Smart on Crime
I argue that (blue-collar) crime—theft and assault, in all their varieties—is still a real and major problem; that its economic and social costs are vastly under-appreciated; that its primary victims are disadvantaged minorities and poor people; that the current criminal-justice system wrongs them by under-enforcing the law against those who victimize them (who are, of course, mostly people like them in racial and class terms); that better criminal-justice policy could give us less crime and less incarceration; and that better and more equal law enforcement ought therefore to be as central a progressive political goal as better and more equal education or health care. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns
on Nov 1, 2013 -
"'If you can't do the time, don't do the crime.' So goes the old saying. Yet conditions in some American facilities are so obscene that they amount to a form of extrajudicial punishment." Mother Jones is profiling "America's 10 Worst Prisons."
Facilities were chosen for the list based on "...three years of research, correspondence with prisoners, and interviews with reform advocates." [more inside]
posted by zarq
on May 14, 2013 -
William Blake has been held in solitary confinement at Elmira Correctional Facility in New York State for nearly 26 years, after he murdered a Sheriff's Deputy and wounded another in a failed escape attempt back in 1987. Sentenced to 77 years to life, he will be eligible for parole in 2064. But Blake has no chance of ever leaving prison alive, and almost no chance of ever leaving solitary — a fate he considers "a sentence worse than death.
" (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Mar 16, 2013 -
"The Justice Department estimates that more than 209,400 people are sexually abused in US detention every year
… A great deal has been learned about this over the past few years. The [Prison Rape Elimination Act] legislation, which charged the [Bureau of Justice Statistics] with undertaking annual statistical analyses of the problem that have proved indispensable, also created a body called the Review Panel on Prison Rape.… A commission charged with issuing recommendations didn’t do so until six years after the bill’s passage; then Attorney General Eric Holder missed by nearly two years the statutory deadline for promulgating them. But the standards that Holder’s Department of Justice finally did issue are very strong."
posted by the mad poster!
on Sep 25, 2012 -
"Louisiana is the world's prison capital. The state imprisons more of its people, per head, than any of its U.S. counterparts. First among Americans means first in the world. Louisiana's incarceration rate is nearly triple Iran's, seven times China's and 10 times Germany's. The hidden engine behind the state's well-oiled prison machine is cold, hard cash." Louisiana Incarcerated
is a tour de force
eight-part series on the Louisiana prison system. [more inside]
posted by painquale
on May 26, 2012 -
Go to Trial: Crash the Justice System
. Michelle Alexander argues that ubiquitous plea bargains have allowed America's politicians and judicial system to short-circuit constitutional due process and ignore the mechanics of mass incarceration. If everyone charged with crimes suddenly exercised his constitutional rights, there would not be enough judges, lawyers or prison cells to deal with the ensuing tsunami of litigation.
posted by the mad poster!
on Mar 11, 2012 -
Dewey Bozella landed a hard right cross on his opponent's jaw at the final bell, and the 52-year-old boxer raised his arms in victory. After 26 years behind bars for a murder he didn't commit, Bozella triumphantly realized a dream deferred in his first and only professional fight. [more inside]
posted by Trurl
on Mar 5, 2012 -
Photographs of the Prison Chess series were taken in 2008 and 2009 in a maximum security facility of the New Jersey State Prison in Trenton. [more inside]
posted by Trurl
on Jan 27, 2012 -
The Brain on Trial.
Advances in brain science are calling into question the volition behind many criminal acts. A leading neuroscientist describes how the foundations of our criminal-justice system are beginning to crumble, and proposes a new way forward for law and order.
"We may someday find that many types of bad behavior have a basic biological explanation—as has happened with schizophrenia, epilepsy, depression, and mania." [more inside]
posted by Eideteker
on Jul 15, 2011 -
Flogging as an alternative to incarceration?
A thoughtful essay that considers flogging as an alternative to incarceration; the author uses this as a rhetorical device to point out the inefficiencies of incarceration, and get a conversation going. Some of the comments in the forum are priceless.
posted by Vibrissae
on Apr 27, 2011 -
"Between the Bars
is a weblog platform for prisoners, through which the 1% of America which is behind bars can tell their stories. Since prisoners are routinely denied access to the Internet, we enable them to blog by scanning letters. We aim to provide a positive outlet for creativity, a tool to assist in the maintenance of social safety nets, an opportunity to forge connections between prisoners and non-prisoners, and a means to promote non-criminal identities and personal expression. We hope to improve prisoner's lives, and help to reduce recidivism." [more inside]
posted by gman
on Nov 6, 2010 -
The High Budgetary Cost of Incaceration
) "The United States currently incarcerates a higher share of its population than any other country in the world. We calculate that a reduction in incarceration rates just to the level we had in 1993 (which was already high by historical standards) would lower correctional expenditures by $16.9 billion per year, with the large majority of these savings accruing to financially squeezed state and local governments. As a group, state governments could save $7.6 billion, while local governments could save $7.2 billion."
posted by OmieWise
on Jun 18, 2010 -
A Prison Nightmare
. On June 23, 2009, the National Prison Rape Commission released its final Report and proposed Standards
to prevent, detect, respond to and monitor sexual abuse of incarcerated or detained individuals throughout the United States. More prisoners reported abuse by staff than abuse by other prisoners.
posted by Non Prosequitur
on Jun 25, 2009 -
The Changing Racial Dynamics of the War on Drugs.
