What Really Goes On Inside a Minimum Security Prison
Originally Published August 20, 2020 In the US, a minimum-security prison is a dorm-type federal facility that resembles a college camp more than a prison. They are usually reserved for non-violent offenders, most of whom are white-collar criminals. Thus, minimum security prisons are also referred to as “Club Fed”. But contrary to popular belief, life inside a minimum security prison is far from luxurious. Yes, minimum-security inmates may have it better than most in some aspects. But the problems that inmates face in other facilities also exist in minimum-security prisons. Former inmates have reported incidents of abuse by jail guards. And although the population is classified as “non-violent”, riots and murders still do happen. Albeit, at a lesser frequency than higher security prisons. So, the rumor that inmates are living the time of their life in these prisons is all a myth. To give you a better perspective of what really goes on inside a minimum-security prison, we dug into official statistics and inmate testimonies. Here’s what we found. PRISONERS As mentioned, minimum-security prisons are reserved for non-violent offenders. In other words, those people who have committed crimes of non-violent nature. This is why most white-collar criminals end up in […]
Are You Committing a “Serious Felony” in California?
Originally Published August 20, 2020 Each state has different laws when dealing with crimes. In California, some felony offenses can have serious consequences. The state’s Penal Code 1192.7 provides that certain crimes are automatically considered as a strike offense. This usually applies to serious felony charges. But simple misdemeanors may also count as a strike offense depending on the aggravating circumstances. Under California’s three-strikes law, the more strike offenses you commit, the longer your prison term will be. If you are convicted of a strike offense and have had a prior conviction for a serious felony, your prison term will be doubled. If you are convicted of a strike offense for the third time, expect a sentence of at least 25 years to life imprisonment. SERIOUS FELONY UNDER PENAL CODE 1192.7 Not all felony charges are considered as a strike offense. Penal Code 1192.7 specifically mentions the following crimes as a serious felony and shall be treated as a strike offense: murder or voluntary manslaughter;attempted murder;arson;mayhem;rape;commission of rape or sexual penetration in concert with another person;kidnapping;carjacking;sodomy or oral intercourse by force, violence, duress, menace, the threat of great bodily injury, or fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury on the victim or another […]
Federal vs. State Prison: Which is Better?
Originally Published August 14, 2020 The United States is infamous for imprisoning the most people in the world. For every five prisoners globally, one of them is American. With over 2.2 million inmates, the US incarcerates about 0.7% of its population. To put that statistic into perspective, around 7 in every 1000 Americans is put behind bars. But not all prisons are the same. There are 122 federal prisons and 1,719 state ones. Where you end up depends on many different factors like where you did the crime and what laws you violated. WHEN CAN YOU BE SENT TO STATE PRISON, AND WHEN CAN YOU BE SENT TO A FEDERAL ONE? The main distinction is that violation of state laws send you to state prisons, while violation of federal laws can send you to federal ones. The nature of crimes that violate state laws is generally more violent than the ones that violate federal laws. These crimes can include murder, rape, and gun-related offenses. These are violations done in one state only and are handled by that state’s authorities. Violations against federal laws, or federal crimes, comprise of crimes committed across state borders and against government institutions and agents. Other violations include white-collar crimes, like money laundering, fraud, and racketeering. Some crimes can be both state and federal crimes, depending […]
Prison Love: Romantic Poems For Your Boyfriend in Jail
Originally Published August 14, 2020 Loving someone whom you can’t be with physically takes courage and determination. Even more so if that one person who makes your heart beat is struggling behind prison bars. You yearn to be with them, hold them tight, and hear their laughter. But aside from a few phone calls, you’ll have to content yourself with letters that usually take days to arrive. At least until you can be with them again. This is why what you write in that letter is very important. It’s one of the few ways you can express how you feel. It’s how you can make them feel loved and reassure them that someone is waiting for their return. If you’re struggling to put emotions into words, sending them a love poem or two can also do the trick. Here are some samples of romantic poems you can send to your boyfriend in jail. MY PRAYER by: Tina Fortner The words in this poem sum up the struggle, anxiety, sadness, and desperation of someone with a loved one in prison. Excerpt: I feel a tear run down my face As I sit in this quiet, lonely place. I think of you […]
10 Famous Prisons That Left a Mark in History
