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Articles by Justin Miller

Death Sentences, Executions Remain at Low Levels

According to a report released by the Death Penalty Information Center last December, there were 78 new death sentences imposed in 2011, down significantly from 104 in 2010 and the fewest new death sentences since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976.

The number of new death sentences reached its peak ...

Virginia Prisoners Held in Segregation Over 10 Years for Violating DOC Grooming Policy

A number of prisoners in Virginia have been held in segregation for more than a decade because they refuse to cut their hair or beards on religious grounds.

Since December 1999, the Virginia Department of Corrections’ grooming policy has required male prisoners to keep their hair cut above the shirt ...

Ohio County’s Intensive Probation Program Failing Miserably

A study has found that an intensive probation program in Hamilton County, Ohio is so unsuccessful that its participants are actually more likely to re-offend than those convicted of similar crimes who receive no supervision at all, according to the state’s Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC).

The program ...

Incomplete DNA Databases Result in Tragic Consequences

A review by the Associated Press has found that state crime lab databanks are missing thousands of DNA samples. The missing samples and backlogs in processing those that have been collected raise questions concerning serious crimes that otherwise might have been prevented.

“If you got missing samples, some of those ...

DOJ Investigation into New York Jail Finds Unconstitutional Conditions

The findings of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) into conditions at a New York jail describe violations of prisoners’ constitutional rights – violations which, in the words of federal investigators, have resulted in “serious harm.”

The Civil Rights Division of the DOJ and the U.S ...

U.S. State Prison Population Declines for First Time in a Decade

Recent advance data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) indicates that not only has the rate of people entering the U.S. prison system declined in the past year, but the state prison population actually dropped in 2009 following a decade of growth.

In 2009 the number of people ...

New Jersey’s Riverfront Prison Demolished

The Riverfront State Prison in Camden, New Jersey is no more.

Despite protests from prison employees and the union that represents them, which objected to the loss of jobs, the prison – which had drawn considerable criticism over the years as a colossal waste of the city’s riverfront potential – was ...

Problems Persist at Privately-Operated Rhode Island Jail

On June 30, 2009, a former employee at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility, a privately-operated jail near Providence, Rhode Island, pleaded guilty to lying to federal officials about sexual misconduct involving an immigration detainee, marking yet another embarrassing problem in a string of scandals to hit the facility.

Glenn ...

Whole Foods Farms out Fish Farming to Colorado Prisoners

A food vendor is involved in a partnership with correctional facilities in Colorado that employ prisoners to raise tilapia and trout, which are then sold to Whole Foods, a popular grocery chain.

About 120 prisoners at the Arrowhead Correctional Center, a minimum-security facility for drug and alcohol offenders, earn around ...

Convictions Upheld in Appeal of Lynne Stewart, Attorney to Blind Sheikh, but Case Remanded for Resentencing

On December 23, 2009, a federal appeals court upheld the convictions of disbarred defense attorney Lynne Stewart and criticized what it called a “strikingly low sentence” for her offenses, which were related to providing material support in a terrorism conspiracy. [See: PLN, Sept. 2005, p.14; Sept. 2002, p.20 ...