Video Killed the Video Star: Short Movie Reviews

Blonde Venus: This is a severely odd movie. Dir. Josef von Sternberg. Cabaret star Marlene Dietrich is wooed, won, and whisked off to America by Herbert Marshall... but when she has to return to her nightclub job and Cary Grant starts tiptoeing around, all bets are off. Going in I only knew this as "the one where Dietrich sings in a gorilla suit" but maybe the most memorable part of it is the extended passage in which she tries to avoid losing custody of her child due to homelessness. The ending … [Read more...]

When Inmates Write the History of Their Own Prison: Slate

reports: Recently, a group of women currently incarcerated at the 142-year-old institution (now called the Indiana Women’s Prison) began to pore over documents from the prison’s first 10 years. They had set out on an ambitious project: to write a history of the institution’s founding decade, one that tells quite a different story from the official narrative. What happens when inmates write a history of their own prison? In this case, the perspective that the group brought to the project took wha … [Read more...]

A Criminal Justice System: Link Round-Up

Depending on how you've calibrated your expectations, some of these might be construed as hopeful!Others not so much.1. "Fourteen Years After Decriminalizing All Drugs, Here's What Portugal Looks Like":In 2001, the Portuguese government did something that the United States would find entirely alien. After many years of waging a fierce war on drugs, it decided to flip its strategy entirely: It decriminalized them all. If someone is found in the possession of less than a 10-day supply … [Read more...]

“Does Decriminalization Work?”: Really Solid Interview at Slate

asking the right questions: After three decades of watching the incarceration rate climb to unprecedented heights, Americans seem ready to usher in a new era of leniency. Some legislators are pushing to eliminate mandatory sentencing minimums for nonviolent drug offenders. Others are calling for the federal prison population to be slashed by letting some prisoners out early. Others still are advocating for incarcerated juveniles to be treated less harshly. Meanwhile, states all over the country … [Read more...]

“Detroit’s ‘Walking Man’ Walks On”: Vice

reports: ...That's how it's been for a decade for James Robertson, Detroit's Walking Man. Twenty miles a day. One-hundred miles a week. More than 5,000 miles a year. In total, the equivalent of two trips around Earth. In that time, Robertson has never missed a day of work."I just believe a man should work," he told me. "Work takes care of your soul. The rest takes care of itself."This outlook may have made Robertson rich in spirit, but it has not made him rich in fact. He can't afford a … [Read more...]

“America’s Imperial Mental Illness”: I’m in AmCon

reading Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche. I finally got around to Ethan Watters’s 2010 Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche, an exposé of the exporting of American concepts of mental illness.Watters writes with justified outrage about the corporations, humanitarian organizations, and mass media which have acted as pushers of both drugs and therapies. He depicts charities descending on post-tsunami Sri Lanka, ignoring local cultural practices and ba … [Read more...]

Company That Sells Video Visiting for Prisoners Pushes Jails to Eliminate Face-to-Face Visits

surprise surprise! While Securus is feeling the heat in its phone business, it is moving into new sectors to secure profits. The most lucrative investment appears to be video visiting, a new technological frontier where the company already has a foothold. Video visits from home can be of much benefit to families, especially for those whose loved ones are incarcerated in remote locations, where so many prisons lie. However, as with phones, Securus' main focus is not providing access, but … [Read more...]


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