April 4th, 2013
01:13 AM ET

Men sought in connection with Colorado killing

Colorado authorities are looking for two members of the white supremacist prison gang known as the 211 Crew in connection with the killing of state prisons chief Tom Clements.

El Paso County Sheriff's Office identified the two men as James Lohr, 47, and Thomas Guolee, 31. One or both could be headed toward Nevada, the office said.

"They are both known associates of the 211 Crew," said Sheriff's Lt. Jeff Kramer. "They are believed to be armed and dangerous."

Clements was widely recognized for cracking down on prison gangs, including the 211 Crew. He was shot at his home by former gang member Evan Ebel, who was out of prison on parole.

FULL STORY
Overheard on CNN.com: What's prison for?
May 24th, 2012
04:46 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: What's prison for?

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Norway's Bastoy Prison seems almost idyllic. Inmates have almost everything they could possibly want on the lush, 1-square-mile island except for their freedom.

CNN.com commenters had mixed reactions to the story. Some agreed that getting inmates ready for life after prison is the most important thing - even if it means giving them jobs and spa-like living conditions. Others said Bastoy fails at a prison's most important job, which they said is punishing and deterring crime.

Welcome to the world's nicest prison

intventor121 "Caging of the offender serves a two fold purpose. 1. Takes away the "liberty" of the offender. 2. Protects the rest of society. I can't think of any other purposes for prison can you?

yellownumb5 "Rehabilitate the offender into a productive member of society rather than pay to house them and release them with no prospects or reform only to offend again.

Some commenters argued that Norway's low crime rate suggests that the system is working

max555544333 "I personally think the approach sounds nuts, but I'm no expert on crime and criminals. You don't really need any expertise to see that the U.S. system doesn't work."

Civildiscors "If you think this isn't harsh enough, or punishment enough, and it's rewarding the criminal, look again. If you value humanity and human beings, you will see that they are worth rehabilitating, treating and being given a chance to prove themselves worthy. If you don't value human life, you will say 'just kill them to save taxpayers money,' as if money is more valuable than people. And if that's your philosophy on life, you are surely doomed."

Scooter111 "Norway has a very low crime rate. Whatever works for them. You are twice as likely to be the victim of a violent crime in our state of Oregon and 4 times more likely in Texas. The goal of any justice system is to keep the non-criminal population safe. So Norway is doing a pretty good job, better than we are."

Others, like Goose66 said that focusing on rehabilitation misses the point:

"It may 'work,' but what about basic fairness. Is it fair to pay to house and feed outlaws in a resort-style environment, where they can fish and eat without working, while law abiding citizens toil away everyday and can't afford to buy food or a cottage of their own? When did fairness go out the window?"

RPTX "I'm sorry. While I'm all for lenient sentences for drugs, white collar crimes, and theft, as a parent I could not fathom someone strangling my daughter and getting a 10-year sentence on some resort island. I don't care how "enlightened" Norway seems to be, that is not fair to victims and their families. Period!"

mathews0723 "Where is the punishment? You stay in a dorm and get to call your parents? Sounds like college to me. I wonder what the murder victims' families think about the way the criminals are being treated. I am not a super vengeful person but I do think they should live without some of the extra perks. Geez."

What do you think? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. You can also use your web cam to record your response on CNN iReport. Just click on the blue button below and record your response.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.


Filed under: Norway • Overheard on CNN.com • Prisons
May 20th, 2012
09:36 PM ET

Guard killed, several others injured in riot at Mississippi prison, officials say

A prison guard was killed and several employees injured Sunday in a riot at the Adams County Correctional Facility in Natchez, Mississippi, officials said.

The 23-year-old guard appeared to suffer "blunt trauma to the head," said Adams County Coroner James Lee.

The riot, which began about 2:40 p.m., was ongoing Sunday night, the facility said in a statement. Local and state law enforcement officials as well as authorities from the Federal Bureau of Prisons were helping the facility quell the violence.

"The disturbance is contained within the secure perimeter of the facility, with no threat to public safety," the statement said.

