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Nearly half the people admitted to state prisons in the U.S. are there because of violations of probation or parole, according to a new nationwide study that highlights the personal and economic costs of the practice.

The Council of State Governments Justice Center said the majority of these violations are for "minor infractions," such as failing a drug test or missing a curfew. Those so-called technical violations cost states $2.8 billion every year, the report says.

Women In Prison

Jun 14, 2019
Pixabay

Incarceration rates have been decling-but not for women. The number of women in U.S prisons has increased since 1990, making rate of incarceration for women twice that of men.

This increase across the U.S and Ohio is accused to the opiod crisis which correelates to addiction-realted crimes. Still many women fight with addiction, mental and other health related issues.

Today on All Sides, the problem of women in prison and new solutions to respond.

Jamie Monghan is a prisoner at the Ohio Reformatory for Women. She lives in the Tapestry Unit for women in addiction recovery.
Gabe Rosenberg / WOSU

Heroin ran Stephanie Pollock's life. She woke up in the morning with heroin on her mind, her day revolved around it, and everything else including her three kids and her own well-being paled in comparison.

A New Approach For Women In Prison

May 30, 2019
Paige Pfleger / WOSU

The number of women in U.S. prisons has more than doubled since 1990. And the rate of incarceration for women is twice that of men.

Much of the increase is in Ohio and across the country is blamed on the opioid crisis, which has spurred a surge in addiction-related crime. And many incarcerated women still struggle with addiction, mental and other health issues.

Today on All Sides, the problem of women in prison and new approaches to respond.  

Should people convicted of a crime be allowed to vote while in prison?

It's a question that's divided 2020 Democratic presidential candidates and sparked attacks from President Trump and his allies.

At a CNN town hall event on April 22, presidential hopeful and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was asked whether his support for allowing inmates to vote would extend to Boston Marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Tsarnaev has been sentenced to death for his role in the 2013 attack.

The Ohio Parole Board met to hear the clemency case of convicted killer and death row inmate Ronald Phillips in December 2016.
Karen Kasler / Statehouse News Bureau

After a former member slammed the state parole board for secrecy, a lack of diversity and issues with board members missing meetings, Gov. Mike DeWine has proposed changes and added three new members.

Inmates are among the least-educated people in America. That's despite research that shows education is one of the most effective ways to keep people from coming back to prison.

Now, there's renewed interest in giving adults behind bars better access to higher education. A new bipartisan bill in Congress would allow incarcerated people to use federal Pell Grants — designed for low-income students — to pay for higher education, including college classes and workforce training.

James Sutton / Unsplash

A typical phone call usually doesn't cost much, if anything. But in jails and prisons, inmates must pay to use phones to stay in touch with loved ones and their lawyers. These prices can vary dramatically based on where someone is incarcerated.

Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio.
John Minchillo / Associated Press

Discrepancies in sentencing among Ohio inmates inspired a recent documentary on the inequities of the U.S. justice system.

Ashoor Rasho has spent more than half his life alone in a prison cell in Illinois — 22 to 24 hours a day. The cell was so narrow he could reach his arms out and touch both walls at once.

"It was pretty broke down — the whole system, the way they treated us," says the 43-year-old Rasho, who has been diagnosed with several mental health conditions, including severe depression, schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder.

Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio.
John Minchillo / Associated Press

A U.S. Department of Justice survey found that from 2010 to 2014, incarcerated children had suicide rates two to three times higher than their peers in the general population.

A U.S. Marshals probe of the Cuyahoga County jail uncovered conditions so severe that they put the safety of staff and inmates at risk, according to a report released Wednesday morning.

Among the Marshals’ findings were that the jail used food as a form of punishment, that meals failed to meet nutritional standards, that inmates received inadequate medical care and that defendants awaiting court were placed in cells without working toilets or running water.

Paige Pfleger / WOSU

Alisha Floyd bounces her son Chance on her lap. He giggles and pulls her hair.

“He’s the fattest baby here,” she says, laughing.

The warden at the women's prison in Iowa recently instructed her corrections officers to stop giving out so many disciplinary tickets for minor violations of prison rules, like when a woman wears her sweatshirt inside out or rolls up her sleeves.

It's a small thing. But it's also part of a growing movement to reconsider the way women are treated in prison.

When Monica Cosby, Tyteanna Williams and Celia Colon talk about the years they spent as inmates at women's prisons in Illinois, their stories often turn to the times they would be disciplined for what seemed like small, even absurd things.

Cosby was playing Scrabble in her cell once when a guard asked what she was doing. She responded sarcastically: "What does it look like I'm doing?" He wrote her up for "contraband" (the Scrabble set) and for "insolence."

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