17 States and DC Have Stopped Reporting Active COVID Cases Behind Bars

On July 5, Rita Deanda tested positive for COVID while incarcerated at the California Institution for Women. She was immediately ordered to pack her belongings and moved to a quarantine unit, which she referred to as “COVID jail.” That was where she spent the next 11 days. The 57-year-old doesn’t know how she got COVID; she was taking precautions, such as wearing her mask and doing her best to socially distance from others. On the day she was tested, Deanda recalled that she felt great. But the week before, she told Truthout, “I had a migraine from hell and thought…

Hundreds of Thousands of Incarcerated People Are in Danger Amid Scorching Heat

This summer is set to be among the top 10 hottest on record with heat waves melting roads across Europe, causing thousand-acre fires in Texas and California, scorching people across the globe. Across the country, as temperatures soar, people behind bars describe feeling as if they are melting or being baked alive in units that frequently lack air conditioning or cooling mechanisms. Temperatures in parts of Texas have soared to over 100 degrees every day for the past week — with no relief in sight. The state has the tenth-highest incarceration rate in the nation, with 840 of every 100,000…

“Mental Health Units” in Prison Are Solitary by Another Name, Activists Say

Christian Hill has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and major depressive disorder. In the New York State prison system, this classifies him as having a serious mental illness and confers a “1-S” designation upon him. Under the newly implemented HALT Solitary Confinement Act, people with this mental health designation cannot be punished by being placed in the Special Housing Unit, or SHU, where they would spend at least 17 days alone in their cells. Instead, Hill and others with this designation must be sent to a Residential Mental Health Unit, a prison unit for incarcerated people with serious mental…

Abortion Funds Are Preparing For a Storm. To Help, “Get in Where You Fit in.”

“We have to be thinking and dreaming and planning really expansively … because when Roe falls, band-aid solutions are not going to be enough,” says Meghan Daniel, a support coordinator with the Chicago Abortion Fund. In this episode of Movement Memos, Daniel and host Kelly Hayes talk about the end of Roe, abolishing police and prisons and how funding abortions builds power. Music by Son Monarcas, Pulsed & Imprismed TRANSCRIPT Note: This a rush transcript and has been lightly edited for clarity. Copy may not be in its final form. Kelly Hayes: Welcome to Movement Memos, a Truthout podcast about…

Prisons Aim to Stifle Creativity. Here’s a Book That Pushes Back.

I spent six and a half years in prison. Much of that time, I was working on one fiction manuscript or another. I had to stumble around in the darkness to figure out how to do this. So do most writers in prison. Now there’s a book to help change that. PEN America’s The Sentences That Create Us (Haymarket Books, 2022), edited by Caits Meissner, is the dream of every incarcerated writer: a collection of how-to-write essays by those who can speak to that audience best — other incarcerated writers plus people who have taught writing classes in prison. The…

I Survived Death Row, But I’ll Never Escape It

Oklahoma plans to take the life of Bigler Jobe “Bud” Stouffer II next week, and four more lives in coming months. Executions are also planned in Texas and Alabama. Like many people, I’m physically repulsed by the thought of the government killing — murdering — anyone. But an impending execution affects me more than most. I survived 13 grueling years on death row in Illinois. During that time, I witnessed 12 people — sons, fathers, brothers — executed at the hands of the state. Each of us were told our lives were beyond repair, that the world was a better…

Translate »