GQ: The Strange and Curious Tale of the Last True Hermit
. "For nearly thirty years, a phantom haunted the woods of Central Maine. Unseen and unknown, he lived in secret, creeping into homes in the dead of night and surviving on what he could steal. To the spooked locals, he became a legend - or maybe a myth. They wondered how he could possibly be real. Until one day last year, the hermit came out of the forest." [more inside]
"These probationers aren’t just paying a court-ordered fine; they’re typically paying an ever-growing share of the court’s administrative expenses, as well as a separate fee to the for-profit company that supervises their probation and enforces a payment schedule—a consolidated weekly or monthly set of charges divided between the court and the company. The system is known as 'offender-funded' justice. But legal challenges to it are mounting, amid concerns about abuse, corruption, and the use of state penalties to collect private profits. In a wide range of cases, offender-funded justice may not result in justice at all."
Get Out of Jail, Inc.
The Center for Investigative Reporting conducted a year-long investigation into the problem of teens held in solitary confinement and chronicles what it found in the short documentary “Alone
.” [more inside]
"My friend Nick and I planned another prank. We thought it would be funny to scare a couple of friends while they were hanging out with some girls. We drove over to their house and crept up to the living room window with ski masks pulled down over our faces and realistic-looking water guns in our hands...
Participants in We Are All Criminals
tell stories of crimes they got away with
. via [more inside]
A LIVING DEATH
: Sentenced to die behind bars for what?
For 3,278 people, it was nonviolent offenses like stealing a $159 jacket or serving as a middleman in the sale of $10 of marijuana. An estimated 65% of them are Black. Many of them were struggling with mental illness, drug dependency or financial desperation when they committed their crimes. None of them will ever come home to their parents and children. And taxpayers are spending billions to keep them behind bars.
A LIVING DEATH: Life without Parole for Nonviolent Offenses
Last year, a friend of mine disappeared, and I found him in jail. I had a blizzard of thoughts about that experience; here are many of them. They didn't fit in a linear essay, so I wrote some code to present them in a tree.
[via mefi projects
Ho-hum, it's another music download service and MP3 player - but this one's been created with the needs of correctional facilities in mind
and is already in use in a dozen states and some federal prisons.
On Wednesday, William Van Poyck was executed
by the state of Florida for murdering a prison guard during a botched 1987 attempt to free an imprisoned friend. Poyck spent 25 years in solitary confinement on death row, during which time he wrote to his sister about his life in prison. Since 2005 she has published those letters to a blog called Death Row Diary
. 'Poyck used to write about everything from the novels and history books he was reading and shows he watched on PBS to the state of the world and his own philosophy of life – punctuated by news of the deaths of those around him, from illness, suicide, and execution.' Excerpts
. His final letter.
A very sad tale
of one of the most respected action movie
directors in cinema history.
"'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]
Richmond City Jail hosts a father-daughter dance
, bringing fathers and daughters together beyond the visitors booth (photos
“I just gotta break this cycle I’m in. I’m just tired of it,” Andre Morman says, adding that he can’t wait to see his youngest daughter. “I haven’t been able to pick her up in nine months.” [more inside]
After decades of increases, the number of adults in the U.S. who are in prison, jail, on parole, or on probation has declined over the last few years. The pdf of the report from the U.S. Department of Justice is here
. Comments from Alex Tabarrok at Marginal Revolution
, Reason Magazine's Hit & Run blog
, and Keith Humphreys
"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."
"It took years to lock them up. Hundreds of enemy fighters captured during some of the fiercest combat of the war. But then, one night last spring, as American troops surged into Taliban territory, all of those prisoners, all of that progress, disappeared. Prof. Luke Mogelson ventures down the rabbit hole
to find them."
"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]
There was a time when we were one of the worst, if not THE worst prison systems in the country.
How we got there was simple. It was money.
“When I first drove up to the gate in the summer of 1971, my dog was with me in the car. I drove up to a little shack with a guard. The guard was wearing a pistol
and I realized he was a prisoner. The only people I saw carrying guns were convicts.” - Photographer Bruce Jackson
Los Angeles County jails don't post lists to bail bondsmen. You cannot make collect calls to cell phones. Many people don't even have land lines. That combination kept one man in jail for five days. via the hairpin.
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]
"Imagine 12 men in a dorm all in diapers and sitting in their own feces," he says. "It smelled like a combination of what people had for lunch that day and pus from people's open wounds. I've been in a wheelchair now for three years, and the jail is by far the worst place I've ever seen for a disabled person." -- L.A. Weekly on "Wheelchair Hell" in the L.A. County Men's Jail
Burl Cain, the warden of Angola, Louisiana's largest prison, uses religion to control and subdue the prison population.
Indian prison authorities in Hyderabad have opened up a call centre inside the jail
with hopes of servicing customers from the UK.
Meet the new form of prison currency: Honey buns
In jail? Post bail
. No matter your crime, interest, or affiliation, there's a bail bond agent for you.
Suspect in Snow White's demise? Grumpy's
); Mob? No prob. Goodfellas, Godfather's? Godfather's! [more inside]
Bernie Madoff - Free At Last
While incarcerated for 150 years for a $65 Billion dollar Ponzi scheme, Berine Madoff creates his own version of the events that led to his arrest and becomes a local celebrity at the Butner Federal Correctional Complex
. (via metachat
Norway's penal system has gathered some attention recently, as the new Halden prison
just opened. The $217 million facility will house 252 prisoners, some long-term and some short. The new prison is notable for, among other things, use of armoured glass instead of bars on windows, natural lighting
and single-inmate cells with private showers, TVs and access to a gym and a sound studio. There was also an art budget, and Norwegian street artist Dolk
was commisioned to decorate some of the walls. The Norwegian penal system is similar to the other Scandinavian countries', with no death penalty, and a "life" sentence of 21 years. In Norway there are no privately run incarceration facilities, and the opening of the rather plush-seeming Halden prison spurred some discussion, but garnered no big controversy. [more inside]
"Hello, I'm Johnny Cash."
On January 13, 1968, Johnny Cash played two concerts at Folsom State Prison
with June Carter, Carl Perkins, the Statler Brothers, and his band, the Tennessee Three. At Folsom Prison
, drawn mainly from the first show, is often ranked as one of the best albums of all time and turned Cash's career around
. Reporter Gene Beley covered the concert and recorded some songs
from the audience. [more inside]
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.