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Articles by Joe Watson

Obamacare, Universities Can Help Lower Prison Health Care Costs, Report Says

A new report from the Pew Charitable Trusts recommends that states pursue Medicaid financing for prisoners' medical services through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as well as outsourcing such care to public university medical centers to offset the soaring costs of correctional health care.

The October 2013 Pew report, titled ...

Escape from Jail in Small Washington Town Not, Like, a 'Big Raging' Deal

When Johnny Cagle, 53, escaped from the Wapato jail near Yakima, Washington, on the evening of July 1, 2013, he probably assumed he had precious, little time to get as far away as possible before police recaptured him.

As it turns out, Cagle—clad in orange—could have enjoyed the sunset with ...

Overcrowds Its Jail with People Who Can't Pay Court Fines and Fees

A recent analysis by the Tulsa World found that the percentage of bookings into the Tulsa, Oklahoma, County Jail involving warrants for failure to pay court fines and fees has more than tripled since 2004, worsening the jail's growing problem of overcrowding.

In July 2013, failure-to-pay bookings accounted for ...

Too Many Prisoners in New Mexico Needlessly Held in Solitary, Report Says

In spite of his history of mental illness, Stephen Slevin was locked away in a small, padded cell in solitary confinement at the Dona Ana County, New Mexico, Detention Center not long after he was arrested and detained.

Two years later, having never been tried for the charges for which ...

Childlike Man with Multiple Sclerosis Kept in Prison After Sentence Ends

On September 26, 2013, a 43-year-old man suffering from multiple sclerosis, and said to have the mental capacity of a 5-year-old, was free to depart New Mexico’s Department of Corrections after spending 25 years in prison.

Instead, with neither family nor a private nursing home willing to care for him ...

Nebraska DOC Director Retires Amid Criticism of Department Practices

The retirement of Robert Houston as director of Nebraska's Department of Correctional Services did not spark reflections on his 38-year career, but rather it salted fresh wounds.

Houston, 63, insisted that his retirement—submitted in papers to Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman's office on September 16, 2013—was not related to ...

Brooklyn Jail Guard Loses Custody of Baby She Had with Death Row Prisoner

A former jail guard impregnated by a prisoner now on death row temporarily lost parental rights in November 2013 to the infant son they conceived inside the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Nancy Gonzalez, 29, claims relatives of Ronell Wilson, who was sentenced to die for the 2003 ...

ACLU Calls for Nationwide Ban on Solitary Confinement of Children

To minimize psychological and physical harm to children behind bars, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) recommends in a recent report that solitary confinement should be banned in all juvenile facilities.

Though several states in recent years—including Alaska, Connecticut, Maine, Nevada, Oklahoma and West Virginia—have prohibited certain forms of juvenile isolation ...

Former Missouri Death Row Prisoner Finally Exonerated in 1983 Murder

Three decades after being sentenced to death for a crime he did not commit, and more than two years after Missouri's Supreme Court threw out his murder conviction, Reggie Griffin has been finally exonerated.

On October 25, 2013, Randolph County prosecutor Mike Fusselman notified the court that, because of ...

Vermont Law Shields For-Profit Healthcare Provider from Public Scrutiny

When Vermont's Department of Corrections hired a for-profit healthcare provider in 2010 to treat the state's 2,000 prisoners, it also hired an independent third-party to keep tabs on the private contractor.

And yet, Correct Care Solutions (CCS) has still committed gross negligence, medical malpractice, and cruel and ...