Ex-con app developers are disrupting price-gouging prison phones


 Bloomberg reports that inmate messaging apps like Pigeonly, InmateAid, and Flikshop now have millions of users — and are poised to disrupt prison phone companies’ decades-old monopoly.

All started by ex-inmates, these apps aim to give inmates and their families a more affordable way to stay in contact –and bring prisons out of the digital Stone Age without sacrificing their grip on security.

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Mass incarceration may be the greatest social crisis in modern American history


More than 2.4 million people are behind bars in the United States today.

The U.S. Sentencing Commission voted unanimously last week to allow nearly 50,000 nonviolent federal drug offenders to seek lower sentences. The decision of the commission retroactively applied an earlier change in sentencing guidelines to now cover roughly half of those serving federal drug sentences. Both the Department of Justice and prison-reform advocates have endorsed the change. It’s a significant step forward in reversing decades of mass incarceration, though in a global context, still modest.



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The American prison system’s darkest period in history

Recent lawsuits and Justice Department investigations have uncovered grotesque abuses of mentally ill inmates at state and local prisons.

It has been an extraordinary three weeks , and maybe the darkest period in the history of the American penal system. In four states the systemic abuse and neglect of inmates, and especially mentally ill inmates, has been investigated, chronicled and disclosed in grim detail to the world by lawyers, government investigators and one federal judge. The conclusions are inescapable: In our zeal to dehumanize criminals we have allowed our prisons to become medieval places of unspeakable cruelty so far beyond constitutional norms that they are barely recognizable.



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Inside the Prison Industrial Complex in America


In America today there seems to be an extremely problematic phenomenon of the ever growing industry of privatized prisons across America, generally referred to as the Prison Industrial Complex, as well as skyrocketing rates of incarceration that leave the rest of the nations of the world trailing behind.



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Inmates post reviews of prisons on Yelp

Prison inmates post reviews to Yelp.

Robert Miller , an attorney, has visited five prisons and 17 jails in his lifetime, but he has reviewed only three of them on Yelp. One he found “average,” with inexperienced and power-hungry officers. Another he faulted for its “kind of very firmly rude staff.” His most recent review, a January critique of Theo Lacy jail in Orange County, Calif., lauds the cleanliness, urban setting and “very nice” deputies.



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