prison

As COVID-19 begins to hit jails and lockups around the country, the Trump administration is coming under growing pressure to release elderly and other particularly vulnerable inmates in the federal prison system to mitigate the risk of the virus' spread.

Already, three inmates and three staff at federal correctional facilities across the United States have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. In detention centers at the state and local level, including in New York City's jail system, confirmed cases of COVID-19 are on the rise.

In this Oct. 10, 2018, file photo, a voter casts their ballot on the first day of early voting at the Hamilton County Board of Elections in Cincinnati.
John Minchillo / Associated Press

Federal appeals judges have ruled that people in Ohio who unexpectedly find themselves in jail ahead of an election should not be granted the same ability to vote late as those who are suddenly hospitalized.

Women in prison, when compared with incarcerated men, often receive disproportionately harsh punishments for minor violations of prison rules, according to a report released Wednesday by a federal fact-finding agency.

Sweet Cheeks Diaper Bank is getting a new crop of volunteers: inmates from the Hamilton County Justice Center. Under a partnership, female inmates can get their sentences reduced by participating in work details with the diaper bank.

Robert Alexander has been away from home for more than a decade. His days and nights are spent locked up behind walls topped with barbed wire.

"Prison kind of gives you that feeling that you're like on an island," says Alexander, 39, who is studying for a bachelor's degree in biblical studies while serving his third prison sentence.

Clad in an oversized gray sweatshirt under the fluorescent lights inside the visiting room of Wisconsin's oldest state prison, he is more than 70 miles from his last address in Milwaukee.

The 2020 Census will be conducted next year. Many citizens will be counted in the places where they’ve grown up and currently live.

But if you’re incarcerated, you may be counted as a resident of the county in which you’re imprisoned and not the one you’re actually from.

That practice is known as prison gerrymandering. It can inflate the population of a county with a large prison population, giving more power to the people who vote there.

Donna McMullen holds a photo of her daughter, Jessica, who died in September.
Paige Pfleger / WOSU

“That’s my mommy, look!” Three-year old Adalynn McMullen points a little dimpled finger at a collage of photos on a trifold board.

The photos show her mom, Jessica McMullen, over the years – from when she was in diapers to just a few years ago, holding Adalynn on her lap.

Gabe Rosenberg / WOsu

The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved changes to a bill, SB18, that would ban prison guards from shackling pregnant inmates.

This combination of undated images provided by the Gallia County Sheriff shows from left to right, Brynn Martin, Christopher Clemente, Troy McDaniel Jr. and Lawrence Lee III.
Gallia County Sheriff's Office via AP

Four inmates who overpowered two female corrections officers and escaped from an Ohio county jail were caught in North Carolina after slightly more than a day on the run, authorities in both states said.

Employment After Incarceration

Sep 19, 2019
Neil Conway / Flickr

If you’ve applied for a job lately, you probably have been asked to check a small box if you have ever been convicted of a felony.

For most people, that’s not a problem. But for thousands of ex-felons living in Ohio, where more than 850 laws and administrative rules restrict where former felons may work, it is. 

Today on All Sides, the changing policies and programs to help former felons after they’ve done their time. 

  

Guests:

The U.S. military court and prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, have cost more than $6 billion to operate since opening nearly 18 years ago and still churn through more than $380 million a year despite housing only 40 prisoners today.

Alisha Floyd and her son Chance were part of the Ohio Reformatory for Women's ABC Program.
Paige Pfleger / WOSU

Thursday marks the grand opening of a new home for the Ohio Reformatory for Women's Achieving Baby Care Success program (ABC). 

How Incarceration, Economic Decline Affect Opioid Deaths

Aug 26, 2019

As officials look for ways to stem the opioid epidemic, a lot of effort has been put into limiting narcotic prescriptions. But new research suggests underlying social issues -- like incarceration and poverty -- are linked to overdose deaths. 

Jeffrey Epstein And Suicide In Prison

Aug 20, 2019
FBI

The apparent prison suicide of accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein has cast a spotlight on the incidence of suicide in prison, which has increased over the last decade.

Experts blame staffing shortages and a lack of access to quality mental health services.  

Today on All Sides with Ann Fisher: prison protocols for suicide prevention. 

Yoel Alonso sat in a cell for 10 months before he ever met with a lawyer. His wife had to travel 1,000 miles to visit him at the remote Louisiana facility where he was detained.

Alonso is not imprisoned for committing a crime. In fact, he turned himself in to immigration officials last October, seeking asylum from Cuba. Since then, he has been detained in two rural facilities — first in Louisiana, and now in Adams County, Miss. — where he is faced with daunting legal hurdles. Chief among them: Alonso has met his lawyer only once in his nearly 11 months in federal custody.

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