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NJ Gov. shuts down a women’s prison after years of abuse toward incarcerated women; jail populations skyrocket after COVID-19 rates fall — your weekly justice news

News

gendered violence legalized: Multiple states passed forced sterilizations laws in the 1950s that forced Black women to be sterilized or face prison or jail time. Mississippi Free Press (June 4, 2021)

scientific strategy: In King County, Washington, jail staff have tried to bring in outside COVID-19 vaccine experts in an attempt to increase vaccination rates among incarcerated people, after many have turned down offers to be vaccinated. KUOW (June 8, 2021)

abusive potential: A program by the Bureau of Prisons holds accounts for some incarcerated people that hold $100,000s. These accounts are shielded by the government presenting risks for money laundering, corruption. Washington Post (June 9, 2021)

“stolen”: People incarcerated in Alabama are having money taken out of their stimulus checks before they received them. They claim that the money has been used by prisons to pay outstanding court costs, but people have made it clear that they need the funds for basic necessities. Advance Local (June 5, 2021) 

rapidly rising: The coronavirus pandemic halted incarceration in jails—in the middle of 2020 jail populations were at the lowest point in the last two decades. But now as infection rates decline, jail populations are skyrocketing causing overcrowding and poor sanitary conditions. The Marshall Project (June 7, 2021)

urgent access: Naloxone, a drug that reverses the effects of opioids has been part of a pilot program in the LA County Sheriff’s Department. This program arrives amid a rise of overdoses in the California prison system, and quick access to this drug can be the difference between life and death. LA Times (June 7, 2021)

reversed: Following many local police agencies mandating body cameras, the Justice Department decided to require Federal agents to wear body cameras as well, reversing previous federal policy. Wall Street Journal (June 7, 2021)

accountability: Shaun Duncan Morrison, an incarcerated man with a long history of mental illness, died after committing suicide by disembowling himself at the Montana State Prison. Advocates for disability rights say his death was preventable and the Department of Corrections should be held responsible. KTVQ (June 5, 2021)

a bit of hope: Last week, the California Supreme Court heard arguments in favor of changing a practice that allows individual jurors to determine which circumstances warrant the death penalty. This would overturn hundreds of sentences and is something the Court has been reluctant to hear prior. Los Angeles Times (June 3, 2021)

pattern of abuse: New Jersey Governor Murphy decided to close the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women after a long history of abusing women behind bars. Murphy released a report that revealed disturbing attacks and called for breaking the pattern of misconduct. NJ.com (June 7, 2021) 


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COVID-19 resources: State policy changesNewsBureau of Prisons updatesState court changesPrison holistic self care and protection.

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