PrisonWatchTM vs. Timesizing ®
[Commentary] © 2003-2015 Timesizing.com, POB 117, Cambridge MA 02238 USA 617-623-8080 - HOMEPAGE
Problem - We've made it harder to earn an honest living than a dishonest one. How? We're constantly swelling our crowd of anxious jobseekers. How? By responding to higher levels of worksaving technology by cutting jobs while keeping the workweek frozen at the pre-computer level of 1940 (40hrs/wk). And it's a short distance from anxiety to desperation. And desperate people turn to crime. Result? At over 2,200,000 Americans incarcerated, we have the world's biggest prison population right here in the "Land of the Free" (see 3/01/2013 story below) up from 2,166,260 in 2003 (see 7/28/2003).
Every day, our news media are reporting violent crimes involving guns, easy access to which is supported by the National Rifle Assoc. even though every police department in the land supports gun control. And even though we know that "nothing stops a bullet like a job" (Jesuit Father Greg Boyle, see "LA priest expands project for gangs" by Laura Wides AP via Boston Globe ca.12/05/2004). Now before jumping into the news clips, consider:
Now, articles and letters about prisons and prisoners from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), New York Times (NYT) and other media -
- Woman charged in robbery attempt, AP via 1/02/2000 Boston Globe, p.A6.
Olathe, Kansas - A bank robbery-turned-hostage standoff ended early yesterday... The suspect was charged..with brandishing a firearm. 'I had nothing to lose,' the woman..said in a phonecall during the standoff. 'I lost it all, lost my job, lost my family.'
- By privatizing our prisons to companies like Wackenhut and Blackwater, we've created "America's inner gulag" (see 3/07/99 story) and given parts of our private sector "corporate growth" and makework incentives to criminalize as many Americans as possible regardless of their actual guilt, thus creating gulag capitalism. Never mind "gulag communism" in Russia - to find the "evil empire" we just have to look in the mirror. In some Southern U.S. towns, every adult black male is in jail. This problem has only gotten worse since Ben Bagdikian's 1972 book, "The Shame of the Prisons" (Pocket Books, based on a Washington Post investigation). And guess what all this is doing to our taxes.
- Four great websites: *Families Against Mandatory Minimums, and *Drug Policy Alliance, and *timeline of US drug policy evolution (finder's credit to Mari Hernandez, Outreach Director, Center for Behavioral Health & Statistics & Quality), and *voices from "inside" (finder's credit to Susan Mortimer of Somerville MA).
6/20/2015 1 prison story - more recent stories appear on our homepage archives as they make the front pages of (mostly) the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times; for example, scan down to our PRISONS section on Feb.23-24 - and then we copy a few striking stories here, such as this -
- Jailhouse nation - 2.3 million reasons to fix America's prison problem, The Economist magazine of London, cover story.
[R.I.P..."Land of the Free."]
2/27/2015 1 prison story - more recent stories appear on our homepage archives as they make the front pages of (mostly) the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times; for example, scan down to our PRISONS section on Feb.23-24 - and then we copy a few striking stories here, such as this -
- Ex-convict seeks return to prison, AP via Bsoton Globe, A2 [[finder's credit to colleague Kate].
A former convict who robbed a bank hoping he'd be sent back to prison told a judge he wanted to plead guilty only it he got the maximum 8-year sentence.
David Potchen, 53, said he was desperate after losing his job and the room at a Gary, Ind., motel where he was living, the Post-Tribune reported. He admitted handing a teller a note asking for $5 and $10 bills at a bank in June.
"Once I ran out of money, I couldn't bear the thought of losing everything again," Potchen, a welder with 20 years experience, told the judge on Wednesday. "I went inside, took the money, sat on the curb, and waited for them (police) to come."
Potchen had served a sentence in connection with a 2001 bank robbery. Judge Clarence Murray said he found it disturbing that someone would want to serve the maximum sentence. Potchen said no one would hire him because of his criminal history, and he said he decided to rob the bank after spending a night in the woods.
"I hope to God someone reads about this and offers some help to you," Murray said. "You're not a throwaway, Mr. Potchen. You have value, sir."
[Not under Leansizing Capitalism and a pre-robotics 1940 conception of "full time" employment. Seldom does the connection between surplus labor=high unemployment and crime=prison costs get so undeniable.]
3/01/2013 1 prison story - more recent stories appear on our homepage archives as they make the front pages of (mostly) the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times; for example, scan down to our PRISONS section on Feb.23-24 - and then we copy a few striking stories here, such as this -
- The prison problem - Sociologist Bruce Western rethinks incarceration in America, by Elizabeth Gudrais, Harvard Magazine Mar-Apr, p.38-43.
...More than 2.2 million Americans are incarcerated... The nonprofit Human Rights Watch found that 56% of U.S. inmates are mentally ill..\..
