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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Washington Senate OKs restrictions on police tactics, gear

SEATTLE – The Washington state Senate has approved a measure restricting certain police tactics and gear, including the use of neck restraints and tear gas, after police killings of Black people sparked tumultuous racial-justice protests last year.

10 death row inmates in Oklahoma could get new trials

OKLAHOMA CITY — As many as 10 death row inmates in Oklahoma, more than one-fifth of the state’s prisoners condemned to die, could escape execution because of a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling concerning criminal jurisdiction in Indian Country.

Texas jail inmates hungry, shivering during unusual freeze

AUSTIN, Texas — When an unusually heavy winter storm blanketed much of Texas with snow, knocking out electricity to millions of homes and leaving many struggling to find clean water, one sector of the population was particularly vulnerable: inmates at the state’s largest county jail.

82 advocacy groups call on Biden to end federal executions

WASHINGTON — Dozens of civil rights and advocacy organizations are calling on the Biden administration to immediately halt federal executions after an unprecedented run of capital punishment under President Donald Trump and to commute the sentences of inmates on federal death row.

Inmates at St. Louis jail set fires, break out windows

Inmates at a St. Louis jail set fires, caused flooding, broke out fourth-floor windows and tossed a stationary bike, chairs and mattresses outside Saturday in the latest disturbance over concerns about the coronavirus pandemic and restrictions that have limited visits and stalled court proceedings, officials said.Dozens of law enforcement officers worked for hours before bringing the riot at the St. Louis City Justice Center under control shortly before 10 a.m., a spokesman for Mayor Lyda Krewson, Jacob Long, said. About 115 inmates were involved, said Long, who described the group as “extremely violent and noncompliant" in an interview with the Associated Press.One corrections officer was attacked and treated at a hospital for his injuries before being released, Long said. No detainees were hurt, he said.Video posted on social media by passersby showed inmates standing near three windows on the fourth floor that had been smashed out. Some carried signs or tossed items, some ablaze, to the sidewalk below. Firefighters used a hose to put out the fires.Long didn't have a cost estimate for the damage but described it as “fairly extensive."“There are some burn marks on the front of the building. They destroyed the inside of their floor and threw all sorts of stuff outside. ... They flooded the floors, clogged the toilets, clogged the drains, so there is water damage," Long said.One issue that played a roll in the mayhem was a locking problem that allows inmates to free themselves from their cells by tampering with the locks, said Jimmie Edwards, the city’s director of public safety. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that officials have been dealing with the problem since December.Long said 65 inmates were transferred from the downtown jail and into the St. Louis Medium Security Institution, also known as the workhouse. He also said that law enforcement has talked to the prosecutor’s office and that the potential exists that some of those involved could face additional charges.In late December and early January, dozens of inmates were transferred from the St. Louis City Justice Center after two separate disturbances. Officials have said inmates were upset about conditions in the jail amid the pandemic.Although there were no confirmed cases of COVID-19 among the 633 people jailed at the St. Louis Justice Center as of Friday, tensions have been simmering.“I imagine they are under the same amount of stress due to COVID restrictions like the rest of us are,” Long said. “Courts haven’t been hearing cases in the 22nd Judicial Circuit. Their family visits have been restricted. But also they are acting out and that is the current situation.”Activists have protested conditions at the workhouse for years, but plans to close it have stalled, with backers of keeping it open saying it provides a way to space out inmates amid the pandemic.“These events demonstrate the need to have two facilities at this time," Long said.

Uproar: Alabama governor to lease prisons, despite criticism

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said she plans to sign agreements Monday for two privately built prisons, despite lawmakers' complaints about the pricetag and lack of public transparency and warnings from advocacy groups that such prisons won't address chronic violence and severe staffing woes.

Supporters’ words may haunt Trump at impeachment trial

WASHINGTON — The words of Donald Trump supporters who are accused of participating in the deadly U.S. Capitol riot may end up being used against him in his Senate impeachment trial as he faces the charge of inciting a violent insurrection.

Trump trial pending, McConnell calls it ‘vote of conscience’

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's impeachment trial is likely to start after Joe Biden's inauguration, and the Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, is telling senators their decision on whether to convict the outgoing president over the Capitol riot will be a “vote of conscience.”

Federal prisons on lockdown in run-up to Biden inauguration

NEW YORK — All federal prisons in the United States have been placed on lockdown, with officials aiming to quell any potential violence that could arise behind bars as law enforcement prepares for potentially violent protests across the country in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday.

Zimbabwe jails 3 for having New Year’s party despite ban

HARARE, Zimbabwe — A Zimbabwean court has jailed three men who organized a New Year’s Eve party attended by thousands of people in the capital, Harare, in violation of COVID-19 regulations at a time the country is facing an unprecedented surge in infections.

Vaccine delivered to prison where feds carry out executions

 The Bureau of Prisons has started vaccinating staff members and some inmates at the federal prison complex where the Justice Department carries out federal executions, as officials work to contain a coronavirus outbreak at the facility.

Judge delays execution of only woman on US death row

WASHINGTON – A federal judge said the Justice Department unlawfully rescheduled the execution of the only woman on federal death row, potentially setting up the Trump administration to schedule the execution after President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

Judge delays execution of only woman on U.S. death row

 A federal judge said the Justice Department unlawfully rescheduled the execution of the only woman on federal death row, potentially setting up the Trump administration to schedule the execution after president-elect Joe Biden takes office.

1 in 5 prisoners in U.S. has had COVID-19, 1,700 have died

One in every five state and federal prisoners in the United States has tested positive for the coronavirus, a rate more than four times as high as the general population. In some states, more than half of prisoners have been infected, according to data collected by The Associated Press and The Marshall Project.