410 posts tagged with prison.
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Varg is free!

Varg is free! But, will all the glitter girls go for black metal? [more inside]
posted by geos on May 25, 2009 - 30 comments

Playing to a captive audience

In last night's Sony Radio Awards - the UK's radio equivalent of the Oscars - Electric Radio Brixton won four prizes, including 2 gold awards. The kicker? It is broadcast for and by inmates in Brixton Prison 24 hours a day, part of an ambitious project by the Prison Radio Association. Some background here. [more inside]
posted by MuffinMan on May 12, 2009 - 25 comments

"The best I can do is to live a good life and maintain decent standards of behaviour towards others."

Erwin James: the real me. Erwin James has written about prison for the Guardian for a number of years, from the point of view of an insider: when his column began, he was serving a sentence for two murders. He completed his sentence a few years ago, but continued to write under that name, a pseudonym. Here, he talks about the crimes that he was originally imprisoned for, his time in the French Foreign Legion, how he became a writer during his time in prison, and gives his real name for the first time.
posted by chorltonmeateater on Apr 23, 2009 - 19 comments

The Changing Racial Dynamics of the War on Drugs

The Changing Racial Dynamics of the War on Drugs. The Sentencing Project has just released a report (pdf) finding that, for the first time in 20 years, the number of Black Americans in state prison for drug offenses has fallen. Between 1999 and 2005, the number of White drug offenders in state prisons rose about 43 percent, while the number of Black offenders declined by 22 percent. One cause may be a rise in the use of drug courts, which are locally administered programs that divert offenders into treatment rather than incarceration. The Sentencing Project has a recent report (pdf) on this issue as well.
posted by lunit on Apr 16, 2009 - 32 comments

The latest craze in adult dating.

Conjugal Harmony : "Normally you wouldn't think an arsonist would be good at sex. Boy was I ever wrong!" [slightly NSFW]
posted by desjardins on Apr 10, 2009 - 44 comments

Hellhole

"The United States holds tens of thousands of inmates in long-term solitary confinement. Is this torture?"
posted by Joe Beese on Mar 24, 2009 - 91 comments

Death Row Diaries

Watercolors of people on death row. Part I, Part II.
posted by sveskemus on Mar 14, 2009 - 19 comments

Reforming the Lorton Reformatory

“There is nothing like this in the United States," said Leone. "We’ve looked." The Workhouse Arts Center near Occoquan, VA opened in September 2008 on the grounds of a former prison that was founded by President Theodore Roosevelt as a rehabilitation facility for Washington, DC criminals. Its extensive agrarian projects were intended to put them in touch with nature, but by 1917 security tightened and suffragettes protesting before the White House endured harsh treatment there. The city continued sending inmates to the overcrowded facility until Congress ordered the prison to be shuttered. For years it stood empty, but now the historic buildings are being transformed into studios for local artists (previously).
posted by woodway on Mar 11, 2009 - 11 comments

1 in 31.

A new report by the Pew Center of the States finds that 1 in 31 U.S. Adults is currently under Community Supervision. (Full report pdf). Georgia currently tops the charts, with 1 in 13 adults under correctional control. [more inside]
posted by lunit on Mar 3, 2009 - 84 comments

All the world's their stage

Twelve Angry Lebanese - inmates from Lebanon's infamous Roumieh Prison are putting on an adaptation of Twelve Angry Men - to stunning reviews. [more inside]
posted by ruelle on Mar 1, 2009 - 7 comments

Hollywood are you listening?

Even the cheesiest novelist wouldn't dare write this one: Greece's most notorious criminal, kidnapper Vassilis Paleokostas, breaks out of a maximum security prison by grabbing onto a rope ladder dangling from an accomplice's hijacked helicopter, as guards open fire and a woman shoots back from the chopper. This happens as he's being transported to a hearing to face charges related to breaking out of jail in 2006 by grabbing onto a rope ladder being dangled from a helicopter hijacked by his brother, bank robber Nikos Paleokostas, hailed by some poor Greeks as a modern day Robin Hood. There are already half a dozen Facebook fan clubs. Sadly dull video of the departing chopper here. The pilot, found tied up, and four prison guards have been arrested.
posted by CunningLinguist on Feb 23, 2009 - 50 comments

Reform School Boys and Girls

John Pfaff. Five Myths about Prison Growth.
posted by wittgenstein on Feb 21, 2009 - 36 comments

