Incarceration and Recidivism – Montana

Montana agencies, volunteers work to reintegrate citizens after incarceration, By David Erickson, October 30, 2017, The Missoulian: “Montana’s prison population has grown faster than the national average, and last year 15,000 people in the state were either behind bars or under criminal justice supervision. The state spent $182 million on corrections in fiscal year 2014, and jails and prisons suffer from overcrowding while taxpayers foot the bill…”

Housing for Prison Parolees – New York

Parolees to go from big house to Syracuse public housing under new state pilot program, By John O’Brien, March 3, 2017, Syracuse Post-Standard: “Public housing in Syracuse will soon be home to certain newly paroled New York state prisoners under a new pilot program.  The state will allow carefully screened and monitored parolees to live in public housing with their families in Syracuse, White Plains and Schenectady, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today.  The goal is to reduce the likelihood that the paroled prisoners will commit new crimes, Cuomo said in a news release…”

Children of Incarcerated Parents

How mass incarceration pushes black children further behind in school, By Melinda D. Anderson, January 16, 2017, The Atlantic: “In the summer of 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered the closing remarks at the March on Washington. More than 200,000 people gathered to cast a national spotlight on and mobilize resistance to Jim Crow, racist laws and policies that disenfranchised black Americans and mandated segregated housing, schools, and employment. Today, more than 50 years later, remnants of Jim Crow segregation persist in the form of mass incarceration—the imprisonment of millions of Americans, overwhelmingly and disproportionately black adults, in local, state, and federal prisons…”

Prison Diversion Programs and the Poor

  • After a crime, the price of a second chance, By Shaila Dewan and Andrew W. Lehren, December 12, 2016, New York Times: “During the tough financial times of 2011, Marcy Willis, a single mother who raised five children in Atlanta, used her credit card to rent a car for an acquaintance in exchange for cash. But the man — and the car — disappeared, she said. Four months later, when Ms. Willis finally recovered the car and returned it, she was charged with felony theft.  As a first-time offender, Ms. Willis, 52, qualified for a big break: a program called pretrial intervention, also known as diversion. If she took 12 weeks of classes, performed 24 hours of community service and stayed out of trouble, her case would be dismissed and her arrest could be expunged, leaving her record clean…”
  • Alabama prosecutor sets the penalties and fills the coffers, By Shaila Dewan and Andrew W. Lehren, December 13, 2016, New York Times: “It was a run-of-the-mill keg party in an open field, until one guest, Harvey Drayton Burch III, objected to paying for his beer. Witnesses said Mr. Burch fired a gun over the crowd and began spraying Mace. With partyers fleeing, Mr. Burch jumped into the back seat of a car as it drove away.  The driver had a name well known in Henry County: Douglas A. Valeska II, the son of the local district attorney. When the car was stopped, a deputy found a loaded magazine and knife in Mr. Burch’s pocket, a gun and pepper spray in a backpack, and a pink pill on the floorboard. After Mr. Burch admitted to firing his weapon, he was arrested. The district attorney arrived to take his son and two other passengers home…”

Prisoner Reentry

AG Lynch: School system to run in federal prison system, By Kevin Johnson, November 30, 2016, USA Today: “Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Wednesday that a school system would be formed within the vast federal prison network as part of a series of efforts to drive down recidivism and create a clearer path for thousands of inmates to re-enter their home communities…”

Incarceration in Rural Areas

This small Indiana county sends more people to prison than San Francisco and Durham, N.C., combined. Why?, By Josh Keller and Adam Pearce, September 2, 2016, New York Times: “Donnie Gaddis picked the wrong county to sell 15 oxycodone pills to an undercover officer.  If Mr. Gaddis had been caught 20 miles to the east, in Cincinnati, he would have received a maximum of six months in prison, court records show. In San Francisco or Brooklyn, he would probably have received drug treatment or probation, lawyers say.  But Mr. Gaddis lived in Dearborn County, Ind., which sends more people to prison per capita than nearly any other county in the United States. After agreeing to a plea deal, he was sentenced to serve 12 years in prison…”

Incarceration and Medicaid Coverage – Pennsylvania

Bill aims to make Medicaid enrollment smoother for those leaving jail in Pennsylvania, By Kate Giammarise, July 6, 2016, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “Medicaid stops at prison and jail walls in Pennsylvania, and getting it started up again can take time.  However, a change in the state’s Human Services code would mean Medicaid is suspended, rather than terminated, for those who are incarcerated. That would allow people who leave prison to be immediately re-enrolled and have health care, rather than having up to 45 days after they leave prison in which they can’t get needed medication…”

Children of Incarcerated Parents

Having a parent behind bars costs children, states, By Teresa Wiltz, May 24, 2016, Stateline: “Jamaill never knew his mother. When he was 1, his father was incarcerated, and Jamaill got to know him largely through letters and phone calls. Twice a year, he would trek from Brooklyn to an upstate New York prison to visit — a trip that involved a plane ride, a long drive and an overnight stay in a motel. Now, the 10th-grader’s father has been transferred to another prison even farther away. So they’ll stay in touch with ‘televisits,’ video-conferenced meetings. Jamaill doesn’t think it should be so hard for kids to see their imprisoned parents. And that’s what he told New York state legislators in March…”

