Tag Archives | Prisons

Have Prisons Become The Mass Housing Of Our Time?

Via Creative Time Reports, aerial photographer Christoph Gielen on prisons as the new housing boom:

Since 1980, when the U.S. prison population began to increase dramatically, Americans have been living in an era of mass incarceration, which Jeremy Travis, president of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, has called one of the “greatest social experiments of our time.” The Spatial Information Design Lab, a think- and action-tank at Columbia University, goes so far as asking, “have prisons and jails become the mass housing of our time?”

I want to illustrate how prison design and architecture do in fact reflect political discourse, economic priorities, cultural sentiments and social insecurities, and how, in turn, these constructed environments also become statements about a society.

The opportunity to visually examine these restricted locations is significant; while some (low-resolution) satellite images of prison complexes are available in the public domain, the public cannot inspect Supermax facilities on the ground.

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The Likely Effect Of Obama’s Move To Put Armed Officers In Schools

The tragedy of American mass shootings inspires terrible choices. Regarding the president’s move to encourage the further policification of schools, Unprison writes:

The 18th Executive Order signed by President Obama is to provide incentives (and funding) for schools to have police oversee the children. This will create results.

School police, known as “Resource Officers” (perhaps for easier digestion) have been key builders of the School to Prison Pipeline. The fistfights and the joint in the bathroom do not result in detention or suspension anymore: now they are imprisonment, expulsion, and an often insurmountable mountain to climb towards any “normal” adult lifestyle.

A 2011 report by Justice Police Institute [suggests] that the overall damage to a community is not justified by the vague possibility that the school is safer. In fact, there are indications that the police actually lead to increased violence in schools.

Children have been the fastest growing segment in the industry of prisoners.

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Blocking Prison Construction With A Makeshift Schoolhouse

Decarcerate PA creates a surreal scene in its effort to impede the construction of a new state correctional facility:
Early morning November 19, seven members of Decarcerate PA set up school desks, banners, and a little red schoolhouse to block the entrance to the prison construction site in Montgomery County. They then sat at the desks, linking arms and refusing to move or allow construction vehicles onto the sight. Construction was delayed for over an hour before all seven protesters were arrested and taken away. The new prisons are being built on the grounds of SCI Graterford in Montgomery County. If completed, they will cost $400 million and house 4,100 people. We believe these prisons must be stopped, and that the money should be reinvested in our schools and communities.
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For-Profit Prison Corporation Accused Of Partnering With Violent Gangs To Run Jail

Corrections Corporation of America is accused of using targeted prison gang violence as a cost-saving measure, ThinkProgress reports:

A lawsuit brought by eight inmates of the Idaho Correctional Center alleges that the company is cutting back on personnel costs by partnering with violent prison gangs to help control the facility. Court documents and an investigative report issued by the state’s Department of Corrections show how guards routinely looked the other way when gang members violated basic facility rules, negotiated with gang leaders on the cell placement of new inmates, and may have even helped one group of inmates plan a violent attack on members of a rival gang.

The inmates contend that officials at the prison — the state’s largest, with more than 2,000 beds — use gang violence and the threat of gang violence as an “inexpensive device to gain control over the inmate population,” according to the lawsuit, and foster and develop criminal gangs.”

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New York To Use Jails As Homes For Those Displaced By Hurricane Sandy

If your home had no heat or electricity with winter approaching, would you consider being herded into jail? Russia Today reports:

With nowhere else to go, New Yorkers displaced by Hurricane Sandy may have no choice but to sleep in jails. The Arthur Kill Correction Facility on Staten Island may serve as a temporary home for up to 900 displaced victims of the storm. The medium-security prison was closed last December and with some fixing up, it could once again be fully functional.

As many as 40,000 New Yorkers are in need of shelter from extreme weather and rapidly decreasing temperatures, the city estimates, as the winter months approach. About 434,140 homes are currently still without power in the region that was in Hurricane Sandy’s path – mostly in New York and New Jersey. ­About 100,000 homes and businesses will remain without power for the next several months, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Friday in a news conference.

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Henry Rollins Direct from the Death Chambers

Henry Rollins is visiting 50 states with a politically-themed talk show, "Capitalism," culminating with an election-eve performance in Washington D.C. on November 5th. This two-month tour stops in each state capital. We thought disinfonauts would like to check out episode no. 23, in which Henry visits Missouri State Penitentiary. With help from Bill Green, who used to be a guard at the Penitentiary, Henry discovers the cells, the grounds, and even where 35 inmates were given their death sentences.
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A New Panopticon For The Age Of Prison Labor

Post London riots last year, conservative commentators worried that England’s jails resembled a “holiday camp” with too much leisure and not enough unpaid work. Architect Alexis Kalli’s HMPark Life is a set of blueprints and renderings for a hypothetical, fantastical new prison complex, based in part on Dante’s Inferno, to fulfill the needs of today’s society:

With a Government forcing inmates to work a full week for virtually no pay in order to earn their keep, ‘HMPark Life’ is a new prison located in Brockwell Park, South London. It questions this drive to turn a prison population into a cheap labour force, one that works not just to provide skills in the name of ‘rehabilitation’ but forces offenders to be visibly productive and punished to quench the public’s ever present blood thirst for justice.

A public viewing platform perched on the prison’s main circulation core provides an ideal point from which to survey the throng of productive inmates, leaving the public with that sense of satisfaction.

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The California Department Of Corrections Wishes You A Happy Independence Day

What does freedom mean to you? In a much talked about Facebook post, the California Department of Corrections rang in the 4th of July with the below caption and image of a prisoner sewing American flags at ten cents an hour, which they saw as a cheery and appropriate way to commemorate a day celebrating the values of America:

Happy Independence Day from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation! (Photo: A female inmate works on an American flag while working in the Prison Industries Authority Fabrics program at the Central California Women’s Facility.)

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Georgia To Open Prison Just For Veterans

index.phpFrom one system of ridgidly-imposed discipline and control to another ... Russia Today reports:
Authorities in Muscogee County, Georgia say they’ve found a great way to let veterans of US wars share their experience with one another. It’ll just happen behind steel bars and under lock and key. Officials from the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office recently held a press conference to discuss once of the department’s newest endeavors and they believe that it is the first of its kind in the country. Tucked in a corner of the county jail in rural Georgia is a dormitory specifically reserved to house inmates that have fought for America. There ought to be a place in our city that provides a facility where veterans can stay for a period of time while being treated, physically and mentally," Ret. Col. Roy Plummer said, reports the local Ledger-Enquirer...
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