Washington, D.C. — Gallup reports that for the first time in 34 years, a majority of Americans would rather sentence a murderer to life imprisonment with no possibility of parole than the sentence of death. The 60% to 36% difference for life imprisonment marks a shift from the past two decades, when Americans were mostly divided in their views on how to punish murderers.
Arizona — Prison officials must give clear guidelines about what prisoners can read, according to a U.S. District Judge ruling, The Washington Post reports. The guidelines must have a “bright-line” regarding permissible reading material prisoners may possess before February 2020. The order comes from a 2015 lawsuit filed by Prison Legal News, a project of the Human Rights Defense Center, when prison officials didn’t deliver four issues of the monthly journal to its incarcerated subscribers because the content in those issues was deemed “sexually explicit,” according to court documents.
Indiana — Jay Vermillion received $425,000 as part of a settlement because prison officials kept in him in isolation for 23 to 24 hours a day, CNN reports. Under state law, a person can spend a maximum of 30 days in restrictive status housing, also known as solitary confinement or segregation. Then the individual’s status must be reviewed. Vermillion’s lawsuit claimed that prison officials sentenced him to a year of disciplinary segregation, despite the law.
Lucasville, Ohio — The execution of 69-year-old Alva Campbell was called off Nov. 6 after the executioners could not find a vein to insert the IV that delivers lethal drugs. It was only the third time in modern U.S. history that an execution attempt was halted after the process had begun, reports Stock Daily Dish.
USA – The misapplication of forensic science contributed to 45% of wrongful convictions in the United States proven through DNA evidence, The Innocence Project reports. False or misleading forensic evidence was a contributing factor in 24% of all wrongful convictions nationally, according to the National Registry of Exonerations.
USA – Private prisons in the United States incarcerated 121,718 people in 2017, representing 8.2% of the total state and federal prison population, The Sentencing Project reports. Since 2000, the number of people housed in private prisons has increased 39%. However, the private prison population reached its peak in 2012 with 137,220 people. Decreasing use of private prisons make these latest overall population numbers the lowest since 2006 when the population was 113,791.
USA – The number of people serving life sentences in U.S. prisons is at an all-time high, The Sentencing Project reports. Nearly 162,000 people are serving life sentences – one of every nine people in prison. An additional 44,311 individuals are serving sentences of 50 years or more, otherwise known as virtual life sentences.
Washington – Tarra Simmons, of Bremerton, who in 2017 won a Supreme Court fight to sit for the state bar exam, despite her prior criminal conviction, plans to announce her candidacy for the state House, Northwest News Network reports. Simmons is seeking to become the first formerly incarcerated person elected to the Washington Legislature, at least in modern times.