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Articles by Anthony Accurso

New York Governor Cuomo Creates Prison Nursing Home During Pandemic

In June 2020, 96 elderly male prisoners were transferred to the Adirondack Correctional Facility in the mountainous North Country of New York State. Three years ago, the facility was converted to house teenagers prosecuted as adults, but the young prisoners were all transferred out to create a place to house vulnerable prisoners during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the North Country area has seen some of the lowest rates of infection in the state, at least one of the elderly prisoners was confirmed to have the virus shortly after arriving despite (being at that time) asymptomatic.

There are two places that have seen higher than average rates of infections and deaths compared to the general population: prisons and nursing homes. At the Adirondack facility, Cuomo has merged the worst of both worlds to create an extremely dangerous situation. Not only are these men at increased risk for severe symptoms of the virus due to their age, but their conditions of confinement ...

California Judge Reconsiders Six Months’ Jail for Cookie Theft at Rehab Program

He was ‘‘acclimated in groups, he was talking openly about issues that he had and how they affected his life,” said his public defender, Dana Drusinsky. “He’s a really endearing person, so [the treatment facilitators] were all proud of him.”

Then he stole a cookie.

In November 2019, Fields and other from Harbor Light were preparing food packages for charity. According to the local CBS affiliate, Fields “ate a leftover cookie without permission” and “Harbor Lights asked him to leave the program afterward.”

Fields was offered a deal: He could resume treatment if he agreed to restart the program, including the 30-day blackout period. Not wanting to lose contact with his mother, he refused the deal he saw as punishment.

The circuit court then sentenced him to six months in jail. “The treatment program is justifying it by saying that he stole and he needed to be reprimanded,” said Drusinsky. ‘The way the drug court ...

How to Fail at Running a Prison During a Pandemic

A firsthand account from FCI Seagoville in Texas, one of the epicenters of the COVID-19 pandemic

by Anthony W. Accurso

[Editor’s note: As of July 22, the Bureau of Prisons website reported 1,220 prisoners had tested positive for coronavirus at Seagoville, the highest number at any BOP prison. ...

New Initiatives from Philadelphia, Koch Industries, Work to Get Ex-Offenders Jobs

Last January, Koch Industries, through the Charles Koch Institute, announced a partnership with the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) to develop the Getting Talent Back to Work Initiative, a program that educates businesses on the benefits of hiring ex-offenders.

“We have to figure out how ...

Colorado Parole Board Cannot Confine Parolee Beyond Statutory Max

In ...

$12.5 Million to Settle Class Action Suit Over Strip Searches of NYC Jail Visitors

The Popularity of YouTube Prison Lifestyle Videos

With prison reform a hot topic that has gained nationwide attention over the last decade, prison lifestyle videos on YouTube offer a window into the prison experience for many Americans.

Collectively, the four most popular prison channels on YouTube have more than 2.1 million subscribers. The ...

Man Sentenced to One Year For Shoplifting Dies In Prison During Pandemic

A New Jersey man who was sentenced to one year in prison died on May 10, 2020, while in custody at the Central Reception and Assignment Facility in Trenton, where prisoners go before they are sent to a regular prison. 

According to court records, Ricardo Williamson ...

Unsealed Documents Expose Treatment Failures at San Diego Jail

by Anthony W. Accurso

In response to a motion filed by the ACLU, a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California unsealed documents in June 2019 related to the failures of San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and its mental health provider, Correctional Physicians Medical Group ...

California Prison Reform Results in Housing Challenges for Former Prisoners

Over 600,000 people are released from prisons across the U.S. each year, and a growing number of reentry providers are prepping to absorb increasing numbers as states reform their systems.

In California, though, as the state implements long-overdue reforms in the criminal justice system, people are ...