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The Guardian on therapy

Anger management therapy in prison. Does it work? Is it ethical? Prisoners who state "If I had had a better education, I would have a good job, and wouldn't need to commit crime" have "distorted thinking"; and one prisoner claims therapy helped him premeditate an attack on an informer. Should prison therapy be effectively compulsory? Meanwhile, the positive psychology movement aims to find out what makes people happy.
posted by TheophileEscargot on Nov 19, 2003 - 18 comments

Man Rapes Infant Daughter

Man Pleads Guilty to Raping his own 2 month old Daughter
But wait, that's just the beginning. This guy's daddy heads the state Corrections Department and part of his plea is to reduce the amount of time he's going to spend in jail for this most heinous act.
This guy is facing, if the judge agrees to the plea, only 6 months in jail! The standard sentence for first-degree child rape is seven to 10 years in prison.
He's admitted to molesting a 9 year old in Maine before and has also been convicted of orchestrating an armed robbery.
How in the heck he's going to get ANY leniency is beyond me.
posted by fenriq on Oct 29, 2003 - 65 comments

I am so not over Ted Con-over!

Ted Conover is a fantastic, prize-winning author. His book Newjack is, to quote Jon Krakauer, "a compelling, compassionate look at a terribly important, poorly understood aspect of American society." In it, he works undercover as a guard at Sing Sing. You can read the truncated New Yorker version on the site. Additionally, there are many other articles, reviews and interviews, and a pretty interesting group of e-mails from "officers, their families, and others affected by prison." And, just to name-drop once more, Sebastian Junger says: "Ted Conover is a first-rate reporter and more daring and imaginative than the rest of us combined." Check him out!
posted by adrober on Oct 25, 2003 - 7 comments

U.S. Prisons and Mental Illness

Prisons have become America's default mental health system. According to a new study by Human Rights Watch, between two and three hundred thousand men and women in U.S. prisons are seriously mentally ill, about three times more than the number of mentally ill who are in mental hospitals. [Via TalkLeft.]
posted by homunculus on Oct 22, 2003 - 23 comments

The Devil's Caldron

Reflect the pain and desolate loneliness inmates felt when serving time - time in a prison surrounded by a paradise that teased them with what was forbidden.

In 1985, before I left Brazil to live in the United States, I journeyed with some friends to surf at Ilha Grande. One day, while we relaxed on a remote beach, a group of military men suddenly appeared looking for some escaped prisoners. They advised us to stay together. Hours later, a helicopter flew over the sea with two fugitives trapped in a net that was hanging from its belly. ...At that moment, a desire was born in me to see life within the Caldron.
posted by thisisdrew on Oct 22, 2003 - 8 comments

Russian Prison Tatoos.

Russian Prison Tatoos.
posted by Ljubljana on Oct 2, 2003 - 18 comments

The Culture of Control: Crime and Social Order in Contemporary Society Reviewed

David Garland's disturbing new book addresses the question why there are so many more people in jail in America and Britain than anywhere else... Its broader concern is with "cultures of control," how societies treat deviance and violence and whom they single out for what treatment. Here are some facts about skyrocketing imprisonment... There are approximately two million people in jail in America today, 2,166,260 at last count: more than four times as many people as thirty years ago. It is the largest number in our history... [and] between four and ten times the incarceration rate of any civilized country in the world... Twelve percent of African-American men between twenty and thirty-four are currently behind bars (the highest figure ever recorded by the Justice Department) compared to 1.6 percent of white men of comparable ages. And according to the same source, 28 percent of black men will be sent to jail in their lifetime... It was not until crime rates had already leveled off that incarceration rates began their steady, year-by-year climb. Between 1972 and 1992, while the population of America's prisons grew and grew, the crime rate as a whole continued at the same level, unchanged. Jerome S. Bruner reviews The Culture of Control: Crime and Social Order in Contemporary Society for The New York Review of Books, as does Austin Sarat in the American Prospect.
posted by y2karl on Sep 18, 2003 - 9 comments

Stop Prisoner Rape

Bush signs a bill into law that very few people will have anything bad to say about. Most of those who would oppose the new law can't vote, anyway, being members of predatory prison gangs, so I think we're pretty much good on this one.
posted by majcher on Sep 5, 2003 - 51 comments

