Denver & NYC police used excessive force this summer; Mississippi auditor finds $100k's in misspent prison funds; MA inmates set to be 1st inside to receive COVID vaccine — your weekly justice news
Transferred: Families thought a remote prison would be spared from COVID-19, then officials transferred inmates and the virus in. The Marshall Project (Dec. 21, 2020)
Killed: Considered the first person to die in ICE detention, Carlos Escobar Mejia’s family is suing ICE for wrongful death. WREG (Dec. 21, 2020)
Bringing in 2021: Free Alabama Movement plans a New Year 30-day prison strike and boycott. Truthout (Dec. 22, 2020)
In response: A Reuters investigation into jail conditions has pushed West Virginia lawmakers to introduce jail reform legislation. Reuters (Dec. 17, 2020)
We’d rather: After spending almost $6 million a year ago on a juvenile jail upgrades, against expert advice that jails impact kids negatively, it’s closure from COVID-19 could mark a shift in the state. Baltimore Sun (Dec. 18, 2020)
Mississippi: A new auditor report details hundreds of thousands of misspent funds in the state. You can’t make this up:
The state's prisons have operated with minimal funding and have struggled to hire guards. Lawsuits and prisoners themselves have said some facilities are in severe disrepair and unsanitary. Yet, according to auditors, the department spent thousands of taxpayer dollars to purchase massage chairs, rugs, art, Himalayan salt lamps, CDs, and other items for meditation rooms at prison facilities. Other expenses included a king-sized bed, dresser and bedroom set for a prison warden and a bathroom towel holder, vanity bathroom mirror, motion-sensor door chime and six televisions for the commissioner's executive suite. Mississippi Clarion Ledger (Dec. 17, 2020)
Inoculation: Thousands of inmates in Massachusetts are set to be some of the first incarcerated people to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The ACLU in Maine is urging the state to do the same. News Center Maine (Dec. 21, 2020)
In the dark: Cut off visitation has left families without contact with their loved ones in Texas prisons for months. Texas Observer (Dec. 22, 2020)
Cash $: In the new spending bill, Pell grants were reinstated for incarcerated people after they’ve been denied access to these funds to pay for college while inside for the last 26 years. NPR (Dec. 20, 2020)
In the wrong: NYC and Denver release reports that found excessive use of force by police in response to summer protests. The NYC mayor apologized. In Colorado, the report found little to no paper trail to enforce accountability. The Crime Report (Dec. 21, 2020)
COVID-19 resources: State policy changes. News. Bureau of Prisons updates. State court changes. Prison holistic self care and protection.
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