On February 25, 2014, Orange is the New Black author Piper Kerman testified at the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearings on solitary confinement in Washington, DC. Unlike her fictional character, Kerman was never placed in solitary confinement. But she testified about the many women incarcerated alongside her who had:
While I was in prison, I saw many women sent to the SHU for minor infractions such as moving around a housing unit during a count, refusing an order from a correctional officer, and possession of low-level contraband like small amounts of cash (which is largely useless in prison) or having women’s underwear from the outside rather than prison-issued underwear. All of these infractions drew at least 30 days in solitary. Sometimes women are sent to the SHU immediately upon their arrival in prison because there aren’t any open beds.
Most politicians would rather ignore the reality of the problems with the prison system than address them head-on and risk being seen as “soft on crime.”Orange is the New Black—and Kerman’s determined attempt to link the peoples’ interest in the fictional story to real women’s suffering—has helped get Americans talking about prison in a way few pieces of pop culture have. It’s also a way to get people talking about women in the prison system rather than focusing the conversations around men. It’s also a sad truth that politicians and Americans in general are more likely to listen to a celebrity telling them about prison conditions than someone who didn’t become famous after being incarcerated. To her credit, Kerman (unlike some other celebrities who have experienced short stints behind bars) has been using her platform to advocate for change.
Read the article: Can “Orange is the New Black” Change the Way Congress Thinks About Prisons?
12:02 pm • 25 June 2014 • 36,616 notes
Claiming that even the prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is air conditioned, prisoners in Texas have filed a federal lawsuit over soaring temperatures in state prisons that they say have killed at least 12 prisoners in the last three years.
The suit, filed by the Texas Civil Rights Project and the University of Texas School of Law Civil Rights clinic on behalf of the prisoners, isn’t seeking monetary damages. It seeks cooler temperatures for the prisoners. Eighty-eight degrees to be exact.
The lawsuit, broadly concerned about the lack of air conditioning across state facilities, centers on a facility in Navasota, Texas, known as the Wallace Pack Unit. Located about 70 miles northwest of Houston, the facility houses about 1,400 men. As of January, the compliant said, 114 men over the age of 70 were housed there. They have no air conditioning, and the windows which do open provide little relief, the suit claims, leading to temperatures inside that often exceed those outside.
12:02 pm • 23 June 2014 • 685 notes
How many people do we imprison in America? So many that 100,000 will die… of old age.
(Part of a series of photos by Tim Gruber. “I just watched one of my subjects die,” he writes. “I don’t want to get used to this.”)
12:01 pm • 7 June 2014 • 258 notes
There is none. If you read the “About" section, we make that somewhat clear. We make gifs of prison shows and occasionally reblog prison-related posts.
4:58 pm • 2 June 2014 • 3 notes
Inmate Delshaun Renard Nix has been in the corrections system since he was a juvenile. His 2009 crime of armed robbery went wrong when the group he was with opened fire in a restaurant and killed a cook, a father of five. Nix received a 20-year sentence and is being held at the Ross Correctional Institution in Ohio.
12:02 pm • 31 May 2014 • 76 notes