March 12, 2013 |
The Pennsylvania prison system is holding hundreds of mentally ill men and women in cruel, isolated, and torturous conditions that worsen their symptoms and can lead to suicide attempts, according to a lawsuit filed this week by a disability rights advocacy group. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court by the Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania and seeking certification as a class action, says many mentally ill prisoners who are assigned to restrictive housing units spend from 23 to 24 hours a day in small, windowless cells that are lit around the clock, and have little contact with other people.
March 8, 2013
DEAR ABBY: I am in a county jail for parole violation, and I have been struck with some not-so-good news while here. On a recent visit with my parents, I learned that my mother, who suffers from a variety of health problems, can no longer work. My father, who must work to cover the cost of her medical care, has been diagnosed with liver cancer. I don't feel like I have come to terms with my father's illness. Although I know what is eventually to come, I have yet to feel any emotion, good or bad. I'm not sure if I'm blocking it or if I'm being the strong-willed adult I was raised to be by my father and best friend.
February 28, 2013
An inmate has killed a guard at a federal prison in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Prison officials say that Monday night at the Canaan penitentiary in Waymart, about 20 miles northeast of Scranton, Correctional Officer Eric Williams was working in a housing unit when an inmate attacked him with a homemade weapon. Williams was rushed to a hospital and pronounced dead at 11:30 p.m. The Bureau of Prisons says Williams is the first federal corrections officer killed on the job in nearly five years.
February 28, 2013 |
Patrick Giblin pleaded for "one final chance" when he wrote to a federal judge in 2009 asking for a reduction in his prison sentence, so that he simply "could do the right thing. " "I will not let the court down," the self-professed gambling addict penned to U.S. District Judge Robert B. Kugler, who had sentenced Giblin to 15 years in 2007 after Giblin admitted that he had romanced women to scam thousands of dollars. Two years later, Giblin wrote that he had been a model inmate, ready for release and to observe rules and curfews.
February 22, 2013
YORK, Pa. - Some inmates at York County Prison are falsely claiming to be Jewish so they can get kosher meals, causing a spike in food costs, officials said. Prison officials must honor valid religious conversions, said acting County Solicitor Donald Reihart. But that's not the case with many inmates, he said. Some prisoners game the system because they think kosher meals taste better than regular ones, Reihart said. Officials dispute any quality difference. Kosher meals are prepared outside the facility, while regular ones are made on site, a prison spokesman said.
February 19, 2013
DID YOU KNOW that Philadelphia prison inmates collected unemployment benefits while sitting in their cells? They did: 1,162 of them got an average of $344 a week for, on average, 18 weeks. That's more than $7 million. And many of the 25,500 inmates in other county jails in Pennsylvania did the same. We're talking cash for cons - tens of millions of tax dollars paid by employers and employees fraudulently scammed by incarcerated crooks. Makes you want to get up every day, go to work and pay your taxes, right?
January 29, 2013 |
PHILLY, LET'S TALK. There are a lot of conversations we should be having as a city, but aren't. Let's begin with a conversation about what happens when a guy gets out of jail. And let's start with a compelling movie about trying to make it in a world that doesn't welcome ex-cons. The film, "Pull of Gravity," follows several Philadelphia ex-cons. It was shot over a year in North Philly and features three men in different stages of re-entry: There's Andy, 44, in and out of prison for 25 years, and home for six after serving 10 years behind bars.
January 19, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Tax fraud appears to be a popular pastime in the nation's prisons, but the Internal Revenue Service is catching on. The IRS detected more than 173,000 fraudulent tax returns from prison inmates last year, many of them using stolen identities and other false information in an attempt to get tax refunds. That's more than twice the number of fraudulent returns detected from inmates in 2010, according to a report Thursday by the Treasury Department's inspector general for tax administration.
December 18, 2012 |
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The governor on Monday sidestepped a decision about whether a condemned inmate was too fat to be humanely executed by sparing the prisoner on the grounds that he had poor legal representation. Gov. John Kasich's decision to grant clemency to Ronald Post mirrored the recommendation of mercy by the state parole board, which said it didn't doubt Post's guilt but said there were too many problems with how he was represented 30 years ago. Post, who weighs 450 pounds, never raised the issue of his size with the board.
November 25, 2012 |
MORGANTOWN, W. Va. - For people behind bars in six Appalachian states, they are one of the few forms of escape - hundreds of used books, wrapped in brown paper and stacked thigh-high under a table, just waiting to be shipped. Parenting and self-help books. History and law. Dictionaries, biographies, and fiction. Whatever the subject, volunteers with the Appalachian Prison Book Project believe they hold the power to unlock worlds. From a small room in a historic house next to the Morgantown Public Library, they meticulously organize requests, exchanging letters to find just the right read and get permission from prison administrators while simultaneously scrambling to raise money for shipping.