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Articles by Brian Sonenstein

All 50 States Report Prison Understaffing

by Brian Sonenstein, Shadowproof

Every state in the nation has reported prison staffing shortages since 2017, according to research by Shadowproof.

This is concerning because “staff shortages” are historically used to push for greater investments in prison systems, oftentimes riding reform waves like the one the United States is experiencing currently.

Officials claim investments are part of the modernization and improvement of carceral systems. Yet, as evidenced by the recurrence of reform movements every few decades, violence and abuse persist, and the staffing issues never truly abate.

In the first month of 2020, journalists called attention to so-called staffing crises in several states. Such issues were raised in the vast majority of other states in 2019.

Mississippi garnered national recognition for the deaths and atrocious conditions at Parchman. Staff levels were among the first excuses for such problems.

“Almost half of the roughly 1,300 corrections positions in three major facilities in Mississippi remain unfilled,” CBS News reported on January 23, pointing to a lawsuit blaming “the recent outbreaks of violence on the ‘culmination of years of severe understaffing and neglect at Mississippi’s prisons.’”

South Carolina prisons are rife with violence, neglect, and inhumane conditions. An incident at Lee Correctional ...

Since 1996, U.S. Agriculture Department Gave Over $277 Million to Fund Local Jail Construction

by Brian Sonenstein, Shadowproof

The United States Department of Agriculture provided over $277 million in funding for county jail construction since 1996, according to documents obtained by Shadowproof.

The funding came in the form of grants and long-term low-interest loans through the Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program run ...

2017 Has Already Seen Several Prison Rebellions

Although the nationwide prison strike has fallen from headlines in recent months, incarcerated individuals continue to resist abuse and mistreatment while supporters on the outside rally to their defense.

Prisoners in Delaware made international headlines when they took hostages and held Building C at the Vaughn Correctional Center for nearly 24 hours. They demanded access to ...