MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama authorities vowed Thursday to begin the monumental task of fixing their troubling prison problems, responding to a U.S. Department of Justice report that condemned...
Nebraska bill would ban most cellphones in state prisons
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Smuggling a cellphone into a Nebraska prison could soon lead to a misdemeanor charge under a bill designed to help corrections officials, who confiscated more than 250 contraband phones last year.
Nebraska corrections director Scott Frakes told a legislative committee Wednesday that it's a major concern for his department. His comments came in testimony on a bill by Sen. Justin Wayne, of Omaha, to formally ban most cellphones from state prisons.
Deadline looms for Nebraska to reduce prison overcrowding
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska prison and parole officials say they're forging ahead with state-mandated plans to reduce overcrowding in the correctional system, but some lawmakers are worried the agencies will miss a looming deadline, forcing them to take more drastic action.
The Department of Correctional Services and Board of Parole highlighted the steps they've taken in a report this month to the Legislature but offered few specifics on the progress they've made so far.
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi Department of Corrections says it's continuing to investigate how a convicted murderer escaped from a prison July 5 and remained at large for two days.
A department statement issued Wednesday said that while the escape has not been directly connected to how many prison employees were working, understaffing "could be a contributing factor that ultimately affects public safety."
Walker appoints new corrections secretary
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Scott Walker appointed a new Department of Corrections secretary on Wednesday, the agency's third leader in less than three years as it struggles to recover from allegations of abuse at Wisconsin's youth prison.
Robert L. Johnson, a former corrections and court official who was the first Black superintendent in the Pennsylvania correctional system, died on Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, at his home. He was 92.
Johnson became superintendent in 1971 at the State Correctional Institution at Graterford, the largest state correctional institution in Pennsylvania, where he introduced programs to prepare inmates for release.
LINCOLN — Senators introduced a number of criminal justice-themed and Department of Correctional Services-related bills on Wednesday. They included:
Lawmakers, experts eye Missouri as model for juvenile justice changes
When the most serious juvenile offenders are incarcerated in Missouri, they’re not sent to one central, sprawling campus hours away from their families as they are in Wisconsin.
Rather, they’re housed in one of nearly three dozen small, regional facilities, typically close to home. Some of the facilities don’t even have fences, while others are nestled inside state parks.
Attorneys says Alabama prison plan inadequate, vague
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama's plan to improve correctional and mental health staffing in state prisons is vague and inadequate, attorneys for inmates told a federal judge last week.
The attorneys for inmates criticized the state's proposal submitted to U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson.
Overtime, turnover continue to increase among Nebraska correctional workers, despite efforts at reform
LINCOLN — Overtime hours and turnover rates continued to increase among Nebraska correctional workers this year, despite recent reform efforts.
A report, issued Thursday by the inspector general of the Nebraska correctional system, said it remains in “a significant staffing crisis” that has broad impact.
North Dakota hails laws aimed at slowing prison growth
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Gov. Doug Burgum, lawmakers, corrections officials and others on Friday hailed new legislation aimed at slowing prison growth by helping nonviolent offenders through treatment and sentencing alternatives, instead of warehousing them behind bars.
The Republican governor called the package of new laws he signed this week "landmark legislation" that addressed the underlying causes of North Dakota's lockup rate, especially for non-violent drug offenders.
Interim Vermont corrections chief gets permanent job
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont's acting commissioner of the Department of Corrections now has the job full time.
Lisa Menard had been acting commissioner since Republican Gov. Phil Scott took office in January.
As commissioner, Menard leads a team of 1,047 who operate the state's correctional system.
Corrections commissioner qualifications questioned
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama law requires that the state prison chief have corrections experience, something a lawmaker said Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn did not have when he was hired by Gov. Robert Bentley in 2015.
State law says the commissioner must have experience in the "administration of correctional systems." Dunn did not have a background in corrections. He took the job after retiring as an Air Force colonel.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A federal judge has directed opposing parties to try to resolve a dispute involving face-to-face media interviews by inmates convicted for their roles in Ohio's deadly 1993 prison riot.
A 2013 lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union argues the prison system's policy is inconsistent, especially when the backgrounds of other high-security prisoners granted access to reporters are reviewed.
One of the greatest policy disasters in American history has been the "tough-on-crime" approach to public safety. Tough on crime - the hallmark of which consists of more and lengthier punishment - has enjoyed largely bipartisan support. But it unfortunately has not resulted in anything resembling a good return on investment.
Gov. Sandoval looks to expedite Nevada parole process
CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Gov. Brian Sandoval wants to avoid building a new prison to reduce overcrowding in Nevada's correctional system by speeding up the process for releasing as many as 400 inmates eligible for parole.
The plans outlined in Sandoval's budget were discussed during a briefing last week, The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported (http://bit.ly/2j5QRmU).
BOISE — Amid a two-year flurry of prison reform in Idaho, Henry Atencio faces the challenge of maintaining that momentum within the Idaho Department of Correction.
This month, Atencio was named the Department of Correction’s new director, succeeding former director Kevin Kempf, who during his tenure oversaw a whirlwind of reform.
- Wisconsin State JournalGOP lawmakers knock Tony Evers' plan to boost minimum wage; Democrats call it overdueApril 5, 2019
- Wisconsin State JournalRick Raemisch: Why I ended horror of lengthy solitary confinementDecember 16, 2018
- Norfolk Daily NewsPrison chief should be fired, says Nebraska's Democratic candidate for governor, Bob KristJuly 14, 2018
- The Herald-DispatchCorrectional hirings increase after raisesJune 19, 2018
New Idaho director of Correction to further prison reforms
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Amid a two-year flurry of prison reform in Idaho, Henry Atencio faces the challenge of maintaining that momentum within the Idaho Department of Correction.
In December, Atencio was named the Department of Correction's new director, succeeding former director Kevin Kempf, who during his tenure oversaw a whirlwind of reform.
Idaho prisons director resigns to lead national organization
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho Department of Correction Director Kevin Kempf is resigning to take a job as the executive director of the Association of State Correctional Administrators.
Kempf gave the state Board of Correction his resignation on Monday, he said in an email, calling the decision bittersweet.