Baby Nurseries in Prisons

Babies behind bars: Should moms do time with their newborns?, By Colleen Long (AP), May 25, 2016, Arizona Daily Star: “Jennifer Dumas sits on a sofa, her smiling 6-month-old girl on her lap. The room is full of bright toys and children’s books. A rainbow-colored activity mat is on the floor, and Winnie the Pooh is painted on the walls. It looks like any other nursery, except that there are bars on the windows and barbed-wire fences outside the austere brick building. New York’s maximum-security Bedford Hills Correctional Facility is one of the very few prisons in the U.S. that allow inmates and their babies to live together, a century-old approach that not all corrections experts agree is the best way to deal with women locked up while pregnant. Mothers who get such a chance say it’s better than the alternative: In most prisons, babies born behind bars must be given up within a day to a relative or foster care…”

Children of Incarcerated Parents

  • When parents are in prison, children suffer, By KJ Dell’Antonia, April 26, 2016, New York Times: “Morgan Gliedman’s 3-year-old daughter keeps a few pictures of her visits with her dad taped to the wall by her bed, and the rest in a little pink suitcase along with his letters.  She’s full of ideas for what she’ll do with him when his ‘time out’ is over: camping, baking bread, reading bedtime stories. The earliest that can happen will be when she is in first grade, and he is eligible for parole from his seven-year-minimum prison sentence on criminal weapons charges.  She is just one of the five million American children who have had a parent incarcerated at some point in their lives. Her father’s sentence is hers, too…”
  • Parents in prison: How to help US children?, By Ben Thompson, April 25, 2016, Christian Science Monitor: “A new report, ‘A Shared Sentence,’ shows that millions of children in the United States have lived without one or both of their parents due to incarceration in recent years.  The policy report by The Annie E. Casey Foundation listed a ‘conservative estimate’ that 5.1 million children nationwide, or seven percent, had a parent behind bars at some point in their lives. That figure only includes children whose parents lived with them at some point…”
  • Study: Having jailed parents can have lifelong effect on child’s health, By Kristi L. Nelson, April 25, 2016, Knoxville News Sentinel: “Having a parent in jail can have lifelong effects on a child’s health and ability to succeed, a report released today indicates…”
  • 10 percent of Michigan kids have parents in prison, By Oralandar Brand-Williams, April 25, 2016, Detroit News: “Michigan is among the states with the highest number of children who have a parent behind bars, according to a report released Monday. Some 228,000 children — one out of 10 — have had a parent incarcerated, according to Kids Count in its report ‘A Shared Sentence: The Devastating Toll of Parental Incarceration of Kids, Families and Communities.’  Michigan ranked fifth in the number of kids affected in 2011-12, the latest figures available. California was first with 503,000, followed by Texas, Florida and Ohio…”
  • Casey Foundation report: Incarceration of parents hurts children and families, By Andrea K. McDaniels, April 25, 2016, Baltimore Sun: “Nearly 6 percent of children in Maryland have a parent in prison or jail, which makes it more likely that they will struggle academically, live in poverty, and have other social or psychological problems that could plague them for life. These are the findings of a new report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation about the damaging ripple effects of incarceration on families…”

Families of Prisoners

One in nine black children has had a parent in prison, By Danielle Paquette, October 27, 2015, Washington Post: “Five percent of the global population lives in the United States, but nearly a quarter of the world’s inmates are locked in American prisons. We know our incarceration rate, among the highest on the planet, is costly — and reports show the staggering number of people behind bars hasn’t significantly reduced crime.  And now a new study, published Tuesday, adds another issue to the national debate over how to punish nonviolent offenders: the health and well-being of their children…”

Phone Rates for Prison Inmates

FCC votes to further cut cost of calls for inmates, By Heather Hollingsworth (AP), October 22, 2015, Washington Post: “The Federal Communications Commission’s decision Thursday to take additional steps to slash how much can be charged for phone calls made from jails and prisons was hailed as removing a burden on families and criticized as a budget buster for some facilities.  FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn, a Democrat, said before the vote in Washington that the cost of the calls have placed ‘incredible burdens’ on the families of the more than 2 million people incarcerated in the U.S…”

Medicaid Coverage for Former Prisoners – Ohio

State pushes Medicaid sign-ups for inmates, By Alan Johnson, July 28, 2015, Columbus Dispatch: “In the old days, inmates got $75 and a one-way bus ticket when they got out of an Ohio prison. Now, they can get something more valuable — a Medicaid card. Three state agencies are aggressively pushing to get the majority of the roughly 21,000 people who are released from prison every year enrolled in Medicaid up to 90 days before they walk out the door. Services don’t begin until they are released, unless they are hospitalized. Having a Medicaid card means former prisoners immediately qualify for health care, mental-health services and prescription drugs. In the past, ex-offenders were typically released with a small supply of their medications and had to go to county agencies to apply for health-care services, a process that often took 45 days or longer.  Delays in getting medication and treatment are crucial because many people in Ohio prisons have mental-health and addiction issues…”

