Prison News Roundup

16 May

The conservative-majority Roberts Court has yet again blocked a lawsuit on behalf of Binyamin Mohamed and other Bush-era victims of extraordinary rendition. I am beginning to think these Supremes could have done a better job overseeing this country’s courts than the Supremes we’ve got.

Did you know New Zealand has a “faith-based” prison? Neither did I, and it sounds all kinds of problematic. It has restorative justice programs but, apparently, no “rehabilitative” programming, and now the New Zealand department of corrections has ordered it to add one. New Zealand has one of the highest prison-population-per-100,000 persons ratios in the developed world; half its prisoners belong to the country’s indigenous Maori population.

More on elderly prisoners, medical bills, and cost containment, this time from the Houston Chronicle.  

Michigan seeks to privatize prison food provision, a cost-containment measure that has led to lowered food quality and profiteering in other states.

Overreacting to the new availability of small recording devices, some states are imposing draconian prison terms on people who make audio- or video-recordings of police activity (including recordings of their own harrassment at police hands). One mechanic may face up to 75 years in prison for making a tape of a public hearing in which he was involved, after officials denied his request for a court reporter. (More on this issue from Reason Magazine. Warning: libertarian publication; serious ick factor.)

Speaking of draconian sentences, an environmental activist may get up to ten years for disrupting federal public-land auctions (he made bids he couldn’t afford to pay, hoping to save a few wild spaces from the oil companies).

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