Here’s a quick wrap-up of some news items that were noteworthy but not covered in our blog this week.
- From the ACLU Blog of Rights, Monday, March 12, 2012: A New York Times article on Sunday “reinforces what the ACLU and human rights activists around the nation have long said: it’s time to end the barbarously cruel practice…of locking down prisoners in long-term total isolation.” The article includes telling comments by Mississippi’s commissioner of corrections, who “started out believing that difficult inmates should be locked down as tightly as possible” but later changed his mind: “If you treat people like animals, that’s exactly the way they’ll behave.”
- From the Sentencing Project, Tuesday, March 13, 2012: “African-American teenagers are more likely to be sentenced to life in prison without parole if a judge or jury convicts them of murdering a white person, according to the first-ever survey in which juvenile lifers were questioned. Conversely, white teenagers who are convicted of murdering a black person are less likely to be sentenced to life without parole, the same survey found.”
- From Witness to Innocence, Wednesday, March 14, 2012: Death row exonerees will serve as expert consultants for a forthcoming Sundance Channel drama titled Rectify, which “will focus on the story of Daniel Holden, who is released after spending nearly twenty years on Georgia’s Death Row when DNA evidence disputes a key element of the prosecution’s case.”
- From Arizona Prison Watch, Wednesday, March 14, 2012: A workshop on restoring civil rights after release from incarceration will be held at the Maricopa County Superior Court Law Library on Wednesday, April 11, 2012, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Information is available at (602) 372-6803, and registration by phone is available at (602) 506-3461. Please see the Arizona Prison Watch blog for details on materials that should be brought to the workshop.
- From the Internationalist Prison Books Collective (Raleigh, North Carolina), via Solitary Watch, Wednesday, March 14, 2012: Eight inmates were put in solitary confinement after protesting work conditions. “Prisoners in these kitchens are made to work ten hours a day, seven days a week.” A call-in day was held on March 14, but prison officials can still be contacted now: Prison Warden Ken Lassiter, (919) 715-2645, and North Carolina Director of Prisons Robert C. Lewis, (919) 838-4000.
- From Grassroots Leadership News, Friday, March 16, 2012: Florida became “the first southern state to ban the shackling of pregnant women in their third trimester and during childbirth” with a bill that will take effect in July of this year. (A similar bill was recently approved in Arizona.)