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Virginia Pays $100K to Settle Suit over Inmate Suicide

On November 8, 2014, 19-year-old Dai’yaan Longmire was an inmate in Virginia’s Indian Creek Correctional Center in southern Chesapeake, placed in solitary confinement during the third year of a four-year term. He was serving time after pleading guilty to a total of five felonies and two misdemeanors. The charges included burglary, grand larceny, theft of

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DOJ Report Slams Housing of Mentally Ill Inmates

  In a sharply critical report, the Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael Horowitz takes issue with how the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) houses mentally ill inmates in the federal prison system. The report, “Review of the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ Use of Restrictive Housing for Inmates with Mental Illness,” issued July 12,

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Brain Injuries and Criminal Behavior

By Christopher Zoukis Thanks in large part to recent well-publicized incidents involving the National Football League, the impact of brain injuries has become a topic of interest to the general public. When highly-paid professional athletes who participate in contact sports engage in bizarre, criminal or suicidal behavior, people want to know why. Traditionally, the American

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Synthetic Marijuana Poses Big Problem for Bureau of Prisons

  Federal inmates get random urine tests for signs of use of drugs like heroin, cocaine or marijuana. But in the alcohol and drug rehabilitation web newsletter The Fix, former federal inmate turned-writer Seth Ferranti, who served time for an LSD offense, argues the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has yet to come to grips with

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State Prison Suicides Climbed 30% in One Year

  The number of inmate suicides in state prisons climbed by more than 30 percent during a one-year period, according to a recent report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) in the Department of Justice. The statistical study, Mortality in State Prisons, 2001-2014, released on Dec. 15, noted that in 2013, 192 state prison

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Changes to Pennsylvania DOC Improves Life for Prisoners, Staff

By Christopher Zoukis The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections spent 2016 making laudable strides toward helping improve the state of mass incarceration in this country. Corrections Secretary John Wetzel made a statement in December outlining improvements the Department of Corrections (DOC) has made in public, prisoner, and staff safety, improving transparency and fiscal responsibility, providing more

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Virtual Reality Behind Bars For Real Change

By Christopher Zoukis Already a hot topic in the gaming world, virtual and augmented reality technologies are slowly spilling into other venues such as museum exhibits and educational institutions. But could these technologies someday be used behind bars? In prisons, where education and training resources can be scarce and difficult to administer, could VR be used

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Studies Suggest Parental Incarceration is More Damaging to Children than Death of a Parent

By Chris Zoukis A study published in the September 2014 issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior found much higher rates of significant health and behavioral problems among children of incarcerated parents as opposed to children with similar demographic, socioeconomic and familial characteristics. The research, conducted by Prof. Kristin Turney at the University

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Help Reduce Crime Through Treatment, Not Charges

By Christopher Zoukis Utah has become the latest state push for treatment — not prison — for minor offenses, as part of an effort to offer those who without serious criminal histories and people with substance abuse and mental health issues a chance at turning their lives around. While Utah was already making strides in state

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Significant Lack of Mental Health Treatment for United States Prisoners

By Chris Zoukis Mental health disorders are common for prisoners. In fact, according to a 2012 study by the National Institutes of Health, 26 percent of prisoners identified as having a mental health disorder while only 18 percent of the general population identified as having a mental health disorder. While the numbers may not say

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