Doctors and Policemen

From now on whenever I do or say something awful to somebody I'm gonna tell them, "But it's a form of therapy!"Story #1, from last year: "To Stay Out of Jail, Must Nonviolent Offenders Submit to Medical Diagnoses?" Last week, those favoring reductions in prison populations and their associated costs applauded Attorney General Eric Holder's announcement that he's seeking an end to mandatory minimum sentencing for nonviolent drug offenders. For administration critics who feel drug war reforms … [Read more...]

“Obama’s Big Idea: Let’s Hike Federal Cop Subsidies”

Walter Olson at Cato: President Obama’s newly announced police-reform package lives up to one’s worst expectations. He flatly refuses to curtail the federal police militarization program, instead calling for a big hike in federal spending on aid to local departments with the usual micromanaging strings attached. These strings will predictably make departments more responsive to Washington, and lobbies with clout there, as distinct from their local communities. As USA Today notes, one powerful in … [Read more...]

“Duped By Medill Innocence Project, Milwaukee Man Now Free”: Journal-Sentinel

reports: The first time I wrote about Alstory Simon, then a Milwaukee north sider, was in 1999, right after he confessed to a double murder in Chicago.Simon's shocking admission — not to police but to an investigator working for Northwestern University's Medill Innocence Project — led to the release and pardon of a man on death row for the crime, and ultimately to the death penalty being abolished in Illinois.Two years later, I wrote about Simon again. This time he had reached out to me … [Read more...]

No-Fly Zone Around Ferguson Was Totally Just to Keep Out the Press

I'm sure you're shocked: The U.S. government agreed to a police request to restrict more than 37 square miles of airspace surrounding Ferguson, Missouri, for 12 days in August for safety, but audio recordings show that local authorities privately acknowledged the purpose was to keep away news helicopters during violent street protests. more … [Read more...]

“The Gift Shop of the Dead”: I Visit the Museum of Crime and Punishment

for AmSpec: For the past twelve years I’ve volunteered at a crisis pregnancy center serving mainly low-income women in the District of Columbia, and I’ve noticed something about how our clients talk: Nobody ever says “prison.” Boyfriends, husbands, fathers, sons were never “locked up,” “in jail,” or “serving time”; they were always “incarcerated.” There is an unexpected poignancy to the bureaucratic term—a lacy Latinate word suffused with so much pain, as if standardization and abstraction coul … [Read more...]

From “Infinite Jest”

[Gately's] respected and well-liked by almost all the residents, which the House Manager says causes the veteran Staff some concern, because Gately's job is not to be these people's friend all the time. --from the description of the drug rehab halfway house; it's weird reading this book after having read so much about abusive and just pointless "treatment" at similarly 12-Step-only, non-research-based treatment centers in the real world. It's presented with wry irony here, but that … [Read more...]

Families of Miss. Inmates Pay Protection Money to Gangs and Guards to Keep Their Relatives Safe: Clarion-Ledger

reports: Families have paid thousands of dollars in "protection money" to inmates, gangs and guards to keep their loved ones from being harmed or killed behind bars.Days before last Christmas, Janet Stewart got a telephone call, asking if she wanted to see her son alive again.The caller wanted $400 and identified himself as an inmate at the Wilkinson County Correctional Facility — the same prison where her son was serving time.She took the threat seriously. Gang members had already b … [Read more...]


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