prisons

Eastern Reception Diagnostic and Corrections Center in Bonne Terre, MO
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

If there’s one thing Stuart Grebing has learned to love in his 28 years in prison, it’s his Cadillac. At the Eastern Reception Diagnostic and Corrections Center in Bonne Terre, a “Cadillac” is defined as “Coffee prepared with a full range of condiments.“ It’s one of the terms important to life in Bonne Terre.

It's not the only word that doesn't quite mean what non-inmates assume. Take, for example, the word jail. In prison, “jail” is a verb; it's something you can do well.

Office of Sen. Durbin

At least half of all prison suicides are committed by inmates held in so-called solitary confinement, according to several state and national studies. 

While a first-of-its-kind report on segregation practices in federal prisons shows improvement, with the number of inmates held in solitary confinement on the decline. Still, said U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., “There’s still much more work to be done.”

Tom Cummins
Provided by Criminal Justice Ministry

When volunteer prison chaplain Tom Cummins knocks on the door of a prison cell, the inmate’s voice is nearly always welcoming, sometimes delighted.

“I deal almost exclusively with those in isolation,” he said. “The guys know what society thinks of them. They are part of the throwaway society like papers tossed aside, abandoned, out-of-mind, in prisons that are hidden in the country, off a side road. When anyone treats them like a child of God, they flourish. A chaplain can help bring them back to a sense of being part of a whole community.”

The Rev. Dietra Wise Baker
Rebecca Smith | St. Louis Public Radio

First of a two-part series.

Prison chaplains wear hope on their sleeves. Many talk about ex-prisoners who transform their lives in prison and, after release, become contributing citizens and good parents.

One of the chaplains, the Rev. Dietra Wise Baker said that most judges and others who work in the justice and corrections systems are “loving,” but the system is flawed.

Piper Kerman
Sam Zalutsky

Will Piper get back with Larry? Will Alex return to Litchfield Prison? If she does, will Piper be able to resist her charming nemesis?

“Orange Is the New Black” author Piper Kerman answered one of these questions and hinted at another in an interview, prior to her upcoming St. Louis appearances at Lindenwood University next Tuesday, Sept. 9 and Maryville University next Wednesday and Thursday, co-sponsored by Left Bank Books.

Commentary: What Is The Point Of Prison?

May 6, 2014
(via Flickr/neil conway)

The saga of Mike Anderson, a man convicted of armed robbery 13 years ago and amazingly never put in prison (except for a few months at the time he should have been released), is seemingly at an end. A circuit judge decided that making Anderson serve his sentence would “serve no purpose” and released him to live the rest of his life a free man.

The series of events raises troubling questions on the front end of the Missouri criminal justice system: How could a person guilty of a serious crime be able to escape punishment without anyone noticing?

Illinois Sends $7 Million To Prison Diversion Program

Dec 29, 2013
(Flickr/neil conway)

 

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn’s office has announced $7 million in grants aimed at funneling non-violent offenders away from prison and into community-based services. 

The funds come through Adult Redeploy Illinois, a program that encourages local jurisdictions to treat and supervise certain offenders, using tools like drug courts and mental health courts.

Quinn's office says the program saves up to $17,000 per year for each offender.

Provided by Perennial

A local program re-purposing broken chairs helps heal women with criminal convictions as they prepare to re-enter society.

The hit TV series “Orange Is the New Black” explores the lives of women behind bars. But even after their release, orange remains an important color to some of St. Louis' former female inmates. So do purple, green and the entire rainbow.

Incarcerated parents in Missouri could spend more time with their children under a bill given first-round approval by the Missouri House.
 
The legislation endorsed Monday would set up a test program that would provide transportation for children who live more than 50 miles away from their parent's prison to visit them.
 
Two Missouri men's prisons and two women's prisons would be selected for the program's trial. The Department of Corrections would have to submit a final report on the program's effect in 2017.
 

(Flickr/neil conway)

Gov. Pat Quinn's budget cuts that will force the closure of some prisons and other state facilities will stand.

The Illinois House didn't consider an override vote Wednesday before adjourning on the last day of veto session. A spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan says the speaker didn't think it was necessary action to take.

Last week, the Senate voted to reject cuts of $56 million to funds for the Tamms high-security prison and other sites.

Quinn opposed the override.

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