Tag Archives | Prison

The Prison State of America

miss_millions (CC BY 2.0)

miss_millions (CC BY 2.0)

Via Truthdig:

Prisons employ and exploit the ideal worker. Prisoners do not receive benefits or pensions. They are not paid overtime. They are forbidden to organize and strike. They must show up on time. They are not paid for sick days or granted vacations. They cannot formally complain about working conditions or safety hazards. If they are disobedient, or attempt to protest their pitiful wages, they lose their jobs and can be sent to isolation cells. The roughly 1 million prisoners who work for corporations and government industries in the American prison system are models for what the corporate state expects us all to become. And corporations have no intention of permitting prison reforms that would reduce the size of their bonded workforce. In fact, they are seeking to replicate these conditions throughout the society.

States, in the name of austerity, have stopped providing prisoners with essential items including shoes, extra blankets and even toilet paper, while starting to charge them for electricity and room and board.

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To Prison for Poverty – Part One

This season reminds us that there are a lot of things to be thankful for.

For instance, not having to go to jail for minor infractions like parking tickets.

But sadly, that’s not the reality for everyone. We live in a world where government and corporations continue to make money off of those who are poor, hungry and desperate.

To Prison for Poverty exposes two private probation companies who exploit and make million of dollars off of people who can’t afford small fines.

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A Real Story About Sex In Prison

Daniel Genis’s essay for Deadspin about his ten years in prison may surprise some people. If any of you have contrary experiences, let us know in the comments:

When I tell people that I recently finished serving a 10-year prison sentence for armed robbery, mostly in maximum-security facilities, I often feel a question lingering in the air. The moment I sense it, I try to respond to the awkward silence in some offhanded way, though it is hard to be blithe and whimsical when you’re telling people you were never raped in prison.

I can speak only for myself, but in my own time in the New York State system, I rarely saw or even heard about non-consensual sex between men. Perhaps I was just very lucky. Maybe I’d been incarcerated only in the “softer” corners of the penal system. Rape does happen, and all over any prison there are signs with a number to call to anonymously report it, which I always thought was less a matter of sodomy than of legal liability.

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Satanist Sues Jailers For Access to Whole Foods

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YOU MUST TRY THE QUINOA.

Whole, organic foods, not the grocery store, although that would be pretty funny. Everyone knows the devil has the best tunes. Must he also have the best foods?

via Satanic Panic! Devilish Dietary Demands In Nevada Prison – Who Forted? Magazine.

Alex C. Snelson, incarcerated in Nevada’s Washoe County Jail after being caught with some crystal, is exercising his rights as a religious minority. According to the pending federal suit, Alex claims he’s been denied access to whole foods, lacking mind-controlling substances like aspertame, and monosodium glutamate. Adding insult to injury, deputies at the facility have been mocking his requests, denying access.

 

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Mass Incarceration in the US

Check out this short animation about the problems with American prison policy.

via Youtube

It wasn’t easy to pick this topic, but I believe that America’s 40-year policy of mass incarceration is deeply unethical, not very effective, and promotes the security of the few at the expense of the many.

It’s hard for me, as a person who was born into privilege, to imagine the challenges convicted criminals face, often for crimes that are utterly non-violent.

If you’re feeling like you want to do something about this, I’m mostly just making this video as an informational resource and to encourage people to think of felons not as bad, scary people but just as people.

The people at The Prison Policy Initiative were very helpful in the creation of this video and if you want to learn more about their work and how to get involved go to http://www.prisonpolicy.org

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Future Drugs Will Allow Prisoners To Serve A ‘1,000-Year Sentence In 8 Hours’

jail-toiletHow will the worst villains of the future be made to atone for their crimes? Aeon Magazine speaks to University of Oxford professor Rebecca Roache, who hauntingly forecasts that punishment will someday revolve around the dilation of time:

As biotech companies pour billions into life extension technologies, some have suggested that our cruelest criminals could be kept alive indefinitely, to serve sentences spanning millennia. But private prison firms could one day develop drugs that make time pass more slowly, so that an inmate’s 10-year sentence feels like an eternity. One way or another, humans could soon be in a position to create an artificial hell.

Take someone convicted of a heinous crime. There are a number of psychoactive drugs that distort people’s sense of time, so you could imagine developing a pill or a liquid that made someone feel like they were serving a 1,000-year sentence.

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“They” Don’t Want You To Know About Author Kevin Trudeau Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison

TrudeauKevin Trudeau, the author of bestselling but highly dubious books like Natural Cures "They" Don't Want You To Know About  has been sentenced to ten years in prison reports CNN:
Kevin Trudeau, the television pitchman and author who amassed a fortune telling consumers his secrets about how to get free money, how to lose weight and how to cure a number of illnesses the natural way, is headed to federal prison. Trudeau, 51, was sentenced to 10 years on Monday for criminal contempt for violating a 2004 federal court order that prohibited him from making misleading infomercials and misrepresenting his weight-loss books. During Monday's sentencing hearing he also got a tongue-lashing from U.S. District Judge Ronald Guzman, according to the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago...
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The Mass Incarceration Telecommunications Industry

phonesFrom a Nation on the booming business of privatized prison profiteering:

The calls were expensive, more than a dollar per minute. In order to accept one, I had to set up a prepaid account with Global Tel* Link, or GTL, “The Next Generation of Correctional Technology.” If Tim called and my account was out of money, the automated voice would prompt me to replenish it via credit card, while he waited on the other line. “By accepting an inmate call, you acknowledge and agree that your conversation may be monitored and recorded,” the company advises.

For Tim’s relatives, this had been their reality for years. GTL makes more than $500 million a year exploiting families like his, who face the choice between paying exorbitant phone rates to keep in touch with incarcerated loved ones—up to $1.13 per minute—or simply giving up on regular phone calls. Like many other telecommunications companies that enjoy profitable monopolies on prison and jail contracts across the country, GTL wins its contracts by offering a kickback—or “commission”—to the prison or jail systems it serves.

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Missouri Police To Control Prisoners With 80,000-Volt “Stun Cuffs”

stun cuffsI’m guessing there are some prankster cops who are going to have a lot of fun using these. Missouri’s St. Joe Channel reports:

The Buchanan County Sheriff’s Department has a new piece of equipment that’s aimed at keeping inmates in special situations from getting into disciplinary problems.

Stun-Cuffs are strapped to the ankle or the wrist. Deputies in Buchanan County can use a remote control to send a shock straight into an offender’s extremities, at a range of 100 yards.

Stun-Cuffs can send 80,000 volts straight into an arm or a leg; and all inmates who require them will be told just how powerful they are before they’re strapped on.

Capt. Hovey says there’s still a few bugs and kinks to work out before the technology can be fully implemented. He hopes to get that going as soon as possible. A taser that’s strapped on? He says that is all the more reason for inmates to mind their manners.

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