Can You Talk Your Way Out of a Life Sentence? California is giving a second chance to thousands of inmates who had no hope of parole. But first they have to prove to a panel of strangers that they’ve truly changed.

MY CLIENT, TRAVIS RUNNELS, DID NOT DESERVE TO DIE. The death penalty is the rot at the core of our culture and our values.

The Texas death chamber is painted teal, like a doctor’s surgical scrubs. The tiny room, barely large enough to hold the gurney that my client Travis Runnels was strapped to, was antiseptic in its cruelty. Travis was already in position when my co-counsel Janet VanderZanden and I, along with three of Travis’s close friends, entered the cramped observation room. Travis was alone in the death chamber on the other side of the plexiglass, lying prone with his right arm held out to his side, and a needle in his skin ready to fill him with poison. A microphone hung from the ceiling just above his head, ready to record his last words, but Travis refused to participate in that grim ritual.

Travis instead spent his final moments sharing a kind smile and mouthing “I love you” to his friends. His final actions reaffirmed what he had already told us: that he had been strong to the end, that our lives would go on, and that he would no longer have to bear the torture of isolation on death row.

This was classic Travis. He had been sent to death row for killing Stanley Wiley, a factory supervisor at the prison where Travis was serving a 70-year sentence for robbery. Since landing on death row, however, he changed his life around. READ THE REST

I am not troubled about the fact that you or your loved one may be guilty of the crime that you or they are in prison for.

After doing a number of projects through VTTV, I’ve noticed that occasionally the loved ones of supporters of people who I’ve been asked to create platforms for get very concerned and sometimes frankly obsessive about communicating to me of either the innocence or the unfair prosecution of them or their loved ones.

To that I say first, I never have to be convinced of the unfairness of the American court system.

The second thing I need to communicate is that at least a quarter of the people we have helped are very open about their guilt, sometimes they have told me this while on death row, and while admitting guilt of honestly heinous crimes.

To be totally blunt, and for my own reasons that I’m not going to bother to explain I honestly don’t care about the fact that many of the people I help are guilty of the crimes they are in prison for.. it will not stop me from helping anyone and I have never yet refused to help someone because of their crime.

The only thing that would immediately stop from helping someone is if the platform I created for them was used to further harass , stalk or victimize someone.

If creating the platform might be used against them by the courts or the prison administration.

If creating the platform is against the wishes of the person who is in prison or on trial or if the platform is being created against the advice of you or your loved ones defence lawyers.

Other than that, I would only refuse to create a site for practical reasons, such as limitations on my time ( in which case I would simply delay working on the project until I had the time . We do sometimes have a waiting list) and or frankly if you are bonkers and end up harassing me .

You do not have to invest your time in writing me explanations as to why you, or your loved one are not guilty or were unfairly convicted.

If you say you or your loved one were unfairly convicted I believe you.

If you say that you or your loved one is innocent I believe you.

If you or your loved one say you or they are guilty, I believe you and also do not particularly care.

Just so you know, we can all save a lot of time and energy in trying to convince me of you or your loved ones innocence and take that time to use making the best website possible for you or your loved one.

Mark

How Gangs Took Over Prisons Originally formed for self-protection, prison gangs have become the unlikely custodians of order behind bars—and of crime on the streets.

on a clear morning this past February, the inmates in the B Yard of Pelican Bay State Prison filed out of their cellblock a few at a time and let a cool, salty breeze blow across their bodies. Their home, the California prison system’s permanent address for its most hardened gangsters, is in Crescent City, on the edge of a redwood forest—about four miles from the Pacific Ocean in one direction and 20 miles from the Oregon border in the other. This is their yard time.

Most of the inmates belong to one of California’s six main prison gangs: Nuestra Familia, the Mexican Mafia, the Aryan Brotherhood, the Black Guerrilla Family, the Northern Structure, or the Nazi Lowriders (the last two are offshoots of Nuestra Familia and the Aryan Brotherhood, respectively). The inmates interact like volatile chemicals: if you open their cells in such a way as to put, say, a lone member of Nuestra Familia in a crowd of Mexican Mafia, the mix can explode violently. So the guards release them in a careful order.

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Bootleg film shows Florida prison in all its danger, squalor. An inmate shot it on the sly

Scott Whitney, inmate No. U21924, filmed a documentary on the Florida prison system and nobody knew.

At least the guards didn’t.

Over a period of years, the convicted drug trafficker used specially rigged, almost cartoonishly oversize eyeglasses fitted with hidden cameras and a hollowed-out Bible with a lens peeking through the O in HOLY to capture the gritty, ugly, violent world inside Martin Correctional Institution, one of Florida’s more notoriously dangerous prisons.

The video was smuggled out of the prison and given to the Miami Herald.
Read more here: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/special-reports/florida-prisons/article235623292.html#storylink=cpy

GEO Group Runs Out of Banks as 100% of Banking Partners Say ‘No’ to the Private Prison Sector

All of the existing banking partners to private prison leader GEO Group have now officially committed to ending ties with the private prison and immigrant detention industry. These banks are JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, SunTrust, BNP Paribas, Fifth Third Bancorp, Barclays, and PNC. 

This exodus comes in the wake of demands by grassroots activists — many under the banner of the #FamiliesBelongTogether coalition — shareholders, policymakers, and investors. Major banks supporting the private prisons behind mass incarceration and immigrant detention have now committed to not renew $2.4B in credit lines and term loans to industry giants GEO Group and CoreCivic.

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Meat Executives Plead Guilty to Selling Bad Beef to 32 Prisons

Two meatpacking plant executives pleaded guilty Tuesday to their role in a scheme to sell 800,000 pounds of adulterated meat to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox.

According to plea papers, the two men admitted to selling uninspected, misbranded, or adulterated meat–including whole cow hearts labeled as “ground beef”–to 32 prisons in 18 states.

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