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

Unpacking the US's "low unemployment": stagnant wages, bad jobs, high incarceration, discouraged workers back in school

The Trump administration is very proud of the US's historically low unemployment figures (lowest in 50 years), but statistics are deceiving, especially labor statistics. Read the rest

Canada Pension Plan is long on US private prisons and immigrant detention centers

Robbo sez, "As a Canadian in my later years I benefit from my monthly Canada Pension Plan payments. As a Canadian and a human being I am disgusted that CPP holds stock in Geo Group and CoreCivic, companies who operate for-profit prisons and immigrant detention centres. As MP Charlie Angus (NDP) sez: 'Quite frankly, if they’re going to be investing in private prisons, weapons manufacturers and tobacco companies, why aren’t they investing in narco gangs?' They better clean this shit up - and fast." Read the rest

Good news: California ends cash bail! Bad news: It's been replaced with a black-box algorithm.

Cash bail has turned American jails into debtors' prisons, where the wealthy can go about their business while awaiting trial, and the poor can languish for months or even years in jail because they can't make bail (in practice, they generally plead guilty, regardless of their innocence). Read the rest

Law and Order Republicans have suddenly discovered the undeniable injustice of "flipped" prosecution witnesses

Ken "Popehat" White, a former US Attorney turned criminal defense attorney, notes that the Republican outrage about "flipped" prosecution witnesses is awfully self-serving (given that Trump's bagman Michael Cohen and hushup capo David Pecker have both seemingly turned state's evidence), they have a point, as countless black and brown and poor defendants have discovered in their journey through the American justice system. Read the rest

Prisoners in 17 states are on strike, demanding an end to prison slavery and basic human justice

For the second time in two years, America's prisoners have staged a mass, coordinated strike, demanding an end to slave labor for incarcerated people, channels for redress of grievances, an end to racial discrimination in the American penal system, access to rehabilitation programs, the reinstatement of Pell grants, the right of ex-prisoners to vote, and the right of rehabilitated prisoners to be paroled. Read the rest

Florida's prisons change tech providers, wipe out $11.2m worth of music purchased by prisoners

For seven years, Florida state inmates could buy a $100 MP3 player from Access Corrections, the prisons' exclusive provider, and stock it with MP3s that cost $1.70 -- nearly double the going rate in the free world. Read the rest

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