Nirmal Hriday

Sick on the Inside. Published in Harper's August 2003 issue but not online, the full text of Wil S. Hylton's exposure of the medical conditions in United States prisons has been put on the web by the Wrongful Death Institute with the author's permission. The gravity of the situation for more than 2 million people behind bars can hardly be exaggerated.
"We have almost 30 percent of our prison population in Texas infected with hepatitis. That’s not so different from the numbers you see in the Dark Ages with the plague."
...
"[Correctional Medical Services] is an HMO with a captive audience," says David Santacroce, the professor who is spearheading the Michigan lawsuit. "The fewer patients they treat, the more money they make."
[more inside]
posted by Eloquence on Sep 1, 2003 - 11 comments

Mi verso es un ciervo herido, que en el bosque busca amparo

Guantanamo is growing
... and a Halliburton subsidiary lands yet another no-bid contract. Its total bill for the U.S. government last year: 1.3 billion. Maybe more
posted by magullo on Aug 28, 2003 - 13 comments

Rap Not Music to Whitey's Ears

Rap Not Music to Whitey's Ears A group of alleged white extremists facing treason charges in South Africa has complained about being forced to listen to "black" music while on remand in prison.
posted by turbanhead on Aug 19, 2003 - 14 comments

We're number one! We're number one!

We're number one! We're number one! From a source quoted in the article: "We have the wealthiest society in human history, and we maintain the highest level of imprisonment. It's striking what that says about our approach to social problems and inequality." (apologies for the usual US-centrism)
posted by alumshubby on Aug 18, 2003 - 103 comments

Dead Man Eating

Dead Man Eating is a weblog listing last meals of American prisoners put to death. Often humanizing the prisoners without belittling their crimes, it's a macabre, fascinating read no matter which side of the death penalty debate you're on.
posted by kickerofelves on Aug 2, 2003 - 36 comments

About one of every 143 U.S. residents was in the federal, state or local custody at year's end.

Study Finds 2.6% Increase in U.S. Prison Population The nation's prison population grew 2.6 percent last year, the largest increase since 1999, according to a study by the Justice Department. The jump came despite a small decline in serious crime in 2002. It also came when a growing number of states facing large budget deficits have begun trying to reduce prison costs by easing tough sentencing laws passed in the 1990's, thereby decreasing the number of inmates. The key finding in the report is this growth, which is somewhat surprising in its size after several years of relative stability in the prison population, said Allen J. Beck, an author of the report. U.S. Prison Population Grew 2.6% in 2002. The country's prisons, jails and juvenile facilities held 2,166,260 persons at the end of last year, the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) said in a report released today. Prisoners in 2002 Abstract
posted by y2karl on Jul 28, 2003 - 19 comments

DNA frees 3 convicts after 17-year incarcerations.

DNA frees 3 convicts after 17-year incarcerations --Barry Scheck and The Innocence Project have struck again. Thus far, they have used DNA to free 128 wrongly convicted people. Read Frontline's interview with Scheck. Learn about a sister organization, Northwestern's Center on Wrongful Convictions, which has freed nine Illinois men who were once sentenced to death. For those sentenced to time in the can, prison can be a rough place. How can we prevent innocent people from being put to death? Or fates worse than death?
posted by trharlan on Jun 12, 2003 - 39 comments

Martha Stewart's new jail cell

Martha Stewart's got a new project on her hands: redecorating her jail cell. With a little lace, some scented contraband and a lot of time, cell ML-122 will be fit for the matriarch of homemaking in no time. Check out this gallery of the latest Spring jail cell designs, courtesy of the photoshop pholks at Worth1000.
posted by hidely on Jun 8, 2003 - 10 comments

Ed and the magical plant.

Medical marijuana grower Ed Rosenthal sentenced to one day in prison. Very interesting. Is Ed too high profile to be given an average sentence, unlike other non-violent drug offenders? Is this damage control for a very controversial case involving tightly-controlled information for jurors and state vs. federal rights? Regardless, Ed continues the fight and is appealing his conviction and is also asking for Judge Breyer to step down. Previous mefi discussion here.
posted by skallas on Jun 5, 2003 - 6 comments

Children at Camp X-Ray

Children are being held at Camp X-Ray admits the US, as reported by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
posted by Blue Stone on Apr 22, 2003 - 28 comments

Great French Prison Escapes.

