LA County juvenile detainees’ letters to Pope Francis

We welcome their voices and publish the letters that will be read at a service Thursday evening with the Director of Novices and 11 Jesuit novices, each one washing the feet of an inmate at the juvenile hall where kids are sentenced as adults. more (via Tim Carney) … [Read more...]

“Cardinal Dolan Visits Maximum-Security Prison”

NYT: As Roman Catholics worldwide commemorate Holy Week, Cardinal Dolan chose Wednesday morning to visit the Shawangunk Correctional Facility, a maximum-security prison in the Hudson Valley town of Wallkill. The trip was one day before a scheduled visit by Pope Francis to a youth detention center in Rome, which the pope chose instead of the traditional visit to a basilica on the afternoon of Holy Thursday.Cardinal Dolan said that the new pope’s actions had “inspired me” to become a better bi … [Read more...]

“The Party of Prison Reform”: The Weekly Standard

Michael Hough—a second-term Republican state legislator from Frederick County, Md.—is about as conservative as blue-state legislators come. He played a prominent role in opposing the state’s new gay marriage law, holds an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association, and received a 100 percent score from the state’s business lobby.The major focus of his legislative agenda, however, crushes any stereotypes that might come to mind, given his résumé. Hough wants to reform America’s prisons and … [Read more...]

“The Conservative Case Against More Prisons”

AmCon strikes again! Although for more on drug courts you could see here. … [Read more...]

“Big Labor’s Lock ‘Em Up Mentality”: Mother Jones

feature: ...Yet whether prisons are public or private, preserving jobs generally means locking away as many people as possible for as long as possible—contrary to the goal of reducing mass incarceration. California's prison guards union, for example, was one of the primary sponsors of the proposition that brought about Three Strikes in the 1990s. In the aughts, the union opposed parole reform and vigorously campaigned to defeat politicians it regarded as soft on crime. It has also supported the … [Read more...]

“Prison and the Poverty Trap”: John Tierney

in the NYT: ...The shift to tougher penal policies three decades ago was originally credited with helping people in poor neighborhoods by reducing crime. But now that America’s incarceration rate has risen to be the world’s highest, many social scientists find the social benefits to be far outweighed by the costs to those communities.“Prison has become the new poverty trap,” said Bruce Western, a Harvard sociologist. “It has become a routine event for poor African-American men and their fami … [Read more...]

“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...]


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