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Prisons & Prisoners

DaaaihLoong writes: "Your tax dollars at work:

'Not one inmate has escaped from the 210-acre Eastern Reception,
and Correctional Center in Bonne Terre, which was completed last summer
a cost of $105 million and is guarded by more than 130 video cameras.
one inmate has been injured or gotten into a fight at this facility
designed to hold 2,684 of the nastiest characters around.
Not one inmate has felt the need to sue the state over prison
conditions at
Bonne Terre. Indeed, not one inmate has complained about the place.
Admittedly, not one inmate has stayed at Bonne Terre, either.

"Missouri is paying for the finished prison, mind you, to the tune of
payments totaling $168 million over the next 20 years. The state's
system is paying for its inaction as well, seeing as how its 28,641
are housed in 20 other institutions designed for roughly three-fourths

"Finally, the shaky little city of Bonne Terre (population 4,000) is
paying, having no new revenue to cover the $14 million in capital
improvements and infrastructure expenses it incurred in gleeful
anticipation of the facility and the 800-plus jobs (and thousands of
to prisoners) it was expected to bring.'

For the full article, go to:

http://www.riverfronttimes.com/issues/2001-12-26/r ay.html/1/index.html"

DaaaihLoong writes: "

Guard Convicted of Crushing Kittens

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- A prison guard was
convicted Tuesday of aggravated cruelty to animals for
crushing five kittens to death in a trash
compactor at Sing Sing.

Ronald Hunlock, 47, could get up to two years
in prison.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- A federal judge on
Tuesday threw out the death sentence imposed
nearly two decades ago on Mumia Abu-Jamal,
revered by supporters worldwide as a crusader
against racial injustice but reviled by others as an
unrepentant cop-killer.

U.S. District Judge William Yohn cited problems
with the jury charge and verdict form in the trial
that ended with the former journalist and Black
Panther's first-degree murder conviction in the
death of a Philadelphia police officer. The judge
denied all of Abu-Jamal's other claims and refused
his request for a new trial.

Wartime Terrorism Standards Threaten San Francisco AIDS Direct Activists

Bill Dobbs duchamp@mindspring.com, December 12, 2001

In a precedent-setting case, two activists were jailed November 28 in San
Francisco, with bail set at $500,000 each. Michael Petrelis and David
Pasquarelli are charged with a long list of felonies and misdemeanors
following their campaign against proposed AIDS quarantine laws. San
Francisco District Attorney Terence Hallinan declared in the San Francisco
"We are talking about terrorism here" -- although there are no
charges of violence. The men currently languish in jail with little prospect
of release. Beyond the charges under state law, there has been a serious
call for prosecution using new federal anti-terrorism legislation, the

DaaaihLoong writes: "The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, which runs the largest jail in the country, has quietly begun
distributing condoms to gay inmates at its downtown jail, joining
just six other jails and prisons in the country in an effort to stop
the spread of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases:

http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/ la-000095450nov30.story?coll=la%2Dnews%2Da%5Fsecti on."

DaaaihLoong writes: "A divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that a private firm that runs a correctional facility for the U.S. government cannot be sued in federal court for damages under a precedent allowing federal officials to be held liable.

The case involved John Malesko, who was convicted for federal securities fraud and sentenced to 18 months in prison.

He was diagnosed with a heart condition, and in 1994 was transferred to a halfway house in New York City to serve out the rest of his sentence. The facility was operated by Correctional Services Corp. for the Bureau of Prisons.

He said a guard prevented him from using the elevator to go from the lobby to his room on the fifth floor. While climbing the stairs, he suffered a heart attack, fell and injured himself. He also claimed the company failed to replenish his medication 10 days before the heart attack.

The number of prisoners housed in private facilities nationwide has skyrocketed to more than 141,000 from 15,476 in the last 10 years, Correctional Services Corp. has told the court.

Bureau of Prisons statistics show that about 10 percent of its total population of sentenced prisoners were held in privately operated facilities.

For the full story, go to:

http://news.findlaw.com/business/s/20011127/courtp risonsdc.html"

shoplift writes: "Although video visitation deprives prison inmates of face-to-face contact with their visitors, the technology has the potential to strengthen ties between the incarcerated and the outside world. Most visitation systems are set up on a Local Area Network to allow for remote court arraignments, meaning that, at the metaphorical flick of a switch, any appropriately equipped personal computer in the world could receive a video transmission from prison. So far, inmate class-action suits have only demanded less video visitation, not more. Prison activists have largely relied on civil rights arguments, saying video visitation makes illegal surveillance easy. But as the inmate population becomes socialized to accept video visitation, it is quite possible that future inmates will demand that these Wide Area Networks be activated and visitation portals be made available to their families at public places such as libraries. It could be done tomorrow, saving families from having to bus or drive for hours to prisons in remote locations. In addition, prison officials who claim to want to strenghten ties between prisoners and the outside world could prove really mean it, because none of the usual counter-arguments about contraband and disruption apply. Many prisoners already favor video visitation, particularly those who don't want to expose their families to prisons. Such inmates could soon demand increased access to the technology already in place. Moreover, the security electronics industry would eagerly back them up."

DaaaihLoong writes: "On November 13 the LA Times posted a story on minority youth successfully protesting the expansion in size and funding of a new juvenile facility in Oakland:

'In a tense scene, the minority youths stormed the
meeting--adopting protest tactics their grandparents used during
the civil rights movement. One by one, sometimes shouting over
board members, the teens argued that California already had too
many "superjails" for young people and that the money would be
better spent on prevention programs.'

As a result, state officials voted to withhold $20 million of $50 million earmarked for the

PHILADELPHIA -- (AP) A judge on Wednesday rejected a plea for a new trial
from Mumia Abu-Jamal, the former Black Panther and journalist sentenced
to death for killing a police officer in 1981.

Common Pleas Judge Pamela Dembe said she does not have jurisdiction over
Abu-Jamal's petition for a new trial, scuttling his hopes for another
round of state-court appeals.

Abu-Jamal argued that his former lawyers did a poor job and that he has
new evidence that could clear him.

DaaaihLoong writes: ""Video Arraignments Saving Money, Providing Safer

Associated Press (11/02/01); Coleman, Randy

West Virginia's regional jails have spent $350,000 to enable
video arraignments to take place. The advantage of the
procedure is that both prisoners and officers are both safer
and less likely to partake in altercations. While some
prisoners may miss getting out of jail to ride to the
courthouse, other prefer avoiding the embarrassment of
encountering friends and family. The television has
protective glass for the rare occasions when an inmate
becomes violent during a video arraignment."


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