Prison Reform

The prison population in the United States is larger than any other country. The growth of our prison system is unmatched.

10x More Mentally Ill Americans in Prison Than In State Hospitals


Tara Culp-Ressler: 44 states and the District of Columbia have at least one jail that houses more people with mental illnesses than the largest state psychiatric hospital does.

Terminal Illness in Prison


Bruce Reilly: According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, between 2001 and 2011, cancer and heart disease were the leading causes of over 3000 annual deaths in state prisons.

Quality Healthcare for Prisoners Can Make Communities Safer


Jeanette Marantos: With prison costs and populations soaring and more than half of the incarcerated grappling with mental illness, addiction and/or infectious disease, it’s time for doctors to step up and advocate for prison health care reform, using the Affordable Care Act to make many of those reforms possible.

Cage Complex: Why Is America’s Prison Population Soaring?

california prisons

Wendy McElroy: The “private prison complex” is a creation of crony capitalism through which privileged corporations are paid well for the “care” of inmates and for leasing out prison labor to other businesses.

Dying Inside: Lifers, the Dying and California’s Correctional Paradigm


Jonathan Simon: Prison sentences must have limits to be rational and just and almost everyone agrees that California’s years of penal populism led legislators and prosecutors to produce sentences that having little relationship to either moral desert or risk.

In Black and White: African-Americans in the Criminal Justice System

African Americans Criminal Justice System

Justice is supposed to be color blind, especially in America. But is this really true? Blacks in the U.S. face overwhelming prejudice within the criminal justice system.

Movement Building and Challenging Mass Incarceration


Raj Jayadev: Is it time for community members to work with an often overwhelmed public defender system to keep people out of prison in the U.S.? One organizer in California says, “Yes.”

Death Penalty: A Broken System


Muna Adem: To date, more than two-thirds of nations worldwide have abolished the death penalty either in law or practice, and today the U.S. is the only democratic Western nation that imposes death sentences on its citizens.

California’s Radical De-Incarceration Experiment


De-Incarceration: By managing offenders at the local level, California’s counties can develop solutions rooted in best practices.

Death Penalty Reform’s Strange Bedfellows Bad News for Blacks in California


Death Penalty Reform: Anytime three of California’s former governors agree, run as fast as you can in the opposite direction.

How Solitary Confinement Hurts Youth


Kate McCracken: We cannot just lock these youth up and throw away the key. Correctional facilities, deemed the “parent” of these youth, must provide a safe environment for youth to be successful.

Children in Solitary Confinement


Youth in Solitary: The U.S. is still the only country willing to allow its citizens to die in prison for crimes they commit as minors.

Why I Will Never Raise My Voice Against Funding Prisoner Education


Funding Prisoner Education: Prison now is for poor people who have broken laws that rich people are almost never jailed for.

What Sweden Can Teach America About Incarceration


Swedish Prisons: Until Americans can see themselves as interconnected, the social fibers of institutions will be at conflict with citizens.

Brown Administration Finally Agrees to More Comprehensive Criminal Justice Reform


Comprehensive Criminal Justice Reform: Setting up commission whose recommendations become law unless a two-thirds vote overturns them.

Why Can’t California Get Prison Healthcare Right?


California Prison Healthcare — A prison system that can’t get that right shouldn’t be allowed to continue to operate prisons.

States Are Regretting Prisons for Profit


Private Prisons Failing — If the private prison industry is being called out in Idaho, Arizona and Texas, it’s happening elsewhere.

41 Years in Solitary Confinement, Despite Three Overturned Convictions


Albert Woodfox has been confined to solitary for over 40 years: animal rights advocates would be outraged if animals got such treatment.

3 Ways to Successfully Reform Criminal Justice


California Policy Reform — In 2014, policymakers should develop solutions that reflect California’s most vulnerable populations.

George Will: Off the Reservation, Again!


George Will Mandatory Sentencing — With the folly of mandatory sentencing, Will seems to be pleading that we just stop making things worse.

Planning for the Future of Justice-Involved Youth


California Juvenile Justice — It is time to revisit this tool for keeping youth in our communities and not in state facilities.

New Laws to Help Californians Clean Up Their Records


Criminal Justice Realignment : Having a criminal history can result in crippling and indefinite barriers.

Mass Incarceration, Mass Deportation

Prison Industrial Complex (9)

Governing Through Crime — We must demand a full dismantling of both these legacies of the era of governing through crime.

Delbert Tibbs, Death Row Survivor, May You Rest In Peace


David Love: During times of strife, conflict and violence, we turn to the Delbert Tibbses of our world to lead us down a path towards justice and righteousness. They know that winning the war we are fighting will not come through guns or drones, but rather with the forcefulness of our ideas, and the strength of our convictions.

The New Jim Crow: California Prison Style


Rosemary Jenkins: Over the last 30 years, our country has become number one in the world at having more people incarcerated at any one time (second only to what transpired during the reign of terror during Stalin’s regime).

What’s the Deal with Data?


Kate McCracken: The limit of available data inhibits our ability to examine various justice trends and influence state and local policies.

Confronting California’s Abuse of Solitary Confinement


Helen Vera: Seriously mentally ill prisoners all over California continue to be held in long-term solitary confinement, even though a recent court order prohibits those conditions for the mentally ill at Pelican Bay.

The Storm Has Arrived: Veterans in the Criminal Justice System


Randall G. Shelden: States with the highest percentages of veteran prisoners were those that tended to have the fewest military bases, with the state of Oregon ranked first and Nevada second.

“Ban the Box” Helps Forge Strong Labor-Community Alliances


Maurice Emsellem: The recent passage of AB218 — Assemblymember Roger Dickinson’s “ban the box” bill — was a shining example of the labor movement working in alliance with the community to expand economic opportunity to people hardest hit by unemployment.

Prison Officials Connecting Inmate Literature to Terrorism


Dan Bluemel: Law enforcement may very well be wasting its time by amassing voluminous amounts of reports on behavior that, in the end, is legal and innocuous.

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