“Needing My Neighbor”: Great piece by Matthew Loftus

“I’ve always wanted to help people.” My medical school application essay opened with those words, and when I came to Baltimore at age twenty to start my medical training, I was dead-set on helping people in Africa. After two years of attending church in the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood, though, I fell in love with the community, so my wife and I decided to move into the neighborhood in 2009. I admired the work my church there was doing to deal with the poverty, racism, and institutional negle … [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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“The Inmate Who Exposed Florida Prisons’ Culture of Cruelty”: Completely riveting

Miami Herald profile: Harold Hempstead is a man with two conflicting narratives. One is a criminal past that sent him to prison for life. The other, a courageous pursuit of justice that has shaken the corrupt and crumbling foundation of Florida’s prison system.Hempstead didn’t set out to be a hero and, perhaps to some people, he isn’t a hero at all. But it is likely that no one would have ever known about the death of a mentally ill inmate named Darren Rainey, or about the systemic culture o … [Read more...]

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“Whistleblower Prison Guard Paid the Price for Reporting Abuse”

Sts Processus and Martinian, patrons of prison guards (and jailers of Sts Peter and Paul), pray for him--and for all those involved in this story: ...The brutal encounter, focal point of a civil lawsuit settled by the DOC last month, was eerily similar to another cell extraction at Charlotte in 2014, except that it ended in the death of an inmate, Matthew Walker. Last week, a Charlotte County grand jury said there wasn’t enough evidence to bring criminal charges against the officers involved in … [Read more...]

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“Love Is a Losing Game”: I review an Amy Winehouse documentary

for AmCon: It’s impossible to describe Amy Winehouse’s voice. Crackly, crimson, fractured and sultry: That’s just the scratchy surface. “Amy,” the new documentary from director Asif Kapadia, delves into the jazz chanteuse’s troubled life and early death, but never forgets to show us Winehouse’s talent and craft—and her gentleness.“Amy” plays like a defense brief. There are villains: Winehouse’s father Mitchell, her husband Blake, and the paparazzi. The movie takes Winehouse’s own narrative a … [Read more...]

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The Literature of Contempt: Some Rambling About DFW and Dostoyevsky

Over the holiday weekend I read through pretty much the entire Mockingbird archive of posts tagged "David Foster Wallace." Meanwhile I'm reading The Idiot for the third time (and finally retaining something other than the "worst thing you ever did" party game, I hope...) and slowly gnawing through Игрок (The Gambler) in Russian class. If you ever want to notice how super-contemptuous (презрительнейший! чрезвычайно презрительнейший!) both of these writers can get about everybody in the entire worl … [Read more...]

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Police Shootings of the Mentally Ill: The Washington Post

from their series on killings by police: ...“I want to shoot the cops,” Page slurred to the dispatcher, prodding his stepdaughter to confirm that, yes, he had a gun. “I want them to shoot me.”Minutes later, Page’s death wish was granted. Two Clay County sheriff’s deputies arrived to find that he had taken a neighbor hostage. They opened fire, striking him five times in the torso and once in the head. Page’s gun later turned out to be a starter pistol, loaded only with blanks. His threats of … [Read more...]

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