Poetry Performance to Respond to Jumpsuit Project

Join poet, writer and educator Dasan Ahanu and the Black On Black Project for a Spoken Word performance Thursday, May 10 at 7 p.m. inside Artspace in downtown Raleigh. The program will be a response to artfor(us), the latest art exhibition from Sherrill Roland. Best known for his Jumpsuit Project, in which Roland enters museum and gallery spaces in his former prison jumpsuit, this work represents a departure into object-based art making. Roland collages and paints issues of Art Forum magazine that he collected while wrongfully incarcerated, exposing the disparities in the fine art world and the American prison system. The event is free and open to the public, but click here to register.

NC Alliance for Women Reentrants and their Children May Meeting

The NC Alliance for Women Reentrants and their Children will hold their monthly meeting on May 17th from 10am to 12pm at First Presbyterian Church in Raleigh. During this meeting, guest speaker Kay Sanford will be in attendance. Sanford is a former state injury epidemiologist and current NC Harm Reduction Coalition volunteer who works in NC prisons/jails. She will review the steps to help those who use drugs or know people who use drugs, the tenets of harm reduction, opioids in the body, and strategies to mitigate the collateral damage from drug use. Please RSVP to Emily Walter at ejwalte@ncsu.edu.

Correctional Facilities Rely on Videoconferencing to Provide Medical Care

When an inmate requires a visit with a medical specialist, some correctional institutions are providing care through “telemedicine,” which allows them to see a doctor by video. There are many challenges that can make it difficult to provide in person visits. Prisons are often located in rural areas that are isolated from certain medical specialists. Traveling to medical facilities can be burdensome for sick inmates. The cost of transportation can be significantly higher than a video visit. Videoconferencing for medical care is becoming increasingly common. A survey by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 30 states out of 45 that responded said they used telemedicine for at least one type of specialty or diagnostic service. Telemedicine is meant to complement in person medical care rather than to replace it. It can make it easier for referring physicians at the jail to work as a team with outside physicians. Still, some advocates worry that it can contribute to isolation of inmates. Learn more here. 

NCAOC Develops School Justice Partnership Toolkit

The North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts is developing a Toolkit for chief district court judges and other stakeholders to implement School Justice Partnerships. The Toolkit provides resources to help community partners develop and implement the School Justice Partnership, including action lists, timelines, a model agreement, and templates for other necessary documents. The School Justice Partnership (SJP) is a group of community stakeholders – including school administrators, the law enforcement community, court system actors, juvenile justice personnel, and others – that develops and implements effective strategies to address student misconduct. SJPs work to reduce the number of suspensions, expulsions, and referrals to the justice system by timely and constructively addressing student misconduct when and where it happens, helping students succeed in school and preventing negative outcomes for both youth and their communities. Learn more here.

New Book Explores Troubling Treatment of Mental Illness in Jails

In her new book, “Insane: America’s Criminal Treatment of Mental Illness,” journalist Alisa Roth explores the incarceration of mentally ill individuals in the United States. She exposes a world in which correctional officers are substituted for mental health professionals without adequate training, and are left to manage a widespread mental health crisis in prisons and jails. Roth estimates that as many as half of all inmates suffer from a psychiatric condition. While some correctional institutions refused her requests to enter their facilities to investigate, others allowed her to see firsthand what was happening in their facilities. As a result, Roth is able to share some especially poignant stories about the inadequacy of psychiatric treatment in correctional institutions. Learn more here.

NC State Bar Investigates Lawyer for Treatment of Vulnerable Exonerees

The North Carolina state bar has launched an investigation against Florida lawyer Patrick Megaro for his treatment of two North Carolina exonerees, one of whom was exonerated from death row. Henry McCollum and his half-brother Leon served decades in prison for the rape and murder of an 11 year old girl before DNA evidence proved their innocence. The two young mentally disabled teens were coerced into signing false confessions and convicted despite scant physical evidence. They received $750,000 each from the state in compensation. Lawyer Patrick Megaro collected one third of each award after virtually no work on the exonerations or pardons. He approved loans at 42 percent interest for them and a $20,000 payment to two women who described themselves as “advocates.” McCollum lost all of his money and began borrowing more money at 39 percent with the lawyer’s approval. Learn more here.