75 posts tagged with prison and jail.
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Filing down a plastic razor blade to create a sewing needle, not a shank

The Los Angeles Men's Central Jail’s gay wing was set up in response to a 1985 ACLU lawsuit, which aimed to protect homosexual inmates from a higher threat of physical violence than heterosexuals faced. But something unexpected has happened. The inmates are safer now, yes. But they’ve surprised everyone, perhaps even themselves, by setting up a small and flourishing society behind bars. Once released, some re-offend in order to be with an inmate they love. There are hatreds and occasionally even severe violence, but there is also friendship, community, love — and, especially, harmless rule-bending to dress up like models or decorate their bunks, often via devious means. LA Weekly looks inside MCJ, with an exclusive video the unique situation, from Voice Media Group. For further reading on the unique K6G unit, see Two Models of the Prison: Accidental Humanity and Hypermasculinity in the L.A. County Jail (PDF), and Governmental 'Gaydar': Race, Sexual Identity and Incarceration (PDF), both scholarly articles that study this part of MCJ.
posted by filthy light thief on Nov 18, 2014 - 7 comments

“If there’s no god, why should I believe in him?”

The Norden is a Finnish TV series, taking Americans and introducing them to their profession within the Nordic countries. First, James Conway, retired Superintendent of Attica Correctional Facility in New York, visits four Nordic prisons and facilities. An excerpt, and the full episode with English subtitles. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Nov 8, 2014 - 70 comments

When he heard the song of the chickadees, he could finally relax

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]
posted by Wordshore on Aug 20, 2014 - 39 comments

"Offender-funded" Justice

"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.
posted by supermassive on Aug 7, 2014 - 20 comments

Alone

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]
posted by drlith on Jul 30, 2014 - 19 comments

Did Your Father Touch You?

NY Mag on the fallout of false testimony that sends an innocent parent to jail.
posted by reenum on Jan 4, 2014 - 44 comments

I was young once. Make it quick and get out of here.

"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]
posted by postcommunism on Dec 5, 2013 - 24 comments

"That’s cruel and unusual punishment to me.” -Angola Warden

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 (PDF)
posted by andoatnp on Nov 13, 2013 - 32 comments

iPods for the pokey: no jailbreaking here

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.
posted by porn in the woods on Jun 28, 2013 - 20 comments

His final words were "Set me free."

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.
posted by zarq on Jun 13, 2013 - 161 comments

Faced with such high stakes, it's no wonder that so many defendants cave

Bail is Busted - How Jail Really Works
posted by lalochezia on May 21, 2013 - 22 comments

America's 10 Worst Prisons

"'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 - 88 comments

"I am always the last person to eat."

David Arenberg on being the only Jewish inmate in a state prison.
posted by reenum on May 1, 2013 - 49 comments

A declining number of U.S. adults in prison or on probation

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.
posted by Area Man on Jan 4, 2013 - 11 comments

Maybe somewhere down the line Congress will relieve the people in your position.......

Life Without Parole: Four Inmates' Stories
posted by lalochezia on Dec 13, 2012 - 26 comments

Prison Rape: Obama’s Program to Stop It

"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 - 51 comments

The Great Taliban Jailbreak

"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 - 30 comments

Louisiana Inc. arcerated

"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 - 48 comments

Dark Chapter of Arkansas Prison History

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
posted by thisisdrew on Feb 16, 2012 - 14 comments

Don't Phone Home From America's Prisons

Inmates and their families pay much higher rates for phone calls than average consumers. Most of this is due to kickbacks received by the prison system from providers. This has led to a marked increase in the use of contraband cell phones. Government recently commissioned the GAO to explore lower cost alternatives.
posted by reenum on Feb 9, 2012 - 36 comments

Prison Chess

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 - 18 comments

The Brand

David Grann of the New Yorker writes about the power of the Aryan Brotherhood inside America's federal prisons.
posted by reenum on Jan 23, 2012 - 20 comments

Guantanamo: An Oral History

Guantanamo: An Oral History
posted by reenum on Jan 12, 2012 - 8 comments

The Feds Were My Biggest Customer

On October 22, 2011 I was arrested by the DEA for cultivation and distribution of psilocybin mushrooms.
posted by telstar on Dec 31, 2011 - 88 comments

"Wheelchair Hell"

"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 - 42 comments

How Knitting Behind Bars Transformed Maryland Convicts

After she retired, Lynn Zwerling decided to teach knitting to prisoners. The program has seen some success.
posted by reenum on Dec 7, 2011 - 19 comments

