correctional

Death and the Natural State

VIII. Adjustment.

This is the setup: The state of Arkansas wishes to execute eight people over the course of ten days in four doubleheaders of death overseen by a prisons regime that has never executed anyone at all, using drugs the state has never used before and have shown grotesquely problematic in neighboring Oklahoma, are about to expire, and, according to the manufacturers, do not appear to have been acquired legitimately. Rachel Maddow offered a six and a half minute overview last week.

That would have been Thursday evening. Friday and Saturday saw the whole plan come apart, with one execution stayed at least temporarily, and then a temporary restraining order against one of the intended execution drugs, compelling a federal court to halt all eight executions. This is Arkansas, though; NBC News brings the latest:

Lawyers for the Arkansas attorney general’s office worked feverishly on Saturday in an attempt to dismantle road blocks in the way of a historic spate of executions temporarily halted by court rulings.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson had ordered the execution of eight men over 10 days because one of the state’s lethal injection drugs was set to expire at the end of the month, but a series of court rulings Friday and early Saturday put that schedule in jeopardy.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge made it clear the state was unwilling to concede.

The former Land of Opportunity, naturally, is very much distressed that the courts should meddle with its opportunity excuse for homicidal spectacle.

(more…)

Good News, Everyone! (Justice Before Profit)

This is very nearly confusing. That is to say, sometimes we forget to pay attention, but, really, why am I so genuinely surprised?

Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates speaks during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington, D.C., 28 June 2016. (Photo: J. David Ake/AP Photo)The Justice Department plans to end its use of private prisons after officials concluded the facilities are both less safe and less effective at providing correctional services than those run by the government.

Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates announced the decision on Thursday in a memo that instructs officials to either decline to renew the contracts for private prison operators when they expire or “substantially reduce” the contracts’ scope. The goal, Yates wrote, is “reducing―and ultimately ending―our use of privately operated prisons.”

“They simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources; they do not save substantially on costs; and as noted in a recent report by the Department’s Office of Inspector General, they do not maintain the same level of safety and security,” Yates wrote.

(Zapotosky and Harlan)

No, really, I didn’t see this coming. Perhaps that is the problem; this is the sort of thing I should have at least noticed along the way.

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Image note: Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates speaks during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington, D.C., 28 June 2016. (Photo: J. David Ake/AP Photo)

Zapotosky, Matt and Chico Harlan. “Justice Department says it will end use of private prisons”. The Washington Post. 18 August 2016.