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

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 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

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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

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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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New Research Shows How the Prison-Poverty Cycle Creates ‘Toxic Persons’ Condemned to Failure

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California’s failed prison system – states like California now spend more on locking people up than on funding higher education.

Forty years after the United States began its experimentation with mass incarceration policies, the country is increasingly divided economically. In new research published in the review Daedalus, a group of leading criminologists coordinated by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences  argued that much of that growing inequality, which Slate‘s Timothy Noah has chronicled, is linked to the increasingly widespread use of prisons and jails.

 

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What Will Our Descendants Condemn in the Future About What We Are Doing Today?

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Will our prison system be condemned in the future?

Once, pretty much everywhere, beating your wife and children was regarded as a father’s duty, homosexuality was a hanging offense and waterboarding was approved — in fact, invented — by the Catholic Church. Through the middle of the 19th century, the United States and other nations in the Americas condoned plantation slavery. Many of our grandparents were born in states where women were forbidden to vote. And well into the 20th century, lynch mobs in this country stripped, tortured, hanged and burned human beings at picnics.

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The End of Prisons? – Alternatives to Incarceration

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In a country that claims to be the land of the free, the number of people under the control of the U.S. corrections system has exploded over the last 25 years to more than 7.3 million, or 1 in every 31 U.S. adults, according to a report released by the Pew Center on the States. The actual number of people behind bars rose to 2.3 million, nearly five times more than the world’s average.

 

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