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June 8, 2006

Major report on prison failings

Report_cover_35in As well covered by TalkLeft here and the Washington Post here, the bipartisan Commission on Safety and Abuse in America's Prisons has today released a major policy report on the (sorry) state of prisons in America entitled "Confronting Confinement."   As detailed on this webpage, the report covers four areas: (1) dangerous conditions of confinement — violence, poor health care, and inappropriate segregation — that can also endanger corrections officers and the public; (2) the challenges facing labor and management; (3) weak oversight of correctional facilities; and (4) serious flaws in the available data about violence and abuse. The report includes "30 pragmatic recommendations for reform — many of them based on good practices and exemplary leadership in particular correctional facilities around the country."

The full 126-page report can be accessed at this link, and a much shorter summary of findings and recommendations is available hereThis press release details the background and efforts of the members of the Commission that produced this important report:

The 20 members of the Commission include Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals, those who run correctional systems and those who litigate on behalf of prisoners, scholars, and individuals with a long history of public service and deep experience in the administration of justice.  Beginning in March 2005, the Commission held four public hearings in cities around the country, visited jails and prisons, consulted with current and former corrections officials and a wide range of experts working outside the profession, and conducted a thorough review of available research and data.  The Commission is staffed by and funded through the Vera Institute of Justice.

June 8, 2006 at 05:01 PM | Permalink


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How is anyone supposed to study for the Bar Exam when your Blog continues to put up such must-read documents (and cases)? Last night, ABC's Night Line had a great report on the Commission's Study, and interviewed correction officers at America's prisons. The news story caused me to come back and scan the report.

I find it extremely interesting that the bi-partisan commission continuously stresses that giving up on rehabilitation as a policy goal was a mistake. Do you think rehabilitation will ever come back into favor? Will this apparent correctional theory "see-saw" ever end?

Posted by: DEJ | Jun 10, 2006 1:30:28 PM

I am a Mother of an inmate in a Correctional Facility, your report is so true but is anyone listening. I have met many inmates who have committed crimes, some knowling and some as a result of bad decisions. But the treatment is very degrading. I call it my poke a caged wild animal. You do that and then let it out what in the world do you think will happen? Mothers and Fathers who are willing to go in and help should be allowed. Once you have the person imprisoned now they have to listen to the parents. But the institutions will not listen, it poses security risks. Also I do not believe that prisoners should have idol moments. Everyone should work even if it is to scrub the institution from the top to the bottom everyday, then it would not smell and everybody would be working. Again I find the guards are to lazy, they would have to get off their lazy behinds and actually supervise while the prisoners work. Guards bring in food from the outside like Kentucky Fried Chicken (that is a favorite) and more or less taunt the prisoners with the food, because it is forbidden to even give an inmate a bite. This is cruel. I find that I believe about 85% of guards and just down right power hungry. Oh I could go on and on, so if somebody is listening, especiall parents of inmates, where can we go for help? Thank you BJ Pettengill

Posted by: Beverly Pettengill | Jun 18, 2006 7:36:07 PM

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