Affordable Care Act and Health Insurance Enrollment

  • Little-known health act fact: Prison inmates are signing up, By Erica Goode, March 9, 2014, New York Times: “In a little-noticed outcome of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, jails and prisons around the country are beginning to sign up inmates for health insurance under the law, taking advantage of the expansion of Medicaid that allows states to extend coverage to single and childless adults — a major part of the prison population. State and counties are enrolling inmates for two main reasons. Although Medicaid does not cover standard health care for inmates, it can pay for their hospital stays beyond 24 hours — meaning states can transfer millions of dollars of obligations to the federal government…”
  • Health care law survey: Uninsured rate continues to drop, By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar (AP), March 10, 2014, Dallas Morning News: “The share of Americans without health insurance is dropping to the lowest levels since President Barack Obama took office, but sign-ups under his health care law lag among Hispanics — a big pool of potential beneficiaries. With just three weeks left to enroll on the new insurance exchanges, the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, finds that 15.9 percent of U.S. adults are uninsured thus far in 2014, down from 17.1 percent for the last three months — or calendar quarter — of 2013…”

Medicaid Coverage and Prison Inmates

Ohio among states pushing prisoners on Medicaid, By Lisa Bernard-Kuhn, February 18, 2014, USA Today: “Landing time in an Ohio prison could also soon get you help enrolling into health care coverage under Obamacare. Ohio is among a small but growing number of states working to enroll prisoners into Medicaid when they get sick and as they are being released. The move could save the state nearly $18 million this year alone in costs of providing health care to prisoners — money that would be shifted onto the federal government’s tab. Longer term, prison and health care officials say it also could help curb the number of repeat offenders as more ex-prisoners gain access to needed mental health services and substance abuse programs, benefits now required to be covered under the health reform law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act…”

Medicaid Coverage and Prison Inmates

States missing out on millions in Medicaid for prisoners, By Christine Vestal, June 25, 2013, Stateline: “Only a dozen states have taken advantage of a long-standing option to stick the federal government with at least half the cost of hospitalizations and nursing home stays of state prison inmates. The other states have left tens of millions of federal dollars on the table, either because they didn’t know about a federal rule dating to 1997 or they were unable to write the laws and administrative processes to take advantage of it. States and localities have a constitutional obligation to provide adequate health care to prisoners, and they must pay for it out of their own budgets. However, a 1997 ruling says that care provided to inmates beyond the walls of the prison qualifies for Medicaid reimbursement if the prisoner is Medicaid eligible. The federal government then pays 50 percent to 84 percent of Medicaid costs…”

Families of Prisoners and Long-Distance Calling

FCC considers limiting costs of long-distance calls for families of prisoners in Ohio, By Stan Donaldson, February 12, 2013, Cleveland Plain Dealer: “The price of long-distance calls for the families of inmates inside Ohio prisons could be coming down this year. The Federal Communications Commission has been looking into the calls’ cost in part to make it easier for prisoners and their families to keep in contact and continue to forge family bonds — bonds experts say are needed to help inmates re-enter society when they are released…”

Prisoner Re-entry Program – Alaska

Native Justice Center’s re-entry program helps ex-inmates fight long odds, By Michelle Theriault Boots, November 29, 2012, Anchorage Daily News: “For inmates getting out of prison in Alaska, the odds are abysmal. Two-thirds will go back into Department of Corrections custody within three years, a 2007 study by the Alaska Judicial Council found. In the same period, 44 percent of them will be jailed for a new crime, the highest rate in the nation, according to data from a 2011 Pew Center for the States report. That steep climb out of prison prompted the Alaska Native Justice Center to create a re-entry program to help people who have spent years and sometimes decades incarcerated start new lives while bearing the stigma of their pasts…”

Prison Overcrowding – California

California unlikely to meet prison crowding reduction requirement, By Paige St. John, August 12, 2012, Los Angeles Times: “California’s progress in relieving its teeming prisons has slowed so much that it probably won’t comply with a court-ordered population reduction, and judges have raised the prospect of letting some inmates out early. Three federal jurists have given the state until Friday to come up with a schedule for identifying prisoners ‘unlikely to reoffend or who might otherwise be candidates for early release’ and to detail other ways to hasten the emptying of double-bunked cells. In the interim, the judges have ordered California to ‘take all steps necessary’ to meet their existing deadline for population cuts…”

Prisoner Re-Entry Program – Michigan

Audit: Michigan’s prisoner re-entry initiative harms public safety, fails to track ex-convicts, By Mike Martindale, February 8, 2012, Detroit News: “A much heralded Michigan prisoner release program is only moderately effective, not sufficiently monitored and lacks proper record-keeping, according to a state audit released Tuesday. The audit is the second in less than a year criticizing the Michigan Prisoner Re-entry Initiative, which the Department of Corrections has held up as a successful model of how to safely blend ex-convicts back into society. Corrections officials claim the initiative – which has received more than $175 million since 2007, including $52 million last year – has cut recidivism by giving ex-convicts aid for housing, transportation, employment, health care and education. The 32-page audit focuses on shortcomings and provides support to critics who say the department has put budget issues before public safety…”