USA — A new report Can’t Pay Can’t Vote by the Civil Rights Clinic at Georgetown Law shows that 30 states still keep people from voting by use of what can be called a poll tax. Eight states include explicit payment requirements within their election laws, two states retain permanent disenfranchisement laws and require payment of legal debts for clemency eligibility, and 20 states require completion of parole and or probation for voting rights restoration and payment of legal debt is included as a condition of one’s parole or probation.
NYC— Mark Denny was awarded $9.75 million by city officials for the 30 years he spent in prison for a rape and robbery that he did not commit, the New York Post reports. Court papers showed that “The NYPD’s fabricated and/or coercive evidence, which was presented to the prosecution prior to trial through false written and oral reports and to the jury through their false testimony at trial, was the sole basis of Mr. Denny’s conviction.”
St. Paul, Minn. — Prison officials sent a record number of more than 8,000 people to solitary confinement in 2018, according to WCCO/CBS. Last June, corrections officials implemented new regulations that increase the maximum time allowed in solitary from 90 days to a year.
Oakland, Calif. — Civil rights lawyer, Anne Butterfield Weills, known for ending the use of indefinite solitary confinement in California prisons, has been banned for life from communicating with prisoners amid allegations that she talked to incarcerated clients with contraband cell phones, The Mercury News reports. Weills alleged in a lawsuit, filed last March, that the ban is retaliation against her for joining a 2009 federal lawsuit against the state’s use of segregated housing units in the state’s prisons.
Chicago, Ill. — Cook County jail detainees are playing round-robin chess against detainees around the world, including England and Russia, CBS Chicago reports. The program began in 2012 as a way to help people develop critical thinking skills, patience and other qualities needed to navigate life behind bars and move inmates in the right direction when they get out of jail, officials say.
Chicago, Ill. — A new report by Reclaim Chicago, The People’s Lobby, and Chicago Appleseed Fund for Justice shows during Kim Foxx’s second year in office, the number of sentences of incarceration decreased by 19%, reports of violent crime decreased by 8%, and that incarceration generally made communities less safe. The report recommends raising the thresh- old for felony retail theft charges to $1,000, increased use of resolving felony convictions that do not lead to incarceration by connecting people to mental health and substance abuse programs and improved training of prosecutors to use discretion in seeking alternative prosecutions and reasonable plea deals.
Mississippi — A lawsuit claims that the opportunity to win seats in the state’s legisla- ture are weakened for Black candidates by arbitrary voting rules, such as lifetime voting bans for a number of felonies that are mostly applied to Blacks, such as limber larceny and writing bad checks, according to the Starkville Daily News.
Tennessee — Death Row inmate, Stephen West, told prison officials that he wants to be executed by electric chair, News Channel 5, Nashville reports. West was convicted in 1986 for kid- napping and killing a woman and her teen daughter. He was sentenced to death the following year.
Hartford, Conn. — Corrections officials say they will begin testing prisoners for the Hepatitis C virus to avoid a lawsuit, the Harford Courant reports. State lawmakers estimate the cost for treatment at up to $158 million, depending on how many of the 13,000 prisoners have the virus.
Phoenix, Ariz.— The state’s incarcerated population has asked a federal judge to take over all healthcare operations in the state’s prisons, The Associated Press reports. Attorneys representing 34,000 prisoners claim that the state has not made improvements that were promised nearly five years ago in a previous settlement
Huntsville, Texas — Billy Jack Crutsinger, 64, was executed by lethal injection on Sept 4 for the 2003 killing of two women in their Fort Worth home. Crutsinger was the fifth person executed in Texas this year and the 14th executed in the US this year.