Prisons Posts

“Culture of Indifference” in Jails

Epstein’s Death Reveals “Culture of Indifference” in Jails: (“Jeffrey Epstein’s apparent suicide has drawn headlines since it happened. But advocates say the only unusual aspect of his death is how much attention it’s receiving. The circumstances are painfully familiar to prisoners, their families, and advocates. * * * On Saturday, Epstein was discovered dead in his cell at the federally run Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York. The billionaire was facing charges of sex trafficking, and accused of targeting underage girls. * * * “He is obviously an unusually unsympathetic character, but when the government takes you into custody, the government assumes a duty to protect you, including to protect you from self-harm and suicide,” said David Fathi, director of the ACLU National Prison Project. ‘And it’s a duty that all too often the government completely fails to discharge.'”)

Congress Finds BOP Fails to Adequately Address Misconduct in Federal Prisons

Misconduct in Federal Prisons Is Tolerated or Ignored, Congressional Report Says: (“Misconduct in the federal prison system is widespread, tolerated and routinely covered up or ignored, including among senior officials, according to a congressional report released this week. * * * The report, by the House Subcommittee on National Security, found that a permissive environment in the Bureau of Prisons had often made lower-ranking employees targets of abuse—including sexual assault and harassment—by prisoners and staff members. * * * Inmates can easily exploit that culture of permissiveness, the report said. ‘If they know that an employee will get little support from management if harassed, that employee becomes a target.’”)

Senators Oppose Prison Bill with No Federal Sentencing Reform

Why Some Senators Who Want a Criminal Justice Overhaul Oppose a Prisons Bill: (“Supporters of a federal criminal justice system overhaul seemed well on their way to victory after legislation breezed through the House last week on an impressive bipartisan vote. It has strong Trump administration backing, including the imprimatur of Jared Kushner, the presidential adviser and son-in-law who is eager for a progressive policy win, as well as important friends in the Senate. * * * There is just one problem: Senior Senate authors of a long-stalled but much more comprehensive criminal justice package are steadfastly opposed to the alternative plan. They consider it an insufficient half-measure for its focus on prison programs without changes in federal sentencing laws. And they have the clout — and perhaps the votes — to stall it, if not block it altogether.”)