Grady Judd (@PolkCoSheriff, 1-800-226-0344) is the Sheriff of Polk County, FL, in the path of Hurricane Irma; his emergency communications have included repeated warnings to Floridians with outstanding warrants that they will not be welcomed at the state's shelters, and can expect to have their warrant status checked before admission to a shelter, and to be taken to jail if they have warrants outstanding. Read the rest
With Donald Trump reversing Obama's ban on the use of private prisons for federal prisoners and vowing to deport 11 million people; and Attorney General Jeff Sessions instructing prosecutors to seek long prison sentences for minor offenses, the investor community could not be more bullish on the private prison sector. Read the rest
"Escaping Prison with Dungeons & Dragons" is a moving, 10-minute documentary about prisoners who used tabletop role-playing games to survive their incarceration. Read the rest
Machine learning companies are making big bucks selling opaque, secretive sentencing algorithm tools to America's court systems: the vendors of these systems claim that they are too sophisticated to explain, and use that opacity to dismiss critics who say the algorithms oversentence black and poor people. Read the rest
A UK weapons company called Drone Defence has sold an anti-drone product to Les Nicolles prison on Guernsey that will use 20 nonspecific "disruptors" to do something to drones that will stop them from overflying the prison and smuggling in contraband. Read the rest
Racist, perjuring Attorney General Jeff Sessions has issued guidance to federal prosecutors, ordering them to charge the people they will face in court with "the most serious offense you can prove," paving the way for a surge in America's already-shameful record of racially biased, family destroying, community-devastating, private-prison-enriching mass incarceration, which already outstrips the rates of incarceration in Apartheid-era South Africa, China and the USSR. Read the rest
On Hackaday, Alasdair Allan documents the ingenious techniques employed in the creation of the Beat the Boss Phone, a tiny, lozenge-shaped phone (with a voice-changer) that is designed to be smuggled past the BOSS metal detectors used in UK prisons in the rectums of prisoners. Read the rest
Donald Trump's racist, perjuring Attorney General, former senator Jefferson Sessions, was signaled that he will reverse Obama-era AG Eric Holder's memo that told federal prosecutors not to bring charges against petty drug offenders, because these crime carry absurd minimum sentences that resulted in America imprisoning a greater proportion of its population than any country in the history of the world, including the USSR and Apartheid-era South Africa. Read the rest
On inauguration day, 214 protesters were arrested in DC on felony riot charges, and now they face up to $25,000 in fines and up to 10 years in prison, though no one -- not the cops, not the prosecutors -- believes that more than a handful were involved in property damage or disorderly conduct. Read the rest
United Airlines is already dealing with intense public backlash after a doctor was beaten, knocked out, and dragged off one of its plane for refusing to give up a seat he'd paid paid for because United wanted his seat for one of its employees. Now, the LA Times is reporting that another man, who'd purchased a full-fare first class ticket and was sitting is his seat on a United Flight, was threatened with handcuffs if he did't give up his seat for a "higher-priority" traveler.
Read the rest
[Geoff Fearns] boarded the aircraft at Lihue Airport on the island of Kauai, took his seat and enjoyed a complimentary glass of orange juice while awaiting takeoff.
Then, as Fearns tells it, a United employee rushed onto the aircraft and informed him that he had to get off the plane.
“That’s when they told me they needed the seat for somebody more important who came at the last minute,” Fearns said. “They said they have a priority list and this other person was higher on the list than me.”
“I understand you might bump people because a flight is full,” Fearns said. “But they didn’t say anything at the gate. I was already in the seat. And now they were telling me I had no choice. They said they’d put me in cuffs if they had to.”
As the scandal over a United passenger who was beaten unconscious and dragged off a plane when he refused to give up his seat for a deadheading crewmember unspools, there's a predictable torrent of bullshit about how United was in the right because something something private property, and let us not forget the great American sport of victim-blaming. Read the rest
With Obama's federal government reducing the role of private prisons in the incarceration of Americans, companies like Corrections Corporation of America (now known as Corecivic) and GAO aggressively moved into providing detention facilities for people awaiting deportation, like the 2,000,000+ people deported under the Obama administrations. Read the rest
If you're convicted of a crime in Orange County, you can shell out thousands of dollars to be housed in Seal Beach's fancy "pay to stay" jail, which made $365,000 in the last fiscal year by aggressively marketing its "work release, flat screen TVs, computer/media room, clean facility, new beds" to deep-pocketed criminals, who pay $100 a night to stay there rather than one of Orange County's notoriously violent, dirty jails. Read the rest
Lauren McLaughlin is no stranger to hard-hitting, unflinching young adult novels: her debut, Cycler
(and its sequel, Re-Cycler
) was about a teenaged girl who turned into a boy for four days every month; Scored
was a class-conscious surveillance dystopia; now, in The Free
, McLaughlin sheds any fantastic or futuristic elements and mainlines a pure, angry, relentless and stripped-down story about a kid whose desperate circumstances become almost unbearable when he takes a fall for a car-theft and goes to juvenile prison.
When I saw that the cell phone designed for rectal smuggling was called "Beat the Boss," I assumed "The Boss" was a synonym for "The Man," but it turns out it's a reference to a specific product: Xeku's Body Orifice Security Scanner (BOSS), a "hygienic cavity search" chair that scans prisoners for rectal contraband. Read the rest
The "Beat the Boss phone" is an £27 micro-telephone built into a Bluetooth headset with only trace amounts of metal in its construction; it is lozenge-shaped and is designed to be rectally smuggled into prisons, jails and courtrooms. Read the rest
Evan from Fight for the Future writes, "Chelsea Manning saw injustice and stood up for what's right. Now, she's serving a 35 year sentence in an all-male military prison, and has faced systematic abuse. But now there's hope! President Obama has reportedly put her on a "short list" of candidates for a possible commutation. we need to show how much support Chelsea has right now, so people are posting photos with their arms outstretched, to tell POTUS they want Chelsea Manning free, so we can all give her a hug. Post your own photos to #HugsForChelsea and we'll add them to the gallery!" Read the rest