“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...]

“How Guards Play the Retribution Game in Florida Prisons”: Fred Grimm

at the Miami Herald: Shawn “Jiggaman” Rogers must have seemed the perfect instrument for bloody retribution.Vicious, violent, angry, racist, known for his prison gang affiliations, known for his brutal attacks on other inmates, known to rape other prisoners, known for bragging about his status as a lifer with nothing to lose, Jiggaman, at 6-4 and 210 pounds, embodied all the attributes needed to fix a skinny, troublesome white punk like Ricky Martin.Martin, 24, a petty criminal near the … [Read more...]

“Your Home Is Your Prison”

and charge them for it: Beyond the physical and emotional burdens, those under monitoring often pay for their confinement in the most literal possible fashion. As Marissa Alexander discovered in Florida, private companies often exact fees from the people they're imprisoning. They average around $10-$15 per day -- in addition to installation costs and fees imposed for drug tests or other "services." Those unable to pay may be re-incarcerated in a cycle that harkens back to debtor's prison.By … [Read more...]

“The Effect of Police Body Cameras”: One Study

finds really impressive results: The results were that police use of force reports halved on shifts when police wore cameras. In addition, the use of force during the entire treatment period (on shifts both using and not using cameras) was about half the rate as during pre-treatment periods. In other words, the camera wearing shifts appear to have caused police to change their behavior on all shifts in a way that reduced the use of force. A treatment that bleeds over to the control group is bad … [Read more...]


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