Latandra Ellington, 36, was serving time for tax fraud at Lowell Correctional Institution when she died. Florida Department of Corrections hide caption

itoggle caption Florida Department of Corrections

Daniel Genis, son of Soviet emigre Alexander Genis, served 10 years in prison for armed robbery. He was released last year, and his essays about life in prison have been widely published. Courtesy of Petra Szabo hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Petra Szabo

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio tours and meets with youth Dec. 17 at Second Chance Housing on Rikers Island in New York City. Second Chance Housing is an alternative for incarcerated adolescents, instead of punitive segregation, also known as solitary confinement. Susan Watts/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Susan Watts/Getty Images

The Lafayette Parish Correctional Center in downtown Lafayette, La. By most counts, Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the country, but sentencing reformers have loosened some of the state's mandatory minimum sentences and made parole slightly easier to get. Denny Culbert for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Denny Culbert for NPR

The U.S. holds more prisoners in solitary confinement than any other democratic country, according to critics of the treatment. Here, an immigrant detainee makes a call from his "segregation cell" at a detention facility in Adelanto, Calif., last November. John Moore/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption John Moore/Getty Images

Brazil's General Superintendency of Prisons of Alagoas (SGAP) released this photo last Dec. 31 of a cat caught with contraband taped to its body at a medium-security prison in Alagoas state. /AP hide caption

itoggle caption /AP

From 2006 to 2010, at least 148 female inmates at two California facilities had tubal ligation surgeries. Some of the surgeries took place at the Valley State Prison for Women, seen here in 2000. Gary Kazanjian/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Gary Kazanjian/AP