Solitary Lives
July 31, 2013 2:18 PM   Subscribe

Solitary Lives - old and recent photos of inmates, plus a short snippet about each. California Prisons' Photo ban Leaves Legacy of Blurred Identities
posted by Greg Nog (7 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
"I always had a tint of copper to me. Now I’m just so pale. At home, your family has updated photos of everyone but you. It can appear that you must have died or something if someone were looking through the family album. The whole system here seems to be geared at breaking down and destroying our family connections. "

Thanks for this (I think).
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:27 PM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

But after taking a closer look at the ban [on photographs] during a 2011 inmate hunger strike, top Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation officials determined it was not justified. Scott Kernan, who retired as undersecretary of corrections in 2011, said the stories of calling cards were isolated examples and the photo ban and other restrictions targeted inmates who were not breaking any rules.

“I think we were wrong, and I think (that) to this day,” he said. “How right is it to have an offender who is behaving … (and) to not be able to take a photo to send to his loved ones for 20 years?”

Nobody bothered to wonder if the policy was effective or if there was even a legitimate reason for it for 25 years until a bunch of prisoners began starving themselves and their unimprisoned supporters raised a ruckus.

But we should totally take the word of prison officials that every single inmate in decades-long solitary deserves to be there, absolutely no doubt about it.
posted by rtha at 3:15 PM on July 31, 2013 [2 favorites]

"To describe the time passed between those two photos. Well you think odd thoughts, scenes from a simpler, freer life – Things like chasing beautiful girls, and getting up in the morning for work. Then the changes both in a physical and mental way, I’ve grown older, then the weight of its reality breaks your heart and the quest for sanity forces you to your knees, an anguish echos in your soul, “will I die here”?"

posted by phaedon at 3:26 PM on July 31, 2013

I'm not against incarceration as punishment for crimes, but this is really, really inhuman; it's Phil Zimbardo's experiment, made real.
posted by Vibrissae at 3:33 PM on July 31, 2013

I've never experienced a significant crime against me or my loved ones, and can't begin to understand the anguish of victims of the crimes these men must have committed, and they must hope for significant punishment or even revenge. But this looks like torture to me - solitary confinement for years on end? no mirrors, no photos, no physical contact with family members? These men must be literally going insane. Is this justice?
posted by b33j at 3:55 PM on July 31, 2013

I keep thinking this appalling, dehumanizing fact about about incarceration is the very worst fact, and every single time, I hear something more dehumanizing soon after.
posted by Elsa at 5:00 PM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

Several of these men are about my age, give or take.

They look twenty years older than me.
posted by desuetude at 9:44 PM on July 31, 2013

« Older Not Featured: "Waterlillies" or "The Kiss"   |   Moses Sumney - Irreplaceable Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments