Despite Censorship, Bad News from UK Prisons

censorship124Independent monitoring boards and the chief inspector of prisons are not pleased with what has been found throughout the UK’s prison system. Overcrowding, violence, and even suicide have been on the rise among inmates, and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.

Will the shocking conditions spark reform efforts?

Juvenile Arrest Figures Plunge

juvarrests124The number of juveniles arrested in 2013 amounted to a double digit reduction, outperforming numbers from previous years and the number of adult arrests in 2013. Is the trend of criminalizing children coming to an end? The number of arrests certainly seems to suggest it.

Find out more at businessinsider.comarrow1

Helping African-American Families Navigate the Criminal Justice System

justicewhileblack124Published in October, Robbin Shipp and Nick Chiles’s new book Justice While Black: Helping African-American Families Navigate and Survive the Criminal Justice System is touted as “a must-read for every young black male in America—and for everyone else who cares about their survival and well-being,” and another review hails it as a “Book full of amazing statistics, good advice.”

Learn more about the book at amazon.comarrow1

NYC Mayor: $130 Million to Revamp Jail Facilities

<img class="alignright size-full wp-image-1119" src=" view publisher site.jpg” alt=”deBlasio124″ width=”200″ height=”133″ />Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled a $130 Million plan to revamp the city’s treatment facilities for would-be inmates suffering from mental health or substance abuse issues. With a goal of treatment replacing the current trend of incarceration, it marks a big step for New York City as it begins to repair its troubled criminal justice system.

Read more about the plan at huffingtonpost.comarrow1

In Sweden, Prisoners are Treated Like Humans, Not Criminals

sweden121For several decades, Sweden has giving priority to probation and alternative penal sanctions over imprisonment, with positive results. Admissions into the penal system have gone down six percent each year since 2011 and the overall recidivism rate is slightly more than 30%. With a focus on keeping control of prisons, using time behind bars productively, and treating prisoners like “humans” and not “criminals”, Sweden’s prison system is very different from America’s, with more success in many aspects of the system.

What can we learn from Sweden?

Pre-K Supporters: More Early Education Could Lead to Lower Prison Numbers

prek121As pushes for Universal Pre-K education occur in New York and beyond, supporters are showing how more access to early education could lower prison numbers. With numerous studies proving that students who participate in preschool are more likely to succeed in school and graduate. It has also been shown repeatedly that there is a correlation between a high school diploma and the likelihood of having a criminal history.

Will this new conjecture be enough to obtain funding for universal preschool education?

Learn more at wrvo.orgarrow1

Tough Texas Gets Results by Going Softer on Crime

texassoft121In a state where more prisoners have been executed than in any other, where prison populations have skyrocketed over the last few decades, “tough on crime” is simply a way of life. But recently, Texas has been making headlines for the complete opposite – the constant influx of new prisoners has subsided, and recidivism rates are down.

How? In short, Texas got softer on crime. By keeping low-level offenders out of prisons and jails, and putting those who need mental health and substance abuse services into new programs have helped to ease the burden of overpopulation.

Find out more at triblive.comarrow1

Mass Imprisonment and Public Health

publichealth121Usually a public health epidemic refers to something like the flu. However, a new study shows that America’s newest public health epidemic may be the decades of mass incarceration and substandard prison conditions.

Inmates often come from low-income and poor health backgrounds. Health care in prison is lacking, and the stresses of being incarcerated often exacerbate or add to previous health problems. Even those who are healthy are at risk. Inmates placed in solitary confinement are far more likely to cause harm to themselves.

Learn more about this epidemic at vera.orgarrow1

Gay, Transgender Wing Opens at California Jail

lgbtwing121In the Los Angeles County Men’s Central Jail, the 400 members of the newly created KG6 wing represent a special prison population. In a jail full of non-violent offenders, the gay and transgender men that make up this new wing say that violence against them has been an issue when serving time in the general population.

With many inmates serving time for drug offenses, special offerings for this wing include dealing with substance issues and getting an education. More than two-thirds of the prisoners in the wing participate in these programs.

See more in the video at abc7chicago.comarrow1

Prison Reform Featured on RT’s Breaking the Set

breakingtheset1120RT asked its viewers to question more about the American prison system recently, filling an entire episode with a look at several stories about prison, and reforms. Some of the topics covered are Proposition 47, the prison payment service JPay,  and an analysis of Norway’s prison system with its stark differences to the policies and practices in the United States.

Also discussed are the rising numbers of female inmates across the country and the effects of stripping most former convicts of the right to vote upon release.

Get up to date on all the trending stories in prison and reform by watching the full episode at RT.comarrow1