Brian Sonenstein
Brian Sonenstein
Brian Sonenstein is an independent journalist and editor living in Portland, Maine. He is one of the founders of Shadowproof and a co-host of the Beyond Prisons podcast. Brian is a former local criminal justice columnist for Maine’s Portland Phoenix and was an associate publisher for the independent news and activism website Firedoglake. His work has been published in outlets such as Solitary Watch, Prison Legal News, Truthout, and SF Bay View.Source
Portland, ME
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Number Of People Incarcerated In U.S. Is Far Higher Than 2.5 Million

Number Of People Incarcerated In U.S. Is Far Higher Than 2.5 Million

The most popular statistic regarding the United States’ prison system is that there are 2.5 million people incarcerated. However, this figure significantly under-represents the number of people caged in this country each year. According to a new analysis released by the Prison Policy Initiative, at least 4.9 million people are arrested and jailed each year. Those individuals are disproportionately poor, Black, and lack access to education and health care. Researchers say the 4.9 million figure represents a minimum estimate, as data on arrests and incarceration in the U.S. are woefully...

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Brian Sonenstein
Aug 28, 2019
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Obama Deported Twice As Many People Under Same Program As Trump

Obama Deported Twice As Many People Under Same Program As Trump

CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein about a bill she introduced, which would prohibit the federal government from separating immigrant children from their families during arrests at ports of entry or within 100 miles of the border of the United States. As he asked his question, Tapper brought up a photo taken in 2014 of children sleeping on the floor of a cage at an immigrant detention center. “There were a lot of things done to undocumented immigrants that the immigrant community was very upset about during the Obama years, that Democrats didn’t seem that outspoken...

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Brian Sonenstein
Sep 7, 2019
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Prison Officials Block Mail And Visitation To Stifle Prison Organizing

Prison Officials Block Mail And Visitation To Stifle Prison Organizing

Prisoners participating in a strike against slave labor at facilities in Texas, South Carolina, Oregon, and other states are speaking out after authorities allegedly blocked members of the media from visiting with them and rejected mail from supporters and media organizations containing news from the outside.In Texas, Keith “Malik” Washington wrote a letter stating that on October 5, he was transferred from the Coffield Unit to the Telford Unit. At Coffield, he said he became “the target of a coordinated effort by the state of Texas to retaliate against me for organizing a campaign that...

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Brian Sonenstein
Sep 5, 2019
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Jailhouse Doctor’s Record Raises Inmate Health Care Questions

Jailhouse Doctor’s Record Raises Inmate Health Care Questions

This is the final part of Gaming the System, Brian Sonenstein’s three-part series on the privatization of correctional healthcare. -KOPart 3The conduct of jail doctors working on behalf of medical contractor Advanced Correctional Healthcare is at the center of an ongoing federal civil rights lawsuit facing Dearborn County. Despite the fact that ACH touts its staff as being “correctional trained,” an examination of the records of their Doctors Nadir Al-Shami and Ronald Davis raise questions about the standards of care provided by the company, even though the company and the doctors are no...

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Brian Sonenstein
Sep 6, 2019
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Prisoners, Activists Halt Federal Prison Project On Former Coal Mine

Prisoners, Activists Halt Federal Prison Project On Former Coal Mine

Federal prisoners and grassroots activists defeated plans by the United States government to embark on the most expensive prison construction project in the country’s history.The plans for a federal prison and labor camp in Letcher County, Kentucky, would have cost at least $444 million and resulted in serious and longstanding negative consequences for the environment and public health.The Bureau of Prisons (BOP) initially released a “record of decision” in March 2018 for the 800-acre site. It was to be built atop a highly toxic former coal mine and mountaintop removal site located nearby...

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Brian Sonenstein
Sep 6, 2019
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Event Preview: Exploring Dimensions Of Solitary Confinement

Event Preview: Exploring Dimensions Of Solitary Confinement

For our next Shadowproof Presents live video event on Thursday, April 28 at 8:00pm Eastern, I will interview Jean Casella, co-director of Solitary Watch and one of the editors of Hell Is A Very Small Place: Voices From Solitary Confinement.is a collection of first-hand accounts and expert analyses of solitary confinement in America, and it could not have come at a more important moment in the evolution of the nation’s attitude toward criminal justice.In the United States, the use of solitary confinement is widespread and integral to the disciplinary structure of most prison systems, yet the...

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Brian Sonenstein
Sep 6, 2019
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Phone, Email Restrictions End For Prison Strike Advocate In Ohio

Phone, Email Restrictions End For Prison Strike Advocate In Ohio

A 60-day restriction on email and telephone privileges ended for Imam Siddique Abdullah Hasan on December 5, 2016. Hasan, who is incarcerated at the Ohio State Penitentiary, was punished in October for participating in a live radio interview with NPR about the September 9 strike against prison slavery.Prison officials twice prevented Hasan from speaking to the press after he expressed solidarity with the .In August, prison officials  Hasan, who is a Muslim spiritual leader, had propositioned a staff imam to wear a suicide vest into the prison. Hasan vigorously denied this allegation, but...

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Brian Sonenstein
Sep 7, 2019
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Rikers Island Reform Roundtable - Shadowproof

Rikers Island Reform Roundtable - Shadowproof

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Brian Sonenstein
Sep 6, 2019
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Prisoners Begin Hunger Strike After Punishment For Netflix Interview

Prisoners Begin Hunger Strike After Punishment For Netflix Interview

On February 27, Ohio prisoners Siddique Abdullah Hasan and Jason Robb began a hunger strike after officials at the Ohio State Penitentiary suspended their phone and email access for 90 days. Prison officials accused the men of accepting compensation to appear without authorization on an episode of the Netflix show, “Captive.”The episode covered the 1993 prison riot known as the Lucasville Uprising. Hasan and Robb, who argue their role in the rebellion was to negotiate a peaceful ending, were pegged as two of its leaders. They were sentenced to death for the killing of a corrections officer....

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Brian Sonenstein
Sep 7, 2019
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St. Louis County to Privatize Health Care at Jail

St. Louis County to Privatize Health Care at Jail

If St. Louis chooses to privatize healthcare at the Buzz Westfall Detention Center and Family Court Juvenile Justice Center, the county could end up announcing a deal with a contractor any day now.According to documents obtained by Shadowproof, St. Louis “anticipates selection of an apparent successful proposer at the beginning of October 2015.” A contract could go into effect approximately six weeks after the selection, following a review by the County Council.The document, titled “Answers to Proposers Questions,” was filed in August of this year and provides greater detail into an opaque...

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Brian Sonenstein
Sep 5, 2019
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