Originally Published July 29, 2020 Walls tell stories. People remember buildings for many different things. Some people remember them for their unique architecture, but more often than not, it’s the stories that stick. Prisons are riddled with unbelievable tales of bloodshed, conspiracy, and great escapes. These tales have made them famous, earning them a place in the history books. These are 10 of The Most Famous Prisons That Left a Mark in History. ALCATRAZ ISLAND Also known as The Rock, Alcatraz is one of the most fortified prisons in the world, located in San Francisco Bay, California. If you’re a prisoner planning to escape, the security is only the beginning of your concerns. This island is surrounded by treacherous waters that reach temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. If that isn’t enough to trouble you, the currents are incredibly strong, sometimes bringing you out towards the Pacific. In the mid-1900s, it housed some of the most notorious civilian prisoners. Among these prisoners were Al Capone, George “Machine Gun” Kelly, and “Birdman” Robert Stroud. The prison was later abandoned in 1963, following problems with transporting freshwater. Nowadays, Alcatraz serves as a famous tourist spot, open to the public. DEVIL’S ISLAND To say this prison has […]
The Different Types of Prisons in the US Explained
Originally Published July 16, 2020 Not all crimes deserve harsh punishments. In the same vein, not everyone who broke the law deserves to be treated as savage criminals. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), there are over 2.2 million inmates in the US as of 2016. About 80% of whom were convicted crimes of varying severity. While the remainder is still awaiting their trial. Of the entire inmate population, only about 39% are charged with violent crimes. A large percentage committed crimes ranging from driving under the influence (DUI) to simple burglary and car theft. With these numbers, it’s obvious that these people have different needs when it comes to security and punishment. Fortunately, the government has realized this in the past few decades. They figured out that incarceration should focus more on rehabilitation and punishment. As such, mixing non-violent criminals with violent ones will only make the former more indoctrinated. Instead of giving them a proper environment for rehabilitation, you’ll just be exposing them to violent behavior. This goes for young offenders too. Putting them in adult prison can reduce their chances of reintegrating successfully back into society. This is why there are various types of correctional facilities in the US. […]
How Incarceration Affects Child Custody
Originally Published July 16, 2020 Getting convicted of a crime is never easy, especially when you’re a parent responsible for more than your own life. Incarceration significantly changes the entire balance of both your life and your child’s. It affects child support, visitation, and custody for the incarcerated parent. IF ONE PARENT GOES TO JAIL, DOES THE OTHER PARENT AUTOMATICALLY GET CUSTODY? Custody can depend on several factors. The first is if any arrangements were made after the parent was convicted. The court then proceeds with the prior agreements if they’re in the best interest of the child. Here’s a list of guide questions as to what “best interest” means. If none were made, the other parent could claim custody rights if the court sees them fit. Should the other parent be unfit, the court may assign the child to another relative or place them in foster care. DOES INCARCERATION TERMINATE THE INCARCERATED PARENT’S CUSTODY RIGHTS? Not necessarily. Depending on the gravity of the conviction, the court could temporarily suspend the parent’s rights until they finish their term. The length of the incarcerated parent is also crucial in determining custody rights. These two factors generally determine whether the incarcerated parent may keep custody. WHAT CAN TERMINATE THE INCARCERATED […]
Second-Degree Rape: Definition and Punishment
Yes, Children Can Go to Jail in the US
Originally Published July 9, 2020 We tend to think of children as naive and guileless. Even when they commit mischiefs, most of us would just shrug it off and blame it on their youth. But what happens when they commit a heinous crime? Depending on their age and the crime they’ve committed, they can be called either delinquents or criminals. Either which, one thing is for sure: they’ll be incarcerated. Delinquents will go to juvenile detention centers. While criminals go to adult prisons. Strictly speaking, a juvenile detention center is more like a camp than a prison. The conditions are much more humane and the focus is on rehabilitation rather than punishment. The children also receive various interventions to make them better members of society. Still, it curtails their freedom and separates them from their family and friends. In some cases, the children spend years inside the detention centers. And if they’ve committed a particularly heinous crime, they continue serving their sentence in adult prisons once they come of age. In essence, they are still prisoners albeit much better treated. THE DEFENSE OF INFANCY Around the world, many countries have laws that follow the doctrine of doli incapax. Under this, children […]
What Is The Punishment For Child Endangerment In Ohio?
