469 posts tagged with Prison.
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How to spend your commissary money wisely

Make Chi Chi: just combine ramen, hot pickle, spicy sausage, jalapeno squeeze cheese, canned chili, honey, spicy cheese puffs, minute rice, hot sauce, and a billion dollar industry. Don't worry, you can buy the chips.
posted by phlyingpenguin on Oct 11, 2016 - 24 comments

Roll up for the murderous mystery tour

Dark Tourism On her great blog, historian Donna Seger discusses the phenomenon of Dark Tourism - a cultural trend responsible for the proliferation of ghost tours, vampire tours, and graveyard tours as well as interest in more historically serious places such as Holocaust sites, Civil War Battlefields, and even contemporary war zones. Also known in academia as thanatourism, its subcategories include fright tourism[PDF], disaster tourism, morbid tourism, and grief tourism. [more inside]
posted by Miko on Sep 30, 2016 - 25 comments

Alabama’s Holman prison guards have joined striking prisoners

The Alabama Department of Corrections has confirmed to local media that Holman Prison guards have joined prisoners on strike.
posted by Greg Nog on Sep 27, 2016 - 27 comments

The worst of the worst.

Where the Death Penalty Still Lives. In the U.S., 20 states and the District of Columbia have abolished capital punishment and four others have imposed a moratorium on executions. Of the 26 states that remain, only 14 handed down death sentences last year for a total of 50 across the country — less than half the number six years before. California, which issued more than one-quarter of last year’s death sentences, hasn’t actually executed anyone since 2006. A new geography of capital punishment is taking shape, with just two percent of the nation’s counties now accounting for a majority of the people sitting on death row. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 25, 2016 - 18 comments

solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.

Justice Department to end use of private prisons. The Justice Department plans to end its use of private prisons after officials concluded the facilities are both less safe and less effective at providing correctional services than those run by the government.
posted by blue_beetle on Aug 18, 2016 - 64 comments

O Sister, Where Art Thou?

This past May on Metafilter, we looked at “Thirty Minutes Behind the Walls”, a wildly popular variety show that was broadcast every Wednesday night in the 1930's and 1940's from the state prison in Huntsville, TX. It featured performances by male and female prisoners. No recordings of the show have ever been found. In the early forties, eight inmates of the Goree State Farm prison unit formed one of the first all-female country and western acts in the country and their performances were broadcast on Thirty Minutes. The Goree All Girl String Band captured the hearts of millions of radio listeners but never cut a record or went on tour and have thus been ignored by music historians. When they were paroled, they nearly all vanished forever. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 9, 2016 - 2 comments

The Guantánamo Failure

Connie Bruck in The New Yorker: Why Obama Has Failed to Close Guantánamo
Congress is blamed for preventing the President from fulfilling his pledge. But that’s not the whole story.
posted by Joe in Australia on Jul 31, 2016 - 47 comments

The First Civil RIght

"We as a polity seem to think policing is the solution to every social problem." Political scientist Naomi Murakawa's book The First Civil Right: How Liberals Built Prison America tackles assumptions about how we got to today and what needs to change. In an interview at the Marshall Project, Murakawa argues "those being sentenced under punitive sentencing guidelines it doesn’t make a difference to them that Sen. Ted Kennedy was liberal and overall had a good voting record." [more inside]
posted by spamandkimchi on Jul 12, 2016 - 46 comments

“You fill out all this paperwork, they just push you out.”

One year out: On July 13, 2015, President Obama commuted the prison sentences of 46 nonviolent drug offenders. Here’s what their lives are like now. [The Washington Post] Few aspects of the Obama administration have been uncontroversial. Yet releasing 348 people from prison early provoked remarkably little criticism. To date, President Obama has commuted more sentences than his seven predecessors combined; when the president granted clemency to 46 nonviolent drug offenders last July, many of whom were sentenced under laws that no longer exist, critics mostly complained that he hadn’t let more people go free.
posted by Fizz on Jul 11, 2016 - 14 comments

"Have you ever had a riot?"

My Four Months as a Private Prison Guard: A Mother Jones Investigation
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jun 23, 2016 - 62 comments

“I come across as very stoic, indifferent, and cold to strangers.”

