Prison Mail Surveillance Company Keeps Tabs On Those On The Outside, Too

Prisons are increasingly copying mail to prevent contraband, but this means prisoners never get to hold letters and photos from loved ones.

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Good Family Outcomes Are Good For Everyone

Have you ever encountered difficulties or obstacles from the IDOC when going to visit your incarcerated loved ones?

Our friends at Restore Justice have a bill that would provide a statewide point of contact for the Illinois Department of Corrections, which can receive complaints and suggestions from people who face difficulties when trying to visit incarcerated loved ones.

For more information about their bill and how to fill out witness slips with your position on the bill, please click on the links below…

For questions, contact: Jobi Cates at jcates@restorejustice.org.

Prosecutors And Judge Agree That After 20 Years In Prison, Troubled Mother Deserves Mercy And A New Shot At Life

In an interview after the decision, Coleman, who has prosecuted countless murders, reflected on the complexity of 20-year story and why the resentencing could be called just too.

“I will tell you that at the time, I thought that 30 years was not enough for her,” Coleman said. “But 21 years has passed and she has done extraordinarily well. I think that is something we have to acknowledge — that is, one of the things justice is and what justice looks like. If someone is not the same person. If they have gotten better. And they have done everything we could expect of them and the family is forgiving them. I think that is part of seeking a safer society.”

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Virginia’s Move To End Capital Punishment Has A Major Flaw

Any day now, with Governor Ralph Northam’s signature, Virginia will eliminate the death penalty.

The news is cause for celebration. Since 1976, Virginia has executed more people than any other state except Texas. Now, Virginia joins a growing wave of states that have rejected this punishment and chosen to make our criminal justice system more humane, equitable and fair.

But the movement to end capital punishment also has a major flaw. It pushes for another form of in-prison death: life without the possibility of parole. Commonly referred to as LWOP, this sentence is frequently touted as a humane alternative to the death penalty. But LWOP is also deeply problematic and riddled with many of the exact same problems as the death penalty.

In the end, sentenced people are still condemned to die in prison, but LWOP sentences receive far less scrutiny by our justice system than death sentences.

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#FreeHer Campaign Wants Clemency For 100 Women In Biden’s First 100 Days

More than 200,000 women and girls are incarcerated in this country — 10,000 of them in federal prisons — and Danielle Metz used to be one of them.

Metz was married to an alleged drug kingpin and had two small children, 3 and 7 years old, when she was sentenced in 1993 for drug conspiracy and money laundering convictions. She had never been in legal trouble before, “not even a traffic ticket,” she says. “I was sentenced to three life sentences and when I came in the system they didn’t have parole or anything like that anymore. So I was just doing time day for day. The process was really hard. My family didn’t know what to do in the beginning. I had exhausted my appeals. Clemency was my only hope.”

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Prison Guards Across The Country Refusing Vaccine Despite COVID-19 Outbreaks

A Florida correctional officer polled his colleagues earlier this year in a private Facebook group: “Will you take the COVID-19 vaccine if offered?”

The answer from more than half: “Hell no.” Only 40 of the 475 respondents said yes.

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California Panel Urges Changes To Reduce Criminal Sentences

California led the nation in tough-on-crime policies 30 years ago, but in recent years has been among the states at the forefront of easing criminal penalties. Two lawmakers on the committee announced they had put some of the recommendations into legislation that would have to pass the Democratic-led Legislature and be signed into law by Newsom.

“If all 10 recommendations were adopted, they would impact almost every area of California’s criminal legal system, from driving infractions to life in prison, and probably everybody behind bars would be affected in some way.”

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I Made A Serious Mistake As Governor Of Maryland. We Need Parole Reform.

It’s never easy to admit you made a mistake. Twenty-five years ago, I made a serious mistake.

At the start of my two terms as governor of Maryland, I announced that I would not grant parole to anyone with a life sentence, even though they were supposed to have a chance to earn it. Governors after me followed suit. I know now that my statement in 1995 that “life means life” was completely wrong.

It meant that people whose sentences promised a chance at parole were denied it for decades, regardless of how thoroughly they worked to redeem themselves and make amends to those they harmed.

I think about the people who, back in 1993, had earned work release and were productively preparing to return to their communities. Every one of them, no matter the personal effort they put in to rehabilitating themselves, was sent back to prison. The change was supposed to be temporary. But because of my statements, it became permanent. They lost everything and had to start over, often ending marriages and forcing some to say permanent goodbyes to children.

It was wrong for them to be imprisoned for decades longer because of me and subsequent governors. Some are still locked up today.

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