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Articles by Joe Watson

Report Lauds Canada's Prison Tattoo Program, but Government Won't Bring it Back

Like the faint and ghostly outline of a panther’s claw inked upon an old man’s bicep decades ago, Canada’s prison-sanctioned tattoo parlor experiment has faded away.

In spite of a glowing evaluation of the Safer Tattooing Practices Initiative pilot, just released publicly in October, Canada’s Conservative ...

New York Jail Profits from TV Ads

How does a small business like Chico’s Bail Bonds increase its odds of reaching its target demographic? By advertising to people who have just been arrested and jailed, of course.

While being booked and photographed within hours of their arrest, prisoners at the Erie County Holding Center in Buffalo ...

Virginia Considers Privatizing State’s Civil Commitment Center

A November 2011 standoff between police and two sex offenders threatening suicide at the Virginia Center for Behavioral Rehabilitation (VCBR), the state’s civil commitment facility near Richmond, raised concerns about the safety and treatment of residents held at the center.

Two residents – identified only as a 29-year-old from Richmond ...

States Create Special Commissions to Study Flat-Fee Indigent Defense

Some states may soon be doing more to guarantee the Sixth Amendment right to counsel for indigent criminal defend-ants.

Special commissions have been convened in Nevada, Idaho, Michigan and Pennsylvania to investigate how flat-fee contracts with private defense attorneys are failing defendants who can’t afford to hire counsel. Meanwhile ...

Former New York DOCS Food Director Pleads Guilty to Grand Larceny

Howard Dean, the state employee who ran New York’s prison food services for 17 years, was treated like a big cheese by private vendors. In return, according to investigators, he gave them the secret ingredient for the cheese sauce served at prisons throughout the state.

The New York Department ...

Report Criticizes New Hampshire’s Treatment of Female Prisoners; Lawsuit Filed

A two-year investigation has concluded that the New Hampshire Department of Corrections is guilty of “inexcusable neglect” of female prisoners, according to a report released on October 17, 2011.

The New Hampshire State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights said the 103 prisoners incarcerated at the ...

New North Carolina DOC Hospital Promises Better Healthcare for Prisoners

With crowded prisons and an increasing percentage of prisoners age 50 and older, the North Carolina Department of Corrections (NCDOC) opened a $153.7 million medical complex at the Central Prison in Raleigh in November 2011.

The new complex includes a five-story, 167,000-square-foot hospital with 120 inpatient beds and ...

West Memphis Three Released, but Justice Not Served and Questions Remain

In August 2011, a trio of Arkansas state prisoners, widely known as the West Memphis Three, walked out of prison after serving more than 18 years for a brutal triple homicide they did not commit. They were not exonerated, however, and are still seeking justice.

In May 1993 the bodies ...

Hawaii AG Study Confirms Ineffectiveness of Mainland Private Prisons

Academic researchers in Hawaii believe that exiling offenders to private prisons thousands of miles away on the U.S. mainland is misguided. And the Hawaii Attorney General’s office (AG) – the state’s Big Kahuna of law enforcement – actually agrees.
A federally-funded report released last year by the AG recommends ...

Iowa Reconsidering Costs, Benefits of Sex Offender Supervision Law

Over the past decade more than 20 states have created “special sentences” that require community supervision for sex offenders after their release, even if they expire their prison terms. But Iowa is currently reevaluating whether the millions in taxpayer dollars spent on such post-release supervision is justified in light of ...