Girls in the Justice System

                                After all of the interest in our recent post Too Many Women in Prison, let’s take a look at where the female over-incarceration problem often starts—girls in the justice system. While youth arrests are generally declining, the rates for… Read More

Too Many Women in Prison

We’ve talked here a lot about our nation’s mass incarceration problem, but I was surprised to learn that the fastest growing prison population in the United States is women. While over 80-90% of the U.S. prison population is male, the number of women in prison jumped 646% between 1980 and 2010, making women the fastest… Read More

Adolescent Brain Development

A court in Wisconsin recently ruled that two twelve-year-old girls who stabbed a friend nearly to death, in order to appease a fictional online horror character called Slender Man, should be tried as adults. If ever there was a crime that epitomizes a child doing a horribly stupid thing because her adolescent brain was not… Read More

Modern Day Debtors’ Prison

One of the many disturbing things that came to light after the Ferguson police shooting of Michael Brown was the City’s abuse of court fines and fees in order to create what is essentially a modern day debtors’ prison. This is a problem plaguing many cities, big and small, around the country: a prison-for-debt world… Read More

Mental Illness in Jail

Another tragic, senseless jail death—this one got no media attention because, let’s face it, the mainstream media doesn’t pay attention mental illness in jail. But Ken Hobson’s sad and easily avoidable death underscores the dire need for mental health screenings in jails. The forty-three year old died of dehydration after 16 days’ of incarceration at… Read More

Prison Legal News Sues for Info About Lucrative Prison Contracts

IL Dept. of Corrections on the Hot Seat for Allegedly Refusing FOIA Requests Chicago, IL – Prison Legal News (PLN) filed a lawsuit today in the Circuit Court of Cook County against the Illinois Dept. of Corrections (IDOC), alleging violations of the state’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). PLN, a monthly news publication that reports… Read More

Sexual Assault in Prisons

American prisons are notorious for subjecting prisoners to the risk of sexual violence. Yet, shockingly little is done to stop sexual assault in our prisons, and the public remains not just unconcerned, but sickeningly amused by the problem. Think about how often prison rapes are the punchline of a joke in movies or on television. … Read More

End Mandatory Minimum Sentences

Mandatory minimum sentences are prison sentences set by lawmakers rather than judges, where a statute requires an automatic, minimum prison terms for certain crimes, without permitting the judge to impose a more lenient sentence when the situation warrants. Without mandatory minimum sentences, the judge can consider factors like the defendant’s prior record, a history of… Read More

The Death Penalty is Cruel and Unusual

In a recently decided Supreme Court case, Glossip v. Gross, the Court decided that a current method of lethal injection used for administering the death penalty is not so barbaric as to be unconstitutional. The only positive thing that can be said about this decision is that the powerful and well-reasoned dissents show just how… Read More