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Prisons Under Trump: Going Forward, Backward or Standing Still?

THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION SEEMS DETERMINED TO UNDO PRISON REFORMS LAUNCHED BY PRESIDENT OBAMA. America has a reputation for dehumanizing rather than rehabilitating its prisoners. Jails are crowded beyond manageable levels. Privatization and for-profit measures have pushed more people into incarceration than ever before; for example, those with minor fines and misdemeanors. The prison population has a

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Grassley Prods Silent BOP on Remedies for Wrong Release Dates

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) is demanding answers from the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) on why it hasn’t acted on recommendations made last May by the Department of Justice (DOJ) inspector general to reduce incorrect incarceration release dates. First, a little history: Jermaine Hickman, convicted in 2007 of bank robbery, was supposed to

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DOJ Inspector General Identifies Challenges for Federal Prisons

What are the biggest challenges facing the Department of Justice in 2017? Michael Horowitz, the DOJ’s inspector general, gave his views on that question late last year, in a report titled Top Management and Performance Challenges Facing the Department of Justice, released on Nov. 11. Required annually by law, the report does not break new

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Despite DOJ Ban, Private Prison Contracts in Georgia Are Renewed

This past August was a very rough month for privately-owned and operated prisons, at the hands of the Department of Justice. First, on Aug. 11, the DOJ inspector general’s office issued an 86-page report unfavorably comparing the performance of private prisons – looking over a four-year span at eight problem factors, including the incidence of

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DOJ’s Private Prison Phaseout Has Complex Roots

Part II: How the Policy Came About and Will It Last? Read Part I: What DOJ and the Bureau of Prisons Have Planned By Christopher Zoukis In a blog last week, I summarized the Department of Justice’s August 18 announcement it plans to stop sending federal inmates to privately-owned prisons. Now, let’s look at the

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Advocates Urge Obama to Speed Up DOJ Commutation Initiative

Dozens of criminal justice reform activists have publicly told President Barack Obama his personal intervention is needed to keep the clemency initiative his administration announced in 2014 from falling victim to what a “bureaucratic logjam” at the Department of Justice (DOJ). A joint letter went to the president on June 21 from more than 40

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DOJ Inspector General: Sentences Miscalculated for Thousands

A recent report from the Department of Justice (DOJ) federal watchdog says mistakes resulted in incorrect amounts of prison time being served by more than 4,000 federal prisoners during the six years between 2009 and 2014. The 41-page report, “Review of the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ Untimely Releases of Inmates,” issued on May 24, examined

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