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Articles by Joe Watson

Review of Solitary Confinement in Texas Lacks Funding to Proceed

A legislatively-mandated, detailed review of the use of solitary confinement in Texas prisons—where the average stay in administrative segregation, or "ad seg," is more than three years—had not been initiated four months after Gov. Rick Perry signed a bill requiring it in 2013.

That's because the state's Criminal ...

Online Series Exposes Effects of Solitary Confinement on Women

An online series on women in solitary confinement illustrates that the practice of extreme isolation is as sadistic and corrosive to female prisoners—if not more so—as it is to men.

The two-part series at solitarywatch.com, written by prisoner Victoria Law and published in December 2013, reveals conditions in female ...

Fewer Executions, Fewer Death Sentences, Fewer Death Penalty States in 2013

The number of death row executions in the U.S. declined slightly in 2013, while the death row population and the number of states to sanction the death penalty—thanks to Maryland's repeal of capital punishment—also fell, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Death Penalty Information Center's (DPIC ...

'Smart Justice' Leads to Lower Recidivism Rates in Michigan, 6 Other States

Several states appear to be advancing effective policies to foster successful reentry and reduce recidivism, according to a report from the New York-based Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center.

Based on data tracking prisoners released in 2005 and 2007, three-year recidivism rates in Texas and Ohio fell by 11 ...

California Counties Say Jail Space is Lacking Because Of Red Tape, Recession

Bureaucratic hurdles and the Great Recession are being blamed for a purportedly dire lack of jail space in California, where the state's "realignment" law has forced overcrowded prisons to transfer low-level offenders to the custody of county facilities.

California lawmakers actually approved $1.2 billion in funding for statewide ...

Judge Orders Ohio County to Cap Jail Population, Release Prisoners

A federal judge has decided the best way to solve the overcrowding problem at the Lucas County Jail in Toledo, Ohio is by simply enforcing the law.

On November 5, 2014, U.S. District Court Judge James Carr ordered county officials to reduce the jail’s population by 34 prisoners by ...

Sexual Harassment, Abuse Alleged at Oklahoma Halfway House for Women

Ownership of a privately-operated Oklahoma Department of Corrections (ODOC) halfway house near Tulsa has changed hands in the midst of at least two lawsuits and possible criminal charges stemming from allegations that the owner of a sandwich shop routinely subjected female work release prisoners to sexual harassment and abuse.

The ...

Civil Rights Advocates Laud Healthcare Settlement with Arizona Prison System

by Joe Watson and Derek Gilna

Civil rights organizations hailed the settlement of a class-action lawsuit filed against the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) in the wake of scores of prisoner deaths and preventable injuries stemming from medical treatment so poor that one private prison healthcare company withdrew from its ...

“Realignment” Forces California's Newest City to Disincorporate

California's decision to transfer responsibility of tens of thousands of state prisoners to its counties is being blamed for the state's newest city, Jurupa Valley, disincorporating.

About 50 miles east of Los Angeles, Jurupa Valley, a city of around 100,000, was expected to file papers in December ...

Ohio County Jail Overcrowded, Understaffed and On Verge of 'Catastrophe'

The results of a September 2013 inspection of the Hamilton County Jail in Cincinnati, Ohio, revealed that the facility failed to adequately meet 48 of 69 standards set by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC).

In a letter to Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil, ODRC State Jail Inspector ...