prison

Tami Peay's husband is incarcerated in a Utah state prison for an illegal drugs conviction, and she hasn't seen him in more than four months. She used to see him at least once a week. But that was before visitations were nixed due to COVID-19.

Support for our series Private Prisons: Locking Down The Facts came from The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, a non-profit news organization that partners with journalists and newsrooms to support in-depth reporting and education around the globe.

An image showing the entrance of the Nevada Southern Detention Center.
Google Maps

Support for our series Private Prison: Locking Down The Facts came from The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, a non-profit news organization that partners with journalists and newsrooms to support in-depth reporting and education around the globe.

Support for our series Private Prisons: Locking Down The Facts came from The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, a non-profit news organization that partners with journalists and newsrooms to support in-depth reporting and education around the globe.

Around when I was setting up a trip to Australia to report on a private prison there, things were not looking good for the industry in my home state of Colorado. Politicians were talking about phasing them out entirely. And the GEO Group, a private prison company, announced it would close its one Colorado prison, amid concerns about staff shortages and lack of services for inmates. The state’s head of corrections was talking about the need to move away from prisons that are “stark and idle places without purpose [or] hope.”

But over on the other side of the world, there was Ravenhall, a prison run by the Australian subsidiary of that very same company, GEO. And everything about it flew in the face of the narrative I was hearing. 

Support for our series Private Prisons: Locking Down The Facts came from The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, a non-profit news organization that partners with journalists and newsrooms to support in-depth reporting and education around the globe.

When architect Kavan Applegate was designing Ravenhall, he made sure to include things like native plants, a playground, meeting rooms with nooks to display local artifacts — even an outdoor fire pit where people could gather on special occasions. The goal, he says, was to help people “feel positive” and “embrace the opportunity for change.” 

But Ravenhall is not a yoga retreat. It’s a prison — Australia’s largest, in fact. And it’s run by the GEO Group, a private prison company based in the U.S.

Support for our series Private Prison: Locking Down The Facts came from The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, a nonprofit news organization that partners with journalists and newsrooms to support in-depth reporting and education around the globe.

It was the early 2000s, and the largest prison in Idaho was run by the private company Corrections Corporation of America, or CCA. The state had also started sending prisoners to a private facility in Texas run by GEO Group.


Support for our series Private Prison: Locking Down The Facts came from The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, a non-profit news organization that partners with journalists and newsrooms to support in-depth reporting and education around the globe.

There’s wide variability in state policies about what care to give to women who are pregnant and behind bars. That’s according to a new report from the Prison Policy Initiative, a research and advocacy organization focused on mass incarceration.

“Women's populations in prisons have been growing faster than men's for quite awhile now,” said Wanda Bertram, a spokesperson with the Prison Policy Initiative. “So it's a good time to start looking at how women's experiences differ from men's while they're inside.”

Washoe County Sheriff's Office

Washoe County is facing a wrongful death lawsuit from the family of a man who died during a struggle with deputies at the county jail. The suit comes just after the Reno Gazette-Journal reported an investigative series on a spike in deaths at the jail. Let's turn to our News Director Michelle Billman and Bob Conrad of ThisisReno to learn more.

Michael Coghlan/CC BY-SA 2.0

Construction is getting started on a new law enforcement center in Churchill County.  As Reno Public Radio's Steve Shadley reports, it will replace the old jail in downtown Fallon late next year.

The existing Churchill County jail and courthouse is 43-years-old.  It was designed to hold only 54 inmates.  But, the new jail will house up to 120 people. County Commission Chairman Pete Olsen says the old jailhouse will be remodeled and later used as a courthouse.

Nevada Inmate Deaths Up This Year

Dec 31, 2015
Kate Ter Haar, Flickr, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

  The number of inmates who died in Nevada state prisons rose slightly this year.

 

As of Thursday, 48 inmates died while in state prison, seven of those in the last month. 

 

"It's not unusual, but it is higher," says Brooke Keast, a spokeswoman for the Nevada Department of Corrections.

 

In 2014 there were 44 deaths and 36 the year before that. This year is the highest number of deaths since at least 2007.