On the Inside Part I: [Reply All] [Podcast] For years, Paul Modrowski has been writing a blog from inside a maximum security prison. Only thing is, he was arrested when he was 18 and has never seen the internet. Sruthi Pinnamaneni reaches out to him with one small question that alters the course of her next year. [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Jun 9, 2016 - 15 comments

Apple today for Milk tomorrow

Don't bring your feelings to prison, son... They'll only wind up getting hurt. (SLImgur)

5FrogMargin relates a month spent in the Baldwin Alabama County Jail.
posted by endotoxin on May 22, 2016 - 7 comments

Apologies to the hammock, the "old mother" who embraces and comforts

Chris Columbus "discovered" the hammock just as he "discovered" the Americas, being the first European to kick off the flood of "new world" explorers, a number of whom commented on the hanging woven net beds they saw. They brought the design back to Europe, as they took cotton, canvas and other cloths to the Americas, where they were quickly adopted by sailors and navies, with some innovative designs. Today there are a myriad of variations (slideshow) on the simple little sling that has survived for more than 1,000 years, used as a bed, birthing table, cradle, sofa -- even as a final resting place. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on May 20, 2016 - 32 comments

"You find out they made mistakes, thus proving that they are human.”

In 1938, as the Great Depression was winding down, a Texas radio station began airing “Thirty Minutes Behind the Walls,” a variety show broadcast every Wednesday night from the state prison in Huntsville. The show featured male and female prisoners singing, strumming, dancing, and acting. At one point, it had five million listeners, who sent in as many as a 100,000 fan letters each year. Executions were stayed so that they would not conflict with the show, which was performed in an auditorium 50 yards from Old Sparky, the state’s electric chair.
A Peek at the Golden Age of Prison RadioThe Marshall Project: Nonprofit journalism about criminal justice [more inside]
posted by Atom Eyes on May 19, 2016 - 6 comments

"I Googled it, baby!"

TO THIS DAY, Caldwell isn't sure how authorities took down his drug cartel so swiftly. Perhaps it was the poorly stuffed shoebox-sized package wrapped in elaborate Chinese markings that sounded like a Molly-stuffed maraca moving down the post office's conveyor belt. "Good lord that boy was a bad criminal," says his mom, "and thank Jesus for that."
How Reche Caldwell Googled his way from the Patriots to prison.
posted by Existential Dread on May 12, 2016 - 11 comments

“The focus of this series though is not on the crime...”

Inside Death Row: [New York Times] Between 2014 and 2015, the editorial cartoonist Patrick Chappatte and his wife, the journalist Anne-Frédérique Widmann, invited death-row inmates in the United States to draw their personal experiences in prison. Last year, the couple curated the drawings in an art and documentation exhibition in Los Angeles called “Windows on Death Row.” The prisoners’ stories became the basis of this five-part graphic journalism series. [more inside]
posted by Fizz on May 9, 2016 - 6 comments

Free Alabama

The Free Alabama Movement is an network of incarcerated men, spanning state prisons across Alabama; this May, many are participating in a labor strike, protesting the inhumane conditions and asking legislators to step in despite the governor's refusal to address the dire issues in Alabama prisons.
posted by roomthreeseventeen on May 9, 2016 - 8 comments

Extorting inmates' families is big business

The End of Prison Visitation
posted by T.D. Strange on May 5, 2016 - 35 comments

“Slavery has always been a legal institution. And it never ended.”

prisoners are the slaves of today, and that slavery affects our society economically, morally and politically.” (pdf)
posted by jeffburdges on Apr 5, 2016 - 42 comments

Jailhouse Stories

In Texas county jails, thousands of people wait for justice. Many have not been convicted but are held in dangerous and inhumane conditions while their cases are decided. Read their stories at JailhouseStories.org. (Warning - there's some tough reading in here, including abuse of the mentally ill and of pregnant women.) [more inside]
posted by showbiz_liz on Apr 4, 2016 - 7 comments

Life doesn’t discriminate between the sinners and the saints

I work with a group of men who aren’t used to seeing themselves in the narrative, unless it’s as the villain, maybe not in your history book, but in a few newspaper articles a few years back and in the hearts of their victim’s families. These men understand that much of America thinks they are monsters, they deserve to be locked in cages. They are the bastard, orphan sons of … every kind of women you can imagine; they are also beloved sons and husbands in close families who come to see them in the visiting room at the prison every week. Maybe they’ve been “livin’ without a family since I was a child. My father left, my mother died, I grew up buckwild.” Many of them know all about impoverished, in squalor, and fathers who split.
Kate Powers, on watching (parts of) Hamilton with prisoners and the power of theatre.
posted by jeather on Apr 2, 2016 - 30 comments

sinking down

The environmental disaster that is Rikers Island [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Mar 16, 2016 - 12 comments

what to expect when you're expecting to go to jail

Alex Cavendish is an ex-prisoner who blogs about all aspects of UK prison life. Whether you want to prepare yourself mentally, are wondering what to pack, worried about weight gain, or need tips on cooking dinner in your cell, Alex has (incredibly detailed) answers to your questions. [more inside]
posted by girlgenius on Mar 15, 2016 - 15 comments

