Prison Visits Under Threat, “Hamilton” Behind Bars, Art & the NYPD: Three Links from a Criminal Justice System

"Prison visits helped prepare me for life after release. Why are they under threat?": Leaving prison was one of the hardest times in my life. Re-entry is like falling out of a plane: it’s hard to land on your feet. Before I even left, six-plus years at York Correctional Institution developed in me an inability to function in a non-carceral environment. But I owe it to prison visiting rooms – which allowed some contact with the outside world – that my re-entry wasn’t as bad as it could have been. … [Read more...]

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Virginia’s Drunk on Power, Detroit Is Getting Some Sunshine, And Three More Links from a Criminal Justice System

In the continuing saga of am I the only person who remembers the '90s, seriously people, am I going crazy?, let's look at Hillary Clinton in her historical context: ...The word “superpredator” is part of the long lineage of language used to strip black people of their humanity in order to justify treating them inhumanely. It became popular because it put a clever name to what was already in the air, and this dehumanization has had real, material consequences. It is why black children are seen as … [Read more...]

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A Principal, A Senator, And Two Stories of Second Chances

I'm esp struck by the role of Christian faith in both of these pieces.Nancy Hanks, "A Principal Met a Student She Expelled, And It Changed Her Approach to Discipline": ...I prayed for forgiveness for that time and any other time I betrayed the privilege given to me to be a steward and protector over the children I serve. For anytime I never just let my students just be kids. Goofy, carefree kids that make mistakes — sometimes big and sometimes small. For holding kids to standards that I d … [Read more...]

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Five (Or Seven) Links from a Criminal Justice System: Art, Emus, Criminalization of Poverty. But Hey, Emus!

"Rarely Seen Images of the Real San Quentin": The pictures, for the most part, are prosaic, like outtakes from a yearbook photo shoot. One shows five members of an amateur rock band. Another depicts uniformed football players gathered for a team photo. In yet another, a man is shown carving an ice sculpture. Occasionally, though, the subject matter is much darker.One photo comes with caption information: “Martinez Killed in Yard, 1963.” It shows empty bleachers and what appears to be blood s … [Read more...]

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Don’t Medicalize My Eschaton: Five Links from a Criminal Justice System

Let's start with an op-ed in the Gotham Gazette showing how easy it is to camouflage increased punishment and surveillance as "support services": "More Evidence Punitive NYPD Youth Programs Fail":This week the New York Times revealed the content of an internal NYPD report showing that a much lauded juvenile crime program doesn’t work. It’s yet another example of misguided punitive policing, offering little by way of actual progress. Originally developed under the title “Juvenile Robbery Inte … [Read more...]

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Five Links from a Criminal Justice System: Modern Dance, The Rise and Fall of Restorative Justice in a NY Town, And the Top Stories of 2016

I'm super breaking my supposed rule that I won't link to the Marshall Project here because you should be following them on Twitter. You should be following them on Twitter! And you can donate to their work here. Anyway, check out their "Next Year in Criminal Justice":The challenge at the end of any year on any beat is to make sense of the great majority of stories that fall somewhere in the middle. What’s going to “trend” in 2016 in criminal justice, and what’s not, and how can anyone possibl … [Read more...]

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“Discipline and Rupture at Christmas”: I read Foucault

for AmCon:There are authors whose work so permeates our intellectual atmosphere that by the time we get around to reading them (instead of just gesturing at them), they’re simultaneously familiar and revelatory. This Advent I’m finally reading Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, and Jean-Pierre de Caussade’s Abandonment to Divine Providence. They’re unexpectedly in harmony; and their harmony, it turns out, is a carol.more … [Read more...]

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