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David C. Fathi
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Blog Entries by David C. Fathi

Turning the Corner on Solitary Confinement?

Posted February 24, 2011 | 14:30:10 (EST)

This week, Colorado state Sen. Morgan Carroll and Rep. Claire Levy introduced a bill that would substantially limit the use of solitary confinement in the state's prisons. S.B. 176 would restrict solitary confinement of prisoners with mental illness or developmental disabilities, who currently make up more than one-third of...

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Supermax Prisons: Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading

Posted July 9, 2010 | 15:30:48 (EST)

This week the European Court of Human Rights temporarily halted the extradition of four terrorism suspects from the United Kingdom to the United States. The court concluded that the applicants had raised a serious question whether their possible long-term incarceration in a U.S. “supermax” prison would violate Article...

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Buried in the Bureau of Prisons

Posted June 4, 2010 | 17:31:07 (EST)

Imagine a country in which prisoners can be denied visits, and even telephone calls, with family members for years at a time. Imagine a country in which government officials can prevent prisoners from telling news reporters about mistreatment or abuse. Imagine a country in which prisoners who are foreign citizens...

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A Reprieve for Turkeys, But Not for People

Posted December 2, 2009 | 15:02:25 (EST)

The day before Thanksgiving, at a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden, President Obama officially "pardoned" two turkeys, sparing them from the chopping block and sending them to live out their days in Disneyland. This is one of those uniquely American traditions that must have our foreign friends scratching...

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Shouldn't Innocence Matter?

Posted September 24, 2009 | 12:10:02 (EST)

On August 17, the US Supreme Court ordered a lower federal court in Georgia to conduct a hearing in the case of Troy Anthony Davis. Davis has been on Georgia's death row for 18 years, sentenced to death for the 1989 murder of an off-duty Savannah police officer, Mark Allen...

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Prison's Littlest Victims

Posted July 30, 2009 | 16:00:57 (EST)

The US criminal justice system may be on the verge of its biggest overhaul in decades. Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) is sponsoring a bill to establish a blue-ribbon commission to conduct a comprehensive review of the criminal justice system and make recommendations for reform. Legislation has been introduced to eliminate...

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Prison Nation

Posted April 9, 2009 | 18:32:12 (EST)

It's become a depressingly predictable event. Every few months, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), a branch of the US Department of Justice, releases new figures showing that the US prison and jail population has grown yet again and has reached a new all-time high. The latest statistics, released last...

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Separate and Unequal Justice for Prisoners

Posted March 26, 2009 | 18:15:55 (EST)

S.Z., a resident in a juvenile detention facility, was raped and repeatedly beaten by other detainees over a period of months. Some staff encouraged the beatings and would arrange fights between detainees. But when S.Z. filed suit against state officials, his case was dismissed. Because S.Z. was considered a prisoner...

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32 Years on Death Row

Posted March 13, 2009 | 15:07:25 (EST)

When William Lee Thompson committed the murder that landed him on Florida's death row, Gerald Ford was president. Thompson has now been incarcerated for almost 33 years, most of it under sentence of death. He has spent much of that time in isolation 23 hours a day, in a 6-by-9-foot...

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Obama Administration Contends Prisoner Has No Right to DNA Testing

Posted February 26, 2009 | 17:36:00 (EST)

DNA testing is a uniquely powerful crime-solving tool. Testing crime scene evidence using new and advanced techniques has solved many previously unsolved crimes, leading to the arrest and conviction of rapists and other violent criminals. Just as important, DNA testing has exonerated at least 232 innocent persons who had been...

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Executing the Innocent?

Posted September 18, 2008 | 20:28:04 (EST)

At 7 p.m. on September 23, the state of Georgia plans to execute Troy Anthony Davis. That by itself is unremarkable; Georgia has carried out 42 executions since 1983, including two since May of this year. What makes this case different are the serious questions that have been raised about...

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