425 posts tagged with prison.
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"But circumstances are different in Manning's case."

In a story first broken by the AP (heads up: link does not conform to guidelines about how to refer to trans people), Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has given approval for the Army to transfer Pvt. Chelsea Manning to a federal prison in order to allow her to access treatment for her gender dysphoria. [more inside]
posted by Corinth on May 15, 2014 - 11 comments

Finally A Place Worse Than The Bodybuilding.com Forums

Lifting weights in an American prison means joining a culture unlike any seen in a free-world gym, full of crudely welded pig iron and rust. Men forsake masturbation to improve their bench-press stats and consume cans of Jack Mack, the cheapest tinned fish in the world, along with the filthy broth it's packed in for every one of the 72.5 grams of protein promised on the label. It's a manly, aggressive universe with rules and customs of its own. I lived it for 10 years. An Ex-Con's Guide to Prison Weightlifting.
posted by Ghostride The Whip on May 11, 2014 - 53 comments

Little Guantánamos

Inside the Kafkaesque World of the US’s "Little Guantánamos" We sat together on her couch, her small, eight-year-old hands clutching a photo of her father, Yassin Aref. “My daddy only held me twice before I was five,” Dilnia told me. For the first five years of her life, she only knew him as the man on the other side of a plexiglass window in a communication management unit in an Indiana federal penitentiary. Prisoners describe the communication management units, or CMUs, as “Little Guantánamos.” In 2006, the Bureau of Prisons created two of these units to isolate and segregate specific prisoners, the majority of them convicted of crimes related to terrorism. The bureau secretly opened these units without informing the public and without allowing anyone an opportunity to comment on their creation, as required by law.
posted by jaduncan on Mar 24, 2014 - 16 comments

Chinese human rights activist Cao Shunli dies in captivity

Cao Shunli died while incarcerated recently for advocating the right of ordinary Chinese citizens to have input into China's entry in the UN's Universal Periodic Review, a new set of human rights reports for every UN member state. She died because she was denied medical care. Her family has not been allowed to see the body. [more inside]
posted by Jacob Knitig on Mar 19, 2014 - 8 comments

"Don't be like I was you can be better"

Convicts write letters to their past selves.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering on Mar 3, 2014 - 8 comments

The Box

Twilight in the Box. "The suicide statistics, the squalor and the recidivism haven’t ended solitary confinement. Maybe the brain studies will." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Feb 28, 2014 - 24 comments

Pussy Riot

What Does Pussy Riot Mean Now? "With all eyes on Russia, two members of the country’s most notorious band of shit-stirrers are free after nearly two years of political imprisonment and enjoying the rock-star treatment during their first trip to the U.S. But the group’s unlikely journey from art-school project to international icons shows just how rotten Russia has become and how much the mission has changed."
posted by homunculus on Feb 7, 2014 - 57 comments

Black Is the Day, Black Is the Night

Artist Amy Elkinsbegan corresponding in 2009 with prisoners on death row in California. Of the seven men with whom Elkins made contact in June 2009, she remains in touch with only one, Freddy, who has been held in solitary confinement at Pelican Bay since 1995, when he was 16 years of age. Freddy has been incarcerated since he was 13. Parting Words is "a visual archive of the 500+ prisoners to date executed in the state of Texas."
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Feb 7, 2014 - 5 comments

The ethics of Prison Architect

Is it possible to create a prison management game without trivializing or misrepresenting the issue of mass incarceration? So begins a critique by Paolo Pedercini, developer of "games addressing issues of social and environmental justice," of Introversion Software's upcoming game Prison Architect, currently in still in development but available as an early access beta. Prison Architect's producer, Mark Morris, and its designer, Chris Delay, respond in a lengthy youtube video. [more inside]
posted by whir on Jan 31, 2014 - 38 comments

I was not going to allow the system to...take my identity away from me.

When CeCe McDonald was incarcerated in a mens' prison after defending herself from a racist, transphobic attack, she drew support not only through her misfortune but also through her insightful, valuable commentary on subjects ranging from how men react to having their masculinity questioned by "outside speculators" and violence against women to pansexuality on Sex and The City.

Now released from prison after 19 months,, the 25 year old African American transgender activist isn't content just to finally listen to the new Beyonce album. She appeared on Melissa-Harris Perry discussing her experience with the prison-industrial complex, and will be the subject of a new documentary by Orange is the New Black star Laverne Cox (previously).
[more inside]
posted by Juliet Banana on Jan 21, 2014 - 56 comments

Four years of declining prison populations

"I was startled and encouraged to see that under current policies, we are at a two decade-year low in the prison admission rate. To provide historical perspective, peg the change to Presidential terms: When President Obama was elected, the rate of prison admission was just 3% below its 2006 level, which was very probably the highest it has ever been in U.S. history. But by the end of Obama’s first term, it had dropped to a level not seen since President Clinton’s first year in office." -- Good news everybody, prison admissions in the US are at a two decade low, with total prison population decling for the fourth year in a row, leading Keith Humphreys to wonder why this hasn't been reported more widely.
posted by MartinWisse on Jan 13, 2014 - 46 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

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

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