Originally Published July 01, 2020 Child endangerment is a serious offense not only in the court of law but also in the community. In Ohio, these laws fall under Section 2919.22 of the Ohio Revised Code. These laws are staunchly enforced to protect those who technically cannot protect themselves. Section 2919.22 was made not only to protect minors under the age of 18 but also to those with physical or mental disabilities under the age of 21. Any action which poses a substantial risk to a minor’s health and safety is considered a violation of this statute. Health and safety can refer to physical, emotional, and mental states. An example of these violations is driving under the influence with a child in the same vehicle. WHAT ACTS ARE CONSIDERED AS CHILD ENDANGERMENT? I further simplified Section 2919.22 by making the terms more understandable to us civilians. The following acts are violations against the statute: Any action which poses a substantial risk to a child’s health and safetyAbuse of the childTorture or cruel mistreatment of the childApplying physical punishment, or physically restraining the child wherein it can cause serious bodily harmRepeatedly administering unwarranted discipline, and there’s a serious risk that this could hinder or impair the child’s […]
Failure To Appear In Court Hearings, Can It Send You To Jail?
Originally Published July 01, 2020 Federal and state law can get quite complicated. For us regular civilians, the ins and outs of it all is an alien language. But don’t you worry. This article aims to simplify the technicalities of the law and terms like capias warrants. SUMMONS VS. WARRANT If there’s probable cause to believe that a defendant has committed an offense, the judge must issue a warrant of arrest to an officer who can execute it. Upon request of a government attorney, a summons may be ordered in place of a warrant. Both serve the same purpose, which is to charge someone with a criminal or traffic offense. Read here about more types of warrants. WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO, YOU ASK? It has to do with the time frame. When a warrant is executed, the officer must arrest the defendant and bring them before a magistrate judge without unnecessary delay. A summons must be in the same form as a warrant, except that the defendant must appear before a magistrate judge at a specific date and time. The defendant specified in a summons is not yet under arrest and can walk around freely before his court appearance. You […]
Is DUI Considered a Felony Offense?
Originally Published July 01, 2020 Drunk driving laws vary for each state. But in general, the first offense will only be considered a misdemeanor. Depending on the circumstances, subsequent DUI convictions may or may not constitute a felony. In all states, you are considered impaired if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is more than .08%. But for drivers under 21 years old, any amount of BAC can warrant a DUI charge in most states. Though at the federal level, the limit is 0.2%. In some states, the higher the BAC, the harsher the punishment will be. Though laws vary, DUI offenders usually undergo an alcohol evaluation. Their drinking habits will be assessed and they’re also likely to receive an alcohol education. Even if you won’t be caught by the police, you should never drive while drunk. It not only endangers you, but it also puts the lives of other drivers at risk. WHEN A DUI IS CONSIDERED MISDEMEANOR As mentioned, the first DUI offense will mostly just earn a misdemeanor conviction. In some states like Illinois, a second DUI will also just be considered a misdemeanor. If someone is killed, however, even a first offense can lead to felony charges. Misdemeanors usually carry […]
Can You Legally Grow Marijuana In Arizona?
Originally Published June 17, 2020 For decades, marijuana usage has been quite a controversial topic. But, with the help of modern research, its medicinal benefits are almost undoubted now. Some of its medical benefits include pain relief and aiding spasticity. And as of 2019, 12% of Americans use this drug. In Arizona, Proposition 203 legalized the use of medical marijuana back in 2010. And as of January 2020, over 225,000 Arizonans are medical marijuana patients. But these laws remain confusing and unclear. Here’s a quick guide to growing marijuana legally in Arizona. WHO CAN GROW MEDICAL MARIJUANA? MEDICAL MARIJUANA PATIENTS AND CAREGIVERS How do you qualify as a medical marijuana patient? For you to be able to qualify as a patient, you need to: Be 18 years or older (Patients under 18 will need a legal guardian to act as a “designated caregiver”)Have an Arizona driver’s license or identification cardHave a residential address within ArizonaHave at least one of the conditions listed below: CancerGlaucomaHIV/AIDSHepatitis CAmyotrophic lateral sclerosis/Lou Gehrig’s diseaseCrohn’s diseaseAgitation of Alzheimer’s diseaseA chronic or debilitating condition or its treatment that results in:Cachexia (wasting syndrome) orSevere and chronic pain orSevere nausea orSeizures, including those characteristics of epilepsy orAcute or persistent muscle spasms, including those […]
Can an Inmate Send Money to Another Inmate?
Originally Published June 3, 2020 Like everything else in prison, there are policies that govern an inmate’s finances. For one, inmates are not allowed to physically hold money. But they can have a trust fund account. The inmate’s trust fund account is where they receive money and pay for stuff. As you may have expected, it is heavily regulated. They can only receive money from certain people. Similarly, all payments and withdrawals have to be approved by prison administrators. So can an inmate send money to another inmate? The rules vary per facility. In South Dakota, inmates are not allowed to send or receive money from other inmates unless authorized by the warden. The same policy is also enforced in Washington prisons. In Indiana, both inmates and prison staff are not allowed to do any financial transactions with other inmates. Anyone caught doing so may face disciplinary actions. Some facilities are silent on the matter. But, in general, fund transfer between inmates is prohibited in state prisons and county jails. Federal institutions, on the other hand, allow fund transfers between inmates provided that: they are from the same institutionthe inmates involved are close relativesthe warden issues a written approval Inmates from different federal correction […]
How Prison Support Groups Help Inmate Families
Originally Published May 21, 2020 Data shows that as of 2016, there are 2.3 million prisoners in the US. They comprise 24.7% of the world’s inmate population. But what these numbers don’t tell you are the number of people who are paying for the crime they didn’t commit: the families of inmates. Yes, these people are innocent victims of the system and of the poor choices their loved ones have made. They didn’t want this. No one wants to see the person they love languishing behind bars. But they didn’t have a choice in this nor do they deserve this. Incarceration leaves a huge impact on these families. It leads to feelings of loss and demoralization, and the victimization of children. More than the emotional impact, incarceration also lives these families financially vulnerable. It’s not a secret that most inmates came from poor families. For them, losing a breadwinner can mean the difference between a nice warm home or living on the streets. Fortunately, there are organizations that are helping ease the burden for these families. Prison support groups have been very instrumental in helping inmate families adapt and heal. Here are some ways they provide support to families of prisoners. 1. […]
How the #MeToo Movement Fares in Women’s Prison
Originally Published May 21, 2020 The #MeToo movement started as a simple awareness campaign. But the message resonated with a lot of people that it has become a worldwide movement in just a few years. And now it has reached the people that needed it the most: incarcerated women. For centuries, women have been subjected to sexual harassment and abuse. Most of the time, the perpetrator is someone who has direct authority over them. From being treated like a chattel by their husbands to bosses who constantly make a pass at them, the abuse can happen both at home and at work. It has gone on for so long that it has become a cultural norm. This culture of abuse and harassment has penetrated all levels of society. It victimizes women from all walks of life: from the educated elites to homeless single mothers. But the abuse is even more pronounced for those who are at the lower end of the spectrum. Since these abuses rob the victim of self-worth, many women choose to remain silent. Those who tried to speak up were ridiculed or branded as a pariah. As such, sexual abuses and harassments remain a taboo topic in […]
Are Green Card Holders Allowed to Vote?
