“Humiliation and Reconciliation”: I’m at AmCon

as usual I seem to have kept the most important stuff for the last three paragraphs, but here's the opener: My poolside reading this July has been Mary C. Mansfield’s 1995 work The Humiliation of Sinners: Public Penance in Thirteenth-Century France. The book illuminates human questions we still have not resolved with stories from civilizational past. You don’t have to care as much about the Rogation dragon as I do to see echoes of Mansfield’s medieval world in our own rituals of public abase … [Read more...]

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Who Is Doing Good Ministry to Corrections Officers?

Last Saturday was the feast of Sts Processus and Martinian, patrons of wardens, guards, and prison police. Legend says that they were the jailers of St Peter and St Paul, who were converted when the apostles were miraculously freed (Acts 16).This got me wondering. In certain Christian circles we hear a lot about prison ministry. Visiting prisoners is one the basic Catholic corporal works of mercy. Pope Francis has been phenomenal when it comes to loving the prisoners in his flock--it's not … [Read more...]

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Movie Must-Watch Notes: Abuse of Power Comes as a TOTAL Surprise!

OK, first of all I have to tell you that I saw Tickled and I want you to go see it without knowing much about it. I went in knowing that it was a documentary about "competitive endurance tickling" and the filmmaker uncovers... something? a weird thing? the story is weirder than it sounds? So I assumed it would be a story about a subculture, maybe about how we build community or identity off of inexplicable and sometimes sad things.NOPE. It starts out very, very funny, and the humor is … [Read more...]

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“Moral Reconation Theory”: The Bizarre, Creepy Made-Up Religion Used to Re-Educate American Prisoners

like, the Scientology and Goldman Sachs stuff is not even the weirdest or most disturbing stuff in this piece: ...I wanted to find out more about this strange book that has been forced on a million people in the prison system, this book that uses terms and ideas from Scientology and tells people that their immoral personalities are responsible for their substance use, their incarceration and their unhappiness.But for an organization that purports to seek to help as many people as pos … [Read more...]

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Four Links from a Criminal Justice System: Aftermath Edition (With Funk/Soul)

There is funk/soul at the end of this post. Delayed gratification, I've heard of it but I don't think it really exists.Racial bias in risk-assessment software: ...Prater was the more seasoned criminal. He had already been convicted of armed robbery and attempted armed robbery, for which he served five years in prison, in addition to another armed robbery charge. Borden had a record, too, but it was for misdemeanors committed when she was a juvenile.Yet something odd happened when Borden … [Read more...]

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“The Convict-Bourgeois”: My Hans Fallada Rediscovery Piece, Which I Want You All to Read

The two biggest things I left out here (mostly due to space constraints): Fallada always gives you a laugh. He has the satirist's eye for absurdity. His humor is pretty much always also horror (you can make a case that Expressionism influenced him, & horror fans will find a lot of scenes that use genre techniques like "the things that should not be") and so it turns up even in his Nazi prison diary. The whole vignette he opens the diary with, about the night of the Reichstag fire, is a … [Read more...]

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Five Links from a Criminal Justice System: Corrections and Overcorrections

"The Myth that Fewer People Are Going to Prison": John Pfaff, a legal scholar at Fordham University, pointed out the paradox in a series of tweets on Tuesday. While more people are being sent to prison than in 2010, the total population declined because prisoners are serving shorter terms, partly as a result of lawmakers' efforts to reduce minimum sentences. The reduced sentencing are welcome for convicts and their families, but incarceration is not affecting fewer lives. more; also, did Cal … [Read more...]

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