prisoner rights

Report: Some incarcerated people don’t trust NC’s prison grievance system

BY: - March 29, 2023

Fear of punishment, concerns that prison staff thwart attempts to submit grievances cited A new report on North Carolina’s prison grievance procedure found that some incarcerated people do not think the policy resolves their complaints and fear they will be punished for raising an objection about their confinement.

‘It has ruined me.’ Listening session offers glimpse into solitary confinement 

BY: - March 1, 2023

People who survived solitary imprisonment talk about its lingering effects on the mind, and call for reform Solitary confinement broke John Howell. Stuck in a prison cell, he lost touch with his family, the outside world and eventually, reality. “You sit there in that box,” he said, “and you slowly lose your mind.”

Howell isn’t locked in a cell anymore, but in a way he's still imprisoned.

A federal law was meant to free sick or aging inmates. Instead, some are left to die in prison.

BY: - February 23, 2023

COVID deaths at federal facility in Butner, NC highlighted Jimmy Dee Stout was serving time on drug charges when he got grim news early last year. Doctors told Stout, now 62, the sharp pain and congestion in his chest were caused by stage 4 lung cancer, a terminal condition. “I’m holding on, but I would like to die at home,” he told the courts in a request last September for compassionate release after serving about half of his nearly 15-year sentence.

Advocacy groups ask FTC to expand Biden administration efforts to rein in junk fees

BY: - February 13, 2023

President Joe Biden devoted 19 sentences of his State of the Union speech to “junk fees,” which includes credit card late fees, service fees for concert tickets and airplane seating preferences that he said strain families’ budgets. Biden did not mention the numerous and opaque fees faced by prisoners and their families every day. But […]

Federal appeals court ruling likens North Carolina’s prison grievance system to a “real world ‘Catch 22’”

BY: - January 6, 2023

Lawsuit involves a disabled man sedated against his will after he complained his cell wasn’t compliant with federal law. The system that allows people incarcerated in North Carolina’s prisons to register complaints about how they are treated is a confusing and confounding process that can be so opaque it raises the question of whether the incarcerated can even access it, according to a ruling issued last week by the U.S Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

New study urges cheaper communications for incarcerated people

BY: - January 3, 2023

People who make phone calls from state prisons and local jails often get price-gouged, with recent reforms falling short in preventing telephone companies from exploiting incarcerated people, a new national study found. As the cost of calls approaches zero outside the prison walls, incarcerated people are forced to pay charges few can afford, threatening their […]

Mail, Inc(arcerated)

BY: - December 2, 2022

A private company scans all mail sent to North Carolina prisons, digitizes it, and gives the incarcerated copies. Is that a problem? Those writing to loved ones in North Carolina prisons must send their letters not to whichever of the more than 50 prisons where their family member is locked up, but to a P.O. Box in Maryland, where their envelope is opened and scanned by a stranger before a copy is delivered to their family member in a North Carolina facility.

Costs of incarceration rise as inflation squeezes inmates, families

BY: - October 13, 2022

Across the nation, prison commissaries are raising prices on items that many consider basic necessities — from deodorant to fresh fruit — not provided by the state department of corrections. The markups come as decades-high inflation is also squeezing inmates’ families, making it harder for them to help.  It’s a burden that families shouldn’t have to shoulder, advocates say, and a situation that some worry will lead to unrest or violence.

‘The End of Isolation Tour’ and the push to end solitary confinement in North Carolina prisons

BY: - August 29, 2022

How three performances of a play relate to efforts to end solitary in North Carolina It’s the sound of jangling keys that reminds Craig Waleed of his time in solitary confinement. “That brings me back to being in there and hearing the keys jingle next to the cell door, thinking, ‘OK then, they’ll let me out. Today's the day I get out,’” Waleed said.

In many parts of the U.S., people in jail can still go to the polls

BY: - March 11, 2022

HOUSTON — Damien Lewis had been detained in the Harris County Jail for a week. Other than the one hour a day he was allowed to walk around indoors and trips to court, he had been under quarantine and hadn’t left his cell. But on the day of the Texas primary earlier this month, a jail staff member escorted him down to a hallway on the jail’s first floor, which was lined with eight voting machines.


Civil rights advocate: NC’s new anti-shackling law for pregnant inmates is not enough

BY: - September 29, 2021

Governor Cooper, on September 10, signed into law a bill prohibiting correctional officers in North Carolina from shackling people who are in labor, among other provisions aimed at improving conditions for those who are incarcerated and pregnant. It’s about time that North Carolina joined dozens of other states that have outlawed this barbaric practice, but […]

NC prison termed “deadliest of all federal facilities” for COVID-19 in new lawsuit

BY: - October 27, 2020

With the aid of a major international law firm, a pair of civil rights organizations sought immediate assistance today for inmates endangered by the COVID-19 pandemic at a North Carolina federal prison. As the release below from the ACLU of North Carolina spells out, the plaintiffs say the federal prison complex in Butner has become […]