Last week, the Sylvia Rivera Law Project
uploaded a YouTube video of Laverne Cox reading a letter written by a New York State inmate named Synthia China Blast, who described living in solitary confinement for the last decade
. However, that video has since, at Cox's request
, been taken down. (TW: descriptions of murder, sexual violence) [more inside]
"The Justice Department estimates that more than 209,400 people are sexually abused in US detention every year
… A great deal has been learned about this over the past few years. The [Prison Rape Elimination Act] legislation, which charged the [Bureau of Justice Statistics] with undertaking annual statistical analyses of the problem that have proved indispensable, also created a body called the Review Panel on Prison Rape.… A commission charged with issuing recommendations didn’t do so until six years after the bill’s passage; then Attorney General Eric Holder missed by nearly two years the statutory deadline for promulgating them. But the standards that Holder’s Department of Justice finally did issue are very strong."
Forty years in solitary:
two men mark sombre anniversary in Louisiana prison [more inside]
Burl Cain, the warden of Angola, Louisiana's largest prison, uses religion to control and subdue the prison population.
The last meals of executed prisoners
- photographs of the final choices of death row inmates.
Meet the new form of prison currency: Honey buns
"Between the Bars
is a weblog platform for prisoners, through which the 1% of America which is behind bars can tell their stories. Since prisoners are routinely denied access to the Internet, we enable them to blog by scanning letters. We aim to provide a positive outlet for creativity, a tool to assist in the maintenance of social safety nets, an opportunity to forge connections between prisoners and non-prisoners, and a means to promote non-criminal identities and personal expression. We hope to improve prisoner's lives, and help to reduce recidivism." [more inside]