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The Brand
January 23, 2012 9:00 AM   Subscribe

David Grann of the New Yorker writes about the power of the Aryan Brotherhood inside America's federal prisons.
posted by reenum (20 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Since reading that story when it came out, I have wondered what effect this prison has had on Crescent City. I would imagine that some of the inmates' families and allies would have moved there, and this would not be a good thing for that little fishing-logging town.
posted by Danf at 9:13 AM on January 23, 2012


Maybe that's why Santorum is in favor of allowing felons to vote.
posted by goethean at 9:17 AM on January 23, 2012


That article terrified me when it first came out. I wonder if there's a decent follow up considering that was 7+ years ago?
posted by gwint at 9:24 AM on January 23, 2012


Also, if you're a New Yorker subscriber, the full article is here.
posted by gwint at 9:26 AM on January 23, 2012


Vanguard's awesome reporting on prison gangs is incredibly valuable for understanding the phenomenon.

Prison Power Play (43:29)
Laura Ling reports on the complex power plays taking place at Corcoran, one of the country's most notorious prisons

Prison Contraband (45:31)
Janet Choi goes inside a California state prison to investigate contraband smuggled inside the cells, and how cellphones are the new security threat.

(Previously)
posted by Blasdelb at 9:42 AM on January 23, 2012 [6 favorites]


Here's the Ganglang episode on the AB. National Geographic also did a piece on them.

Gladiator Days: Anatomy of a Prison Murder.

We use the language of violence quite casually here in America. Most of us have no idea what we're talking about.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 9:47 AM on January 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


I was surprised to learn that prison guards are responsible for most (ie, 90%) of rapes and sexual assaults in prison.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:25 AM on January 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


prison guards are responsible for most (ie, 90%) of rapes and sexual assaults in prison.

I believe the guards are complicit in that they don't stop it, but not actually the perps, in most cases the perps will be other prisoners, obviously.
posted by stbalbach at 11:03 AM on January 23, 2012


Well I never cease to be amazed at just how thin the veneer of civilization is, and at the wide range of reactions to desperate situations when that veneer is peeled away. I suppose humanity's true nature is all this and more. No wonder it's nearly impossible to find a perfect set of rules to govern these masses. I'm reminded of the words of wisdom from Ripley
"You don't see them (the aliens) fucking each other for a percentage"
posted by Redhush at 11:22 AM on January 23, 2012


I was surprised to learn that prison guards are responsible for most (ie, 90%) of rapes and sexual assaults in prison.

Why?
posted by Renoroc at 11:32 AM on January 23, 2012


Maybe that's why Santorum is in favor of allowing felons to vote.

When I think "disenfranchised by felony" I think "young Black and Hispanic men", not "members of the Aryan Brotherhood". While I'm sure there are plenty of racist felons, the actual effect of disenfranchising felons is itself massively racist.
posted by vorfeed at 11:44 AM on January 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, prisoners have the right to vote here in Canada. If there is even a nominal interest in rehabilitation, not cutting off this fundamental aspect of citizenship is a good idea. I'm surprised this is Santorum's position.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 11:48 AM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh:

Rick Santorum because Santorum voted in the senate to restore the voting rights of ex-prisoners.

Not prisoners, only convicted felons after they have, y'know, paid their debt to society.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 11:51 AM on January 23, 2012


Well I never cease to be amazed at just how thin the veneer of civilization is, and at the wide range of reactions to desperate situations when that veneer is peeled away. I suppose humanity's true nature is all this and more. No wonder it's nearly impossible to find a perfect set of rules to govern these masses. I'm reminded of the words of wisdom from Ripley
"You don't see them (the aliens) fucking each other for a percentage"


When you treat people like animals, they tend to behave like ones.
posted by bradbane at 12:04 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I remember reading that some insanely high percentage of female prisoners were raped by guards.

Wouldn't surprise me if it weren't happening pretty often to male prisoners, too. Rape is a crime of marking territory, not a way to get off.
posted by QIbHom at 12:39 PM on January 23, 2012


Santorum voted in the senate to restore the voting rights of ex-prisoners.

Santorum did something sensible and morally praiseworthy, at cost to himself? I guess a stopped watch really is right twice a day.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:41 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's another documentary about the AB, perhaps British, where they weren't allowed to film Michael Thompson and had to use an actor to deliver his comments.

Westword has had quite a bit of coverage of high security prisons and inmate on inmate violence in the last few years, much of it focusing on the prison in Florence, Colorado which holds a number of the AB's leaders.
posted by BigSky at 2:13 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maybe that's why Santorum is in favor of allowing felons to vote.

Strange backhanded phrasing pointing out one of the few things that Santorum stands for which I agree with -- the stripping of citizen rights from those who have paid their debt to society and emerged back into living as a free person is one of the more heinous things we do to felons. I'm entirely in favor of restoring voting rights to felons, and feel that most who think about the issue probably agree with me.
posted by hippybear at 3:41 PM on January 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


When you treat people like animals, they tend to behave like ones.

yes, well, treat them like catains of industry and they don't behave so well either
posted by Redhush at 8:09 PM on January 23, 2012


What is there to say? This is why I avoid sociology texts. Sad times.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 1:03 AM on January 24, 2012


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