Tag Archives: prisons

Unrestricted Shackling of Juveniles and Pregnant Women

Fact: 36 states allow the indiscriminate shackling of juveniles in court rooms.

Fact: Only 18 states prohibit or restrict the shackling of pregnant prisoners, including during labor.

Fact: Roughly 12,000 women are pregnant at the time of incarceration, including thousands who give birth while incarcerated annually.

Source: DC Attorneys Want Juveniles Released from Shackles in Court, Washington Post; The Shackling of Pregnant Women and Girls in U.S. Prisons, Jails, and Youth Detention Centers; ACLU

250,000 Youth Tried in Adult Criminal Justice System Annually

Fact: Approximately 250,000 youths are tried in the adult criminal justice system annually.

Fact: On any given night, approximately 60,000 youth are incarcerated in a correctional facility or out-of-home placement.

Fact: Approximately 10,000 are incarcerated in an adult jail or prison.

Fact: The overwhelming majority are accused of minor and nonviolent offenses.

Source: Juvenile Justice, Public Welfare  Foundation

Alabama Prisons Face Chronic Issues

Fact: Alabama’s prisons have grown 840% since 1977. The state population has grown 23%.

Fact: In 1995, Alabama briefly re-introduced the chain gang for the first time in America in 30 years, before dropping the practice amid criticism and court challenges.

Fact: In 2002, the U.S. Justice Department ordered Alabama to stop chaining inmates to hitching posts, a widespread practice.

Fact: Alabama spends 1 of every 4 dollars in the state’s General Fund on prisons.

Source: Alabama’s Prison Problems, Al.com

Prisons As America’s New Asylums

Fact: There are approximately 10 times as many people with severe mental illness in prisons than there are in state psychiatric hospitals.

Fact: Approximately 15% of the prison population is estimated to suffer from severe mental illness, according to the Department of Justice.

Fact: In addition to the increased number of prisoners with mental illnesses, the severity of the illnesses is also rising.

Source: The Treatment of Persons with Mental Illness in Prisons and Jails: A State Survey, The Treatment Advocacy Center and the National Sheriff’s Association

Census Count of Prisoners Distorts Districts

Fact: The U.S. Census counts prisoners as members of the district where they are incarcerated, even though prisoners often cannot vote.

Fact: This may distort political districts, adding as much as 33% to the population numbers of some precincts.

Fact: Thus, “prison gerrymandering” grants undue political power to people who live near prisons, contributing to voter inequality.

Source: Study Says Prison Population Pads Voter Tally In Some Districts, Boston Globe