Tag: inmates and prisons

Welcome News From the Bush Administration On Deportation of Offenders

One of the worst immigration policies we have is that non-citizens, including those present in this country legally, not only face mandatory removal if convicted of an assortment of non-violent crimes, but must first serve their full sentences in U.S. prisons and jails. If we know the defendant is going to be deported, why the cruelty of the double whammy of a prison sentence followed by removal, and why pay to house them for years before sending them back?

The Bush Administration today announced a plan to end the practice, and allow prisoners to shorten their sentences if they agree to removal.

Under current law, immigrants convicted of crimes are deported only after serving their sentences in this country. Foreigners behind bars, Ms. Myers said, include large numbers of immigrants who were legal residents, but lost their legal status as a result of being convicted of crimes.

Ms. Myers said the agency would work with states to devise parole programs allowing immigrants imprisoned for nonviolent crimes to reduce their prison time if they agreed to be deported immediately upon release. [More...]

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7,000 a Year Die in U.S. Prisons

Sometimes we focus more on prison abuses abroad than we do at home. The first is not more important than the second as Ira Robbins points out in the Baltimore Sun.

While the alleged human rights abuses of prisoners detained in Guantánamo Bay and the Middle East have sparked widespread criticism and debate in this country and abroad, surprisingly little attention has been focused on the treatment of citizens imprisoned within our borders. Each year, approximately 7,000 Americans die in U.S. prisons and jails. Some of these deaths are from natural causes, but many more result from mental disorders left undiagnosed and diseases left untreated.

The abhorrent quality of correctional health care not only violates prisoners' constitutional rights, it costs taxpayers millions of dollars and threatens the general health of communities surrounding these facilities. Understanding why prisoners die is an essential first step in identifying the major pitfalls of our health care system. Passing legislation to correct these problems is the crucial next step. Therefore, Congress should extend and strengthen the Deaths in Custody Reporting Act, or DICRA, before it expires at the end of this year.

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