413 posts tagged with prison.
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Prison for white collar criminals not as bad as commonly thought

The Atlantic cities reports: "Criminologists call it the 'special sensitivity hypothesis.' Defense attorneys often cite it as a mitigating circumstance when asking for lighter sentences for white collar clients. But according to researchers at the University of Cincinnati and the University of Missouri, "special sensitivity" may not actually exist. In the forthcoming December 2013 issue of Justice Quarterly, UC's Michael Benson and his co-researchers argue that white collar offenders adapt to prison just as well as other types of offenders, and in some categories, do even better.... 'Prisons are bureaucracies that have rules and regulations,' Benson says. 'People from middle class and white collar backgrounds understand rules and bureaucracies. I did an interview for my dissertations where I talked to a small number of white collar offenders. Before they went they were scared to death. They imagined all these bad things happening. Once they get there, after the initial shock passed, they realized it’s just a big organization. Follow the rules, be polite to people, don’t go outside your space, and you’ll be fine.'"
posted by bookman117 on Dec 8, 2013 - 27 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

she's Charlie's baby on the floor, not Charlie's wife-to-be

Charles Manson Today: The Final Confessions of a Psychopath. He made for terrific TV. But after a booming, almost sexually aggressive chat with Diane Sawyer in 1994, the state of California banned the use of recording devices during prisoner interviews. This upsets Manson greatly. It's the reason why you haven't heard from him lately. He tends to sulk about it.
posted by Sticherbeast on Nov 22, 2013 - 27 comments

"...disgraces every American official who has colluded in it."

The Economist takes aim at the American criminal justice system in three articles from their latest edition: An opinion piece on mandatory life sentences without parole, a more in-depth view of some specific instances and of the data, and a look at the practice of charging fees to those convicted, or even just accused.
posted by felixc on Nov 19, 2013 - 36 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

"Why Scandinavian Prisons Are Superior"

On Scandinavian prisons: why they are superior; what Norwegian high-security prisons are like; about a lower security Norwegian prison.
posted by insectosaurus on Nov 3, 2013 - 36 comments

Swift and Certain

Smart on Crime
I argue that (blue-collar) crime—theft and assault, in all their varieties—is still a real and major problem; that its economic and social costs are vastly under-appreciated; that its primary victims are disadvantaged minorities and poor people; that the current criminal-justice system wrongs them by under-enforcing the law against those who victimize them (who are, of course, mostly people like them in racial and class terms); that better criminal-justice policy could give us less crime and less incarceration; and that better and more equal law enforcement ought therefore to be as central a progressive political goal as better and more equal education or health care.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Nov 1, 2013 - 14 comments

Prison Architect flash mob

Everyone's favorite prison simulator Prison Architect wins Halloween with an awesome Easter egg.
posted by Artw on Oct 31, 2013 - 44 comments

Ban the Box, the Private Edition

Target Bans the Box. Target Corp., one of the nation's largest employers, joins the growing number of cities and states to Ban the Box. Most Ban the Box legislation has been targeted towards public employers and contractors, but there has been a growing trend to enact legislation applicable to private employers, including in Target's home-state Minnesota. Target is one of the few private employers to take the step, and as far as I can tell, the largest yet. [more inside]
posted by likeatoaster on Oct 29, 2013 - 73 comments

Why Zimbardo’s Prison Experiment Isn’t in My Textbook

Three months ago, Psychology Today blogger Susan Krauss Whitbourne posted an essay entitled The Rarely Told Story of Zimbardo’s Prison Experiment. I eagerly read it in the hope that it would reveal some heretofore relatively unknown truth about this famous experiment. But, in fact, the essay is simply a summary--a well written one--of the experiment that takes at face value Phillip Zimbardo’s and his colleagues’ conclusions. In the introduction to the essay, Whitbourne states that the experiment is “Depicted in movies, television and of course all introductory psych textbooks…” It’s true that Zimbardo’s experiment is one of the two or three most famous experiments in the history of psychology. But it’s not true that it’s depicted in all introductory psychology textbooks. I’m the author of one such textbook (which is now in it’s 6th edition and is used in many colleges and universities). One of the questions I’m frequently asked about the book by professors who teach from it is, “Why don’t you include Zimbardo’s prison experiment, like all other textbook authors do?”
Here’s why, the results of the famous Stanford Prison Experiment have a trivial explanation. See also, The lie of the Stanford Prison Experiment [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Oct 29, 2013 - 61 comments

Bobby Beausoleil

Truman Capote Interviews Manson Family Member Bobby Beausoleil, via Dangerous Minds.
posted by latkes on Sep 27, 2013 - 8 comments

Prison, stardom and a terrible past

From prison to pro football (~soccer) but hampered by a dark past: how Ilombe Mboyo's rise destroyed the scheme that saved him. Can football help rehabilitate a criminal?
posted by bdz on Sep 25, 2013 - 20 comments

Orange is the New Black is the new Alabama?

The Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, CT (famous for once housing Piper Kerman, author of Orange is the New Black) is converting from a women’s prison to a men’s prison. Where will the inmates go? Aliceville, AL; a location more than 1,000 miles away, nowhere near a major airport, and 45 miles away from a train station. Eleven United States senators sent an open letter to the director of the Bureau of Prisons last month, and the transition remains in a state of delay. Piper Kerman wrote a NYT op-ed with her perspective.
posted by oceanjesse on Sep 24, 2013 - 38 comments

Force Fed

On Monday, August 19 - day 43 of the strike a federal judge approved a request by state and federal prison authorities to engage the controversial practice of force-feed striking prisoners.
[more inside]
posted by eviemath on Aug 28, 2013 - 43 comments

You see a lot of people doing whatever they can

In a publicly issued statement on August 22, Chelsea Manning announced her status as a woman as well as intent to undergo gender transition [more inside]
posted by byanyothername on Aug 23, 2013 - 241 comments

The US 'cannot incarcerate our way to becoming a safer nation'

Sentencing reform for drug offences is expected be announced by the US Attorney General. Eric Holder will announce Monday that he is mandating the Justice Department modify its policies so that certain non-violent drug offenders will no longer endure “draconian mandatory minimum sentences,” according to excerpts of his remarks to American Bar Association. [more inside]
posted by arcticseal on Aug 12, 2013 - 68 comments

The Beclogged Budgie

Budgie - starring Adam Faith. The complete series one and two is available on YouTube [you may well need your cockney rhyming slang dictionary]. [more inside]
posted by unliteral on Aug 7, 2013 - 11 comments

Solitary Lives

Solitary Lives - old and recent photos of inmates, plus a short snippet about each. California Prisons' Photo ban Leaves Legacy of Blurred Identities
posted by Greg Nog on Jul 31, 2013 - 7 comments

Orange is the New Black

New Netflix original series "Orange is the New Black", based on a memoir by Piper Kerman about her year in a women's prison, and created by Jenji Kohan of Weeds, has been garnering heaps of critical praise. Plus, it's super gay. Of the show's "naïve yuppie" lead character, Jenji Kohan says "I don't think I could have sold a show about black and Latina and old women in prison, you know? But if I had the girl-next-door coming in as my fish out of water, I can draw a certain audience in through her that can identify with her, and then I can tell all of these stories once she's in, once we've signed onto this journey. She's just a great entry point for a lot of people."
posted by showbiz_liz on Jul 15, 2013 - 183 comments

Architects, Ethics, and Prison Design

The American Institute of Architects’ Code of Ethics [pdf] states that “Members should uphold human rights in all their professional endeavors." Raphael Sperry, president of Architects, Designers and Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR), wants to amend the code further so it reads "Members shall not design spaces intended for execution or for torture or other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, including prolonged solitary confinement." From Architect Magazine: “Should Architects Design Prisons?” [more inside]
posted by hurdy gurdy girl on Jul 11, 2013 - 42 comments

Hunger Strike Against Solitary Confinement

30,000 prisoners in California have launched a hunger strike to protest the conditions under which "segregated" prisoners are being detained.

