A new study
"The Color of Corporate Corrections, Part II: Contractual Exemptions and the Overrepresentation of People of Color in Private Prisons" theorizes an interesting reason that the population of people of color is larger in the private prison system than in the general population. Mother Jones breaks it down
in simpler terms.
posted by HuronBob
on Feb 17, 2014 -
"Every year, US courts sentence several hundred thousand misdemeanor offenders to probation overseen by private companies that charge their fees directly to the probationers. Often, the poorest people wind up paying the most in fees over time, in what amounts to a discriminatory penalty. And when they can’t pay, companies can and do secure their arrest."
The Human Rights Watch releases a report
on the for-profit probation industry in the US. The Atlantic weighs in
posted by stinkfoot
on Feb 6, 2014 -
Two retired women, Lyn Zwerling and Sheila Rovelstad, have initiated and implemented a program called Knitting Behind Bars at a prison in Maryland. They approached every prison in the area with their idea for a knitting class, and all the prisons refused except the last one, where the prison authorities skeptically agreed to let them try it. And the program has been a success. As the Baltimore Sun
reported, "Men literally beg to get in. There's a waiting list.... They want it so much, in fact, that they're willing to be good in order to do it. [Prison warden Margaret] Chippendale has noticed lower rates of violence among the men who knit. "It's a privilege to be in that program," Chippendale says. "It's something that matters and they don't want to do anything to be removed from it."
One prisoner, who was serving time for stabbing someone and who was busily knitting a hat, told the reporter, "My mind is on something soft and gentle," he said. "My mind is nowhere near inside these walls." [more inside]
posted by orange swan
on Jan 4, 2013 -
The Bottom One Percent
"Federal Prison Industries (FPI), which employs inmates in federal prisons, pays them between $0.23 and $1.15 per hour, with the average federal prisoner making $0.92 per hour. [F]rom this gross pay, the government deducts funds for restitution, to offset the high cost of incarceration, and for other purposes, leaving the average federal-prison employee with a measly $0.18 per hour. [Although state prison inmates'] wages were higher, ranging from $0.23 per hour to $7.00 per hour, their “take-home pay” was only about 20 percent of their wages. It’s safe to say that people making 72 cents an hour who have no other income are in the bottom 1 percent of the U.S. income distribution."
posted by anotherpanacea
on Oct 19, 2012 -
"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]
posted by painquale
on May 26, 2012 -
In admitting that they have no expertise in running a corrections system, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that officers have unfettered authority to conduct full strip searches
of any arrested individual, even for the most minor of offenses and in situations where officers lack any suspicion of contraband. The ruling comes days after the NY Times ran an analysis suggesting that the current supreme court is the most conservative court
in modern history.
posted by GnomeChompsky
on Apr 2, 2012 -
The scale and the brutality of our prisons are the moral scandal of American life. Every day, at least fifty thousand men—a full house at Yankee Stadium—wake in solitary confinement, often in “supermax” prisons or prison wings, in which men are locked in small cells, where they see no one, cannot freely read and write, and are allowed out just once a day for an hour’s solo “exercise.” (Lock yourself in your bathroom and then imagine you have to stay there for the next ten years, and you will have some sense of the experience.)
posted by Trurl
on Jan 24, 2012 -
"The line between intentional and inadvertent exposure can be blurry in a context where inmates do not control their privacy and cells are sometimes defined as public places. What’s more, some experts on prison sex contend that anti-masturbation and anti-porn policies in prisons are counterproductive because they effectively drive inmates to engage in risky sexual behavior. According to this theory, increased access to pornography—which goes hand-in-hand with increased access to one’s doo-dads—might be just what correctional facilities need to stem prison rape. Is it time for a revolution in prisoners’ masturbatory rights
posted by Houyhnhnm
on Jan 10, 2012 -
If people who have a lot of time on their hands and inner demons to exorcise turn to art as an outlet, the results can be startling, even if they have had no prior art instruction and have to make a paint brush out of their own hair and use coffee as paint
, or weave things out of hoarded chip or Ramen bags
. Drawing elaborately on handkerchiefs became so common in the mid 20th century it's become known as panos
. Welcome to the world of prison art. [more inside]
posted by orange swan
on Nov 26, 2008 -
Abu Ghraib revisited?
