“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...]

“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...]


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