Your weekly justice news 1.7

A quicky - just justice news tonight

As more and more people are released into the parole and probation system due to COVID-19, we listened to this podcast. It explains a system that watches almost 7 million people. [The Appeal]

MUST READ: A system developed to monitor inmate phone calls has begun marketing itself as a way to fight COVID-19. [The Intercept]

“While monitoring prisoner calls for Covid-19 keywords could in theory be used to get help to sick inmates, it could also be just as easily wielded to suppress news of their sickness or to retaliate against those raising alarms about prison conditions.”


Sign away: Inmates in Alabama are asked to sign forms for masks. [The Appeal]

L.A. sued: The county is sued for putting inmates in danger of COVID-19. [NBC]

DO NOT SPEAK: A source who raised alarms on a federal half-way house’s COVID-19 case is detained and SENT BACK to jail. [The Intercept]

Makin’ it better: In Oklahoma, an unlikely politician is helping break the states addition to prison. [POLITICO Magazine]

West: A Colorado prison sees a major outbreak this last week with almost half of the COVID-19 test results still pending. [KKTV 11]

Federal outbreak waiting: “One prisoner says a man collapsed while waiting for a temperature check and was sprayed down with disinfectant as he lay on the floor.” [The Appeal]

Higher and higher: Another prison, this one in Michigan, has 40 percent of its population testing positive for COVID-19. [News Channel 3]

“Kafkaesque”: is how a federal judge described releases from Federal prisons - we had to look up the word too, it means nightmarish but Frank Kafka style. [The Marshall Project]

Gone with the wind: The superintendent of the notorious Mississippi Parchman prison that continues to break death rate records, retired this week saying it was time to move on, he wants to move to Alabama - a state with similar abysmal prison conditions. [The Clarion Ledger]

Silent virus: In some U.S prisons with testing, 96 percent of inmates that test positive with COVID-19 do not have symptoms. [Reuters]

Long read: He got out. Now he teaches others how to leave behind the bars and walk into a new world. [LA Times]

COVID-19 resources: State Policy ChangesNewsBureau of Prisons updatesState court changes.

We want to hear from you about how COVID-19 is impacting you and the people connected to you. What is not being talked about? What story do you have that needs to be heard? Who do you want answers or explanations from? Please reach out to

The Des drops into your inbox weekly with a collection of small and digestible snippets concerning the criminal justice system. It promises to be humanizing, spunky, and educational. Our name: The Des is short for Desmoterion or “place of chains”, used to describe prisons in ancient Athens. We like the idea of the chains because incarceration expands far beyond bars, connecting all of parts of this country. We are here to cover it all.