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I'm Going Straight

Porridge. A slang term for a prison sentence, "Porridge" is one of the more unusual situation comedies in BBC's history. [more inside]
posted by Bunny Ultramod on Dec 11, 2012 - 22 comments

 

The Innocent Man

'On April 12, 1987, Michael Morton sat down to write a letter. “Your Honor,” he began, “I’m sure you remember me. I was convicted of murder, in your court, in February of this year.” He wrote each word carefully, sitting cross-legged on the top bunk in his cell at the Wynne prison unit, in Huntsville. “I have been told that you are to decide if I am ever to see my son, Eric, again. I haven’t seen him since the morning that I was convicted. I miss him terribly and I know that he has been asking about me.” Referring to the declarations of innocence he had made during his trial, he continued, “I must reiterate my innocence. I did NOT kill my wife.' [more inside]
posted by mahershalal on Nov 20, 2012 - 35 comments

Short Cuts

When they take my shoelaces and belt, I realise that this is more serious than I had thought. [more inside]
posted by Elementary Penguin on Nov 14, 2012 - 57 comments

“I thought that modern penology has abandoned that rehabilitation thing”

In Sentencing Criminals, Is Norway Too Soft? Or Are We Too Harsh?
It’s not very often the concept of restorative justice gets much play outside scholarly publications or reformist criminal justice circles, so first, some credit for Max Fisher at The Atlantic for giving it an earnest look last week. In seeking to explain Norway’s seemingly measly twenty-one-year sentence for remorseless, mass-murdering white supremacist Anders Breivik—a sentence that is certain to be extended to last the rest of his life—Fisher casts a critical eye on the underlying philosophy that animates that country’s sentencing practices, finding it to be “radically different” from what we’re used to in the United States.
The Effectiveness of Restorative Justice Practices: A Meta-Analysis [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Nov 12, 2012 - 87 comments

A long par five, right past death row

If ever there were a question about the ballooning scale of America's prison system, the Louisiana State Penitentiary provides an answer. It has its own golf course.
posted by Chrysostom on Nov 7, 2012 - 25 comments

Newsnight meets Conrad Black

Do you feel that it's been too long since you watched an interview in which the guest, told by the host that he is a criminal, replies, "You're a priggish, gullible, British fool"? Then, behold, Conrad Black's interview with BBC Newsnight. [more inside]
posted by Dasein on Oct 22, 2012 - 44 comments

Solitary Confinement

Solitary in Iran Nearly Broke Me. Then I Went Inside America's Prisons. "We throw thousands of men in the hole for the books they read, the company they keep, the beliefs they hold. Here's why." An article on solitary confinement (previously) by Shane Bauer, one of the three American hikers who were detained in Iran in 2009 (previously).
posted by homunculus on Oct 18, 2012 - 52 comments

The other death sentence

I am 75, so we share a camaraderie of sorts as we compare notes on our aches and pains and medication regimens. They know I understand what it's like to be getting old and facing illness and death. They also know I have no idea what it's like to deal with these things behind bars. Their letters tell of lives filled with daily indignities—trying to heave an aging body into the top bunk, struggling to move fast enough to get a food tray filled or get a book at the library, fighting off younger troublemakers. But worst of all is the pervasive nothingness and isolation. photos.
posted by latkes on Oct 10, 2012 - 77 comments

"they were never meant to be smoked in the first place."

Cigarettes: The Most Stable International Currency. In China, expensive cigarettes (not to be confused with counterfeits of popular brands) are sometimes used as bribes. Cash can be difficult to handle, or outright illegal, in some places. Since a smoking ban (and subsequent black-market trade in cigarettes) in US prisons, canned mackerel (previously on MetaFilter) has become the exchange medium of choice. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Oct 2, 2012 - 34 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

Annotated Filmography of Charlie Chaplin

Director and/or star of many of the greatest films ever made including The Great Dictator (2:05:16) [Globe scene and the eternally goosebump providing Final speech], The Immigrant (20:01), The Gold Rush (1:11:49), City Lights (1:22:40), Modern Times (1:27:01), and Monsieur Verdoux (1:59:03), Charlie Chaplin's movies have entered the public domain in most countries. Below the fold is an annotated list of all 82 of his official short and feature films in chronological order, as well as several more, with links to where you can watch them; it's not like you had work to do right? [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Sep 17, 2012 - 35 comments

Artists of Angola

'At Angola Prison in Louisiana, model inmates or "trustees" are encouraged to participate in "hobby craft" as a part of their rehabilitation. Hobby craft is an arts program that involves painting, wood & leather working, taxidermy, furniture building, and many other disciplines.In many cases, they are given special workshops, tools and even private studios to work in.The goods are sold to the public at the prison’s annual rodeo and art fair. The money raised is then split mainly between inmates' families and prison administration, with the inmates themselves receiving only a small amount to buy more materials for the next fair. A sad irony is that this rehabilitation will rarely benefit the prisoners in the outside world because 90% of them have life sentences, and will end up being laid to rest at "The Farm."' A photographic essay.
posted by I love to count on Jun 20, 2012 - 34 comments

Escape From Alcatraz

Fifty years ago today Frank Morris, John Anglin and Clarence Anglin escaped from Alcatraz and were never seen again. U.S. Marshal Michael Dyke is still on the case and thinks at least two of the men successfully escaped. [more inside]
posted by kirkaracha on Jun 11, 2012 - 18 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

OMG Bunnies.

