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Articles by Brian Dolinar

Cages Without Bars Are Widening the Net: The Explosion of Electronic Monitoring


by James Kilgore and Brian Dolinar

Electronic monitoring (EM) is rapidly expanding throughout the criminal legal system. COVID-19 is partly responsible for this. The pandemic precipitated jailers’ use of monitors to reduce the number of people in overcrowded cells. In Harris County, Texas alone, the number of people on ...

Prison Profiteer Is Using Sandra Bland’s Death to Sell Surveillance Technology

by Brian Dolinar

Guardian RFID is a virtually unknown, but rapidly growing, company that sells digital technology to jails. It makes ID cards and bracelets that can be scanned by guards when doing head counts, meal distribution and suicide checks.

Guardian RFID is yet another prison profiteer among the ever-expanding ...

Louisiana Prisoners Used as Slave Labor During Hurricane Ida, Families Left in the Dark for Weeks

by Brian Dolinar

When Hurricane Ida made landfall this past summer, it was the deadliest and most destructive to hit Louisiana since Hurricane Katrina. In 2005, many prisoners were not evacuated and left for days in their cells without food or clean water, standing chest-high in flood water.

This time ...

Eleven Guards Fired after Death at Houston Jail

by Brian Dolinar

As other cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York have slowly begun to decarcerate their county jails, the Harris County Jail in Houston has resisted reform efforts. Over the years, Prison Legal News (PLN) has documented the persistent problems at the jail in Houston. ...

Hunger Strike, Ceiling Collapse, Lawsuit Spotlight Deteriorating Conditions at Women’s Prison in Illinois

by Brian Dolinar and Panagioti Tsolkas

"I’ve been incarcerated since the age of 18, I grew up in the penal system,” shares Mishunda Davis. “I went from the Cook County jail, to Dwight prison, to Lincoln, and I have never seen as many condemned buildings as I’ve seen since arriving ...

Prioritizing Incarcerated People for Vaccine Quickly Reduced COVID in IL Prisons

New Surge of COVID Is Spreading “Like Wildfire” in Illinois Prisons

Part of the Series: Despair and Disparity: The Uneven Burdens of COVID-19

With COVID-19 raging throughout the United States, there is a growing sense of desperation among people in prison. Pablo Mendoza, who recently got out of prison, said that those inside “are ...

Illinois Prison Phone Rates are Lowest Following Grassroots Activism

by Brian Dolinar, Truthout

“There were a lot of times my sons tried calling me,” recalled Annette Taylor, who regularly receives calls from her two sons in prison, “but there was no money on the account.” Those were some of the “hardest calls,” she said. “I would worry something was ...

Profiting Off Mass Incarceration: Detroit Pistons Owner Buys Private Prison Phone Company

by Brian Dolinar, Truthout

The election of Donald Trump has already given an economic boost to those profiting from mass incarceration. The stock prices of the two biggest private prison builders – CoreCivic (formerly Corrections Corporation of America) and GEO Group – doubled after Trump took office.

Companies that charge for expensive ...

With General Inch in Charge, We Can Expect Further Militarization of the Prison System

by Brian Dolinar, Truthout

The appointment of retired Army General Mark S. Inch to head the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is a major blow to those working for prison reform under Trump. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on August 1, 2017 that Inch would be taking over the position. ...