Mohammed el Gorani, the youngest prisoner held at Guantánamo, has written a memoir
of his time there, the lead up to his imprisonment, and subsequent release years later.
posted by gman
on Dec 14, 2011 -
"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 -
Army vet with PTSD sought the treatment he needed by taking hostages – but got jail instead.
"Fifteen months of carnage in Iraq had left the 29-year-old debilitated by post-traumatic stress disorder. But despite his doctor’s urgent recommendation, the Army failed to send him to a Warrior Transition Unit for help. The best the Department of Veterans Affairs could offer was 10-minute therapy sessions — via videoconference. So, early on Labor Day morning last year, after topping off a night of drinking with a handful of sleeping pills, Quinones barged into Fort Stewart’s hospital, forced his way to the third-floor psychiatric ward and held three soldiers hostage, demanding better mental health treatment." [Via] [more inside]
posted by homunculus
on Aug 21, 2011 -
The Last Meals Project
Every prisoner waiting to be executed is granted a last meal. Prisoners waiting to die choose their last meal for different reasons. Here's a list
of exonerated death-row prisoners.
posted by modelenoir
on Jul 28, 2011 -
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 -
Prison administrators in China have found a new use for forced prison labour: gold-farming operations
, in which prisoners play multiplayer games for hours on end, handing over the gold they acquire to the guards, who sell it online for real money.
posted by acb
on May 25, 2011 -
In 2009, Ctrl.Alt.Shift
, the "youth initiative
of Christian Aid," held a national competition in the UK for aspiring filmmakers aged 18 to 25. Their mission: create a short film treatment based around three key issues: "War + Peace," "Gender + Power" and "HIV + Stigma." The results were then screened to an audience at the 2009 Raindance Film Festival. The films: 1000 Voices
, HIV: The Musical
, Man Made
, No Way Through
and War School
. (All YouTube links. Vimeo links and descriptions of each film are inside this post.) These films deal with adult subject matter and may be disturbing for some viewers. Some may also be nsfw. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on May 24, 2011 -
Father and son, bunking in G block
. "Scott Peters and his father, Bernard, eat dinner together at night, then watch bowling or classic boxing matches on television together into the evening. They have an extremely close relationship: They have seen each other for at least part of nearly every one of the last 5,455 days. Every night, they sleep together in an 8-by-12-foot room, where the alarm bell rings in the morning but also at 10:30 p.m., when the guards turn off the lights in G Block, at the Elmira Correctional Facility." via NYT
posted by Xurando
on May 1, 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 -
Dickens condemned it over 160 years ago: "I hold this slow and daily tampering with the mysteries of the brain, to be immeasurably worse than any torture of the body: and because its ghastly signs and tokens are not so palpable to the eye and sense of touch as scars upon the flesh; because its wounds are not upon the surface, and it extorts few cries that human ears can hear; therefore I the more denounce it, as a secret punishment which slumbering humanity is not roused up to stay. I hesitated once, debating with myself, whether, if I had the power of saying 'Yes' or 'No,' I would allow it to be tried in certain cases, where the terms of imprisonment were short; but now, I solemnly declare, that with no rewards or honours could I walk a happy man beneath the open sky by day, or lie me down upon my bed at night, with the consciousness that one human creature, for any length of time, no matter what, lay suffering this unknown punishment in his silent cell, and I the cause, or I consenting to it in the least degree." But this very moment, over 25,000 prisoners in the U.S. are being subjected to it.
Its horrific effects
are well known
. [more inside]
posted by storybored
on Mar 15, 2011 -
"The Old Idaho Penitentiary
State Historical Site was a functioning prison for 101 years. It was built in 1870 and the first prisoners were brought in 1872. The buildings on the site were built by inmate laborers
. The Old Idaho Penitentiary grew from a single cell house into a complex
of several buildings holding Idaho's most notorious criminals. The Old Pen
received over 13,000 inmates with a maximum population of 603 inmates. There were 222 women inmates (including repeat offenders.) Closed after riots
in 1973, some say
posted by bwg
on Mar 9, 2011 -
The Someone You're Not: "Our packed prisons are starting to disgorge hundreds of mostly African-American men who, over the last few decades, we wrongly convicted of violent crimes. This is what it's like to spend nearly thirty years in prison for something you didn't do. This is what it's like to spend nearly thirty years as someone you aren't. And for Ray Towler, this is what it's like to be free." Via. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Feb 25, 2011 -
There is Housing Works
in NYC, which raises money for community based AIDS/HIV treatment and housing for the homeless. Here in Chicago we have Open Books
, who uses the money raised from selling donated books to run literacy programs and tutoring programs for children.
Now Minneapolis is getting Boneshaker Books
; an all volunteer run radical bookstore that will house the Women's Prison Book Project
and offer bike book delivery.
posted by bibliogrrl
on Jan 11, 2011 -
The Defense Department forced all "war on terror" detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison to take a high dosage of a controversial antimalarial drug, mefloquine, an act that an Army public health physician called "pharmacologic waterboarding". The US military administered the drug despite Pentagon knowledge that mefloquine caused severe neuropsychiatric side effects, including suicidal thoughts, hallucinations and anxiety. The drug was used on the prisoners whether they had malaria or not. [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese
on Dec 2, 2010 -
"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 -