Feds order cell phone access for cons in halfway houses

By   /  June 6, 2014  /  Corrections, Minnesota, Technology  /  No Comments

CALLING ALL FEDERAL HALFWAY HOUSES:  Halfway houses must draft plans to provide federal offenders access to cell phones to help in job searches and their transition to society under a directive from US Attorney General Eric Holder.  Bureau of Prisons photo.

It’s one of the most sought after, smuggled and dangerous weapons in prisons. It’s also a tool that few in the outside world make do without.

Now, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder plans to make the indispensable items — cell phones — available to thousands of federal offenders serving out their sentences and re-entering society each year in halfway houses. More than 30,000 people spent time in federal halfway houses in 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

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‘In-house parole’ costs NM taxpayers $10M a year to keep prisoners in prison

By   /  April 29, 2014  /  Corrections, New Mexico, News, State Government  /  No Comments

ON PAROLE BUT STILL IN PRISON: The practice of "in-house parole," where inmates serve part of their paroles behind bars, costs New Mexico taxpayers an estimated $10.3 million a year.

By Rob Nikolewski │ New Mexico Watchdog
SANTA FE, N.M. — New Mexico has a real problem getting inmates out of prison and into parole programs.
An increasing number of inmates don’t get released at all and serve what’s called “in-house parole.” That means they stay locked up for weeks and sometimes months at a time.
And that [...]

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Crash, boom, bam: Deputy wrecks 33 times in 17 years, but union fights for his job

By   /  February 20, 2014  /  Corrections, Minnesota, News, unions  /  No Comments


As a law officer, former Todd County Deputy Sheriff Mark Grinstead didn’t miss much.

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Less is more: ‘Shortage of staff’ at DOC cost Vermont taxpayers millions

By   /  December 18, 2013  /  Accountability, Budget and Spending, Corrections, Finances, Health Care, News, State Budgets, State Government, Top State News, Vermont, Wasteful spending  /  No Comments

LESS IS MORE: "Staff shortage" at DOC cost Vermont taxpayers an extra $4.1 million in prison health care costs

By Jon Street | Vermont Watchdog
BURLINGTON, Vt. — Vermont taxpayers will lose out on $4.1 million this year, and it’s all because the Department of Corrections had one less employee keeping an eye on the budget, says the state’s director of health services.
Vermont’s director of health services says the reason there was a $4.1 million shortfall [...]

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NM lawmakers see millions in potential savings through prison reform

By   /  December 18, 2013  /  Corrections, New Mexico, News, State Budgets, State Government  /  No Comments

Robin Gavinski wrongly spent 417 days in prison due to a calculation error by the Department of Corrections. Now the state is repaying Gavinski with $7,600.

By Rob Nikolewski │ New Mexico Watchdog
SANTA FE, N.M.  — State lawmakers— Republicans and Democrats alike — on a special subcommittee are eyeing reforms to the criminal justice system that could lead to millions in taxpayer savings.
But the reforms won’t come anytime before 2015.
“We should really concentrate on violent offenders, and that’s where our prison space [...]

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Florida governor’s budget boosts cash for corporate welfare

By   /  February 5, 2013  /  Corrections, Elections, Florida, Issues, News, State Budgets, State Government  /  8 Comments

FIRST MOVE: Scott propes $4.2 billion more spending in 2013. (photo by Gage Skidmore via Flickr)

By Yaël Ossowski | Florida Watchdog
ST. PETERSBURG — If Gov. Rick Scott has his way, Floridians will be paying a little more for their government this year.
Just over $4.2 billion more, to be exact.
That’s the final figure from his recommended budget released last week and totaling $74.2 billion, the largest in Florida history.
The budget was [...]

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