Another great French prison escape. Two members of an international drug smuggling ring hijack a helicopter, abseil into the prison exercise yard, and resuce a third man. Also, “last month, a commando-style gang used plastic explosives and a rocket launcher to blow its way into a prison near Paris and free a convict serving a sentence for organized crime. In a separate attack, men brandishing what turned out to be a fake rocket launcher freed another crime kingpin from a prison in Borgo on the Mediterranean island of Corsica.” In August, a man secretly replaced his brother, a Basque separatist leader, in prison.
posted by Mo Nickels on Apr 14, 2003 - 7 comments

The Falcon and the Fallout

Freebird. Christopher Boyce (the Falcon from Falcon and the Snowman) on spying, prison, breaking out of prison, and the cruelty of denying parole to federal inmates. (LA Times reg.)
posted by xowie on Mar 1, 2003 - 8 comments

Veganism is for life - and for lifers!

Those crazy PETA kids, well, now they've gone and done it. They've admitted that being a vegan is punishment, by sending a letter to the NY Prison Commissioner telling him that "Feeding inmates exclusively vegan food sends a message to inmates and the public that our society isn't molly-coddling them..." Funny, funny PETA people, hoisted by their own celery stick, as it were. I'm guessing that being that anemic makes them a little short on irony.
posted by dejah420 on Feb 24, 2003 - 32 comments

School budget

An imaginative solution to California's school budget crisis.
posted by semmi on Jan 24, 2003 - 24 comments

Go to Jail - Learn Equities

Beat the Pros - From Behind Bars A group of New Jersey prison inmates recently participated in a statewide contest, where they placed first against other prison teams, and third overall, beating investment clubs, students, and UBS Paine Webber employees. I've often wondered what one does behind bars, because HBO's Oz just isn't giving me the whole story, methinks. Now I know.
posted by djspicerack on Jan 23, 2003 - 5 comments

Step in the right direction for the War on Drugs?

Michigan to Drop Minimum Sentence Rules for Drug Crimes. Although many people have known for years that minimum sentencing rules for drug offenses are seriously flawed, some states seem to be finally doing something about it.
posted by gwint on Dec 27, 2002 - 5 comments

Reach In And Touch Someone, Part II.

Reach In And Touch Someone, Part II. If your experience with the dating service isn't completely satisfactory, you may want to take matters into your own hands. Even so, your perfect soulmate may not be available...

(link via blort, may a thousand chain-gang virgins sing its praises...)
posted by anser on Dec 2, 2002 - 5 comments

Moving women, not going anywhere.

Moving women, not going anywhere.
1."I keep a hard body as a treat and not an obsession."
2. "I am in very touch with my sexuality."
3.Heartbreaking.

posted by The Jesse Helms on Nov 3, 2002 - 35 comments

So, I saw an interesting film this weekend. Here's a great site about the experiment on which it was based. Here's another equally disturbing experiment. Or you can just have fun running some psychological test on yourself. But, at the end of the day, who are we? Of what are we capable?
posted by pjgulliver on Oct 14, 2002 - 15 comments

The Plight of the Pregnant Prisoner.

The Plight of the Pregnant Prisoner. Every culture has to decide what to do with their pregnant prisoners. Here in the USA, are we doing the best we can? And then there is the whole abortion debate.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy on Sep 25, 2002 - 6 comments

Perp Nation?

Perp Nation? By the end of 2001, according to a government report, one in every 32 adults in the United States was in jail, on probation or on parole. That works out to 470 out of every 100,000 U.S. residents behind bars, including disproportionate numbers of minorities (scroll down) and over 4.7 million adults on probation or parole. Texas leads the way.
posted by gottabefunky on Aug 25, 2002 - 38 comments

