to raise the federal minimum wage to a living wage of $15 an hour. But imagine if instead of earning even that much, you could only earn a few cents an hour. If that sounds like something from the developing world, think again. The reality is our prisons are perpetuating slave labor.
By Cora Lewis for Buzz Feed News – The US Department of Justice has opened an investigation into prison conditions in Alabama, weeks after inmates there joined a nationwide prisoner strike in protest of forced labor and living conditions. “The investigation will focus on whether prisoners are adequately protected from physical harm and sexual abuse at the hands of other prisoners; whether prisoners are adequately protected from use of excessive force and staff sexual abuse by correctional officers; and whether the prisons provide sanitary, secure and safe living conditions,” the DOJ said in a statement.
By Chris Hedges for Truth Dig – A nationwide prison work stoppage and hunger strike, begun on Sept. 9, the 45th anniversary of the Attica uprising, have seen over 20,000 prisoners in about 30 prisons do what we on the outside should do—refuse to cooperate. “We will not only demand the end to prison slavery, we will end it ourselves by ceasing to be slaves,” prisoners of the Free Alabama Movement, the Free Ohio Movement and the IWW Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee wrote in a communique.
By Kent Faulk for Alabama Media Group – The U.S. Department of Justice has launched an investigation into violence, rape, overcrowding and other problems within the men’s prisons in Alabama, the DOJ announced today. The investigation will focus on whether prisoners are adequately protected from physical harm and sexual abuse at the hands of other prisoners; whether prisoners are adequately protected from use of excessive force and staff sexual abuse by correctional officers; and whether the prisons provide sanitary, secure and safe living conditions, according to the DOJ announcement.
By Alice Speri for The Intercept – LAST MONTH, INMATES across the country embarked on what organizers have called the largest prison strike in U.S. history, an ambitious mass protest against prison labor and inhumane prison conditions. The strike, which was the culmination of a series of renewed efforts at prison organizing in recent years, kicked off on September 9, in tribute to one of the bleakest moments in the country’s history of incarceration, the uprising at the Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York.
By Brendan O’Connor for Jezebel – A group of guards at an Alabama prison went on strike this weekend, out of solidarity with inmates protesting overcrowding and unjust labor practices. Strikes and work stoppages have rolled through the nation’s prisons following the 45th anniversary of the Attica uprising earlier this month. On September 9th, inmates at the William C. Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore went on strike for at least 24 hours, refusing to show up for their work assignments.
By Stuart Miller for The Guardian – Dan Slater’s new non-fiction book Wolf Boys recounts the story of two Mexican-American teens in Texas seduced by the violent cartels across the border and the Mexican-born Texas detective who hunts them. It is grim and violent, yet it is a detailed and thoughtful look at American society and the war on drugs. It has also been condemned by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s Directors Review Committee, which declared Wolf Boys off limits to all Texas prisoners before it was even published this month.
By Alice Speri for The Intercept – THE LARGEST PRISON strike in U.S. history has been going on for nearly a week, but there’s a good chance you haven’t heard about it. For months, inmates at dozens of prisons across the country have been organizing through a network of smuggled cellphones, social media pages, and the support of allies on the outside. The effort culminated in a mass refusal to report to prison jobs on September 9, the anniversary of the 1971 Attica prison uprising.