"'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 -
"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 -
"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."
posted by vidur
on May 30, 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 -
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 -
"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
posted by bardic
on Dec 8, 2011 -
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]
posted by Harald74
on May 27, 2010 -
"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]
posted by kirkaracha
on Oct 23, 2009 -
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 -
Erwin James: the real me
. Erwin James
has written about prison for the Guardian
for a number of years, from the point of view of an insider: when his column began, he was serving a sentence for two murders. He completed his sentence
a few years ago, but continued to write under that name, a pseudonym.
Here, he talks about the crimes that he was originally imprisoned for, his time in the French Foreign Legion, how he became a writer during his time in prison, and gives his real name for the first time.
posted by chorltonmeateater
on Apr 23, 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 -
Meet the new jailers-- Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad is at the centre of fresh abuse allegations just a week after it was handed over to Iraqi authorities, with claims that inmates are being tortured by their new captors.
Mass executions, torture again, etc. How bad is it when the inmates plead for us
to come back? (Warning--this second link is graphic evidence of what we did there--NSFW)
posted by amberglow
on Sep 10, 2006 -
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 -
Stories from a prison in South Korea,
told by an English teacher imprisoned for teaching without a license. Punishment: deportation. But if a prisoner can't collect wages due, then the prisoner can't buy a plane ticket and stays jailed, where the prisoner can't make money, until such time as the prisoner can afford a plane ticket, ad infinitum. Part one
. "The massive Mongolian sings beautifully. A sad falsetto—I imagine it to be about missing a faraway homeland of vast, green pastures, endless fertile grasslands, deserts and broad skies." Part two
. "He should really go to a hospital outside of the detention center, but…he would have to pay for any medical treatment outside.…If he spends any money on medical bills he would have less money for buying his airplane ticket home. So he must go untreated."
posted by Mo Nickels
on May 18, 2005 -
Marine Refuses to Use Guns ...
Marine Cpl. Joel D. Klimkewicz converted to the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day saints while in the Marines, and now believes that killing is against Jesus' teachings. As such, he refused to train with a gun though he says he would be willing to clear mines and work the front lines. The result is that the military has jailed him for his religious beliefs, convicting him of disobeying a direct order. Anyone think that Bill O'Reilly is going to say the military is trying to destroy Christianity?
posted by nathanrudy
on Jan 1, 2005 -
This is Jon's diary. Jon is in prison on money laundering and drugs charges.
"My new co-habitants are enduring the twin evils of a broken swamp-cooler and a cockroach infestation. A neighbouring asthmatic inmate happily described how he inhaled a cockroach that had crept into his nebulizer. He could feel the insect crawling around inside him and promptly vomited his stomach contents. Unfortunately the cockroach was not ejected, as it was lodged in his lung."
posted by urban greeting
on Sep 9, 2004 -
Man Pleads Guilty to Raping his own 2 month old Daughter
But wait, that's just the beginning. This guy's daddy heads the state Corrections Department and part of his plea is to reduce the amount of time he's going to spend in jail for this most heinous act.
This guy is facing, if the judge agrees to the plea, only 6 months in jail! The standard sentence for first-degree child rape is seven to 10 years in prison.
He's admitted to molesting a 9 year old in Maine before and has also been convicted of orchestrating an armed robbery.
How in the heck he's going to get ANY leniency is beyond me.
posted by fenriq
on Oct 29, 2003 -