Supermax Nation

Awakening on a mattress atop a wooden slab, the bare walls of your 7' x 12' cell come into focus, illuminated by the constant glare of an overhead light. Through the narrow window in the back of your cell, you can peer out into the prison yard. In the window in the reinforced steel door, you can catch an occasional glimpse of a prison guard as they bring your meals, usually the only interruption of the silence and isolation that pervade your living conditions. Those walls are the boundaries of your world for 23 hours a day in the Departmental Disciplinary Unit-- the supermax prison maintained in Walpole, Massachusetts, one of dozens of such institutions currently operated in the United States, in spite of growing outcry based on human rights violations. [more inside]
posted by Law Talkin' Guy on Feb 15, 2009 - 94 comments

The Audacity of Dope

With its $41 billion deficit spiraling out of control and federal judges ordering its prisoners released to relieve overcrowding, can legal marijuana save California?
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on Feb 12, 2009 - 82 comments

Deadly Symbiosis

Deadly Symbiosis: Rethinking race and imprisonment in twenty-first-century America.
posted by lunit on Jan 29, 2009 - 16 comments

From Gitmo to the Rock

Alcatraz's American history began as the first US fort on the West coast, where it served as "an icon of US military power". Before it held these guys, it held these guys. This guy thinks The Rock would be a good place for these guys.
posted by JVA on Jan 26, 2009 - 35 comments

"Those who desire to peruse works that tell about Heaven only, are urged to drop this book and run."

GUILTY! This word, so replete with sadness and sorrow, fell on my ear on that blackest of all black Fridays, October 14, 1887. And so begins John N. Reynolds' The Twin Hells: A Thrilling Narrative of Life in the Kansas and Missouri Penitentiaries, a very detailed and eventful memoir originally published in 1890, archived online in its entirety (including illustrations). [more inside]
posted by amyms on Dec 14, 2008 - 11 comments

Make your own pruno and may God have mercy on your soul

How to make prison wine out of oranges, sugar and ketchup. [more inside]
posted by sveskemus on Dec 11, 2008 - 31 comments

Trapped: Mental Illness in America's Prisons.

Trapped: Mental Illness in America's Prisons by Jenn Ackerman. [more inside]
posted by chunking express on Dec 7, 2008 - 17 comments

Behind bars

Prison is boring. There is no other way to describe it. Sometimes it's scary, but mostly just annoying and boring.
posted by Huplescat on Dec 6, 2008 - 40 comments

The Old Ball and Chain

"The best man was Kirk "Spanky" Smyth, who had recently been caught passing through the metal detectors with Buck knives in his rectum. Today he was loaded on smack and rubbing his face red." A Los Angeles Times series examines a woman's quarter-century of marrige to a man behind bars. Part Two. Part Three.
posted by Bookhouse on Dec 4, 2008 - 23 comments

A House Built on Hope

In 1972, Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox were convicted of murdering a prison guard in Louisiana's notorious maximum-security prison, Angola. The warden sentenced them to solitary confinement, where they remained for the next 36 years. Until March 2008, the men had spent at least 23 hours per day in cells that measured only 6 x 9 feet. Woodfox's conviction was recently overturned, evidently through a federal habeus proceeding, and he is awaiting a new trial. NPR did an outstanding job of tracking down people involved and telling a riveting story: Part I, Part II, Part III. No doubt that much of the attention brought to the case is due to the efforts of Jackie Sumell and her Herman's House project. [more inside]
posted by ajr on Nov 9, 2008 - 8 comments

Right to Vote.

As we approach Nov. 4, I'm reminded that an estimated 5.3 million Americans are prohibited from voting because of a felony conviction. The ACLU breaks it down by state.
posted by lunit on Oct 8, 2008 - 145 comments

Mackerel Economics in Prison Leads to Appreciation for Oily Fillets - Wall Street Journal

As dollar flounders, inmates stack mackerel
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Oct 2, 2008 - 70 comments

"I spent 16 years in prison for a crime I didn't commit."

Remember Jeffrey Deskovic? (If not, spend a minute browsing the links on the previous thread first). He just wrote an interesting position piece on what can be done to make sure that what happens to him doesn't happen to others.
posted by allkindsoftime on Sep 16, 2008 - 13 comments

Life without parole: Child prisoners in the US

"In the US, there are 2,270 prisoners [report, news release, with testimonies] who were sentenced as children to life without parole. They will die behind bars. Ed Pilkington asks five of them - from a 21-year-old to a 70-year-old - how do they cope?" [more inside]
posted by flibbertigibbet on Aug 10, 2008 - 57 comments

Locked up and blue

Men in Women-in-Prison [Films]
"This dynamic — of eroticized male exclusion from, and investment in, female relationships — was the defining feature of a handful of women-in-prison films from the 1970s. In these movies, female sisterhood, generally in the face of oppression, is itself fetishized — feminism is turned into a kind of masochistic male wet dream. How this unlikely cathexis occurred, and how it functioned, is the subject of this essay." [more inside]
posted by carsonb on Aug 7, 2008 - 23 comments

Richard Jenson

Getting Off The Mat - After losing 15 years of his life to drug addiction and prison, Richard Jensen was reborn as a 36-year-old college wrestler.
posted by thisisdrew on Aug 4, 2008 - 15 comments

Celebrating digital film culture

Our wonderful nature is a hilarious 5-minute animation about the mating rituals of the water shrew. The action starts at around 1:30. Other gems found at the bitfilm 08 Digital Film Festival include "The post-it note prison".
posted by sour cream on Jun 27, 2008 - 12 comments

Taking Affirmative Action Against Crime and For Economic Reconstruction

The black backs by and on which the fortunes of the New South were built:
On March 30, 1908, Green Cottenham was arrested by the sheriff of Shelby County, Alabama, and charged with “vagrancy.”... Cottenham’s offense was blackness.... [After a brief trial] Cottenham... was sold. Under a standing arrangement between the county and a vast subsidiary of the industrial titan of the North — U.S. Steel Corporation — the sheriff turned the young man over to the company for the duration of his sentence.... he was chained inside a long wooden barrack at night and required to spend nearly every waking hour digging and loading coal. His required daily “task” was to remove eight tons of coal from the mine. Cottenham was subject to the whip for failure to dig the requisite amount, at risk of physical torture for disobedience, and vulnerable to the sexual predations of other miners.... Forty-five years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation freeing American slaves, Green Cottenham and more than a thousand other black men toiled under the lash at Slope 12.
— from the Introduction to Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black People in America from the Civil War to World War II. The book's website includes reviews of the book, an excerpt of the Introduction, and an extensive photo gallery that includes disturbing images of enslaved and tortured prisoners. [more inside]
posted by orthogonality on Jun 21, 2008 - 94 comments

Paying For The 1%

Fiscal Pressures Lead Some States to Free Inmates Early, says the Washington Post. Across the United States, a financial crisis is brewing in our nation's correctional systems. California, which has the largest prison system in the nation, (housing 170,000 inmates with a capacity of only 100,000), plans to increase the budget for new prison construction by 7 to 14 billion dollars, on top of releasing 22,000 nonviolent prisoners on unsupervised parole. Other states, especially Michigan, face an even more dire situation... [more inside]
posted by Avenger on May 5, 2008 - 41 comments

A long time on the lam

A southern California family is standing by the wife and mother who lived under a false name and with a colossal secret: Susan M. LeFevre escaped from a Plymouth prison 32 years ago.
posted by veedubya on May 2, 2008 - 188 comments

Bridging the Green Divide

"It used to be that the more radical you were on environmental issues, the farther you were from working-class people, poor people, and people of color, because you were making individual lifestyle changes that alienated you from the majority. You looked different; you ate different foods; you wore different clothes. Working-class people were shopping at Wal-Mart and eating at McDonald’s, and you were mad at them for it. With this new environmentalism, the more radical you are on environmental solutions, the closer you are to the working class." [more inside]
posted by lunit on Apr 14, 2008 - 18 comments

three squares greetings

Three Squares Greetings is a new greeting card line designed to keep you in touch with your family members or friends who are in custody. NPR interview with the founder.
posted by Armitage Shanks on Mar 27, 2008 - 18 comments

1 in 99.1

1 in 99.1 American adults are now incarcerated according to a new Pew Center study (pdf). Some interesting numbers from a NYT article on the report: 1 in 36 Hispanic adults are incarcerated, 1 in 15 blacks, 1 in 9 black men aged 20-34, 1 in 355 white women aged 35-39. Some context from the World Prison Population List (pdf).
posted by aerotive on Feb 28, 2008 - 136 comments