Erotic souls kicked toward saintliness chained in a mad dead house

Max Nelson is writing a series on prison literature for The Paris Review. The first entry from 15 September 2015 concerns Dostoevsky's "Notes From a Dead House", the latest so far, from 25 February 2016, deals with Austin Reed's "The Life and Adventures of a Haunted Convict". [more inside]
posted by sapagan on Mar 8, 2016 - 3 comments

The Crazy Injustice of Denying Exonerated Prisoners Compensation

In California, as well as many other states, even if a prisoner is exonerated of the crime for which they were imprisoned, they are not automatically compensated for prison time. They may have to wait years before receiving payments, if they receive any at all.
posted by Peregrine Pickle on Feb 26, 2016 - 26 comments

People in prison drawing people who should be

For over a year, we asked people in prison to paint or draw people we felt should be in prison–the CEOs of companies destroying our environment, economy, and society. Here are the results. Click on the images to see the crimes committed by both the companies and the artists.
posted by louche mustachio on Feb 17, 2016 - 20 comments

U.S. Prison Racial Disparities Slightly Better Now

The good news is that the U.S. incarceration rate is dropping. The less-good news is that black men are now only almost six times as likely to be incarcerated as white men, down from more than seven-and-a-half times as likely in 2000; black women are now just twice as likely as white women to be behind bars, where they used to be six times as likely. [more inside]
posted by Etrigan on Feb 17, 2016 - 4 comments

Brazil's Dysfunctional Prison System and more

Two articles by Carla Ruas a Freelance writer and photographer based in Brazil.
Running the joint: - This is the story of Presídio Central, a correctional facility in Brazil that has become a headquarters for the organized crime. And it all began when a cab crashed into the lobby of the fanciest hotel in town. [more inside]
posted by adamvasco on Feb 14, 2016 - 1 comment

Federal Prisoners of New York

In case you missed it, Humans of New York (previously) has recently been doing a series specifically on federal prisoners in the northeastern United States. The project is ongoing, but you can read the stories compiled so far, and general reactions to the stories, on the facebook page or instagram.
posted by likeatoaster on Feb 13, 2016 - 8 comments

“I’ve been here 33 years and I’ve never seen anything so bad,”

The Story Behind The Deadliest Prison Bus Crash In Texas History [BuzzFeed] In January 2015, a prison transport carrying 15 men — three guards and 12 chained-together inmates — ran off the road. It was one of the bloodiest days in the history of Texas prisons. [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Jan 18, 2016 - 20 comments

An orangutan builds a hammock.

An orangutan builds a hammock [SLYT].
posted by rdr on Jan 4, 2016 - 42 comments

All roads lead to receiving.

Curious about the largest single-site jail in the country? The Cook County Department of Corrections has you covered with a frankly fascinating series of short videos touring the jail's eleven divisions. [more inside]
posted by theodolite on Dec 4, 2015 - 6 comments

"I believe that everyone has a life worth saving."

Last year, Laverne Cox read a letter written by a trans woman in involuntary protective custody for a video released by the Sylvia Rivera Law Project. Cox would later ask the SRLP to take the video down, citing concerns about the inmate's convictions. This is an interview with the woman who wrote the letter, Synthia China Blast.
posted by The Devil Tesla on Nov 3, 2015 - 17 comments

Don't miss your due date

Alison Green of Ask A Manager interviews a prison librarian
posted by bq on Oct 28, 2015 - 15 comments

Egregious case of market failure

The Federal Communications Commission is putting caps on the rates that inmates pay for phone calls, after a 14-year campaign by advocates for prisoners and their families. The order caps per-minute fees at 11¢ in state or federal prisons, and up to 22¢ a minute in local jails, depending on the size of the facility, while also capping the various fees that have been common on inmate calls to this point. [more inside]
posted by almostmanda on Oct 23, 2015 - 51 comments

Contemplating a future from a prison cell

"From a certain angle, the premise seems almost cruel: invite prisoners on death row to design their own memorials — ways for them to be remembered after they’ve been executed. This means asking them to confront not just their own mortality, but the state’s hand in ensuring it; to imagine not only the reality of their deaths, but a time beyond it. Yet, if Life After Death and Elsewhere suggests anything, it’s that this process may offer a release. These men are already thinking about death, after all — two paintings that feature the grim reaper assure us of that. Now at least they have somewhere to channel their thoughts."
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Oct 19, 2015 - 5 comments