Originally Published May 06, 2020 Unfortunately, green card holders cannot legally vote in federal elections. But they may do so in state and local elections as long as the local laws allow non-citizens to vote. You need to remember that a green card is just proof that you are a permanent resident. It does not make you a US citizen. Rather, it’s a step towards obtaining citizenship. And the constitution clearly states that only citizens are allowed to vote in federal elections. RIGHTS OF GREEN CARD HOLDERS Even if they are not allowed to vote, green card holders share many rights with citizens. Most of them are guaranteed under the Bill of Rights which applies to every person, regardless of citizenship. These rights include: freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petitionright to bear armsprotection against unreasonable searches and seizuresright to due process of lawprotection against self-incrimination and jeopardyright to counsel, speedy and public trial and trial by jury (in civil cases)protection from excessive bail, cruel and unusual punishmentsother rights Some rights are also exclusive for green card holders. These include the right to: live permanently in the US as long as you do not commit anything that makes you eligible for […]
The US Border Crisis is Giving Private Prisons a Boost
Originally Published April 28th, 2020 In 2016, private prison stock prices are plunging. Plagued by controversies, policymakers have finally stepped up to end the practice. Prison activists who advocated against for-profit prisons are on the brink of success. Then Donald Trump entered the picture. Almost overnight, the private prison industry made a full comeback. Private prison stocks rebounded and have been at its highest in years. But what caused this dramatic turnaround? Trump’s hardline policies on immigration, that’s what. Migrants from neighboring countries regularly seek asylum in US borders. Before the Trump administration, most people who are caught illegally crossing the border are not detained. Instead, they are shackled with ankle monitors and given access to legal representation. But with a stricter stance on immigration, more and more migrants are detained in US private prisons. In fact, they have become the country’s default detention centers for illegal immigrants. These detained migrants have become the private prison’s new cash cows. To fully understand how this works, let’s first look at how private prisons earn income. HOW PRIVATE PRISONS MAKE MONEY Private prisons were founded back when the country’s drug problem was on the rise. In the 80s, many Americans are getting […]
Why Being Gay in Prison is Dangerous
Originally Published April 15, 2020 They say that prison is a gay man’s paradise. But nothing can be farther from the truth. If incarceration is hard for heterosexuals, it’s a lot more difficult for gay inmates.In fact, being gay in prison is a dangerous business. Surveys by civil right groups reveal that an overwhelming majority of gay prisoners have experienced verbal, physical and emotional abuse. Most of the time, it’s from their fellow inmates. But prison staff sometimes jump on the fray too.Though unfortunate, this isn’t shocking. Prisoners are often segregated by gender. And to survive in an overly masculine environment, prisoners have to look tough. In such a setting, it’s no surprise that toxic masculinity often reigns supreme.Any sign of femininity is often squashed or derided. But most of the time, it’s taken as a license to sexually assault someone without fearing for retribution. Studies show that LGBTQ+ people are six times more likely to be a victim of sexual assault than the rest of the prison population.But the assaults and abuses against gay inmates stem far deeper than just toxic masculinity. Here are other reasons why being gay in prison is dangerous: HOMOSEXUALITY IS OFTEN MISUNDERSTOOD Progressive beliefs on homosexuality […]
How Late Can Inmates Make Phone Calls?
Originally Published January 28th, 2020 Decades ago, the government uses prison time to punish those who have violated the law. Its main purpose is to curtail someone’s freedom and keep them away from their loved ones as a form of penance. In recent times, the focus of incarceration has shifted from punishment to rehabilitation. Jail time is not anymore seen as a form of punishment but rather as an opportunity to reform an erring person. With this belief, the US Justice system has allowed inmates to make phone calls to their families. It recognizes the importance of support from loved ones to rehabilitate someone. Also, cutting them off completely from the people they care about seems inhumane. It won’t be of any help if the ultimate goal is to reintroduce them to society. OVERVIEW OF THE PRISON PHONE SYSTEM In general, prison facilities have phone amenities inmates can access. The terms to its accessibility, however, remains the sole discretion of its administrator. The Code of Federal Regulations designates the warden as an overseer of prison calls. It requires them to put in place measures to ensure that these phone calls are not abused. It’s also important to remember that you can’t call an […]