prison system

Billionaire presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg has acknowledged that one of his vendors hired a subcontractor that used prison workers to make phone calls for his 2020 campaign.

That prison labor was being used by the Bloomberg campaign was reported Thursday morning by The Intercept. The campaign says it was unaware that inmate workers were making phone calls on its behalf until informed by The Intercept's reporter, and says it immediately cut ties to the vendor.

Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Prison is not fun anymore for Warren Rawls. The 36-year-old has been in and out of prison six times, and he has decided he’s not going back. He says during a recent statewide prison lockdown he was handcuffed everywhere he went – even the shower.

Rawls is one of more than 450 Oklahomans set free in the nation’s largest single-day commutation on record.

Dr. Kimberly Sue is the medical director of the Harm Reduction Coalition, a national advocacy group that works to change U.S. policies and attitudes about the treatment of drug users. She's also a Harvard-trained anthropologist and a physician at the Rikers Island jail system in New York.

Sue thinks it's a huge mistake to put people with drug use disorder behind bars.

More than 450 prison inmates behind bars for low-level and non-violent charges were released Monday across the state of Oklahoma.

It's believed these commutations mark the most prisoner releases on a single day in the history of the U.S. — the nation with the highest incarceration rate in the world.

Matt Trotter / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

Hundreds of Oklahomans serving felony sentences for crimes that are now misdemeanors were freed on Monday.

Voters reclassified drug possession and property crimes less than $1,000 in 2016, but the changes didn’t apply to people convicted beforehand until a new law took effect Friday. The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board recommended 527 people for commutations that day, with 462 eligible to be released Monday.

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The state of Oklahoma plans to release hundreds of prisoners Monday after their sentences were reduced by the state's Pardon and Parole Board. 462 state prisoners could be sent home, which would represent the nation's largest single day commutation.

President Trump said on Friday that he knows what it's like to be treated unfairly, comparing his own experience with an impeachment inquiry in Congress to inequities in the U.S. criminal justice system.

Trump was speaking at the Second Step Presidential Justice Forum held at the historically black Benedict College in South Carolina. The forum also featured Democrats vying for the presidential nomination, and was focused on the future of criminal justice policies.

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Some parts of criminal justice reform can feel risky. If you propose letting someone out of jail who has committed a crime, you reduce jail overcrowding, but does it put the community at risk? That’s a question Rogers County in northeastern Oklahoma has been trying to answer.

The warden of the federal prison in New York City where Jeffrey Epstein was found dead has been reassigned, the Department of Justice says. Two other staffers were placed on leave.

The administrative moves took place amid official investigations into Epstein's death and following harsh official criticism of the Bureau of Prisons.

Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

In 2016, Oklahoma voters passed two state questions intended to reduce the state’s prison population. Every year since, lawmakers have introduced bills designed to help decrease the number of people serving time.

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