An All-American Fugitive

An All-American Fugitive When Margo Freshwater escaped from prison 32 years ago, she began a happy and law-abiding life, becoming a devoted mother, grandmother and wife. Now she's back behind bars . . . And unless she's given a new trial or is granted clemency . . . she will remain behind bars until she is an old woman . . . Meanwhile, the man who confessed to the killing probably will die a free man.
posted by mikrophon on Aug 22, 2002 - 5 comments

today a fellow mexican will be executed in texas

today a fellow mexican will be executed in texas, for killing a cover agent 13 years ago… besides the mexican government, e.u. & u.n. are also calling for clemency; they argue that u.s. authorities denied him legal assistance from the consulate. right now, suárez medina only wants to die. the question is: isn't it better to die than be in prison all your life? i would prefer to be killed instead of living in jail more than 20 years. the sad about suárez medina case is that he has been in jail 13 years from now and anyway he is going to be killed! the texas government should have killed him immediately he was found guilty. “i prefer to die than spend the rest of my life here inside because here there is no life.” said suárez in an interview. in punishment standards i find worst to live in jail forever than being executed. what would be worst for you?
posted by trismegisto on Aug 14, 2002 - 30 comments

You've got Jail is a light hearted, easy summer reading and informative article which explodes the myth that malfeasing CEOs get sent to "Club Fed", a prison so minimum in insecurity that its really like an enforced vacation in the country rather than the more typical round of incarceration. Required reading for the Skillings, Rigas, Taubmens and every college student considering an MBA. (So is the MeFi fascination with Prison life an idle one or am I keeping the wrong company?)
posted by BentPenguin on Jul 30, 2002 - 5 comments

The catch-22 of prison therapy.

The catch-22 of prison therapy. The biggest criticism of sex offender justice is that imprisonment does not mean rehabilitation. In Massachusetts because of stringent anti-sex offender laws, lawyers are advising their clients to turn down prison therapy because it will be used against them. Even used against them after they're done with their sentence. These are serious violations of double jeopardy and doctor patient privilege.
posted by skallas on Jul 28, 2002 - 9 comments

The Website of Anti-Porn Guy

The Website of Anti-Porn Guy Welcome to my site! My name is David McNamara and I am 19 years old. I have 2 cats and I am a senior at Royal Palm Beach High School in Royal Palm Beach, Florida......I want to ban pornography with a 10-year prison term for viewing or participating in pornography, as well as oral and anal sex with a 1-5 year prison term for oral sex and a 1-10 year term for anal sex. I also want to ban the manufacture and sale of contraceptives (birth control) with a prison term of up to 1 year in jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000 for violating this ban. None of these laws will be retroactive. Wonder what he's doing now - his site was last updated 12-10-00. Discuss? Dismiss?
posted by Corky on Jul 25, 2002 - 52 comments

Smoke pot, stay out of jail.

Smoke pot, stay out of jail. As your lawyer, I advise you to read this cartoon by Ellen Forney. See also: Bustcard.
posted by xowie on Jul 24, 2002 - 23 comments

This is some scary stuff. Life in prison for malicious hacking? We can't keep rapists and murderers away from society for very long but now hackers & crackers could be jailed for life? And on top of that the FBI can monitor internet packets without a warrant? If you enjoy your freedom from gov't surveillance, it looks like it's time to start using PGP.
posted by mathowie on Jul 16, 2002 - 21 comments

Prison in the Park

Prison in the Park
Central Park is a lot of things: the pastoral center of New York City, a relaxing stroll on a Saturday afternoon, a patch of grass lined with horse manure. It’s also home to a minimum-security prison...
posted by cell divide on Jul 9, 2002 - 7 comments

Sex in prison, an insiders view.

Sex in prison, an insiders view. There's been a couple of threads in MeTa about the inappropriateness of jokes about prison rape (#1, #2). I've been reluctant to challenge some of the most severe hand-wringing over the subject in question, but this article from someone in the UK pretty much covers it. No easy answers, just some thoughts from someone who's actually been an inmate (and see inside thread for more).
posted by WolfDaddy on May 27, 2002 - 23 comments

the BBC recreates the stanford prison experiment.

the BBC recreates the stanford prison experiment. First episode is being aired now, (slightly late post, sorry 'bout that). The original experiment was discussed on mefi here.
posted by fvw on May 14, 2002 - 10 comments

Teach dance in prison!