The Sentencing Project
has just released a report
(pdf) finding that, for the first time in 20 years, the number
of Black Americans in state prison for drug offenses has fallen. Between 1999 and 2005, the number of White drug offenders in state prisons rose about 43 percent, while the number of Black offenders declined by 22 percent. One cause may be a rise in the use of drug courts
, which are locally administered programs that divert offenders into treatment rather than incarceration. The Sentencing Project has a recent report
(pdf) on this issue as well.
posted by lunit
on Apr 16, 2009 -
1 in 99.1 American adults are now incarcerated according to a new Pew Center study
(pdf). Some interesting numbers from a NYT article
on the report: 1 in 36 Hispanic adults are incarcerated, 1 in 15 blacks, 1 in 9 black men aged 20-34, 1 in 355 white women aged 35-39. Some context from the World Prison Population List
posted by aerotive
on Feb 28, 2008 -
Despite a sharp national decline in crime, American criminal justice has become crueler and less caring than it has been at any other time in our modern history. Why?
Former conservative economist Glenn C. Loury
on incarceration in America. [via]
posted by Sonny Jim
on Jul 20, 2007 -
Throw Away The Key dot org
seeks to lengthen the sentences of criminals on the premise of their mission statement: "Incarceration Works!" From their site: "If you believe a girl should be able to walk down the street in broad daylight without being abducted and murdered by a convicted felon, then it is time for you to get involved.
posted by fandango_matt
on Nov 29, 2005 -
Iraq's Child Prisoners It’s not certain exactly how many children are being held by coalition forces in Iraq, but a Sunday Herald investigation suggests there are up to 107. Their names are not known, nor is where they are being kept, how long they will be held or what has happened to them during their detention. Proof of the widespread arrest and detention of children in Iraq by US and UK forces is contained in an internal Unicef report written in June. The report has – surprisingly – not been made public. A key section on child protection, headed Children in Conflict with the Law or with Coalition Forces, reads: ''In July and August 2003, several meetings were conducted with CPA (Coalition Provisional Authority) … and Ministry of Justice to address issues related to juvenile justice and the situation of children detained by the coalition forces … Unicef is working through a variety of channels to try and learn more about conditions for children who are imprisoned or detained, and to ensure that their rights are respected.'' Another section reads: ''Information on the number, age, gender and conditions of incarceration is limited. In Basra and Karbala children arrested for alleged activities targeting the occupying forces are reported to be routinely transferred to an internee facility in Um Qasr. The categorisation of these children as 'internees' is worrying since it implies indefinite holding without contact with family, expectation of trial or due process.''
posted by y2karl
on Aug 2, 2004 -
We're number one! We're number one!
From a source quoted in the article: "We have the wealthiest society in human history, and we maintain the highest level of imprisonment. It's striking what that says about our approach to social problems and inequality."
(apologies for the usual US-centrism)
posted by alumshubby
on Aug 18, 2003 -
Study Finds 2.6% Increase in U.S. Prison Population The nation's prison population grew 2.6 percent last year, the largest increase since 1999, according to a study by the Justice Department. The jump came despite a small decline in serious crime in 2002. It also came when a growing number of states facing large budget deficits have begun trying to reduce prison costs by easing tough sentencing laws passed in the 1990's, thereby decreasing the number of inmates. The key finding in the report is this growth, which is somewhat surprising in its size after several years of relative stability in the prison population, said Allen J. Beck, an author of the report. U.S. Prison Population Grew 2.6% in 2002. The country's prisons, jails and juvenile facilities held 2,166,260 persons at the end of last year, the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) said in a report released today. Prisoners in 2002 Abstract
posted by y2karl
on Jul 28, 2003 -
Bread and Circuses
The Texas Prison Museum as an odd mix of entertainment and education. If someone gives it $100 million
will the prison museum unenroll from the Kroger Share Card Program and lose the value of 1% of participants' grocery purchases? A veritable treasure trove of the absurd and frightening. What's your favorite? Mine are the pavers
. We could get up a collection for one from Metafilter. Who's with me?
posted by elgoose
on Nov 19, 2002 -
Prison riot imminent. Film at 11.
"Many inmates are heavily invested emotionally in the routine availability of certain types of food," wrote Jovero, a member of the state Food Task Force for prisons. "Prominent among these foods is peanut butter and jelly for religious and vegetarian inmates."
posted by swell
on Jul 18, 2001 -