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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

Venezuelan party prison

Prison party central, Margarita Island, Venezuala. (NYT)
posted by Meatbomb on Jun 5, 2011 - 30 comments

Louis Theroux: Miami Mega Jail

Louis Theroux: Miami Mega Jail -> BBC: Ep1, Ep2. YT: Ep1, Ep2.
posted by stbalbach on Jun 3, 2011 - 56 comments

We kept playing until we could barely see things

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 - 93 comments

Short Films Against Global and Social Injustice

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 - 3 comments

Brown v. Plata

Conditions in California’s overcrowded prisons are so bad that they violate the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday, ordering the state to reduce its prison population by more than 30,000 inmates. [more inside]
posted by Mister Fabulous on May 23, 2011 - 236 comments

The Amoral Maze

Jon Ronson - How to spot a psychopath
posted by Artw on May 21, 2011 - 151 comments

Exile Nation: Drugs, Prisons, Politics, and Spirituality

"I realized that I was one of those extremely rare individuals who was a former POW of the drug war, and who got out and had the opportunity to share his story with the world." "It kind of makes an activist out of you when 3 helicopters land in your backyard and guys jump out with guns and destroy your place before your very eyes." Exile Nation is a documentary [complete film] [trailer] and an ongoing memoir, a work of “spiritual journalism”, and eventually "a documentary archive of interviews and testimonies […] revealing the far-ranging consequences of the War on Drugs to the American Criminal Justice System." [more inside]
posted by nTeleKy on May 13, 2011 - 11 comments

Not Your Usual Bunk Buddy

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 - 55 comments

In Defense of Flogging?

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 - 49 comments

The Mark of Cain

"The Mark of Cain" is a 73 minute documentary by Alix Lambert about Russian prison tattoos and the "Thieves-in-law" who often wear the tattoos. [more inside]
posted by selton on Apr 23, 2011 - 22 comments

Chained to their desks

Indian prison authorities in Hyderabad have opened up a call centre inside the jail with hopes of servicing customers from the UK.
posted by reenum on Apr 9, 2011 - 43 comments

The New Jim Crow

“More African American men are in prison or jail, on probation or parole than were enslaved in 1850, before the Civil War began.” [more inside]
posted by TheGoodBlood on Mar 28, 2011 - 143 comments

The Horror of Solitary

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 - 60 comments

Old Pen

"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 it's haunted.
posted by bwg on Mar 9, 2011 - 5 comments

Twenty-eight years and eight months

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 - 18 comments

How many tweens lifers are there?

Will an 11-year-old get life in prison? Here’s what you need to know. [more inside]
posted by fixedgear on Jan 25, 2011 - 115 comments

Playing card art

♡♢♣ Different kinds of playing card art. [more inside]
posted by zamboni on Jan 11, 2011 - 20 comments

Books for good

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 - 17 comments

Honey buns sweeten life for Florida prisoners

Meet the new form of prison currency: Honey buns.
posted by reenum on Jan 10, 2011 - 56 comments

A Model for the Rest of Us

The AP reports that the drug policy in Portugal is paying off.
posted by gman on Dec 27, 2010 - 39 comments

New books about digital culture released online under Creative Commons

digitalculturebooks is an imprint of University of Michigan Press which releases scholarly books under a creative commons license. They've got 19 books published already and more on the way. Among those on offer are poet and English professor Kevin Stein's Poetry's Afterlife: Verse in the Digital Age, anthropologist Bonnie A. Nardi's My Life as a Night Elf Priest: An Anthropological Account of World of Warcraft, English professor Buzz Alexander's Is William Martinez Not Our Brother?: Twenty Years of the Prison Creative Arts Project and English professor Elizabeth Carolyn Miller's Framed: The New Woman Criminal in British Culture at the Fin de Siècle. If you don't want to read a whole book they also have essay collections, such as Civic Engagement in the Wake of Katrina and Best Technology Writing 2008, which includes pieces by, among others, Cass Sunstein, Robin Meija and Walter Kirn. [previously, Rock Paper Shotgun scribe Jim Rossignol's This Gaming Life: Travels in Three Cities]
posted by Kattullus on Dec 18, 2010 - 6 comments

813. ART. 13 PUNISHMENT PROHIBITED BEFORE TRIAL

In the wake of Glenn Greenwald's post about the inhumane conditions of Bradley Manning's detention ("For 23 out of 24 hours every day -- for seven straight months and counting -- he sits completely alone in his cell"), Jeralyn at the criminal justice blog Talkleft offers a detailed argument that both the Uniform Code of Military Justice and relevant case law suggest that "Bradley Manning should not be in maximum security or solitary confinement." As the Justice Department tries to build a case against Julian Assange based on his contacts with Manning, what do we really know about the 22-year-old queer intelligence analyst being held at Quantico who says he leaked the Collateral Murder video and all those diplomatic cables? [more inside]
posted by mediareport on Dec 17, 2010 - 239 comments

Silenced Protest

Last Thursday, thousands of prisoners in Georgia's state prisons went on strike - refusing to leave their cells or do work. It could be the largest prisoner protest in history, yet it is going unreported by the mainstream media. [more inside]
posted by BZArcher on Dec 14, 2010 - 108 comments

Charles Manson, in conversation.

My Friendship with Charles Manson. [more inside]
posted by Sticherbeast on Dec 6, 2010 - 39 comments

Pharmacologic Waterboarding

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 - 73 comments

"In a place like this, you have to keep your front up all the time, but not with Milo."

"When I arrived here, I had nothing to lose." Explains 'Bear'. "When you have nothing to lose—you can get yourself into a lot of trouble. When I got my first cat, it changed me. There is something about holding a cat that makes your anger melt away."
posted by Evilspork on Nov 10, 2010 - 54 comments

Human Stories From Prison

"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 - 22 comments

An Innocent Man

After 18 years in prison on false charges, Anthony Graves walked out a free man yesterday. This recent Texas Monthly article by Pamela Colloff played a major role in bringing awareness to his case. [more inside]
posted by mattbucher on Oct 28, 2010 - 36 comments

"A kind of forced autism"

A man goes to prison for two years, then returns to a thread he started on 99chan to answer questions about it.
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot on Oct 14, 2010 - 155 comments

The Numbers

The amazingly detailed origin myth of The Numbers, the largest South African prison gangs. Jonny Steinberg details the three largest gangs' (tenuously) shared myth, which accounts for their strangely symbiotic relationships by dictating who may steal, who may rape, and who may judge. [more inside]
posted by pollex on Aug 5, 2010 - 35 comments

95

Romania's Tirgsor Prison (for women), as photographed by six inmates. (mild nsfw content)
posted by edgeways on Jul 31, 2010 - 35 comments

A Bad Moooooove

Correctional Services Canada and the Harper Administration say they will close the Frontenac Institution prison farm. A group called Save Our Prison Farms in Kingston Ontario says they won't. Conflict at 11. [more inside]
posted by crazylegs on Jul 30, 2010 - 22 comments

Youth Jail Chronicles

Youth Jail Chronicles. [more inside]
posted by serazin on Jul 29, 2010 - 8 comments

Rough justice in America

Too many laws, too many prisoners - Never in the civilised world have so many been locked up for so little. [previously] (via nc)
posted by kliuless on Jul 24, 2010 - 29 comments

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