Teach dance in prison! "The Federal Bureau of Prisons...intends to issue solicitation RFQ 50507-012-2 for the provision to provide Dance Instructor Services with a variety of beginning and advanced dance classes to the inmate population."
posted by kirkaracha on Apr 25, 2002 - 10 comments

ACLU files a lawsuit on behalf of black gay prisoner Roderick Johnson against several Texas prisons who ignored his pleas for protection against gangs who "bought and sold Mr. Johnson as a chattel, raped and degraded him on a virtual daily basis, and threatened him with death if he resisted." During one hearing, Johnson was allegedly forced by a prison gang member to appear before the committee in makeup. This invited the alleged derision of the classification committee members: "If you want to be a ho, you'll be treated like a ho." Another member allegedly said, "You ain't nothing but a dirty tramp. Learn to fight or accept the f--king."
posted by ao4047 on Apr 19, 2002 - 72 comments

Interview with an Ol Dirty Bastard.

Interview with an Ol Dirty Bastard. This is the first interview with ODB I have seen since he was thrown in the slammer. ODB's first two releases were crazy brilliant and full of life. Now he sits in one of the worst prisons around, depressed and unmedicated, for parole violation. Reading this, do you think the court succeeded in breaking his spirit? Is he doomed to flame out when he gets out? Is it wrong that his new cd seems made without his input, and is weak compared to his amazing first two? Would you want to get out of prison and find someone made a book out of your throw off writings? Finally, do you like ODB?
posted by zenhues on Mar 28, 2002 - 28 comments

on a budget madame, well incarceration is our cheaper plan.

on a budget madame, well incarceration is our cheaper plan. Yes it seeems that the economics suggest that life imprisonment is the prudent option rather than the wanton excess of execution.
posted by johnnyboy on Feb 28, 2002 - 17 comments

Ketchup? Mustard? Relish?

Ketchup? Mustard? Relish? How much are you willing to pay for these little extras. In this prison, you'll now have to pay per packet.
posted by LinemanBear on Feb 8, 2002 - 18 comments

Prison survival guide

Prison survival guide NEVER invoke debts you cannot repay. It is best not to invoke any debts period. When you first enter any institution, you will be approaced with 241 offers. Meaning that the person will front you 1 item (pack of cigs, commisary food, whatever) but you will have to repay them two. This is a classic trap for unexperienced inmates. If you smoke, quit. If you want items from the commisary, etc. wait until you have money on your books, or your in a position with your prison job that you can run your own hustle, and have items to barter with. The basic rule, is to NEVER take ANYTHING on credit. This will get you killed or seriously injured or TURNED OUT and pimped to pay your bill real fast.
posted by keithl on Feb 5, 2002 - 51 comments

Convict Heart Transplant

Convict Heart Transplant A 31 year old 2 time felon just got a heart transplant, costing tax payers close to $1 million dollars. With an annual additional cost of $15,000. Right? Wrong? I'm not so sure.
posted by SuzySmith on Jan 30, 2002 - 15 comments

Speaking of bibles, a man gets 2 years in prison in China for smuggling them to an underground Christian organization. Nothing like religious tolerance.
posted by catatonic on Jan 28, 2002 - 85 comments

Killer attempts robbery to get back to prison

Killer attempts robbery to get back to prison After serving 8 years for killing his girlfriend he "was running out of money" once on the outside. So he robbed a banked, then waited outside for the cops to come on by and pick him up. It must be nice to know this clearly what you want out of life. I'm jealous.
posted by victors on Jan 20, 2002 - 13 comments

Porn and pizza

Porn and pizza keep inmates happy over New Year's. Typically New Year's Eve is a somewhat rowdy event at this prison with inmates starting fires and refusing to go back to their cells. So this year, some employees struck a deal with the inmates to show porn and have pizza at New Year's provided they don't cause any trouble.

Now that word has got out to higher authorities and an investigation is in place. And heads will roll...
posted by PWA_BadBoy on Jan 17, 2002 - 23 comments

man protests prison construction by burying buses

man protests prison construction by burying buses This is one of the more original methods of protest I've seen. The "artist", an excavator by trade who is trying to protest what he sees as an unlawful zoning change that will lower the value of his property, says his inspiration came from Cadillac Ranch. Will his protest be successful? Do you think this was an appropriate way to catch the attention of the local authorities? I, for one, think this was clever.
posted by purplecow on Jan 17, 2002 - 10 comments

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