Alabama — Since September 2019, the state’s parole board denied 92% of people who sought release from prison, according to a report by ACLU, Smart Justice. In 2018, the report found 4,239 people were released on parole — 2,291 were released in 2019.
Virginia — Two bills designed to prevent corrections officials from strip-searching anyone under 18 and stop the practice of banning visitors who refuse a strip search passed the state Senate unanimously last January, The Virginian-Pilot reports. The legislation comes after a series of stories revealed that corrections officials had strip-searched an 8-year-old girl, several women during their periods and an 83-year-old man, among others.
Colorado — A vote last January has cleared the way for the state to repeal its death penalty, The Intelligencer Feed reports. Colorado is one of four states where the death penalty is currently under an official moratorium issued by a governor.
New York — The Manhattan District Attorney’s Conviction Integrity Program agreed to toss out Rafael Ruiz’s 1987 conviction for sexually assaulting a woman in East Harlem, ABC7NY reports. On April 29, 2009, he walked out of Orleans Correctional Facility. Newly tested DNA evidence did not place him at the crime scene or as the assailant. Ruiz had been eligible for parole since August 28, 1992, but every time he appeared, he refused to admit his guilt to a crime he did not commit.
New Mexico — Private health care provider, Corizon Health is refusing to comply with a court order to release settlements it made with prisoners who sued the company alleging poor care, reports the Santa Fe New Mexican.
Baltimore — Corrections officials plan to convert the Brockbridge Correctional Facility into a “comprehensive prerelease, reentry, and workforce development facility” for both men and women, The Washington Post reports. Corrections leaders say it will offer programs to get people on the right track as they leave prison, with a focus on job training, education and family mediation.
Arizona —The Ninth Circuit refused to reverse a contempt order against the Arizona Department of Corrections for failing to improve its prison healthcare. Corizon Health failed to improve the system’s inadequate staffing, substandard care and indifference to prisoners with severe mental health problems at 10 state-run prisons system, Courthouse News Service reports.
Ohio — Gov. Mike DeWine announced last January that the state would delay four executions originally set for this year as the state searches for a solution to problems with its lethal injection execution methods, Scene & Heard reports.
Idaho — State corrections officials announced a $28 million per year contract with CoreCivic to house 1,000-plus prisoners in Colorado due to a shortage of Idaho prison beds, reports the Post Register.
Connecticut — Department of Corrections use of prolonged solitary confinement could inflict psychological torture on inmates, a United Nations human rights expert said in February. “These practices trigger and exacerbate psychological suffering, in particular in inmates who may have experienced previous trauma or have mental health conditions or psychosocial disabilities,” the expert said. “The severe and often irreparable psychological and physical consequences of solitary confinement and social exclusion are well documented and can range from progressively severe forms of anxiety, stress and depression to cognitive impairment and suicidal tendencies.”
Florida — The State Senate on Feb. 26 endorsed a measure granting more discretion to judges when handing down sentences in drug-related convictions, the Washington Examiner reports.