Slow Steps To Freedom

A nonviolent drug offender who was granted clemency after 22 years adjusts to life on the outside. "I believe in your ability to prove the doubters wrong." - President Obama [more inside]
posted by infinite intimation on Oct 8, 2015 - 14 comments

A Room Of One's Own

Room 8, a short film by James W. Griffiths.
posted by mattdidthat on Oct 3, 2015 - 9 comments

/ -----///----​///----///----///----​///----///----///​----/// -----/

The Tangled History of Barbed Wire by Robert Zaretsky [Boston Globe]
“Like inventors from Joseph Guillotin to Alfred Nobel, whose creations escaped their original purpose and were yoked to evil ends, Joseph Glidden would have been shocked at what became of his. In 1874, the Illinois farmer and New Hampshire native, fastening sharpened metal knots along thick threads of steel, created barbed wire. Thanks to its high resilience and low cost, the rapid installation of the coils and lasting dissuasion of the barbs, the wire transformed the American West. Ranchers could protect their cattle against predators, both wild and human, as they pushed the frontier ever further west. The wire itself came to be called 'devil’s rope.'”
Previously. Previously. Previously.
posted by Fizz on Sep 26, 2015 - 13 comments

“I will continue fighting for press freedom...”

Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed have been released from prison following Eid al-Adha pardon. [New York Times] [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Sep 23, 2015 - 8 comments

“Food tasted like wet noodles and grill gristle"

"I Reviewed Jail on Yelp Because I Couldn't Afford a Therapist." Why people are using sites like Yelp to vent and offer tips about prison and jail.
posted by Harald74 on Sep 22, 2015 - 18 comments

Exonerated prisoners after serving decades for crimes they didn’t commit

stories.. that expose both the depths of what was taken from them and the challenges of rebuilding the lives they once had
posted by pos on Sep 11, 2015 - 14 comments

‘The Senator Be Embezzling’

From rotten meat to startup porn sites to a solicitous Snickers bar, what I saw inside the prison-industrial complex—and what it taught me about our criminal justice crisis. Former Missouri state senator Jeff Smith writes about his time in prison. [more inside]
posted by flug on Sep 3, 2015 - 37 comments

Kings County Penitentiary

The Luxury Brooklyn Apartment Complex at the Site of a Former Prison [more inside]
posted by poffin boffin on Sep 2, 2015 - 20 comments

The criminals' alphabet (UK edition)

The criminals' alphabet (UK edition). You want some or what, Charlie Big Spuds?
posted by the quidnunc kid on Aug 15, 2015 - 15 comments

"I am not going to be your attorney"

When Eric Wyatt told his public defender that he was mistakenly being thrown back into jail after already serving his time, his public defender cut him off with those eight words. He would spend over three months incarcerated before another public defender urged him to take a plea deal to serve 10 years in prison for a crime he already served time for. It would be another week, 110 days in total, before Wyatt would be set free. [more inside]
posted by Ouverture on Aug 7, 2015 - 36 comments

Don’t even go, if you’re going to sabotage your own damn self.

"Doug Williams used to give polygraph exams. Now he’s going to prison for teaching people how to beat them" -- the true story of a polygraph critic and coach arrested in a sting operation.
Luley displayed a striking compulsion for detailed self-incrimination. “If I tell them that I sold drugs in the jail when I was a jailer, can they use that against me?” he asked at one point. He also mentioned that he’d “messed around” sexually with a 14-year-old drug suspect after interviewing her.
posted by grobstein on Aug 6, 2015 - 36 comments

The value of an effective police organization

Unlike the soft forms of social control — meaning the ameliorative and redistributive welfare programs of the Great Society — the new model of social control does not come with dangerous notions of "equality" and "social inclusion." Today, the poor are thoroughly locked down, as is our political imagination about what poverty means. Law enforcement has moved to the center of domestic politics; state violence is perhaps more than ever a constant, regular, and normal feature of poor people’s lives.The Making of the American Police State, Christian Parenti
posted by jammy on Aug 4, 2015 - 12 comments

‘‘Are you free yet?’’ ‘‘I’m getting there,’’ Hammock told him.

You Just Got Out of Prison. Now What? [New York Times] Carlos and Roby are two ex-convicts with a simple mission: picking up inmates on the day they’re released from prison and guiding them through a changed world. [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Jul 19, 2015 - 29 comments

Mystery meat, bologna soup and maggots

What it’s like to actually eat the food in Oakland County Jail.
posted by ellieBOA on Jul 16, 2015 - 37 comments

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