James Kilgore

E-Carceration: The Problematic World of Being On an Electronic Monitor

Maurice spent over 15 years in Illinois state prisons. Before he was released in the spring of 2015, authorities told him he would have to be on an electronic monitor (EM). “I thought "maybe I’d actually need it,” he told AlterNet. He knew that life was fast on the outside and he figured a monitor might help "to slow everything down." But after few days on a GPS-enabled ankle bracelet, Maurice realized he had made a grave miscalculation. 

Keep reading... Show less

Nationwide Prison Strike Against 'Slavery in America' Rolls on - Despite Media Blackout

The first national prison labor strike in US history launched on September 9. Billed as a "Call to Action Against Slavery in America," the spark for the action came from the Free Alabama Movement (FAM), a prison-based organization that has been mobilizing across the state since 2012. Alabama has one of the most overcrowded prison systems in the country.

Keep reading... Show less

Is This the Beginning of the End for the Private Prison Industry?

Last week Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates seemingly turned the criminal justice world upside down. Her tool? A two-page memo to the acting head of the Bureau of Prisons that laid the groundwork for cutting off relations between the federal government and private prison operators. Citing the private facilities for excessive levels of violence, lack of “rehabilitative” services and failure to deliver on promised cost cutting, she directed the BOP head to “reduce” with the aim of “ultimately ending” federal contracts with private prisons. In the immediate future, BOP is either to “decline to renew” or “substantially reduce” the “scope” of each private prison contract when it ends.

Keep reading... Show less

Is the Fight to End Mass Incarceration Wasting Away in Washington?

Mass incarceration’s profile as a national issue appears to be on the wane. Throughout 2015, the nation’s over-reliance on imprisonment drew a constant spotlight, producing a plethora of bipartisan policy proposals and expressions of moral outrage in Beltway circles. In March last year, Newt Gingrich and Democrat stalwart Van Jones co-hosted an unprecedented Washington, D.C. conference of nearly 500 key role players billed as a “Bipartisan Summit on Criminal Justice Reform.” The Koch Brothers Foundation teamed up with George Soros’ Open Society forces to sponsor it. Author and formerly incarcerated activist Shaka Senghor spoke, as did Georgia's Republican governor Nathan Deal. At a moment of great congressional discord, people across the spectrum were finally agreeing on at least one thing: the U.S. was spending too much money on corrections and locking up too many people, especially black folks.

Keep reading... Show less