The Five Core Demands:
1. Eliminate group punishments and administrative abuse.
2. Abolish the debriefing policy and modify active/inactive gang status criteria.
3. Comply with the recommendations of the US Commission on Safety and Abuse in America's Prisons (pdf) recommendations and end long-term solitary confinement.
4. Provide adequate and nutritious food.
5. Create and expand constructive programming. [more inside]
posted by anotherpanacea on Jul 10, 2013 - 87 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

Ain't No Prison Like The One I Got

On The Tamms Poetry Committee: "One of the artists' initiatives was "photo requests from solitary." Prisoners on solitary would request photos and professional photographers would then shoot the request and send the photo back. The gallery of prisoners requests is surprising and poignant."
posted by artof.mulata on Jun 2, 2013 - 27 comments

Letter From FCI Loretto

Former CIA officer John Kiriakou (previously) is serving a 30 month sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Loretto, Pennsylvania, and has sent a letter describing his experiences there. [more inside]
posted by benito.strauss on May 30, 2013 - 42 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

RED: "Well, we ought to file that under Educational too. Oughtn't we?"

Guantánamo prison library for detainees. [tumblr] New York Times reporter Charlie Savage set up a Tumblr dedicated to cataloging some of the books available in the Guantánamo prison library for detainees.
posted by Fizz on Apr 28, 2013 - 37 comments

Teaching philosophy in prison

"Tell you what, Case, if I never meet another psychopath again as long as I live, it'll be far too soon." And I knew that I had lost the stomach for the whole damned business. If I carried on in prison, I would have to do it differently; I would have to admit that it was prison.
posted by Chrysostom on Apr 10, 2013 - 16 comments

Fog Count

In the false American imagination, West Virginia is a joke or else it’s a charity case; but more than anything it is unseen, an invisible architecture of labor and struggle; and incarceration shares this invisibility, hidden at the center of everything; our slipshod remedy for an abiding fear, danger pinned to human bodies and then slotted into bunk beds you can’t see from any highway. [more inside]
posted by latkes on Apr 7, 2013 - 31 comments

The longest sentence ever served in an American prison: 64 years.

William Blake has been held in solitary confinement at Elmira Correctional Facility in New York State for nearly 26 years, after he murdered a Sheriff's Deputy and wounded another in a failed escape attempt back in 1987. Sentenced to 77 years to life, he will be eligible for parole in 2064. But Blake has no chance of ever leaving prison alive, and almost no chance of ever leaving solitary — a fate he considers "a sentence worse than death." (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 16, 2013 - 79 comments

Prison privatization meets college football

Florida Atlantic University announced today that its football team will play in "GEO Group Stadium", named after a for-profit prison company. According to the New York Times, GEO Group Inc. gifted 6 million to the public university as part of a controversial deal to secure the naming rights for its stadium.
posted by airing nerdy laundry on Feb 19, 2013 - 38 comments

If education were free and non-instrumental, what would it look like?

Reading Plato on Death Row (and a follow-up: Capital Punishment and the Specter of Reason)
posted by anotherpanacea on Jan 28, 2013 - 7 comments

The Longest Hunger Strike

The Longest Hunger Strike "It had been more than a year since Coleman had chewed anything. He’s not suicidal; he’s in prison for something he says he didn’t do. Like 2.2 million people incarcerated in prisons and jails in the U.S., his body is not his own. The only way for him to protest his conviction, to exercise his first amendment rights, he says, is to stop eating solid food."
posted by dhruva on Jan 25, 2013 - 35 comments

Whips, whiskey, women, work, weapons, cars and cadence. But no hockey.

Jump steady, Black Betty! Bam-A-Lam!
Yeah, Black Betty! Bam-A-Lam!
Looky yonder Black Betty! Bam-A-Lam!
Whoa Black Betty! Bam-A-Lam!
Yeah, Black Betty! Bam-A-Lam!
She's so rock steady! Bam-A-Lam!
She's always ready! Bam-A-Lam!
Whoa, Black Betty! Bam-A-Lam! [more inside]
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey on Jan 16, 2013 - 52 comments

“Because we could forgive, people can say her name."

Can forgiveness play a role in criminal justice? This week, the magazine tells the compelling and difficult story of the Grosmaire and McBride families, who together sought an alternative approach to justice after Conor McBride shot and killed his girlfriend Ann Grosmaire in 2010.
posted by liketitanic on Jan 6, 2013 - 64 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

"... given a five percent chance to live. Twice he was given last rites."

Salt Walther died Thursday night, Dec. 27., at a residence in Trotwood, OH. The cause of death, as of now, is unknown. On May 30, 1973, he survived a crash that no one thought could be survived. His life was changed forever. (YT: warning: carnage, no fatalities) [more inside]
posted by TrolleyOffTheTracks on Dec 29, 2012 - 18 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

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

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