The JPay giveth, while the JPay taketh away.

News about the JPAY tablet seems to be making the rounds again, even hitting the BuzzFeed wire. The articles have been focused on the special tablets they’ve created to be used in the prison setting (see initial coverage here). We wrote about this critical innovation in prison education some time ago because there’s little doubt

Read More »

Taking the Charter School Approach to Prison

By Andra Ghent America spends a lot of money locking up a lot of people. Understandably, legislators are trying to find ways of cutting prison costs without increasing crime rates. One tactic legislators increasingly rely on to manage costs is private prisons. Research from the Sentencing Project shows that, between 1999 and 2010, the share

Read More »

Arizona Counties Vie for $24 Million Prison Deal in New Budget

By Craig Harris Gov. Doug Ducey is opening the door to allow counties to compete against private-prison companies for a lucrative multimillion-dollar contract to house state inmates. The move comes after county sheriffs — including conservatives — complained that the Republican governor and GOP-controlled Legislature weren’t giving them an opportunity to make money by putting

Read More »

Prison Legal News Investigation

Prison Legal News is seeking information from prisoners and their families concerning deceptive practices which are designed to siphon funds away from inmates’ trust and commissary accounts. We at the Prison Law Blog encourage you to assist Prison Legal News in their investigation. Their notice is as follows: Prison Legal News is collecting information about

Read More »

For-Profit Prisons: A Barrier to Serious Criminal Justice Reform

By Dianne Frazee-Walker

Anyone interested in prison reform is aware the United States incarcerates more people than any other country in the world. Even though our country is large, only five percent of the world’s population inhabit the US. Incredibly, the country’s jails and prisons house 25 percent of all the inmates on the planet. An astounding one-quarter of all of the world’s prisoners are spending time behind bars in the U.S. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, every 33 adults in the U.S. are incarcerated in America’s jails or prisons.   

A major contributor to these outrageous statistics, which have doubled since 1990 is the “war on drugs” that has transformed into “the war on indigent people.”

The reasons for incarceration discrimination do not end with economic status. People of color are disproportionately locked-up for minor offenses. A significant factor for this social ill is a lingering policy that has sent countless offenders to prison for years. A small amount of crack cocaine found in the pockets of poor blacks has sent them to prison for decades. However, middle or upper-class whites will endure a mere “slap on the wrist” for cocaine offenses.   

More people are behind bars because of drugs than murder, rape or any other violent offense and it is costing tax-payers more than $50 billion a year to keep this atrocity going.

There is only one entity that is benefitting from this out of control economic disaster. The prison industry.

Business moguls have gotten wind of the mass incarceration problem in the U.S. and are making profits off of a deteriorating situation.

Read More »

Mangaung and Beyond: Private Prison Exemplifies South Africa’s Criminal Justice Woes

By James Kilgore / Prison Legal News

In recent months a battle has erupted at Mangaung prison in South Africa. Mangaung, located near the city of Bloemfontein, is one of the country’s two privately-operated correctional facilities. Managed by British-based G4S, which bills itself as the “world’s largest security” company, Mangaung reflects a troubled criminal justice system littered with overcrowded, poorly resourced prisons. A September 2013 strike by guards from the Police and Prison Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) sparked the latest round of drama; the guards were protesting the dismissal of several shop stewards as well as poor working conditions. G4S responded by firing 300 prison staff.

In early October 2013, with the facility still reeling from the mass terminations, a female guard was held hostage for twelve hours. The next day another guard was stabbed. Speaking for G4S, company spokesman Andy Baker alleged that prisoners were being paid to destabilize Mangaung. “We assume it is linked to ongoing staffing strife,” he told the media, implying the union was behind the attacks.

At that point, Minister of Correctional Services Sbu Ndebele stepped in and placed Mangaung under the direct supervision of the state, essentially terminating G4S’s 25-year contract with the South African government signed in 2000. Ndebele claimed G4S management had lost “effective control over the prison.” The move reflected a broader rejection of private prisons by the South African government: Ndebele’s predecessor, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, had blocked the implementation of a bidding process for four more private prisons in 2011. As it presently stands, the country’s only privately-operated facility is Kutama Sinthumule in Limpopo province, co-owned by Kensani Corrections (Pty) Ltd. and the Florida-based GEO Group.

Read More »