Bruce Western..is studying what happens to prisoners after their release and has..to interview Jerry.\.who has served 25 years for armed robbery and aggravated rape [and] was released two months ago... Jerry confides..that he's had trouble sleeping at the shelter for homeless veterans where he lives: he isn't used to other people in his sleeping space. Inside the medium-security prison, inmates fought all day long..but "when the cell door would click closed at night, that was the only time you were safe..." [But] at the shelter's dorm-style room full of bunk beds with people moving around all night, Jerry is constantly on edge [ie: sleep-deprived]... The outside world brings..the sudden need to make dozens of small decisions each day, when [inside] prisoners were expected to do as they were told. "Adaptive behavior in prison is maladaptive behavior outside," explains Marieke Liem, a postdoctoral fellow at Bruce Western's Harvard Kennedy School program. She is investigating the effects of long-term incarceration and prisoners' reentry using data from the United States and her native Netherlands. In both her study and Western's subjects have said they simply can't cope on the outside - that going back to prison seems comforting and familiar...
[And there's free food and healthcare, meaning we have made it more attractive for more and more people to earn a dishonest living than an honest one as our CEOs keep downsizing instead of timesizing.]
5/29/2009 1 prison story - more recent stories appear on our homepage archives as they make the front pages of (mostly) the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times; for example, scan down to our PRISONS section on Feb.23-24 - and then we copy a few striking stories here, such as this -
- "Last Word" - Inmates Go Green, Nightly Business Report via NBR Transcripts via pbs.org - Miami FL, USA.
SUZANNE PRATT: Finally tonight, a story from the "every little bit helps save money in this recession" department. The sheriff of Sandusky County in Ohio has come up with a way to save $75,000 in jail costs. He's making the inmates grow their own food! The prisoners planted an acre and a half of fruits and vegetables earlier this month. The harvest will end up in the jail's kitchens. And it sounds like they could use it, Jeff. This same sheriff already banned pancakes from breakfast to save money.
YASTINE: Every dollar counts. I guess waffles are next.
PRATT: Well, if I could get my kids to eat their vegetables, I'd be happy.
12/27/2008 1 prison story -
- Dependent on jail, city of immigrants [Central Falls RI] fills cells with its own, by Nina Bernstein, NYT, front page.
12/28/2007 1 prison story -
6/28/2007 1 prison story -
- Prison healthcare costs outpace Calif. inmate population, by Jordan Rau, LA Times via Boston Globe, 21.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - ...Healthcare spending in [California] prisons has doubled in the last two years.... The Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation's budget has exploded by 79% to $8.5B \since Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's election [four years ago] in 2003\ and is expected to top $10B next year..\.. The prison population has [only] grown by 8% since then, to more than 173,000 inmates....
[So their prison population has grown maybe 4% in the last two years?]
7/26/2004 1 longer prison story (shorter ones now stay on our general badnews page or oftener, on our homepage or homepage archives) -
- U.S. prison population grew 2.8% last year, by Paul Leavitt with wire reports, USA Today, 9A.
U.S. prisons and jails added more than 42,000 inmates last year, the largest increase since 2000, the Justice Dept.'s Bureau of Justice Statistics reported. The total number of people incarcerated by federal or state authorities in the year ending June 30, 2006, was roughly 1.6m, up 2.8% from 2005. The increase was attributed to people being put in prison at a faster rate than those being released.
[Plus it's the only way the one in six Americans without health insurance can get health insurance.]
When local jail populations are included, the total number of people jailed is about 2.2 million, the report said. Nearly 6 out of 10 incarcerated were black or Hispanic.
[Much of this skew is built into the racist framework of America's self-defeating "war on drugs" (no drugs should be any more criminalized like nicotine). Most whites sniff cocaine but most blacks inject crack cocaine and surprise, surprise, the minimum-sentencing penalties are much lighter for sniffing than injecting.]
1/02/2004 1 longer prison story (shorter ones now stay on our general badnews page or oftener, on our homepage or homepage archives) -
- U.S. 'correctional population' hits new high, by Fox Butterfield, NYT, A10.
The number of Americans under the control of the criminal justice system grew by 130,700 last year to reach a new high of nearly 6.9 million, according to a Justice Department report released today. The total includes people...on probation and parole....
In general, ...probation [is an alternative] to jail or prison \for people\ convicted of a crime, [while] people on parole have...served prison time and are being kept [under] further supervision.
[Sorry for chopped paragraph - Fox Butterfield waxed wordy.]
This is about 3.2% of the adult population in the U.S., the report said.
[So how do you figure that would put us in a position to spread freedom round the world?]
The growth in what the report termed the "correctional population" comes at a time when the crime rate nationwide has been relatively stable for several years.
