Andrew Leander Wilson walked out of prison after giving 32 years of his life to a justice system that failed him. However, he wasn’t angry and smiled as he spoke on the relief of being released.
On February 17, 2005, New York City transit workers stumbled across two suspicious garbage bags beside the train tracks at the Nostrand Avenue stop in Brooklyn. The bags were filled with the remains of a dismembered 19-year-old queer Black man, Rashawn Brazell, who was supposed to meet with his mother for lunch that Valentine’s Day but never showed up.
While details are still sparse, news is slowly being released about what exactly happened in a Delaware men’s prison where four Department of Corrections officers were held hostage and one was killed.
The prison strike that’s been occurring across the country still hasn’t been picked up by major news sources despite the major impact it could have on the justice system. Perhaps that will change now that the Department of Justice has gotten involved.
The DOJ has released a statement saying that they’ll be investigating the conditions in all of Alabama’s state prisons, including the W.C. Holman Correctional Facility, which was where inmates held a work strike and an entire shift’s worth of corrections officers didn’t show up one day.
Prison inmates across the country have been going on strike against unfair labor practices that closely – or completely – resemble slavery. The movement has now reached a new level as guards at an Alabama prison joined in by not coming in for an entire shift.
On Thursday, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates announced in a memo that, over time, the DOJ will end its contracts with private prison companies that operate 13 facilities within the Bureau of Prisons (BOP). While this is a significant move given the times we live in, these contracts, with Corrections Corporation of America and GEO Group Inc., only account for 7% of the industry’s revenue.
While he’s wrapping up his presidency, leaving a lasting legacy on the U.S. prison system looks to be one of President Barack Obama’s goals. He’s already done more than most presidents in regards to granting clemency and commutations for inmates, but he’s not done.
Ava Duvernay’s documentary, The 13th, will be the opening film at the New York Film Festival’s (NYFF) 54th Festival. It’s the first non-fiction film to open the event in the NYFF’s history; if you haven’t already, let us toast to Duvernay’s #BlackGirlMagic. I want to take it a step further though, I want to uplift Duvernay’s message.
The documentary is appropriately titled to address the ironies between the 13th Amendment that simultaneously “abolished” slavery and also created mass incarceration over time.
One of the largest flaws with the U.S. prison system is that it’s either doing exactly what it was meant to do or is completely missing the point. Instead of rehabilitating prisoners so that they can pay for their crimes and rejoin society as productive individuals, they’re often stuck in a system that has no plans of letting them go.
To help end – or at least put some speed bumps in – the cycle, President Obama’s administration is making a higher education much more convenient for inmates in U.S. prisons. A new plan was introduced that will provide $30 million in pell grants for up to 12,000 inmates to take college courses.
A former Stanford University swimmer has been given a six-month jail term after being convicted for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman on campus after both attending a fraternity party.