prisons

George Chochos

Back in 1990, there were more than 300 college-in-prison programs in the U.S. By 1997, the number was down to less than ten -- eliminated as part of the nation’s movement to get "tough on crime." 

Twelve officials at an upstate New York prison have been placed on leave, as authorities investigate how two convicted killers managed to escape from the facility on June 6.

Among those placed on leave are Superintendent Steven Racette, of the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, and Deputy Superintendent Stephen Brown, according to multiple media accounts.

David Sweat, one of two convicted murderers whose escape June 6 from a New York prison sparked a statewide manhunt, is in critical condition after being shot Sunday by a state police sergeant.

Sgt. Jay Cook spotted Sweat walking down a rural road near the town of Constable, N.Y., near the border with Canada, and ordered him to stop. When Sweat tried to flee, Cook shot him twice, authorities said.

"The nightmare is finally over," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a Sunday news conference.

Updated at 3:40 p.m. ET

Authorities on a massive manhunt for a pair of convicted murderers, who made an extraordinary escape from a prison in upstate New York two weeks ago, have shifted the focus of their search to Allegany County near the Pennsylvania border after reports of a possible sighting of David Sweat and Richard Matt.

A New York district attorney says the woman charged with helping two murderers escape from a maximum-security prison had discussed with them a murder-for-hire plot targeting her husband.

Adam Frenier / NEPR

Listing case after case of repeat offenders returned to the city’s streets on bails as low as $1,000, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno renewed his call to reform how bail is set in Massachusetts, especially for repeat violent offenders. Some people, Sarno said, need to remain in jail, not make bail.

Authorities investigating the escape of two convicted murderers from Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, N.Y. this weekend believe the men might have planned to flee to Vermont.

Two prisoners who escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility in northern New York last weekend are still on the loose. North Country Public Radio reports that at least 300 tips have come in so far, but authorities still have no idea where Richard Matt, 48, and David Sweat, 34, two convicted murderers, actually are.

Brian Turner / Creative Commons

Connecticut's second-highest court has ruled that a transgender teenager's due process rights were violated when the state's child welfare agency sought her transfer to a prison last year.

Updated at 3:30 p.m. ET

In a prison-break likely to draw comparisons to the film The Shawshank Redemption, two convicted murderers have escaped from a maximum-security facility in upstate New York by cutting through steel walls, shimmying through a steam pipe and emerging from a manhole on the outside.

Inmates Richard Matt and David Sweat broke out of the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, near the Canadian border, early Saturday morning.

Tucker Ives / WNPR

A mentally disabled man who has served 23 years in prison for a 1987 murder is out on bail following a court order for a new trial.

A Hartford Superior Court judge on Friday set bond at $250,000 for 69-year-old Richard Lapointe, which was posted. His lawyers said their client will be staying with a couple in East Hartford as prosecutors decide whether to re-try him.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Advocates for juveniles want the state legislature to repeal a rarely used law that allows Connecticut's Department of Children and Families to request a youth be transferred to an adult prison. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

In 2011, the state adopted a Risk Reduction Earned Credit, or RREC program, where certain prisoners can have their sentences reduced by participating in prison programs, and for good behavior. RREC has been controversial, but new statistics show the program has been effective in reducing recidivism rates.

www.stockmonkeys.com / Creative Commons

In her latest book, Burning Down the House, journalist and author Nell Bernstein explores the dark side of America’s juvenile justice system. Through the eye-opening stories of incarcerated youths, she argues that it’s time to shut down the nation’s juvenile prisons once and for all.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

If you follow Hartford politics, you may remember Kennard Ray's story.

Less than a day after being hired as Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra’s new deputy chief in 2013, Ray resigned from the position. He had a criminal record that Segarra said was "not initially disclosed," but came to light after The Hartford Courant asked questions about Ray's past.  

Chion Wolf

The first few months of Governor Dannel Malloy’s second term as governor have been very, very busy. He’s rolled out major initiatives to take on our transportation problems, and to create a "second chance society" to change our system of incarceration, punishment, and re-entry after prison.

Malloy has also had to deliver a budget to lawmakers that includes deep cuts prompted by a multi-billion-dollar budget deficit. This plan has gotten criticism from social service providers on the left for cutting too much into vital plans, and from Republicans on the right for not cutting government deeply enough. There's even dispute about whether the budget is balanced or comes under the so-called "spending cap."

