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Articles by Bill Barton

Philadelphia Jails to Release Prisoners Earlier in the Day

The information was revealed in a series of stories in August 2020 by The Philadelphia Inquirer. Following publication, Prison Commissioner Blanche Carney said, “Anyone released after the close of their facility’s Cashier’s Office will now receive their property at their facility.”

Ann Jacobs, director of the Prisoner Reentry Institute at New York City’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said, “This is a good example of a system listening and responding in a way that looks like it will make a big difference.” Making sure that the changes are permanent will require “collaborative vigilance,” said Jacobs.

‘‘You can’t rest on your laurels. What we know about any kind of systems change is that it changes as long as it’s being observed and measured.”

Philly jails’ spokesperson Mallie Salerno stated that every person released from jail will ...

Missouri Downsizing Prisons to Save Cash

Budget director Dan Haug said, ‘‘What they are doing is they are consolidating space within various prisons around the state, closing certain housing units and those types of things.”

The Missouri Department of Corrections (DOC) housed 33,000 prisoners in 2017; the January 2020 prison population stood at 26,000. Changes in the state’s criminal code, replacing incarceration with probation in many cases, accounts for the drop in population.

DOC spokesperson Karen Pojmann noted that the plan will close housing units at Northeast Correctional Center in Bowling Green, Farmington Correctional Center, Boonville Correctional Center, Algoa Correctional Center in Jefferson City, Tipton Correctional Center, and Western Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in St. Joseph.

“Closing housing units reduces staffing needs and enables the department to more effectively and efficiently staff facilities, boost safety and reduce mandatory overtime,” Pojmann said. “We’re hoping these changes also can reduce staff stress and improve retention.”

In addition to removing 1,756 beds for prisoners, the plan will also obviate the need for filling 131 currently vacant staff positions. It will save ...

BOP Official Reportedly Had Sexual Relationship With Former Police Union Head

Alabama Says It Will Reform Prisons, the Nation’s Deadliest

Rappers Jay-Z and Yo Gatti Help Prisoners in Mississippi Sue State Over “Inhumane and Unconstitutional Conditions”

Lawyers representing music stars Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter and Mario “Yo Gotti” Mims, along with Carter’s entertainment company, Team Roc, filed a federal lawsuit in the Northern District of Mississippi on January 14, 2020, on behalf of 24 prisoners held at Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman. The suit’s ...

Rhode Island Corrections’ Union President Fined for Excessive Political Donations

The Rhode Island Board of Elections voted in December 2019 to fine correctional officers’ union president Richard Ferruccio for allowing the union’s Political Action Committee (PAC) to exceed the state’s limit on annual campaign contributions for three successive years. Ferruccio agreed to pay the $1,020 penalty after ...

Report: Oaks of Justice Pitch to Help Prisoners Return Home Appears Shady

It’s scarcely news that people incarcerated in federal prison are often desperate for any possible chance to return home. Unfortunately, prisoners aren’t really in a position to verify the legitimacy of assorted offers of shortened sentences, and misinformation is rampant.

On its website, the group Oaks of ...

Michigan Permits Prisoners to Seek Financial Assistance for College

In October 2019, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed into law a 2020 budget that allowed prisoners to seek college financial aid through a state program that had long been out-of-bounds to prisoners.

The Tuition Incentive Program (TIP) reimburses tuition expenses for Medicaid-eligible students at participating private and ...

D.C. Juvenile Offender Finally Released After 26 Years Behind Bars

David Bailey was a reckless and violent 17-year-old when he shot and killed two people outside a Washington, D.C. night club. He was convicted of second-degree murder and received a sentence of 35 years to life.

According to The Appeal, “both of Bailey’s parents struggled with ...

Massachusetts Supreme Court Orders DOC to Free Terminally Ill Prisoners After DOJ Investigates Mistreatment

On January 28, 2020, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) voided several regulations used by the state Department of Correction (DOC) to justify denying 29 petitions by prisoners for medical parole, also known as “compassionate release.” The ruling came in a case by one of a number ...