“Prisons and the Body of Christ”: Jason Byassee

review of several books; from 2009, but still very much worth your time: I bailed my mom out of jail once. She made her one phone call not to a lawyer or adult friend, but to her son. "Come get me, I'm in the lockup in Raleigh," she said. I asked a friend old enough to drive to take me out there. I couldn't have been older than fourteen.The cop behind the desk tried to comfort me. The white kid from the suburbs didn't represent his normal constituency, I'm guessing. "Assault can mean a lot … [Read more...]

“How to Solve Homelessness: The Mundane Miracles of the Doe Fund”

On his own initiative, and with the help of a lawyer friend who played fundraiser, George McDonald started going to the corner of 43rd St. and Vanderbilt every night at 10 p.m. and feeding the homeless. While he was doing this, the crack epidemic struck. Small mountain of crack vials covered the streets. He was dealing with desperate and dangerous addicts. In the course of running his ad hoc and officially unsanctioned program, he was arrested several times (though never convicted) for … [Read more...]

“Johnny Cash and His Prison Reform Campaign”

On 26 July 1972, three grizzled-looking men dressed uneasily in suits gave evidence at a US Senate subcommittee on prison reform. Two of the men were former inmates of some of the toughest prisons in the US - the third was the country and western singer, Johnny Cash.Cash's famous live albums recorded at Folsom Prison and San Quentin are the stuff of music legend - likely to feature on any critic's list of defining albums of the 1960s.But it's much less well-known that these were only two … [Read more...]

“Solitary Confinement Is Topic for Humanities Institute”

NYT: Mr. Bauer, however, answered carefully when asked if he’d rather be in solitary in Iran or at Pelican Bay State Prison, the supermax facility in Crescent City, Calif., whose conditions he recently described in an investigative report for Mother Jones. Some prisoners at Pelican Bay, he noted, have been in solitary for more than 20 years. “It’s unimaginable to me, having had a glimpse of that experience,” he said. more … [Read more...]

Same wing… better gremlins

Lists of conservatives or other right-wingers whom you should know: David Brooks, a reader of Rod Dreher (I'm mentioned in this one). I echo the praise for Megan McArdle, Tim Carney, Ross Douthat, Daniel Larison/AmCon generally (I am not being paid to tell you that!), Ramesh Ponnuru on domestic policy, and Radley Balko. You might also be interested in this piece about 'wingers vs. mass incarceration, although I admit that I still haven't finished it.Not sure how many names I can add to these … [Read more...]

“Ancient Prescriptions for New Prisons”

This article is heavily filtered through multiple stages of observation and interpretation. And it's hard to draw policy prescriptions from broad comparisons between different countries--we're often told that we should adopt wholesale the policies of France or Sweden, or in this case Israel, and these prescriptions usually ignore at least some of the reasons we haven't done that already. But I hope Rabbi Adlerstein's article helps expand what we think is possible and desirable in prisons: Can … [Read more...]

“Criminal Justice, Civil Liberties Issues Missing from 2012 Campaign”

Radley Balko with a must-read roundup post. Balko is such a hero. … [Read more...]


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