Tag Archives | Prison

Guerrilla Radio: How some prison inmates hack, rewire, and retool their radios to create walkie-talkies

Take notes from this Marshall Project post: you’ll want to retool your radio too come the Apocalypse:

Prisoners face numerous restrictions when communicating with one another or the outside world. But where there is a rule, there is often a workaround. At Pelican Bay State Prison in Northern California, inmates have yelled to one another through drainpipes under their cells; inmates in Texas talk through cans connected with twine; and in facilities throughout the country, little paper notes — known as “kites” — are literally handed off. As technology has developed, so have the communication methods; cell phones and iPods are regularly smuggled to inmates by visitors and guards. And occasionally, the technology is already inside the prison. Some inmates have learned how to transform their radios into devices that allow them to talk to each other and even eavesdrop on guards.

Radionette kurer transi back.png

Once an inmate has purchased an analog radio from the prison commissary (they usually cost less than $30), he can open it up and pull apart a coil, which changes the range of frequency that the radio can access.

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States Predict Prison Inmates’ Future Crimes With Secret Surveys

I can’t decide if this is despicably Orwellian or actually quite sensible. Comments anyone? From AP:

States are trying to reduce prison populations with secretive, new psychological assessments to predict which inmates will commit future crimes and who might be safe to release, despite serious problems and high-profile failures, an Associated Press investigation found.

Tucker Unit - Maximum Security.jpg

“Tucker Unit – Maximum Security” by Richard Apple (CC)

 

These programs are part of a national, data-driven movement to drive down prison populations, reduce recidivism and save billions. They include questionnaires often with more than 100 questions about an offender’s education, family, income, job status, history of moving, parents’ arrest history — or whether he or she has a phone. A score is affixed to each answer and the result helps shape how the offender will be supervised in the system — or released from custody.

Used for crimes ranging from petty thievery to serial murders, these questionnaires come with their own set of risks, according to the AP’s examination.

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America Is Really Good At Putting People Behind Bars

It’s no secret that the United States’ incarceration rate has gone through the roof, but FiveThirtyEight has some statistics that prove the point, and then some:

There are 2.3 million Americans in prison or jail. The U.S. has 5 percent of the world’s population but 25 percent of its prisoners. One in three black men can expect to spend time in prison. There are 2.7 million minors with an incarcerated parent. The imprisonment rate has grown by more than 400 percent since 1970.

US federal prison population

Pick a stat, any stat. They all tell you the same thing: America is really good at putting people behind bars.

It’s supposed to help the country reduce crime in two ways: incapacitation — it’s hard to be a habitual offender while in prison — or deterrence — people scared of prison may do their best to not end up there.

But recent research suggests that incarceration has lost its potency. A reportreleased this week from the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law finds that increased incarceration has had a very limited effect on crime over the past two and a half decades.

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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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