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Prisoner Education Guide

Articles by Katie Rose Quandt

Angola Prison Lawsuit Poses Question: What Kind of Medical Care do Prisoners Deserve?

by Amanda Aronczyk & Katie Rose Quandt, WNYC Radio

In 2005, Francis Brauner was a quarter of the way through a 20-year prison sentence at the Dixon Correctional Institute in Louisiana, when he had an accident.

Brauner was imprisoned for a rape conviction, which he maintains was wrongful and part of a setup by a corrupt judge.

His sentence involved hard labor, and one day he was out in the fields, cutting the grass and he bent over to pick something up from the ground. He felt a sharp pain in his back.

“There’s no words to describe how bad the pain was, really,” he says. A few days later, it got worse. “It felt like I was hit by a bolt of lightning or something, I mean the pain just shot from my head to my toes.”

Years before, he’d been in a car accident, so it was not the first time he had had back trouble. But this time, he could barely stand up.

Prison authorities rushed him to Charity Hospital in New Orleans, but then Hurricane Katrina struck. In the chaos, Brauner found himself re-routed to the  Louisiana State Penitentiary, better known as ...

Why There’s an Even Larger Racial Disparity in Private Prisons Than in Public Ones

It’s well known that people of color are vastly overrepresented in U.S. prisons. African-Americans and Latinos constitute 30 percent of the U.S. population and 60 percent of its prisoners. But a new study by University of California-Berkeley researcher Christopher Petrella addresses a fact of equal concern. Once sentenced, people of color are more likely than their white counterparts to serve time in private prisons, which have higher levels of violence and recidivism and provide less sufficient health care and educational programming than equivalent public facilities. [See: PLN, March 2013, p.16].

The study compares the percentage of prisoners identifying as black or Hispanic in public prisons and private prisons in nine states. It finds that there are higher rates of people of color in private facilities than public facilities in all nine states studied, ranging from 3 percent in Arizona and Georgia to 13 percent in California and Oklahoma. According to Petrella, this disparity casts doubt on cost-efficiency claims made by the private prison industry and demonstrates how ostensibly “colorblind” policies can have a very real effect on people of color.

The study points out an important link between prisoner age and race. Not only do private ...

 

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