Gang Database Criticized for Denying Due Process May Be Used for Deportations

Peter Arellano was standing on the street with his father last year when an officer from the Los Angeles Police Department handcuffed him, supposedly for vandalism a few blocks away. Before asking him for any information about the incident, the police officer asked him for his gang moniker, Mr. Arellano said. He told the officer he had none. But moments later, Mr. Arellano was served with a gang injunction, restricting where he could go in public and with whom. “There wasn’t a chance to argue … [Read more...]

Why Keep Old and Sick Behind Bars?

Anyone who visits a prison these days might be shocked to see what looks more like a nursing home with bars and metal detectors. Prisoners put away years ago under the wave of draconian sentencing are now turning gray and frail, suffering from heart disease and hypertension and feeling the effects of Alzheimer’s and other age-related illnesses. Corrections officials once thought they had time to prepare for this, but something unexpected happened. Federal data shows that prison inmates age … [Read more...]

Another Century of Mass Incarceration?

It’s that time of the year again, when many of us like to take stock and commit to changes that will bring us closer to our goals. It’s not a bad time for policymakers to do the same. Here at the Prison Policy Initiative, we often find it useful to look back at how our criminal justice system has evolved over time. Year-to-year fluctuations are less distracting from that perspective, so we can also identify the pivotal political changes that have had truly dramatic impacts, like the “tough on … [Read more...]

U.S. Correctional Population at Lowest Level in Over a Decade

The nation’s jail and prison population decreased in 2015, according to federal data released last Thursday, and the number of adults locked up or on parole or probation fell to a level not seen since 2002 while overall crime continued to drop. Reasons for the declining incarceration rates include the federal prison system releasing thousands of nonviolent drug offenders in 2015 and states seeking to save money by enacting legislation and policies to reduce prison populations. In … [Read more...]

LA County Jails Knowingly Expose Prisoners to Deadly Fungal Infection

For nearly three years, the LA No More Jails Coalition has been organizing against the construction of a new women's jail in the city of Lancaster, California, which sits at the northern edge of LA County -- home to the largest jail system in the country. The fight has been a long one, and organizers continue to work to ensure that public funds are diverted away from another jail, and instead invested toward alternatives -- diversion programs that would get people released and much needed … [Read more...]

Trump Sets Private Prisons Free

Going into Election Day, few industries seemed in worse shape than America’s private prisons. Prison populations, which had been rising for decades, were falling. In 2014, Corrections Corporation of America, the biggest private-prison company in the U.S., lost its contract to run Idaho’s largest prison, after lawsuits relating to understaffing and violence that had earned the place the nickname Gladiator School. There were press exposés of shocking conditions in the industry and signs of a … [Read more...]

Trump’s Win Gives Stocks in Private Prison Companies a Reprieve

As terrific as Donald J. Trump has been for the stock market, he has been absolutely spectacular for a troubled niche: companies that run for-profit prisons and immigration detention centers for states and the federal government. In the market rally on the day after the election, the stock with the best performance was Corrections Corporation of America, the nation’s biggest prison company. It soared 43 percent that day. Shares of the GEO Group, its main competitor, rose 21 percent. These … [Read more...]

Protesters Against New LA County Jail Shut Down Board of Supervisors Meeting

Protesters opposing the construction of a new women’s jail in Lancaster temporarily shut down the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday just before a vote was taken on moving forward with the project’s design. Shouting “This jail is disruptive!,” members of the LA No More Jails Coalition drowned out requests to be quiet and forced the board of supervisors into an early recess while Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies cleared the room. No arrests were made. The Board … [Read more...]

Faith Leaders Go to Jail

Faith leaders from Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties took a tour inside two of the Los Angeles County jail facilities led by the Rev. Dr. Art Cribbs, executive director of Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity and its Justice Not Jails program. The Rev. J. Edgar Boyd, pastor of First AME Church of Los Angeles, said, “The experience was quite educational. My God, what a waste of youthful energy locked in troubling storage.” Joining the delegation also from Los Angeles were the Rev. … [Read more...]

Grassroots Pressure Delays Jail Construction Vote

Organizers release report detailing environmental health hazards of the proposed women’s jail in Los Angeles Last week, grassroots organizations in Los Angeles submitted a series of concerns regarding the proposed $120 million women’s jail in Lancaster that resulted in the Board of Supervisors delaying the vote on the final Environmental Impact Report.  Organizers released a report entitled, “We are not Disposable: The Toxic Impacts of Prisons and Jails” today and will follow up with a press … [Read more...]