Two years after a federal law banning shackling women during childbirth was passed, prisoners in America are still giving birth in chains

In 2010, the UN adopted a rule regarding incarcerated pregnant women: "instruments of restraint shall never be used … during labour, during birth and immediately after birth." In 2018, the Federal First Step Act banned shackling pregnant women, women giving birth, and women caring for newborns; but the law does not extend to local and state jails, where 85% of the incarcerated women in America are locked up. Read the rest

NYC paid McKinsey $27.5m to reduce violence at Riker's, producing useless recommendations backed by junk evidence

Consulting giant McKinsey -- notorious price-gougers and architects of ICE's gulags -- took on a contract to help reduce violence at Riker's Island, and, $27.5m later, produced nothing but a set of trite and pointless recommendations that were largely ignored, backed by "research" that both McKinsey personnel and Riker's guards helped to falsify. Read the rest

Cops and spooks all over the world rely on a junk-science "walking polygraph" method to steer their investigation

SCAN (Scientific Content Analysis) is a lie-detecting method invented by Avinoam Sapir, a former Israeli spook turned polygraph examiner that involves picking out small textual details from writing samples to determine when someone is lying. Sapir has used his method to determine the veracity of the Book of Genesis, and to conclude that Anita Hill might be a secret lesbian and that James Comey was likely sexually assaulted as a child. Read the rest

The south's latest culinary trend: inadequate, rotting prison food, supplemented by cattle feed

One of my favorite podcasts is Gravy, from the Southern Foodways Alliance, where highlight hidden and fascinating changes and progress in southern food -- from disappearing "community canneries" to Mahalia Jackson's once-booming chain of fried chicken restaurants to the strange story of the Tennessee hippie commune that pioneered vegan food in the USA to the Klan's Texas BBQ rallies of the 1920s. Read the rest

After Trump reversed Obama's restrictions on private federal prisons, states started banning them instead

Back in 2016, it looked like the private prison industry would finally die, thanks to an Obama memo directing the DoJ to reduce their use for federal prisoners, but the sector retrenched, doubling down on the slave-labor camps it maintained for US immigration authorities, and aggressively lobbying states to jail their citizens in private prisons. Read the rest

In an age of disappearing prison libraries, jail profiteers provide "free" crapgadget tablets that charge prisoners by the minute to read Project Gutenberg ebooks

The past couple years has seen a rise in prison profiteers who strike deals with state corrections departments to provide "free" tablets to prisoners (these being the flimsiest, cheapest, least reliable hardware imaginable), and then profiting by charging exorbitant sums for prisoners to send emails (selling "digital postage stamps" that have to be affixed to each "page" of email), videoconference with family members, and provide media, charging prisoners for music that they lose every time a prison changes suppliers. Read the rest

If you think Jeffrey Epstein was murdered because no prison would treat an inmate that negligently...

Ken "Popehat" White (previously) has expanded on his excellent Twitter thread about Jeffrey Epstein's suicide in jail, and just how (shamefully) normal it is for prisoners to die in custody due to indifference, overwork, malfeasance and sadism on the part of prison authorities. Read the rest

Edelman PR drops GEO Group after employee revolt at the prospect of laundering the reputation of private US concentration camps

Edelman is one of the world's leading PR firms, and despite the fact that they're the go-to if you want to launder the reputations of the House of Saud or the Transcanada pipeline by running massive fake-grassroots campaigns on social media, they also bill themselves as an ethical firm, refusing to take engagements for coal, tobacco or gun companies (they will, however run smear campaigns against vegan mayo). Read the rest

Elizabeth Warren proposes a ban on private prisons and immigration facilities

Elizabeth Warren has added another plank to her prodigious and admirable campaign platform of well-thought-through, progressive, sensible, popular proposals for a Warren administration: banning federal agencies (including ICE and the Department of Corrections) from contracting with private prisons. Warren also wants to stop contractors from charging inmates fees for essential services (including price-gouging on phone-calls, videoconferncing, mail, and email), and forcing contractors to comply with FOIA requests for information on their activities on behalf of government agencies. Read the rest

After American juvenile offenders are released, they can be re-imprisoned for failing to make restitution payments

Many states require criminals to make financial restitution to the victims of their crimes -- paying to replace the things the damaged or stole -- and this applies to juvenile offenders as well as adults. Read the rest

AOC has backed a progressive, anti-establishment public defender for DA of Queens

Tiffany Cabán is a 31 year old, Democratic Socialist, queer, Latinx public defender in New York City, who is running a grassroots campaign for the District Attorney's office in Queens; she's secured backing from the Democratic Socialists of America and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Read the rest

Beto O'Rourke just hired a "senior advisor" who used to lobby for Keystone XL, Seaworld and private prisons

Jeff Berman's got a new job! The former Obama/Clinton staffer is now Beto O'Rourke's senior advisor, having moved laterally from his post-Obama-campaign career working for the DC lobbyists Bryan Cave, where he lobbied on behalf of Seaworld, the Keystone XL pileline and the private prison industry. Read the rest

Chicago is demanding that children on bail wear private-sector ankle-cuffs with mics that can record them without their consent

Children who end up caught in Chicago's policing and justice system are being outfitted with ReliAlert XC3 GPS ankle-cuffs supplied by the Track Group, who use them to log children's movements and to bark orders at them, as well as listening in on them. The children have to wear them 24/7 while on bail awaiting trial. Read the rest

After boasting about running his company from prison, Martin Shkreli gets solitary confinement

Martin Shkreli's poor impulse control continues to land him in terrible trouble: his price-gouging on lifesaving drugs didn't land him in prison, but his profligate boasting about it did (to say nothing of the revocation of his bail after he put a bounty on Hillary Clinton's hair follicles). Read the rest

Florida inmates sue prisons for digitally confiscating the music they were sold

Last August, Florida's prison system announced that it was switching digital music providers and would be wiping out the $11.2 million worth of music that it had sold inmates -- music they'd paid for at $1.70/track, nearly double the going rate for music when not purchased from prison-system profiteers. Read the rest

American prisoners coerced or tricked into providing voice-prints for use in eternal, secret, unchecked surveillance

American prisoners are being forced -- on pain of losing access to the prison phone system -- to provide training data for a voice-print recognition algorithm that private contractors are building for biometric surveillance system that listens in on prisoners' calls. Read the rest

A data-driven look at the devastating efficacy of a far-right judge-education program

More than 40% of US federal judges have attended Manne seminars, a notionally "bipartisan" educational conference presented by a Florida "Law and Economics" institute whose invited ideological allies explained to judges why pollution is good for minorities (polluted neighborhoods are cheaper and therefore affordable by poor people), unions are bad, monopolies are economically efficient, discrimination in punishment is economically efficient, insider trading is economically efficient, and so on. Read the rest

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