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Minnesota tells prisoners to get rid of soft porn magazines.
January 31, 2001 8:31 AM   Subscribe

Minnesota tells prisoners to get rid of soft porn magazines. Hard porn is already forbidden, but now they won't be permitted to have Playboy or Penthouse or the like. Will there be a rise in prison rape?
posted by Steven Den Beste (19 comments total)

 
I think there will be.

There are two arguments: the magazines inflame desires and lead to more rape, or the magazines present an outlet for desire and lead to less. I unhesitatingly affirm my agreement with the second point of view.

But I've never been in prison and I don't know anyone who has been (at least, who has admitted it). My opinion is based on knowledge of myself and my fellow man (ahem). But it may be that people in prison are qualitatively different than I am. (After all, I'm not in prison because I haven't committed any crimes and have no urge to do so.) But I don't think that they're that much different than I am.

My opinion is that the Minnesota decision was knee-jerk, not reasoned. I think violence, especially rape, will increase there because of this. I really expected better of Governer Ventura.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 8:37 AM on January 31, 2001


> Will there be a rise in prison rape?

Boy howdy!
posted by Brilliantcrank at 9:45 AM on January 31, 2001


The prison system is just poorly run, and the fact that inmates can rape each other (and even fight each other) surely shows what a pathetic state our jails are in.

There needs to be more isolation for people who a) want to be isolated, and b) need to be isolated for the safety of others. Jail time is not meant to be fun, but it is also meant to be humane. Only last week a judge stopped a 'young white' drug dealer from going to a Florida jail because the judge thought it would be too cruel for him!

Wardens should have far more control over prisoners, and prisoners just shouldn't be fighting and raping. Threaten them with guns, isolation, whatever. If they cause trouble, deal with them.
posted by wackybrit at 10:26 AM on January 31, 2001


Meanwhile, in an the Maricopa County, Arizona jail, run by notorious Sheriff Joe Arpaio (sp?), jail guards were armed with Tazer stun guns for a Dept. of (in)Justice study on how having weaponed staff in a jail affects the behaviour of the inmate population.

Over the course of the year, they found that there was no significant change in the number of fights or other disturbances in the jail, just an increased chance that someone would get seriously hurt. (Counting the temporary debilitation of the Tazer or the beating a guard would receive from a prisoner trying to avoid the Tazer as "seriously hurt.")

One prisoner died as a result of repeated Tazer blasts that burned his body and did something nasty to his body's natural electricity, causing his heart to stop. The county paid his family off to the tune of $850k to avoid a lawsuit.

After Maricopa County and other such experiments, I fear the idea of introducing even more deadly weapons into the prison environment. Isolation and punishment, yes. Guns, no.

But people who already have shown a proclivity toward breaking the law are not going to be highly inclined to being orderly and nice just because they're in jail. If they cannot conform to the minimal constraints of living in normal society, acting out in the restrictive environment of a prison is almost inevitable.
posted by Dreama at 10:34 AM on January 31, 2001


My understanding is that prison rape is far more about control and power than desire. To that end, I don't think soft porn would have much effect on it.
posted by jennyb at 10:36 AM on January 31, 2001


In other news, Minnesota will be equipping all its prison inmates with Palm Pilots...
posted by kindall at 10:55 AM on January 31, 2001


It wasn't Gov. Ventura's decision, as far as I can tell.

As for expecting better of him, well, Steven, you're certainly not alone.
posted by lileks at 11:38 AM on January 31, 2001


Boo-hoo. Prisoners can't look at porn. Should have thought of that when they were busy violating society's rules.
posted by owillis at 12:35 PM on January 31, 2001


Yeah, anyone who sells pot should be locked up and raped. Haw, haw, you criminal.
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:37 PM on January 31, 2001


Ventura could change it if he really wanted to. I hope he does. (And as to him, it's said that "any people tend get the government they deserve"...)

WackyBrit, you're on the side of the angels. Obviously we'd all like the prisons to be peaceful and controlled. But it's easier said than done. Facilities do exist where the prisoners are controlled to a degree where such things are impossible, but they're not only expensive but quite cruel. The US operates a couple of them; they're used as punishment for prisoners who have committed major crimes such as rape or murder while already in federal prison. Generally it only takes a year or two in such a place to break a man; when he's moved back to a more normal prison, earning his way out by good behavior, he doesn't make trouble anymore because he knows what's waiting for him. (I saw it on TV last night; TLC is great.)
posted by Steven Den Beste at 2:33 PM on January 31, 2001


sonofsamian: If you know it's against the law, don't do it.
posted by owillis at 2:54 PM on January 31, 2001


Funny, isn't that what the argument was against civil rights marchers? As MLK said (quoting St. Augustine) "An unjust law is no law at all."


posted by norm at 3:53 PM on January 31, 2001


At Monroe prison, which is on an island near here, they get Penthouse and Playboy in the library there and prisoners are able to check them out, BUT all the pinups have "property of the Monroe Library" stamped across their T&A. They figure, they can't really keep the inmates from stealing the pictures, but they can make them remember where they got them.
posted by jessamyn at 4:14 PM on January 31, 2001


owillis: Prisoners should not have to fear rape and murder. No one should. Can you really justify the way some prisons are run currently? Getting raped is a good punishment for a non-violent offense?
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:19 AM on February 1, 2001


Norm, are you really equating laws which prevented people from sharing public facilities due to their race with laws against drugs? Please tell me you're not.
posted by Dreama at 8:51 AM on February 1, 2001


As for expecting better of him, well, Steven, you're certainly not alone.

Off topic here, and i admit that i don't keep up with minnesotan political developments, but in what way is Governor Ventura failing you guys? Has he become just a regular old politician? Is he doing stupid things?

I'm genuinely curious, I'm not trying to rile you up or anything.
posted by daveadams at 10:25 AM on February 1, 2001


I think agreeing to do commentary on broadcasts of the new XFL football league wouldn't necessarily qualify as smart but then, I'm not a Minnesotan and I don't know that they'd prefer that their Governor govern instead of going off to play TV guy.
posted by Dreama at 11:40 AM on February 1, 2001


Norm, are you really equating laws which prevented people from sharing public facilities due to their race with laws against drugs? Please tell me you're not.

I almost put a disclaimer in my original response just to say I wasn't. I was only saying that the previous post was a pretty weak argument.
posted by norm at 12:13 PM on February 1, 2001


I think agreeing to do commentary on broadcasts of the new XFL football league wouldn't necessarily qualify as smart but then, I'm not a Minnesotan and I don't know that they'd prefer that their Governor govern instead of going off to play TV guy.

Well, I don't agree with that. In lots of states (don't know about Minnesota), there aren't constant duties that demand attention every moment like there are for the President. It's not like he has to prepare to comment on these games. If it's okay for him to go on Jay Leno, I don't see what the big deal is, except the games are a little longer. Not that he wouldn't be in constant touch in case there really was an emergency.
posted by daveadams at 1:57 PM on February 1, 2001


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