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2013: The Year the Prison System Changed?

2013 saw significant changes from sentencing reform, to drug policy, to how people are treated behind bars.

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Years of campaigning for basic human rights for people caught up in America’s criminal justice system may finally be paying off. 2013 saw significant changes from sentencing reform, to drug policy, to how people are treated behind bars.

On this edition, we look at year victories in the struggle to bring humanity to the world’s largest prison industrial complex. Are these changes really a sign of progress? Or will the ‘tough on crime’ crowd rise once again for another crackdown?

Listen to voices of prisoners, activists, and officials speaking about solitary confinement, prisoner hunger strikes against torturous conditions, and campaign victories to help families stay in touch without phone companies’ price gouging.


Larry Everest, Stop Mass Incarceration Network member; Stephen Czifra, activist and formerly incarcerated person; Ralph Diaz, Associate Director for the Department of Institutions at Pelican Bay State Prison; Jules Lobel, Center for Constitutional Rights President; Marie Levin, sister of Pelican Bay SHU prisoner Ronnie Dewberry;Alex Friedman, Human Rights Center Associate Director; Margaret Winters, ACLU National Prison Project Director, Isaac Ontiveros, Critical Resistance organizer;Tom Shear,Ilinois Department of Corrections spokesperson; Christopher Epps, MississippiDepartment of Corrections Commissioner; Bethany Fraser, parent of children with incarcerated father; Mignon Clyburn, Federal Communications Commission Acting Chair.

Thanks to the Omnia Foundation. For our segment on phones, prisons and big telecom, thanks to the Media Democracy Fund and the Media Consortium’s Media Policy Reporting and Education Project.

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