Five employees and one inmate were taken to a hospital for treatment of unspecified injuries, while additional staff members were being treated at the prison.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

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Filed under: Crime • Justice • Mississippi • Prisons
'Underwear bomber' moved to 'Supermax' prison
Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab was sentenced to life in prison in February.
April 12th, 2012
02:01 PM ET

'Underwear bomber' moved to 'Supermax' prison

Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab, dubbed the "underwear bomber" after he was convicted of trying to bring down an airliner with a bomb concealed in his undergarments, has been moved to the federal Bureau of Prison's "Supermax" facility in Colorado, the agency said Thursday.

Bureau of Prisons official Edmond Ross would not comment on why AbdulMutallab was moved from the U.S. Penitentiary in Florence, Colorado, to the ultra-high-security Supermax facility in the same city.

AbdulMutallab, 25, pleaded guilty in October to attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, among other charges, in trying to bring down a Northwest Airlines flight on Christmas Day 2009.

He was sentenced to life in prison in February.

U.S. officials say the terror group al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula helped plot the bombing attempt on Northwest Airlines Flight 253, which was heading from the Netherlands to Detroit. Authorities say AbdulMutallab, a passenger, tried to ignite a bomb that was hidden in his underwear shortly before the plane landed, but passengers and flight crew members subdued him and extinguished flames that erupted when the device briefly set his clothing on fire.

The plane was carrying 289 people.

"As this investigation and prosecution have shown, Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab is a remorseless terrorist who believes it is his duty to kill Americans," U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a Justice Department news release after the sentencing.

At the Supermax facility, AbdulMutallab joins Ramzi Yousef, leader of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, so-called "shoe bomber" Richard Reid, Atlanta Olympic Park bomber Eric Rudolph and "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski among an inmate population of more than 450.

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Filed under: Prisons • Terrorism
April 11th, 2012
02:01 PM ET

Parole denied for Manson

A California panel denied parole for Charles Manson and scheduled his next parole hearing 15 years from now, setting up the possibility that he could die in prison.

Manson, 77, initially was sentenced to death for the 1969 slayings of actress Sharon Tate and six others by a group of his followers as part of what prosecutors said was an attempt to incite a race war. His death sentence was changed to life in prison after California's death penalty was overturned for a period during the 1970s.

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Filed under: California • Crime • Justice • Prisons
November 2nd, 2011
01:16 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Right to reduce time for crack-related crime?

Comment of the morning:

“When you have the most prisoners of any other country in the world and the majority of them are nonviolent drug offenders, it's time to make changes.” – whoaaadude

Crack sentences reduced

The large disparity between crack and cocaine sentences was largely reduced (from 100-1 to 18-1) last year by the Fair Sentencing Act, which means that thousands of prison inmates convicted of crack cocaine charges will be getting out early. Critics of the sentencing disparity say the old system unfairly penalized African-Americans.

CNN.com readers were divided about the reduction: Some said crack-related crime did not fit the time, while others said the drug often leads to other more dangerous behavior and believe the reduction sends the wrong message.

turbosub said, “The bottom line is: People are going to use drugs whether it's legal or not. Addicts don't need jail time. They need help beating their addictions. The crimes and violence that come along with drug prohibition would go away if the government allowed and taxed it. Read the news. In Portugal, they decriminalized drugs, and there's 50% less drug use than there was before. Let's use this money for helping addicts, not throwing them to rot.”

America314 said, “Hey, if they don't hurt anyone what's the point of jailing people for something they do to their own body? Prisons are overcrowded as it is.” FULL POST

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Filed under: Crime • Drugs • Justice • Overheard on CNN.com • Prisons
California may send thousands of female prisoners home
Male prisoners are housed in a gymnasium in California's Chino State Prison last December. The state is under federal order to reduce prison crowding.
September 13th, 2011
12:23 PM ET

California may send thousands of female prisoners home

Thousands of women inmates from California prisons could soon be released to be reunited with their families under a program the state began implementing on Monday.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said offenders whose crimes were nonviolent, nonserious and not sexual, with less than two years remaining on their sentences, are eligible for the Alternative Custody Program, which was signed into law in 2010 by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“Approximately two-thirds of CDCR’s female inmates are mothers whose children are either with relatives or are in foster care,” CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate said in a press release. “ACP is a step in breaking the intergenerational cycle of incarceration, as family involvement is one of the biggest indicators of an inmate’s rehabilitation.”

About 45% of the state's 10,000 female inmates may be eligible for the program, the CDCR said. It may be made available to male inmates in the future, the department said.

FULL POST

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Filed under: California • Courts • Justice • Prisons