Derek Gavey
Creative Commons

We incarcerate more people in this country than any other country in the world, a shift that started over 30 years ago with punitive sentencing policies that disproportionately targeted non-violent, mostly black, drug offenders caught in President Reagan's war on drugs.

Now, decades later, we're dealing with the fallout. The costs of incarceration are high. Sure, the economic cost is astronomical, about $52 billion dollars in 2011, but the human cost is staggering. 

janp013/iStock / Thinkstock

Non-violent drug offenders in Connecticut soon may get a second chance.

Governor Dannel Malloy announced a series of legislative proposals aimed at drug law reform on Tuesday, which he deemed the "Second Chance Society" initiative, which he said would further reduce crime and reintegrate non-violent offenders into society. The proposals directly contrast zero-tolerance policy stemming from President Ronald Reagan's 1982 launch of the “War on Drugs."

Malloy’s reforms include reclassifying drug possession as a misdemeanor (unless there is intent to sell), eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders, revamping the parole and pardons systems to help ex-offenders get jobs, and investing in housing for ex-offenders as they re-enter society. Malloy announced Wednesday he also wants to expand education and employment opportunities for ex-convicts. 

Connecticut Innocence Project

The state of Connecticut has awarded $6 million to a man who was wrongfully imprisoned. Kenneth Ireland served more than two decades in prison --- for a rape and murder that he did not commit.

More than eight months after Oklahoma officials struggled to perform the execution of a condemned man who eventually died of a heart attack, the state executed another prisoner, Charles Frederick Warner, Thursday night. The Associated Press reports that Warner was declared dead at 7:28 p.m. CST. Warner was convicted in the 1997 rape and beating death of an 11-month-old girl.

Val Kerry / Creative Commons

Last month, the Senate Intelligence Committee Report released their report examining the CIA’s use of enhanced interrogation after 9/11.

They found that the CIA was using harsher forms of torture that yielded less useful information than we were led to believe.

California Senator Dianne Feinstein, Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee said, "Detainees were subjected to the most aggressive techniques immediately. They were stripped naked, diapered, physically struck, and put in various painful stress positions for long periods of time."  

Wikimedia Commons

You know lots of sociopaths right?

It could be anyone from your ex-spouse to the guy who cut you off on your drive to work today. It's a term we throw around loosely to refer to anyone whoever lied to us or didn't follow the rules. 

But, if we use it that way, it's not a very useful term. A sociopath is not the same thing as a jerk. In fact, the person you know who strikes you as a jerk is probably not a sociopath because it's not in the best interests of sociopaths to let you know what kind of people they are and sociopaths are usually pretty good about acting in their own best interests.

For most of New York, Rikers Island is out of sight and out of mind. It's in the middle of the East River between Queens and the Bronx. There's only one unmarked bridge that leads on and off. But a recent report on violence by correction officers, or COs, was no surprise to those who've spent time there.

Connecticut Innocence Project

A Connecticut man who was freed after spending two decades in prison on wrongful murder and rape convictions has been appointed to the state parole board.

Gov. Dannel Malloy appointed Kenneth Ireland and four others to paid positions on the Board of Pardons and Paroles on Wednesday.

The U.S. is seeing "historic" progress in reducing both its crime and its incarceration rates, Attorney General Eric Holder said, with the federal prison population falling by some 4,800 inmates in the past year — "the first decrease we've seen in many ‎decades."

Connecticut's Supreme Court has decided to take up three cases that could decide how the state handles the convictions of children who commit murder and other violent crimes.

U.S. Bureau of Prisons

A new report details the challenges for female prisoners who have been moved out of the federal prison in Danbury into federal jails in Philadelphia and Brooklyn.

LitchfieldBZ / YouTube

The state of Connecticut has sold the historic former Litchfield County jail to a real estate investor for $130,000. 

The Psychopath Show

Aug 14, 2014
Chion Wolf

You know lots of sociopaths right?

It could be anyone from your ex-spouse to the guy who cut you off on your drive to work today. It's a term we throw around loosely to refer to anyone whoever lied to us or didn't follow the rules. 

Neil Conway / Creative Commons

After spending years, sometimes decades behind bars, inmates leave prison with little direction for moving forward. They face difficulties obtaining employment, education, and housing. Although Connecticut is a national leader on re-entry programs, a recent study finds nearly 80 percent of inmates released in 2005 were re-arrested within five years.

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