Savaged by dogs, Electrocuted With Cattle Prods, Burned By Toxic Chemicals, Does such barbaric abuse inside U.S. jails explain the horrors that were committed in Iraq? [...] It’s terrible to watch some of the videos and realise that you’re not only seeing torture in action but, in the most extreme cases, you are witnessing young men dying. Channel 4-documentary on US prisons
. (google video. Disclaimer: nasty stuff)
posted by Bravocharlie
on Dec 10, 2006 -
During the 1990s, both the federal government and many state governments experimented with a new type of prison dedicated to maximum security prisoners
, known as a "supermax."
Such prisons are formally known as "Administrative Maximum" (ADX) prisons at the federal level, and the only federal ADX is in Florence, Colorado - ADX Florence
. On top of confining inmates to their cells for 23 hours a day, such prisons usually feature soundproofed cells, near-total deprivation of human contact, and a routine policy of solitary confinement.
The text is from here, which isn't really related but got me searching for ADX-Florence, and lead me to the HRW site that inspired me to share.
posted by taumeson
on Apr 13, 2005 -
Torture Inc. Americas Brutal Prisons Savaged by dogs, Electrocuted With Cattle Prods, Burned By Toxic Chemicals, Does such barbaric abuse inside U.S. jails explain the horrors that were committed in Iraq?
Warning: tiny, NSFW, embedded Windows Media file.
posted by Doug
on Apr 4, 2005 -
Cruel and Unusual - The End Of The Eighth AmendmentIt might seem at first that the rules for the treatment of Iraqi prisoners were founded on standards of political legitimacy suited to war or emergencies; based on what Carl Schmitt called the urgency of the ''exception,'' they were meant to remain secret as necessary ''war measures'' and to be exempt from traditional legal ideals and the courts associated with them. But the ominous discretionary powers used to justify this conduct are entirely familiar to those who follow the everyday treatment of prisoners in the United States—not only their treatment by prison guards but their treatment by the courts in sentencing, corrections, and prisoners' rights. The torture memoranda, as unprecedented as they appear in presenting ''legal doctrines . . . that could render specific conduct, otherwise criminal, not unlawful,'' refer to U.S. prison cases in the last 30 years that have turned on the legal meaning of the Eighth Amendment’s language prohibiting ''cruel and unusual punishment.'' What is the history of this phrase? How has it been interpreted? And how has its content been so eviscerated?
posted by y2karl
on Nov 8, 2004 -
Save The Children calls on release of Iraqi children from jails.
This apparently in response to recent media reports
on the abuse of children in Iraqi prisons. And it's not just Save the Children who is concerned, but UNICEF, Amnesty International, and the Red Cross.
Infact, Congress has called for a special briefing tomorrow
from the Pentagon on "confidential reports" from the Red Cross on prison conditions in Iraq. The Pentagon is closing the briefing to the public, however, and apparently thinks that even Congress shouldn't know the details of how we treat prisoners.
"It's something of a stretch of policy and procedures to give them to the Congress,"
Rumsfeld spokesman Larry Di Rita said.
posted by insomnia_lj
on Jul 8, 2004 -
Secret world of US jails
The United States government, in conjunction with key allies, is running an 'invisible' network of prisons and detention centres into which thousands of suspects have disappeared without trace since the 'war on terror' began.
In the past three years, thousands of alleged militants have been transferred around the world by American, Arab and Far Eastern security services, often in secret operations that by-pass extradition laws. The astonishing traffic has seen many, including British citizens, sent from the West to countries where they can be tortured to extract information. Anything learnt is passed on to the US and, in some cases, reaches British intelligence.
posted by Postroad
on Jun 14, 2004 -
Department of Justice finds "significant problems" in the detainment of aliens after Sept. 11.
Among the findings in the report by Glenn Fine, DoJ Inspector General: The FBI failed to distinguish between aliens arrested on suspicion of terrorist activities and those with no connection to terrorism. Some detainees did not receive notice of why they were being detained for more than a month. Many detainees were held for weeks and months without the FBI taking any action on their cases. Detainees were frequently subject to harsh conditions of confinement and many were not allowed adequate legal consultation. (Full report available here
- link via Tom Tomorrow
posted by UKnowForKids
on Jun 5, 2003 -