Senior writer @ibtimes focusing on prisons and tech, sometimes both. E-mail me at PGP and PO Box on request.

Why Two of America’s Biggest Prison Tech Companies Are Battling Over Patents — For most Americans, paying a monthly phone bill is a nuisance, but not necessarily prohibitively expensive. In prison, things are different. The phones, which are run by private companies, charge notoriously high rates. So high, in fact, that the Federal Communications Commission began regulating the industry in 2013, setting "rate caps" on interstate calls.

Prison-Tech Giant Securus Will No Longer Require Jails To Remove In-Person Visits — Securus, a billion-dollar tech company that works with hundreds of jails and prisons around the United States, will no longer require the prisons it works with to eliminate in-person visitations for inmates and their families. The decision comes one month after an International Business Times investigation, "Video Chats Are Replacing In-Person Jail Visits, While One Tech Company Profits."

Why American Jails May Drastically Curtail Inmate Phone Calls — For decades, every time an inmate picked up a phone to dial a friend or family member, that correctional facility received a percentage of the cost of the call, typically around 50 percent. With millions of people locked up nationwide, the prison phone industry has flourished, growing to a $1.2 billion year business.

Amid Baltimore Protests, A Vermont Prison Placed On Lockdown — Officials in Vermont placed the state's largest prison on "modified" lockdown Wednesday after threats of violence -- and potentially a riot -- in the wake of ongoing demonstrations in Baltimore prompted by the death of Freddie Gray.

Why American Prisons Are Pushing E-Cigarettes On Inmates — Teens aren't the only ones obsessed with vaping, it seems. Inmates are doing it, too. Seven states now permit the sale of e-cigarettes in jails, and, as one recent report noted, e-cigs "have quickly become one of the most sought-after items in jail commissaries."

United Airlines Kicks Computer Expert Off Flight For Tweets — Chris Roberts, a prominent computer security expert, was aboard a United Airlines flight last week when he tweeted about a potential security flaw he found on the plane's on-board Wi-Fi. Big mistake. Airline personnel saw the tweet and alerted authorities at Syracuse Hancock International Airport where the flight was scheduled to land.

Baltimore Man Dies One Week After Arrest — Baltimore police have opened a criminal investigation into the death of a man who died Sunday, apparently as a result of injuries sustained in police custody, the Associated Press reported. Freddie Gray, 25, of Baltimore was arrested last week by Baltimore police. Police said uniformed bicycle officers attempted to stop Gray, but he fled on foot.

Bill Clinton, FBI Director James Comey, Others Deliver Speeches at Oklahoma City Memorial — Former President Bill Clinton Sunday paid tribute to the 168 victims, 19 of them young children, who lost their lives 20 years ago in the Oklahoma City bombing as well as to the survivors who redeemed "your terrible losses." Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett characterized April 19, 1995, as "60 minutes of terror" followed by "our finest hour."

Report: Private Prison Lobbyists Spend Millions To Keep Immigrants Locked Up — In 2010, the Department of Homeland Security adopted a bed quota that required Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to detain about 34,000 individuals on any given day. The quota certainly did not benefit immigrants -- but it did prove to be extraordinarily lucrative for the private prison companies that picked up the new business.

Inside the Tech Startup That’s Building Tablets for Inmates — At first glance, APDS looks like your typical tech startup: A bunch of young, bearded guys hanging out and working on MacBooks in a cavernous loft in Manhattan. There's plush vintage furniture and chalkboard walls. There's even an antique canoe dangling inexplicably from the ceiling.
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May 28, 2015

Harrowing story from @_GinaTron about a suicidal man shot and killed by police with assault rifles.…

May 28, 2015

RT @IP_ChrisHolland: Interesting read on why two of America’s biggest prison tech companies are battling over patents via @EricMarkowitz

May 27, 2015

RT @psrnational: Is toxic dust sickening inmates locked up in coal country? PSR's Barb Gottlieb talks coal ash & health…

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