"Usavich" (Season One video) is a series of 90-second CGI cartoons made for MTV Japan about two Russian rabbits. It begins in a Soviet-era prison where Kirenenko*, a mob boss sentenced to death is sharing a cell with Putin (yes, that's his name), a common worker imprisoned on a trumped-up charge and counting the days until his release. And then it gets weird. (contains extreme cartoon violence, scatological gags, Russian stereotypes, transvestite chickens and shoe fetishes) [more inside]
posted by oneswellfoop on May 28, 2012 - 10 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

we don't think that treating them hard will make them a better man

Inside Halden, the most humane prison in the world. Pictures.
posted by fearfulsymmetry on May 19, 2012 - 71 comments

Governments Can Stop Prison Rape

In other positive criminal justice news, the US Department of Justice has issued long overdue rules for combating sexual assault of prisoners in federal, state, and local penitentiaries. [more inside]
posted by Cash4Lead on May 18, 2012 - 31 comments

"Being in a cage for such an extended period of time, it has its downfalls."

Forty years in solitary: two men mark sombre anniversary in Louisiana prison [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Apr 30, 2012 - 25 comments

Juvenile Detention in America

Uncompromising Photos Expose Juvenile Detention in America
posted by spiderskull on Apr 11, 2012 - 58 comments

Dreaming in French

On Angela Davis.
posted by latkes on Mar 25, 2012 - 10 comments

"His fist will eat your face for lunch."

Prison Dancer is a new 12-episode web musical inspired by the famous dancing prisoner videos of the Philippines.
posted by xowie on Mar 7, 2012 - 1 comment

Dewey Bozella

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 - 7 comments

Prison animation

Animated shorts made by California prisoners in the early 90s. [more inside]
posted by latkes on Feb 29, 2012 - 6 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

Nobody is that bad of a person

A tragic fire in Honduras has claimed the lives of hundreds of inmates as a "hellish scene" unfolded as hundreds of inmates were caught up in a prison fire in Comayagua. [more inside]
posted by RolandOfEld on Feb 15, 2012 - 12 comments

Raise the Crime Rate

Raise the crime rate: an argument for the abolition of prison.
posted by latkes on Feb 10, 2012 - 62 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

Pig Stickers

Someone in the Vermont prison system has been hiding a pig in the decals that inmates make for the state’s police cars. After only a few years, the cops just caught on. [YouTube].
posted by LeLiLo on Feb 3, 2012 - 62 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

Jonathan Keith Idema

"It will probably always be unclear who, exactly, Jonathan Keith Idema really was".
posted by Fiasco da Gama on Jan 26, 2012 - 33 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

The drop

Hanging With Frank - a 1997 short film portrait of a Glasgow prison's execution chamber and a man that worked there in the 50's.
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jan 13, 2012 - 3 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

Mohammed el Gorani

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 - 65 comments

City of Fear

Prisoners in Brazil's prisons formed their own rules for governance, setting up a system much more effective than the government.
posted by reenum on Dec 13, 2011 - 18 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

Now what am I going to do with all these signs

After almost 30 years of appeals and legal maneuvering, Philadelphia prosecutors have abandoned attempts to impose the death penalty on Mumia Abu-Jamal for killing police office Daniel Faulkner in December 1981. Background, previously.
posted by anigbrowl on Dec 7, 2011 - 56 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

Nazis and Needlework

Tony Casdagli took on a passion for needlework from his father - a POW who learnt to sew as a means of smuggling out messages past German censors.
posted by mippy on Sep 8, 2011 - 6 comments

UK London Met police proposed undemocratic refusal of bail to all arrested in London riots.

London Metropolitan Police formulated policy of refusing bail to all arrested in London riots which might have influenced high remand in custody rate.
posted by maiamaia on Aug 22, 2011 - 30 comments

Veterans and PTSD

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 - 38 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

The Last Meals Project

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 - 45 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 Brain on Trial.

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 - 99 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

It Takes Balls

Tennis at San Quentin [more inside]
posted by Ideefixe on Jul 9, 2011 - 20 comments

Letters to Hoder

Letters to Hoder [via mefi projects]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jun 11, 2011 - 17 comments

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