Latest Prisons News

This is an undated Mississippi booking photo provided by Department of Corrections shows Willie Nash. . The Mississippi Supreme Court confirmed Nash's 12-year prison sentence for carrying his mobile phone into a county jail cell,  on Jan. 9, 2020. The ruling on the 2018 sentencing is being slammed by some people as a brutal example of racial injustice. (Mississippi Department of Corrections via AP)

12-year sentence for jail phone is 'failure,' justice says

Jan. 16, 2020 7:19 PM EST

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi Supreme Court's confirmation of a 12-year prison sentence for an African American man who carried his mobile phone into a county jail cell is being slammed as a brutal example of racial injustice. Even one of the justices who joined in the unanimous ruling said that...

Republican Gov. Tate Reeves reacts to a question during a news conference regarding his establishing a diverse group of experienced Mississippians to help with a nationwide search for a new Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) commissioner, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Mississippi governor: Prison violence was a 'catastrophe'

Jan. 16, 2020 4:42 PM EST

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi's new governor said Thursday that the state will conduct a nationwide search for a new commissioner to lead a state prison system that's reckoning with what he called a “catastrophe” — a recent outburst of deadly violence and longstanding problems with...

Cypriot Kevork Tontian, right, and Brazilian Wemson Gabral da Costa talk during an interview inside Cyprus' prison complex in capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. Former heroin addict Kevork Tontian says he met the man he wanted to spend the rest of his life with behind bars, and not even his freedom was enough to keep him away from Wemson Gabral da Costa. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

Gay inmates tie the knot inside Cyprus prison

Jan. 16, 2020 12:49 PM EST

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Former heroin addict Kevork Tontian met the man he wanted to spend the rest of his life with behind bars. And not even his freedom was enough to keep him away from Wemson Gabral da Costa. Tontian, a Cypriot, says that after being released from Cyprus' central prisons complex two...

This undated photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows John Gardner. Gardner a Texas inmate with a history of violence against women faces execution for fatally shooting his wife, who had repeatedly told friends and family she would never get out of her marriage alive. Gardner is set to receive a lethal injection Wednesday Jan. 15, 2019 for the January 2005 slaying of Tammy Gardner.(Texas Department of Criminal Justice via AP)

Texas inmate executed for killing wife in 2005

Jan. 15, 2020 8:08 PM EST

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — A Texas inmate with a history of violence against women was executed Wednesday evening for fatally shooting his wife, who had feared she would never get out of her marriage alive. John Gardner, 64, received a lethal injection at the state penitentiary in Huntsville for the...

Tennessee Supreme Court schedules 2 more execution dates

Jan. 15, 2020 7:42 PM EST

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Supreme Court on Wednesday scheduled dates to execute two more death row inmates, but justices still haven't ruled on the attorney general's requests to set seven more. Continuing Tennessee's trend toward capital punishment, the court scheduled Oscar Franklin Smith to...

FILE - In this July 8, 2019, file photo, Attorney General William Barr watches as inmates work in a computer class during a tour of a federal prison. in Edgefield, S.C. The Justice Department is making changes to its system used to identify whether an inmate is likely to commit crimes again after release from prison to ensure the process is fair and effective. It's part of a sweeping criminal justice overhaul measure that was enacted last year. The federal Bureau of Prisons has already assessed nearly all of the 175,269 inmates in federal custody. But the Justice Department plans to re-screen all of those inmates under new guidelines, which officials say places a stronger emphasis on accurately measuring an inmate’s change behind bars. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

AP Exclusive: Justice changing how inmate risk is assessed

Jan. 15, 2020 4:48 PM EST

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department is changing the system it uses to assess whether an inmate is likely to commit crimes after being released from prison, aiming to ensure the process is fairer and more effective. The impetus for the change is a criminal justice overhaul signed into law in late 2018....

This combination photo of undated file photos released by the Mississippi Department of Corrections shows Roosevelt Holliman, left, who was beaten and stabbed at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman on Jan. 2, 2020, and Denorris Howell, who was found dead in his cell on Jan. 3. More than two dozen Mississippi inmates sued the state Tuesday, Jan. 14, saying understaffed prisons are

Lawsuit says Mississippi prisons are 'plagued by violence'

Jan. 15, 2020 10:20 AM EST

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — More than two dozen Mississippi inmates sued the state Tuesday, saying understaffed prisons are “plagued by violence” and inmates are forced to live in decrepit and dangerous conditions. The federal lawsuit follows an outbreak of violence that killed five inmates and...

This undated photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows John Gardner. Gardner a Texas inmate with a history of violence against women faces execution for fatally shooting his wife, who had repeatedly told friends and family she would never get out of her marriage alive. Gardner is set to receive a lethal injection Wednesday Jan. 15, 2019 for the January 2005 slaying of Tammy Gardner.(Texas Department of Criminal Justice via AP)

Texas inmate faces execution for killing wife in 2005

Jan. 15, 2020 12:53 AM EST

HOUSTON (AP) — A Texas inmate with a history of violence against women is set to be executed Wednesday evening for fatally shooting his wife, who had feared she would never get out of her marriage alive. John Gardner, 64, is facing lethal injection for the January 2005 slaying of Tammy Gardner....

FILE - In this Jan. 28, 2015, file photo, Sen. Linda Collins-Smith, R-Pocahontas, speaks at the Arkansas state Capitol in Little Rock, Ark. A woman charged with killing the former Arkansas state lawmaker faces new charges alleging that she asked fellow inmates to kill the victim's ex-husband. Authorities on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2019, charged Rebecca Lynn O'Donnell with two counts of criminal solicitation to commit capital murder and two counts of criminal solicitation to commit tampering with physical evidence. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston, File)

Woman charged in former lawmaker's death faces new charges

Jan. 14, 2020 4:57 PM EST

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A woman charged with killing a former Arkansas state lawmaker faced new charges Tuesday alleging that she asked fellow inmates to kill the victim's ex-husband. Rebecca Lynn O'Donnell, who has pleaded not guilty to capital murder in the killing of former state Sen. Linda Collins,...

FILE - In this May 17, 2011  file photo, a New York City Department of Corrections bus passes the sign near the gate at the Rikers Island jail complex in New York.  Four correctional officers at Rikers Island jail have been suspended without pay after they allegedly stood by and failed to stop a teenage inmate from hanging himself on Thanksgiving, leaving him hospitalized in intensive care. Nicholas Feliciano, 18, remained unconscious in a hospital prison ward Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019 a week after he nearly died in his Rikers Island jail cell, according to the Legal Aid Society, the public defender organization that represents him in court.  (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

6 guards, 15 others charged in Rikers Island bribery case

Jan. 14, 2020 1:38 PM EST

NEW YORK (AP) — Federal prosecutors announced charges Tuesday against six New York City correctional officers accused of taking thousands of dollars in bribes to smuggle drugs to inmates at the Rikers Island jail complex. Fifteen other people, including several inmates, also were charged in criminal...