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Articles by Jo Ellen Nott

3,338 Texas Prisoners Taking College Courses with Pell Grants

by Jo Ellen Nott   

In July 2023, the Biden White House will return the hope of education to more prisoners by restoring the financial assistance provided by Pell Grants. The federal need-based funding for college courses was severely curtailed for incarcerated students during the get-tough-on-crime mindset of the 1990s. ...

Death Toll Mounts at Georgia’s Fulton County Jail with Reports of Malnutrition, Medical Neglect and Vermin

by Jo Ellen Nott

When a 35-year-old detainee died in his cell at the Fulton County Jail (FCJ) in Atlanta on September 13, 2022, he was found covered in lice. Officials then discovered that every man in his unit – which is reserved for those diagnosed with mental illness – ...

NYC Jails Still Without Tablet Lifeline to the Outside Six Months After Contract Expires

by Jo Ellen Nott

By December 2022, nearly six months after its contract with tablet provider American Prison Data Systems (APDS) expired, the New York City Department of Correction (DOC) had still not explained why prisoners and detainees have been deprived of the valuable link to the outside.

From its inception ...

‘Good Time’ Credit Policy Wrongly Under Attack in Alabama

by Jo Ellen Nott

Policymakers in Alabama are howling for an end to “good time” sentence credits after a recently released state prisoner killed a Sheriff’s deputy in June 2022. But how did Austin Patrick Hall, a 26-year-old felon with 46 arrests since age 17, leave prison after serving less ...

Third Guilty Plea Entered in Massive Aryan Brotherhood Drug Conspiracy in California Prisons

by Jo Ellen Nott

On September 12, 2022, the wife of an imprisoned street gang member pleaded guilty to posing as a paralegal for an allegedly corrupt lawyer in a scheme to smuggle methamphetamine into the California State Prison at Folsom.

Kristen Demar, 47, pleaded guilty to smuggling drugs to ...

Guards Nabbed for Worker’s Comp Fraud in Illinois and Massachusetts

by Jo Ellen Nott

On November 15, 2022, a guard at Illinois’ McLean County Jail was arrested and charged with worker’s compensation fraud after he allegedly lied about a work-related injury to goose his payout from the state-sponsored insurance fund by $10,000.

The arrest of Ryan C. Hitch, 48, came ...

New Cape Cod Sheriff Will “Rip Up” Agreement to Assist ICE in Immigration Enforcement

by Jo Ellen Nott

Come January 2023, Massachusetts’ Barnstable County Jail (BCJ) will no longer participate in the federal immigration enforcement program. The move comes over 15 years after outgoing Sheriff James Cummings (R) inked a June 2007 memorandum of agreement with U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE) to perform ...

British Prison Guard Sentenced to 14 months For Sexting and Sending Photos in Her Underwear to Prisoners

by Jo Ellen Nott

A British prison guard in Lincoln, England, was jailed for 14 months at Lincoln Crown Court on October 26, 2022. HM Prison Service guard Emma Webster, 34, was convicted of misconduct in public office after pleading guilty to maintaining inappropriate relationships with two prisoners at HMP ...

Still No Charges in 2017 Homicide of Florida Prisoner Paralyzed During Guard Beat-Down

by Jo Ellen Nott

It’s been five years since Florida prison guards broke Craig Ridley’s neck and then denied him treatment for five days. He eventually died, and his death was ruled a homicide. But no criminal charges have yet been filed.

Ridley, 62, died on October 12, 2017, just ...

Virginia Prison Guard Charged With Murdering Fellow Guard Carrying His Unborn Child

by Jo Ellen Nott

The guard staff at Virginia’s Keen Mountain Correctional Facility (KMCF) is down by two, after one was arrested for fatally shooting the other, who was seven months pregnant with his unborn child. The fetus died along with its mother, Amber Dawn Compton, 35, whose corpse was ...