Prisoners raising frogs, inmate deprived of his game console & more news

Inmates at US prisons are contributing to scientific research and the conservation of endangered butterflies and frogs. (Photo: NJ Drummond for Science News)

Inmates at US prisons are contributing to scientific research and the conservation of endangered butterflies and frogs. (Photo: NJ Drummond for Science News)

Inmates contribute to science

American inmates are contributing to scientific research and the conservation of endangered species, according to Science News.

Data collected by Craig Ulrich – convicted of first degree manslaughter – appeared in a research paper showing that composting programs can help prisons reduce landfill-bound waste by 50% and improve waste-water quality. Inmates at a women’s prison help the Oregon Zoo in a project which raises and releases endangered butterflies. At Cedar Creek Corrections Center, prisoners raise endangered frogs. The inmates collect data on water quality, frog growth and mortality while rearing the animals. Read more.

Drug-sniffing dogs to search Massachusetts prison visitors

The Department of Correction (DOC) in the US state of Massachusetts has announced that visitors to its prisons will be sniffed by narcotic detection dogs in an effort to prevent smuggling. However, some fear that the new policy may deter visitors who are afraid of dogs or who have allergies, which may hamper the rehabilitation of prisoners and their re-entry into society upon release.

 An editorial in today’s Boston Globe also argues that prison staff and volunteers should also be sniffed by the dogs, since they probably smuggle drugs into the correctional facilities as well. Read the DOC’s announcement and the editorial.

French Court says prisoner can’t have his console

An appeal court in Marseille has ruled that two prisons had the right to refuse to give a prisoner his video game console  – which has onboard Wifi connectivity – if they believe it may be used to communicate with others and  thus cause security problems. Read more.

Canada prisons a “toxic” work environment

An internal survey has revealed that discrimination and harassment by colleagues and bosses make Correctional Service Canada and the prisons it runs an “unhealthy work environment”. CTV News reports that the survey also found respondents lacked “common understanding and expectations” on treating offenders with basic human respect.

Kim Pate, who heads the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies, a prisoner advocacy group, linked the lack of respect for staff members to a lack of respect for inmates. She called for more training for correctional workers.

“An environment that protects human rights for prisoners is not just a better environment for prisoners but is also a better working environment for staff,” Pate said. Read more.

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About witsjusticeproject
The Wits Justice Project combines journalism, advocacy, law and education to make the criminal justice system work better for all.

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