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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

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Colleges see big drop in foreign-language enrollment; Kentucky advocates say it's time to bury medical debt; Young Farmers in Michigan hope the new farm bill will include key benefits regarding land access.

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The White House presses for supplemental Ukraine aid. Leaders condemn antisemitic attacks during Gaza ceasefire protests. Despite concerns about the next election, one Arizona legal expert says courts generally side with voters and democracy.

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Congress has iced the Farm Bill, but farmer advocates argue some portions are urgent, the Hoosier State is reaping big rewards from wind and solar, and opponents react to a road through Alaska's Brooks Range, long a dream destination for hunters and anglers.

MN Faces Calls to Investigate Prison Conditions

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Monday, September 11, 2023   

Prison reform advocates in Minnesota continue to speak out following a lockdown at the correctional facility in Stillwater.

People incarcerated there want better conditions, and their supporters say systemic issues need to be addressed.

A coalition is now calling for two state offices to conduct an independent human rights investigation after those being held at Stillwater staged a peaceful protest earlier this month.

The issues include a lack of air conditioning during excessive heat and poor water quality.

David Boehnke, an organizer with the Twin Cities Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, said it adds to longstanding concerns across the correctional system.

"There's a pattern and practice here," said Boehnke, "and there's just a refusal to look at these types of inhuman conditions and create actual solutions."

Boehnke contended these individuals are having their rights violated while still being expected to perform the work they're ordered to do in carrying out their sentences.

He suggested treating them better can lead to better outcomes after they're released.

The Department of Corrections cites staffing issues for some of the concerns, and argues that some of the claims are false.

Advocates say while the prison population is their primary concern, Marvina Haynes - founder of the group Minnesota Wrongfully Convicted Judicial Reform - pointed out that rough conditions can negatively affect correctional staff, too.

"Officers are working in inhumane conditions," said Haynes, "and it just causes a more stressful environment."

Haynes also has a brother incarcerated at Stillwater, and she says inmates have provided details of brown water inside the prison. That's one of the claims corrections administrators have said is false.

Meanwhile, the union representing corrections officers at Stillwater echoes concerns about operations at the facility.




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