Thursday, May 19, 2022


U.S. mayors train to fend off increased threats and harassment, the Illinois governor signs a ban on 'Ghost Guns,' and death anxiety could play a role in Vladimir Putin's Ukraine invasion.


The White House asks Congress for more pandemic support, the House passes a domestic terrorism bill, Kansas' Supreme Court upholds a new congressional map, and a House committee hears testimony on abortion access.


From off-Broadway to West Virginia: the stories of the deadly Upper Big Branch mine explosion, baby formula is on its way back to grocery shelves, and federal funds will combat consolidation in meatpacking.

Report: MO Receives Failing Grade for Handling of COVID in Prisons


Friday, September 17, 2021   

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - One out of every three people incarcerated in the United States has contracted COVID-19, and a new report shows how state prison systems - including in Missouri - have failed to properly handle the public-health crisis.

The Prison Policy Initiative report evaluates how corrections departments have responded in four areas: limiting the number of people in prison, reducing infection and death rates in prisons, vaccinating the incarcerated population and addressing basic health needs.

Report co-author Wanda Bertram, a communications strategist for PPI, noted that Missouri received a failing grade - and no state scored higher than a "C."

"People in prison have died of COVID-19 at very high rates, compared to the rest of the population," she said. "State prison systems knew from the very beginning that was going to happen. And what's worse is that states have abandoned these people, rather than taking the action that they knew was needed to get them free."

The report said reducing prison populations is key to keeping public health at bay as the Delta variant continues to spread. Bertram added that one of the easiest ways to do that is to suspend prison admissions for technical violations of probation and parole, such as missing a meeting or losing a job. But she said Missouri, like many other states, has not taken that step.

Bertram said Missouri also is among 13 states that did not implement any policies to accelerate releases - for instance, for people with less than a year left on their sentence, or by promoting medical parole or compassionate release.

"We as an organization, we support radical changes to our criminal-justice system," she said. "But these are not radical policies that we looked at. Nevertheless, most states we found were not pursuing those policies."

She added that for the next public health crisis, it's crucial that state prison systems establish emergency response plans, and continually work to bring populations down. Prison overcrowding also is linked to problems such as increased violence, limited access to health care and educational opportunities and reduced visitation.

get more stories like this via email
The Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve along with the Big Bend Seagrasses, St. Martins Marsh Aquatic Preserves and the Pinellas County Aquatic Preserve together protect the largest contiguous seagrass meadow in the Gulf of Mexico and the largest spring-fed seagrass habitat in the world. (Charlie Shoemaker for The Pew Charitable Trusts)


This afternoon, members of the public will get to have a say on the management plan for the first new aquatic preserve created in Florida in 32 years…

Social Issues

May is Community Action Month, and local agencies helping low-income families hope Congress signs off on a plan to bolster and modernize their …


After two decades of drought and with no relief in sight, many Utahns are looking for ways to conserve water, and for many residents, part of the …

As many as 80% of the homes lost to wildland fires could have been saved if their owners had followed a few simple fire-safe practices. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

May is Wildfire Awareness Month, and state officials are encouraging Coloradans to get up to speed on prevention and emergency-exit strategies if …

Social Issues

The White House is fielding pitches from top Democratic lawmakers about their desire to dramatically expand student loan forgiveness. While a …

Beyond school counselors, parents and private providers, mental-health advocates urge faith-based and other community groups to provide safe spaces for kids dealing with stress and anxiety. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

As the school year winds down, education leaders are shedding light on increased mental-health demands among students, including thoughts of suicide…

Social Issues

A new report found dishonest employers steal from some 213,000 people in Ohio each year by paying them less than the minimum wage; and it is just one …

Social Issues

Illinois has a new law banning the sale and possession of "ghost guns," essentially untraceable firearms that are sold in kit-form online or at gun sh…


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021