California’s prisons are still dangerously overcrowded

In 2011, the Supreme Court intervened in California’s increasingly dangerous prison system. Ruling 5-4, the court determined that conditions inside California’s prisons were unconstitutional, a violation of the eighth amendment that needed to be rectified by rapidly bringing prison populations down. In practice, this worked out into prison realignment—shifting many prisoners to jails, and also […]

Do Some Prisoners Matter More Than Others?

When I get into conversations with people about prisoner rights, the conditions in US prison, and specific prison reform issues—like getting rid of solitary confinement and addressing the health care gap in prisons—there’s always a significant elephant in the room. On the surface, many self-identified progressives support prisoner rights, at the very least opposing the […]

Why Is the US Still Using Solitary Confinement?

Something rather astounding happened in 2011: prisoners went on strike, and people paid attention. A hunger strike over conditions in California prisons that started at Pelican Bay, the state’s notorious supermax facility infamous for its use of solitary confinement, spread across the state, attracting headlines and attention across the country. Not just in prison media, […]

The Costs of Calling Home From Prison

With opportunities to contact the outside world greatly limited, many prisoners highly value the chance for a phone call, whether it’s with a friend, loved one, attorney, supporter, or someone else. Prison visitation isn’t always an option, so sometimes it’s only possible to communicate over the phone, because letters aren’t always enough. Consequently, there’s a […]