The United States prison population has surged upwards since the 1980’s, quadrupling in just the past quarter-century alone. The uptick in inmate numbers has seen a corresponding deterioration in the living conditions at many jails and prisons throughout the country. The 306 people exonerated through DNA testing spent, on average, 13 years in these facilities.
A recent Mother Jones magazine series profiles the 10 worst prisons and jails in the United States. Worth noting is the number of jails—where the majority of inmates have not yet been convicted and may very well be innocent of their charges—that appear on the list. A number of Innocence Project clients have lived in these facilities. I spoke with two of them, Barry Gibbs of New York and Ray Krone of Arizona, who had the unfortunate distinction of serving time at two of the worst jails in the United States.
Riker’s Island, an…
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