Noteworthy Reports

Brennan Center for Justice

Judicial Interventions for Inhumane Prison and Jail Conditions


Summary:

This report shows that the courts play a vital role in ensuring humane conditions exist inside prisons and jails. Courts can make a difference by limiting overcrowding, imposing fines, and more. When governments fail to uphold the role of incarcerating people humanely, the judicial system can intervene. Report authored by Hernandez D. Stroud for the Brennan Center.  

Arizona Independent Prison Oversight Commission

Governor’s Independent Prison Oversight Commission Preliminary Report (11.15.2023)


Summary:

This is the first report from Arizona’s Independent Prison Oversight Commission, an oversight body created by Governor Katie Hobbs when she took office in January 2023. The report concluded that because the commission is comprised of volunteers, they do not have the necessary staff and funding to provide adequate oversight. The commission said that they are under-equipped to provide the routine monitoring and inspections that the prisons need and they recommend the establishment of a fully staffed and funded oversight body.

The Office of the Corrections Investigator (Canada)

Annual Report 2022-2023


Summary:

This is the 50th Annual Report of the Office of the Correctional Investigator and includes its findings and recommendations from the investigations OCI conducted over the last 12 months (2022-2023), including two thematic investigations on the rising cost of living behind bars and the use of dry cells. The report also includes findings from an in-depth investigation into the state of Indigenous Corrections in Canada. Since the OCI’s last report on this population, Spirit Matters: Aboriginal People and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, in 2013, the proportion of Indigenous people has increased from 23% to 32% of all federally incarcerated individuals in the country. The report documents the often-missing voices, experiences, and testimonies of incarcerated Indigenous people and includes insights and perspectives of Elders, who provide spiritual, cultural, and advisory services inside federal prisons. In total, OCI offers 22 recommendations for the Correctional Service of Canada and the Minister of Public Safety on topics such as payments made by incarcerated people, dry cell detention, patient advocacy, and incidents and interventions that resulted in death behind bars. 12 of the 22 recommendations are focused on a number of issues related to improving the correctional environment for Indigenous people.

The Correctional Association of New York (CANY)

Smoke Screen: Experiences with the Incarcerated Grievance Program in New York State Prisons


Summary:

This report describes the findings from a survey of incarcerated individuals that CANY conducted regarding the New York prison system’s Incarcerated Grievance Program (IGP). Survey responses indicated that people who are incarcerated perceive the IGP to be unclear, unfair, takes too long, and subjects incarcerated people to retaliation after they raise concerns. CANY will soon release a follow-up report that offers recommendations for addressing the problems they identified in this report.

View all of CANY’s monitoring and special issue reports

New Jersey Office of the Independent Ombuds

Out-of-cell time in Restorative Housing Units


Summary:

The New Jersey Office of the Independent Ombuds conducted an in-depth analysis of solitary confinement in the state’s four prisons and issued this report, which details the Office’s findings and recommendations. Notably, the Ombuds’ office found that—despite the state’s 2019 Isolated Confinement Restriction Act prohibiting prisons and jails in the state from holding someone in solitary confinement for more than 20 hours/day—700+ people are confined to their cells for 22-23 hours on any given day in the Department's restorative housing units. In the report, the Ombuds describes the barriers the Department has faced with implementing the 2019 law and recommends a handful of policy and practice changes that could address the problem.

View all of the New Jersey Office of the Independent Ombuds reports

Nebraska Office of the Inspector General

2023 Annual Report


Summary:

This annual report summarizes the work of the Inspector General of Corrections over the past year (2022-2023) and provides updates on various observations and recommendations the office has made in recent years. Among the findings in its report, the Inspector General showed Nebraska’s prison system made progress since 2015 in reducing the total number of people placed in restrictive housing as well as the number placed in restrictive housing for more than six months at a time. The Inspector General also noted that, despite this progress, challenges with ensuring transition plans address the period after a person is released to a less restrictive setting remains an area of concern. Other concerns in the report include an increase in staff turnover and vacancies, shortages of healthcare staff, and incomplete studies about the classification system and programming, both of which were required by the Legislature. The Inspector General submitted an initial draft of the report to the Department of Correctional Services, which accepted some of the recommendations with modifications earlier this year.

H.M. Inspectorate of Prisons

Annual Report 2022-23


Summary:

Analyzes results from the Inspectorate’s independent reviews of progress, inspection reports, and thematic reports published between April 2022-March 2023.

Click here to watch Chief Inspector Charlie Taylor discuss the report’s key findings with Danny Shaw, a former editor at the BBC and an independent commentator on justice, prisons, and immigration.

View all of HMIP’s inspection and annual reports

Correctional Association of New York (CANY)

Assessing the Early Months of Implementation of the HALT Solitary Confinement Law in New York State Prisons


Summary:

Summarizes findings from CANY’s assessment of the implementation of the Humane Alternatives to Long-Term (HALT) Solitary Confinement in New York State Prisons. Their findings are based on monitoring activities between April and December 2022 in prisons across the state. The report also offers recommendations for state policymakers to ensure compliance with the language and intent of the law.

View all of CANY’s monitoring and special issue reports

Correctional Association of New York

Monitoring Visit to Sing Sing Correctional Facility: Correctional Association of New York Post-Visit Briefing and Recommendations


Summary:

This post-visit briefing describes a monitoring visit to Sing Sing Prison (New York) in February 2022. CANY, along with its sister oversight bodies, the John Howard Association of Illinois and the Pennsylvania Prison Society, concentrated their monitoring efforts on the living conditions for incarcerated people, the quality of medical, dental, and mental health care, the accessibility of educational and vocational programming, and other factors. The team employed a variety of data collection methods, including the use of the Measure the Quality of Prison Life survey tool, designed in the United Kingdom and adapted for use in the U.S. This report describes the team’s findings and recommendations.

View all of CANY’s monitoring and special issue reports

H.M. Chief Inspector of Prisons for England and Wales

What happens to prisoners in a pandemic? A thematic review


Summary:

H.M. Chief Inspector of Prisons reviewed the effects of COVID-19 restrictions on women, children, and men held in prisons across England and Wales by conducting in-depth interviews with incarcerated individuals in the fall of 2020. This report summarizes the Inspector’s findings.