Peter Wayne

Meet Peter Wayne. Prolific literary writer, book reviewer, architectural correspondent, church organist, chronic recidivist, drug addict, released, homeless, back in prison
posted by criticalbill on Feb 3, 2008 - 10 comments

living in a gilded cage

America's debtor prisons.
posted by geos on Jan 25, 2008 - 81 comments

Thailand life..,

A Thailand teen who has had an online presence for ten years... is now doing three yearsin a Thai prison...and with the help of his former teacher is able to tell us about it.
posted by konolia on Jan 12, 2008 - 49 comments

You don't see that every day

Prisoner 547 is a Rabbit in prison. He shares a cell with another Rabbit, a Frog and a Chicken. It is visiting day. In Japanese. One episode of many. [more inside]
posted by Lord_Pall on Jan 8, 2008 - 23 comments

Salvation Lies Within

The holes in the men’s cells were covered by revealing photographs of women in bikinis, which officials displayed at Monday’s news conference. Grudgingly, Mr. Romankow acknowledged the similarity to the film “The Shawshank Redemption.”
posted by brevator on Dec 18, 2007 - 28 comments

Three Years. Fifteen Suicides.

Prison and the Mentally Ill in Massachusetts: The Globe reports on the pitfalls and consequences of using a retribution-based correctional system on the criminally insane in MA, as inmates in the state kill themselves at triple the national rate. Part I. Part II. Part III (in tomorrow's Globe). Photos of the system's most troubled. Last words of some disturbed inmates. [more inside]
posted by rollbiz on Dec 10, 2007 - 92 comments

I got a letter from the government the other day, I opened and read it, it said they were suckers

Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos
posted by Artw on Dec 5, 2007 - 72 comments

Al Odah v. U.S. and Boumediene v. Bush

Al Odah v. U.S. and Boumediene v. Bush go before SCOTUS Streaming on C-Span today. The Center for Constitutional Rights (great podcast) will argue before the Supreme Court today:
Immediately after the Supreme Court’s decision in Rasul, The Center for Constitutional Rights and cooperating counsel filed 11 new habeas petitions in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of over 70 detainees. These cases eventually became the consolidated cases of Al Odah v. United Statesand Boumediene v. Bush, the leading cases determining the significance of the Supreme Court’s decision in Rasul, the rights of non-citizens to challenge the legality of their detention in an offshore U.S. military base, and the constitutionality of the Military Commissions Act of 2006.

posted by ao4047 on Dec 5, 2007 - 29 comments

Free at last.

"Free and Uneasy: The First Year Out." The story of wrongfully convicted Jeffrey Deskovic. And others.
posted by Soup on Nov 30, 2007 - 11 comments

The irony of being a patsy to tyrrants

The media begins to awaken. Recently, Tom Curley, the President and CEO of Associated Press lashed out at the absurd conditions surrounding the detention of Bilal Hussein. After being detained for over 18 months, the US Military has finally decided to charge him, but nobody can say for what, or when, or why, or what evidence might be brought forth. Strangely, Mr. Curley writes this without a hint of the irony present in being caught in the net of lies, deception and constructed memory hole that the media has participated in the creation of. Playing patsy comes back to bite. AP hosts a timeline of articles.
posted by petrilli on Nov 26, 2007 - 13 comments

Unlocking America

Unlocking America [pdf]: Why and How to Reduce America's Prison Population. From the JFA Institute: a criminal justice think tank.
posted by AceRock on Nov 22, 2007 - 48 comments

A Crack in the War on Drugs

The US Sentencing Commission has recommended that Federal sentencing guidelines be reduced for crimes involving crack cocaine -- and is now deliberating making the new guidelines retroactive for prisoners already incarcerated. [WaPo] If taken into effect, about 3,800 inmates could be released by this time next year. [more inside]
posted by Avenger on Nov 12, 2007 - 29 comments

I've seen 'em come and go and I've seen them die

High-resolution images of Death Row at San Quentin State Prison, California.
posted by fandango_matt on Nov 12, 2007 - 54 comments

Kidnapped

From Our Own Correspondent BBC journalist Alan Johnston gives his account of being kidnapped in Gaza for 114 days. Best in his own voice [mp3]. [more inside]
posted by TrashyRambo on Oct 26, 2007 - 3 comments

Burma

Risking all: the Burmese jokers who laugh in the face of danger. In Burma (Myanmar), comedians are targets in the junta's war on words. [Via BB.] [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Oct 17, 2007 - 23 comments

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