Idle Hands Are The Devil's Playthings

Dimorio McDowell had a lot of time on his hands in prison. So, he decided to start up his own retail fraud and ID theft ring, defrauding his victims of almost $1 million before investigators caught up to him.
posted by reenum on Aug 2, 2011 - 21 comments

God's Own Warden

Burl Cain, the warden of Angola, Louisiana's largest prison, uses religion to control and subdue the prison population.
posted by reenum on Jul 26, 2011 - 47 comments

The Menace Within

The participants in the Stanford Prison Experiment are revisited 40 years after their experience.
posted by reenum on Jul 11, 2011 - 57 comments

Louis Theroux: Miami Mega Jail

Louis Theroux: Miami Mega Jail -> BBC: Ep1, Ep2. YT: Ep1, Ep2.
posted by stbalbach on Jun 3, 2011 - 56 comments

Chained to their desks

Indian prison authorities in Hyderabad have opened up a call centre inside the jail with hopes of servicing customers from the UK.
posted by reenum on Apr 9, 2011 - 43 comments

Honey buns sweeten life for Florida prisoners

Meet the new form of prison currency: Honey buns.
posted by reenum on Jan 10, 2011 - 56 comments

"A kind of forced autism"

A man goes to prison for two years, then returns to a thread he started on 99chan to answer questions about it.
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot on Oct 14, 2010 - 155 comments

Youth Jail Chronicles

Youth Jail Chronicles. [more inside]
posted by serazin on Jul 29, 2010 - 8 comments

Rough justice in America

Too many laws, too many prisoners - Never in the civilised world have so many been locked up for so little. [previously] (via nc)
posted by kliuless on Jul 24, 2010 - 29 comments

“People are not going to befriend you unless there is something in it for them”

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)
posted by The Whelk on Jun 7, 2010 - 31 comments

Norway's modern prisons

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 - 111 comments

Everything you never wanted to know about the American prison-industrial complex

Everything you never wanted to know about the American prison-industrial complex. Part 2: Prison Nation.
posted by Optimus Chyme on Nov 30, 2009 - 92 comments

"He takes a $1.98 tape into Folsom Prison and comes out with an album."

"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 - 22 comments

The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons

Prison food is bad but it is getting better in some places, at least nutritionally. Other places, it is just getting cheaper. Who serves this stuff? Recently, Slate took a look at the Association of Correctional Food Service Affiliates Annual Conference. But there is food beyond 'prison food bad': Nutraloaf. It is so bad it is almost unconstitutionally bad.
posted by wcfields on Oct 20, 2009 - 130 comments

Do you want to die in jail?

They were very resentful about people in prison for horrendous crimes getting better medical care than their families.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker on Oct 17, 2009 - 46 comments

National Prison Rape Commission releases its final report

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 - 132 comments

The Practice of Photography in Sites of Incarceration

Pinhole Photography by Incarcerated Girls at Remann Hall, Washington State. Prison Baseball. Guantanamo: Directory of Photographic and Visual Resources. Painted photographs of forgotten incarcerated Russian youth. 19th century prison ships. Pete Brook's Prison Photography blog links to lots of great stuff.
posted by mediareport on Jun 4, 2009 - 8 comments

"The best I can do is to live a good life and maintain decent standards of behaviour towards others."

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 - 19 comments

The latest craze in adult dating.

Conjugal Harmony : "Normally you wouldn't think an arsonist would be good at sex. Boy was I ever wrong!" [slightly NSFW]
posted by desjardins on Apr 10, 2009 - 44 comments

Hellhole

"The United States holds tens of thousands of inmates in long-term solitary confinement. Is this torture?"
posted by Joe Beese on Mar 24, 2009 - 91 comments

three squares greetings

Three Squares Greetings is a new greeting card line designed to keep you in touch with your family members or friends who are in custody. NPR interview with the founder.
posted by Armitage Shanks on Mar 27, 2008 - 18 comments

1 in 99.1

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 (pdf).
posted by aerotive on Feb 28, 2008 - 136 comments

To many, He might not "look" like much.

Yahweh ben Yahweh is dead. He was an advocate of black separatism and supremacy, dubbing Martin Luther King, Jr. a "dead dog preacher," who would later go to prison on conspiracy charges, thanks to the helpful testimony of a certain Cardinals quarterback who is now serving 25-to-life himself for writing bad checks. Alternatively, you can check out his own website for his side of the story.
posted by Sticherbeast on May 14, 2007 - 27 comments

The velvet rope goes to jail.

Are you about to do some time in a California jail, but feel that people of your quality shouldn't have to mix with the other inmates? For just $82 a day, you don't have to! I suspect it's an extension of that classic Clinton-era program.
posted by Pope Guilty on Apr 28, 2007 - 99 comments

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