Prison

4:45pm

Thu March 7, 2013
The Two-Way

County Will Pay $15.5 Million To Man Who Spent 22 Months In Solitary Confinement

When he was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and other charges in 2005, Stephen Slevin had no way of knowing that an opinion about his mental state would put him on a path to spend more than 22 months of solitary confinement in a New Mexico county jail, despite never having his day in court. This week, he reached a $15.5 million settlement with Dona Ana County.

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4:05am

Sat March 2, 2013
NPR Story

Dealing With 'Root Causes' To Tackle Incarceration Rates

Originally published on Sat March 2, 2013 9:04 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News, I'm Scott Simon. Jeffrey Beard has watched America's prisons grow larger and larger every year adding prisoner after prisoner. He began working in the Pennsylvania Corrections system in the early 1970s when there were about 8,000 prisoners. He was secretary of corrections by the time he left in 2010 and by that time Pennsylvania had more than 50,000 people in its prisons.

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8:03pm

Thu February 21, 2013
StoryCorps

After Prison, A Second Chance To Be A Better Mother

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 8:42 am

Rowena Gore-Simmons and her daughter, Kenya, now 16, at StoryCorps in Baltimore.
StoryCorps

When Rowena Gore-Simmons went to prison, her daughter, Kenya, was just 4 years old. On her first night behind bars, Rowena recalls, her hands and feet were shackled.

"I was disappointed in myself, and I was scared for you guys," she told Kenya during a visit to StoryCorps in Baltimore.

During the year Rowena was incarcerated, people would often ask Kenya, 'Where's your mother?'

'I didn't tell them nothing," recalls Kenya, now 16. But all the questions, she says, made her feel like an outsider.

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1:05am

Fri February 15, 2013
The Legacy And Future Of Mass Incarceration

The Drug Laws That Changed How We Punish

The Jan. 4, 1973, edition of the New York Daily News reports that Gov. Rockefeller's State of the State speech called for a life sentence for drug pushers.
New York Daily News via Getty Images

The United States puts more people behind bars than any other country, five times as many per capita compared with Britain or Spain.

It wasn't always like this. Half a century ago, relatively few people were locked up, and those inmates generally served short sentences. But 40 years ago, New York passed strict sentencing guidelines known as the "Rockefeller drug laws" — after their champion, Gov. Nelson Rockefeller — that put even low-level criminals behind bars for decades.

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2:13pm

Thu February 14, 2013
The Legacy And Future Of Mass Incarceration

Decades On, Stiff Drug Sentence Leaves A Life 'Dismantled'

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 11:11 am

Now 59, George Prendes works as a telemarketer in New York and struggles to make the rent on his small Bronx apartment.
Natasha Haverty

There are roughly half a million people behind bars for nonviolent drug crimes in America. But no one really knows how many people have been sentenced to long prison bids since the laws known as Rockefeller drug laws first passed 40 years ago.

What's clear is that tough sentencing laws, even for low-level drug dealers and addicts, shaped a generation of young men, especially black and Hispanic men.

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