The Northern Virginia Chapter meeting for Thursday, Nov 21 is Cancelled.
By Patrick A. Hope and Adam P. Ebbin, Published: September 6
Two years ago, we visited Red Onion State Prison, a super-maximum-security penitentiary in southwest Virginia, and came away deeply troubled by the numbers of prisoners being held in solitary confinement, or “segregation.” We called for the commonwealth to reform the practice. The Post’s editorial page agreed.
Read the the full article at The Washington Post
We shouldn’t be surprised.
Last month, the FCC finally ruled to limit the rates of prison phone calls. Prison advocacy agencies, including Virginia CURE have been fighting the excessive rates for over a decade. High phone costs aren’t just bad for prisoners. Preventing prisoners from maintaining ties to their families outside raises crime rates, and the cost of prison phone calls are high enough to do just that.
In the Huffington Post,
The industry’s profits have been made, critics charge, on the backs of poor, mostly black and Latino inmates. Prison reform advocates have quoted rates as high as $17 for a single 15-minute phone call.
“It’s been times when she did have to choose over paying for her medication to talk to me, that really does happen,” Ulandis Forte, a man convicted of murder whose grandmother was the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit over the sky-high phone fees, said earlier this year. “I don’t blame anybody for putting me in the position I was in, wholeheartedly I accept my responsibility, but in doing so it was so unjust at the pain my grandmother had to go through.”
Attorney General Eric Holder wants criminal justice professionals to look for ways to reduce prison overcrowding, including moving away from mandatory minimums and making greater use of alternative sentences, such as community service.
According to AP, federal prisons are 40% overcapacity, and many of the inmates are incarcerated for non-violent drug felonies.
A coalition of civil rights groups are partnering for a 15-city tour of Virginia to raise awareness on and provide direct services for justice issues that affect people with criminal records. Kicking off on August 6, the Mobile Justice Tour will focus on three key issues: civil rights restoration for citizens with felony convictions, removing questions about an applicant’s criminal background from initial employment forms, and programs for successful prisoner re-entry.
Host organizations for the Mobile Justice Tour include Resource Information Help for the Disadvantaged (RIHD); Bridging the Gap in Virginia; Good Seed, Good Ground; Virginia Organizing; and Advancement Project.