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Prison Protest Is Now Part Of Shadowproof

If you’ve been wondering why I haven’t been posting any updates here in the last month or so, it is because this column has formally moved to, where I have been writing daily about prisons, jails and incarceration. Read more about Shadowproof here: Introducing Shadowproof More about Shadowproof In the coming weeks/months, I hope to migrate this site completely and redirect the domain to its new home. Thanks so much for reading and I hope you will join me over at [Continue reading]

New York City Enters Settlement With Feds Over Rikers Island Brutality

New York City and the Department of Justice settled a 2012 class action lawsuit this week brought by the Legal Aid Society (Nunez v City of New York), alleging rampant inmate abuse on Rikers Island. The Nunez lawsuit is just one of many to have detailed the horrific conditions facing inmates in NYC jails and underscores the pervasive brutality and impunity with which the city’s corrections officers have traditionally operated. In December of last year, Mayor Bill De Blasio’s [Continue reading]

Excited Delirium, the Use of Force and the Death of Natasha McKenna

Update: Taser’s role in the rise of excited delirium diagnoses is an important part of this story. H/T to @SusieMadrak Last week, police in Fairfax County, Virginia, said a medical examiner determined that a 37 year old mentally ill black woman named Natasha McKenna died of ‘excited delirium’ in February after being tased and restrained by six armored sheriff’s deputies. I had never heard of excited delirium before, so I dug into it a little bit. The American Psychiatric [Continue reading]

New York City Council Introduces 10 Bills to Reform Rikers Island

Update: A few thoughts on this reform package. This week, New York City Council members introduced 10 bills outlining various reforms to the Department of Correction and city jails. Most of the proposals are focused on capturing data and increasing transparency, while others involve measures like crisis intervention programming and the establishment of an inmate “Bill of Rights.” The language and formatting used in these bills can be difficult to read, but this stuff is important, [Continue reading]

Corizon Health Staff on Rikers Island File Federal Labor Complaint Over Dangerous Work Environment

According to the NY Daily News, a group of medical staffers from New York City jail medical contractor Corizon Health Services filed a federal labor complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on April 11th for Corizon’s failure to protect them from inmate assaults. From the Daily News: The staffers charge that the nation’s largest jail health care provider repeatedly failed to protect them from dangerous inmates who were never properly restrained or labeled [Continue reading]

Report: Rikers Island Health Staff Shouldn’t Participate in Solitary Confinement Placement Process

The Associated Press got a sneak preview of a new study that found the medical ethics of healthcare workers on Rikers Island are seriously compromised — especially when they are involved in placing inmates in solitary confinement: The two-year study at New York’s sprawling Rikers Island jail complex concluded with a bold recommendation to remove health workers entirely from the most contentious issue they face — whether to put an inmate in solitary. That’s because many [Continue reading]

Undocumented mothers put in solitary after 78 launch hunger strike at private prison

Last week, seventy-eight incarcerated mothers at GEO Group’s Karnes County Detention Center in Texas signed a letter announcing a hunger and work strike and to demand their immediate release. Now Roque Planas at the Huffington Post is reporting that some of those mothers were put in solitary confinement with their children in response to the protest. Aura Bogado obtained the prisoners’ letter for, and writes that “most have brought their children from Guatemala [Continue reading]

Lawsuits highlight multiple inmate deaths under private contractor in Pennsylvania

On March 27th, a jury in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, found that private jail medical contractor PrimeCare Medical Inc. was negligent, but ultimately not responsible for the death of 27-year-old inmate Travis Magditch. The Magditch family sued PrimeCare and Lehigh County in 2012 after Travis was arrested for allegedly possessing drug paraphernalia and died of an asthma attack at the jail one day later. The family’s attorney, David Inscho, told jurors this was Travis’ first time [Continue reading]

New solitary confinement unit plagued by old problems on Rikers Island

At the beginning of March, New York City’s Board of Correction released a preliminary report on Rikers Island’s controversial new isolation facility, the Enhanced Supervision Housing Unit (ESHU). The $14.8 million ESHU was proposed to house 250 of Rikers’ so-called “most dangerous” inmates– a small minority of the prison population that officials claim is responsible for the majority of inmate violence. Amid federal, state and municipal investigations and a [Continue reading]
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