Miami—An initiative has enabled more than 70,400 incarcerated individuals to earn more than 32,000 college credits, according to a press release by a tablet manufacturer, JPay. The program, available on JPay tablets, is called Lantern. JPay, in partnership with Ashland University, has provided access to more than 4 million education course files. Lantern is available in prisons located in Georgia, Ohio, Louisiana and West Virginia.
Bristol County, Mass.—About 900 people incarcerated in county jails could be affected if the county sheriff’s office carries through with replacing in-person visitation with video conferences at two jails, the Boston Globe reports. Under the plan, instead of in-person visits, friends and family members would be taken to a separate building for video conferences with the person locked up.
Seattle—A proposed ordinance approved by a City Council committee last August would nearly end landlords’ ability to screen prospective tenants based on their criminal histories, the Seattle Times reports.
Sacramento—California correctional officials are seeking a revised method for executions, The Associated Press reports. The new regulations would allow inmates to be executed using one of two different drugs or choosing the gas chamber. The revised regulations were filed one day after the state Supreme Court upheld a voter-approved measure to speed up executions.
Sacramento—Kim Carter, founder and executive director of the Time for Change Foundation, has been recommended by the Board of Parole Hearings for a pardon of her crimes, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin reports. Carter has been recognized by CNN as of one of the top 10 CNN heroes for assisting more than 1,000 people returning to the community after incarceration. Carter said the felony record prevented her from reaching her full potential. “If you think I’ve made an impact now, just wait until I’m out from under this shroud,” Carter said.
Kincheloe, Mich.—Steve Pine of Sault Ste. Marie has worked for Trinity Services Group at Kinross Correctional Facility as a food worker since July 2016. He was fired after refusing to serve rotten potatoes to inmates at a northern Michigan prison and speaking up about the incident, CBS Detroit reports. Pine told the Detroit Free Press about 100 bags of potatoes were moldy and a corrections officer agreed that the potatoes should be thrown out, but a Trinity supervisor disagreed.
Sacramento—Pasadena attorney Charles W. Funari II is sponsoring a bill that would allow parole hearings for prison inmates who are 80 or older, have served at least 10 years behind bars, have not been sentenced to death or life without possibility of parole, and who are not covered by parole prohibitions imposed by other ballot measures to be eligible for parole, Sacramento Bee reports. In California’s current Elderly Parole Program, inmates who are 60 or older and who have been incarcerated for 25 years or more are eligible for the program.
Nebraska—The state’s prison population went up more than a percentage point in the last part of 2017 to 161 percent of capacity, according to a new report issued by state officials. The statistics are based on the average daily population in 10 prisons for the months of April, May and June. The average daily prison population was 5,278 during the quarter. A year ago, at the same time, the average was 5,241.
Nashville, Tenn.—An updated lawsuit against detention contractor CoreCivic claims inmates were denied prescribed medication and staff ignored a scabies outbreak for a full year, News Channel 5 Nashville reports. The updated suit claims that CoreCivic, formerly known as Corrections Corporation of America, knew about scabies outbreaks in late 2016. Action was not taken until family members of inmates demanded the Health Department get involved.
Louisville, Ky.—Applying the death penalty to defendants younger than 21 at the time of their crimes amounts to an “unconstitutionally disproportionate punishment,” a Kentucky judge has ruled. The ruling came in the case of Travis Bredhold, who was 18 years and five months old when he was charged with the 2013 slaying of a gas station attendant, The Associated Press reports
Louisiana—Officials are reviewing the sentences of 16,000 inmates, who could have their prison times shortened as changes in the criminal law take effect Nov. 1. That’s around 45 percent of the 35,500 people the state has locked up now, reports NOLA.com. Gov. John Bel Edwards and the state legislature enacted sentencing changes this year, aiming to reduce Louisiana’s highest-in-the-world incarceration rate.
USA—The following are incarceration costs around the nation. All figures are costs per inmate per year: Illinois, $38,268; Kentucky, $14,603; Indiana, $14,823; Missouri, $22,350; Michigan, $28,117; Iowa, $32,925; Wisconsin, $37,994; Connecticut, 50,000; New Jersey, $54,000; New York, $60,076; California, $75,560, Belleville News-Democrat and CDCR report.
Topeka, Kan.—Low wages, starting at $13.95 an hour, make it difficult to retain uniformed officers at the state’s prisons. One in every five jobs is open, and there is a high staff turnover, The Associate Press reports.
San Luis Obispo—The FBI is investigating 11 deaths in the county jail since 2012 to see if they were civil rights violations, The Tribune reports. The district attorney’s office, which has received several “inquiries of concern” from county residents, is referring all inquiries to the FBI. The DA’s office said it is not investigating the jail or inmate deaths itself.
Florida—Mark James Asay was executed Aug. 24. Asay’s execution was the first since a January 2016 U.S. Supreme Court decision temporarily stalled the state’s death penalty, Orlando Sentinel reports. He was the first white man ever executed for killing a black person in the state.
Florida—Nine Death Row prisoners are challenging the state’s policies, saying it is unconstitutional to keep them in solitary confinement for more time than other prisoners, according to The Crime Report. They are the latest in a nationwide movement aimed at equalizing conditions for prisoners, arguing that just because someone is condemned he or she should not be treated badly until executed, the Washington Times reports. Lawsuits also have been filed in recent years in Virginia, Arizona and Louisiana, and prisoners in some cases have won policy changes.
Alabama—State officials do not have to notify tens of thousands of former felons that they have recently regained the right to vote, a federal judge ruled in August. The judge also found that the state does not have to automatically restore voting rights to citizens who tried to register but were denied before the state’s law regarding felon disenfranchisement changed this year.