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.
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.
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."
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]
"'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]
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.
"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.
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]
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."
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
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
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]
A slang term for a prison sentence
" is one of the more unusual situation comedies in BBC's history. [more inside]
'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]
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]
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
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]
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
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 US prisons, canned mackerel
on MetaFilter) has become the exchange medium of choice. [more inside]
"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."
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]
'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.
Fifty years ago today Frank Morris
, John Anglin
and Clarence Anglin escaped
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]
"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."
(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]
"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]
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]
Forty years in solitary:
two men mark sombre anniversary in Louisiana prison [more inside]
is a new 12-episode web musical
inspired by the famous dancing prisoner videos
of the Philippines.
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]
made by California prisoners in the early 90s. [more inside]
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
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]
Raise the crime rate
: an argument for the abolition of prison.
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
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]