“Can Prison Help Convicts?”: A Panel Answers a Lot of Questions (But Not the One It Asked)

So a couple weeks ago I watched this videoand it's an interesting intro to a lot of prison-related issues. I don't think it answered the question in its title, which is fine since a) Dostoyevsky already did that (twice!) and b) Dostoyevsky's answer is basically, "That's not a question that makes sense." A few notes:So Tim Carney's interlocutors are these two guys who have both served time for politics-related chicanery. The conservative one is full of bonhomie; the liberal one is … [Read more...]

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Five Links from a Criminal Justice System: Better DAs, Union vs. Heroism, Divisive Forgiveness, The Treatment-Industrial Complex, And What About the Crime Problem?

"How to Run Against a Tough-on-Crime District Attorney--And Win": District attorneys and the prosecutors who work for them are the most powerful actors in the American criminal justice system. They enjoy immense latitude in deciding what crimes to charge people with and how much prison time to push for. And yet their role in the growth of the country’s prison population, which went from less than 200,000 in 1972 to 1.5 million today, often goes unacknowledged as policymakers in Washington d … [Read more...]

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Prison Photos and Pepper Spray in Schools: Five Links from a Criminal Justice System

"Photos of 1960s US Prison System Attempt to Show that Inmates Are Us": Lyon's images are an echo of an earlier time, a time when uniforms were white and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was doing time. But the photos also serve as a dark omen, of a prison-industrial complex that would only grow more hungry, more unjust, more powerful. "The prison changed me a lot, and not in the way I could have predicted," Lyon said. "There is an expression about dope, 'Once the needle goes in, it never comes … [Read more...]

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Five Links from a Criminal Justice System: Meeting Your Kidnappers, Keeping Mothers Out of Prison, Putting Cops in Schools, And Gullah Amends

Most of these links have a theme of "aftermath," I guess."What Happened After My Kidnapping":Hello, my name is Brad Pearson. In March 2006, you were one of three people who kidnapped me in West Philadelphia.I’m writing this letter not because I’m angry at you, or upset, or hurt. The opposite, actually. While the kidnapping and investigation were difficult for me, in the end they made me a stronger man.I’m a magazine writer now, and I’ve always hoped to talk to you and Jerry and Mo … [Read more...]

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Five Links from a Criminal Justice System

These are fairly random, a grab-bag of the things that caught my attention from the huge heap of powerful writing on cops, prisons etc being done today. So I urge you all to follow PrisonCulture and the Marshall Project on twitter. After this post I'll only post links I'm pretty sure I didn't find through them. Okay, let's go. The theme for this post is, "Like love, original sin and structural racism will find a way," or, Things That Aren't Solutions."Chain Gang 2.0: If You Can't Afford This … [Read more...]

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Five Links from a Criminal Justice System

I'm gonna do this so it gets progressively cheerier as it goes on. The last link is about oppressed people on a party ship prison ship into awesome koalaland exile so uh this subject only gets so cheery. But it's a terrific link, you should scroll."Man Jailed for Traffic Ticket Dies in Cell After 17 Days of Torture. Guards Watched It Happen": It was a death sentence.David Stojcevski, a 32-year-old resident of Roseville, Michigan, was arrested for failing to pay a $772 fine stemming from … [Read more...]

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“Et in Academia, Ego”: I review “Bradstreet Gate”

for the University Bookman: Death and defeat haunt the college novel. College novels—whether they focus on students or professors—typically tell a story in which the shining promises of academia prove not only false but absurd. College promises insight; college novels display the blankness of human depravity. College proclaims the power of reason and dialogue; college novels expose irrational passions and farcical miscommunication. College exalts the life of the mind, while the college novel is … [Read more...]

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