[So what would cost us more, a higher crime rate or the $30,000 in taxes that we're paying, now or later, for each and every member of our record inmate population thanks to our paranoid-obsessive minimal-sentencing rigidities? Probably the latter, especially when so many of our long-sentence "crimes" are non-violent victimless 'lifestyle crimes' that we should have learned from the failure of Prohibition and the success of the anti-smoking movement never to criminalize in the first place.]
It also comes when many states, faced with budget deficits, have passed new, less strict sentencing laws in an attempt to reduce the number of inmates.
The report does not address why the number of men and women in jail and prison and on probation and parole has continued to increase. But experts say the most likely reason is the cumulative effect of the tougher sentencing laws passed in the 1990s, which led to more people's being sent to prison and being required to serve longer terms.
[And Fox Butterfield has omitted the obvious high recidivism, and the huge embitterment and criminal-training consequence of each and every one of those obsessive-compulsive mean-spirited minimal sentences. Nasty paranoid hypocritical self-righteous Americans carried the day, and cost us all dearly.]
The report found that there were
for a total of 2,078,570.
- 691,301 people in local and county jails
- and 1,387,269 in state and federal prisons last year,
[Then where'd they get the figure of 2,166,260 back on 7/28/2003?]
That was an increase of 3.9% in the jail population and 2.3% in the prison population.
[It never ceases to amaze us how story after story can say the prison population keeps growing, yet never reaches or exceeds figures they've admitted in the past.]
At the same time, the report said, there were 4,073,987 Americans on probation at the end of last year, an increase of 1.2% from the end of 2002, and 774,588 on parole, up 3.1%....
About 41% of adults on parole last year were black; 40% were white.
[- despite the much greater number of white folks in the population.]
The number of women on parole has steadily increased in recent years, the report found.
[= women's liberation? "Be careful what you wish for."]
The percentage of [women] parolees...was 13% at the end of 2003, up from 10% at the end of 1995. This increase reflects a slow but steady growth in the number of women being arrested for and convicted of serious crimes.
Of those people discharged from parole in 2003,
The 3.1% increase in the number of people on parole, the biggest in at least a decade, troubles police and prosecutors, because they believe that newly released inmates are likely to return to a life of crime and are a major source of violence in some cities, including Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
- 38% were returned to prison, either because of a technical violation like failing a drug urine test or because they were charged with committing new crime.
- Another 9% absconded and could not be located by law enforcement, the report said.
[Pretty high percentage of disappeared people 'on the lam'!]
[So our biggest state criminal populations are in the home states of our current f-ratboy pResident with the put-on billybob accent, home also of new extremes in one-party redistricting, and our late cowboy-movie-actor prez with Alzheimers, both of whom took us down to new depths of gov't debt and up to new heights of gov't size, despite their remora-grip on the small-govt small-spending GOP. Then there's Floriduh, home of Dubya's bro, Jeb, who took voter & vote manipulation to new extremes. Coincidence? Instead of UNseparating church & state and the 3 supposedly balanced powers of government for the sake of today's unConstitutional and unAmerican neo-cons, maybe we should just UNunify these United States after all, and leave the cretins in the South to their self-determined Soviet-style criminal-rife one-party 'democracy'.]
- Texas [home of Rubba Dubya] led the nation with 534,260 people on probation or parole,
- followed by California [home of RayGun], with 485,039.
- A community of ex-cons shows how to bring prisoners back into society - The emphasis is on work, and joining the mainstream, by Adam Cohen, NYT, A18.
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - ...Nationwide, nearly 2/3 of released inmates are re-arrested within three years and such recidivism has helped drive the US prison population past two million. Most criminals return to crime, \says\ Mimi Silbert...who founded.\.the Delancey Street Restaurant, with its staff made up entirely of ex-criminals,...because [crime] is all they know. .\.The biggest problem with most rehabilitation efforts, she says, is that they focus on [only] one part of the problem - literacy, job skills or drug abuse - because that is how government finances them and specialists approach them. Delancey Street's residents - evenly divided among whites, blacks and Latinos, and including 20% women - learn three job skills apiece....
[Timesizing's Phase 2 and Phase 3 make this a lot easier.]
...The most important thing for its participants to learn is how to build a life in society.... If they learn - or are taught by others as at Delancey Street - to fit in with the noncriminal world, she argues, most of them will..\.. Graduates move on in large numbers to private businesses, ...one was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors [ie: city council?] and another headed the city's housing agency....
When critics object that her approach is "soft on crime," she argues that..\..most [criminals] feel angry and stupid [and] that the easiest life for most criminals is back in prison, where their friends are waiting and they will be taken care of.
[In other words, despite its (to us) horrors, incarceration is really the approach that is "soft on crime" (and supercostly on taxpayers).]
"What is hard on criminals," she say, "is to insist that they be accountable, that they work hard, that they give back."
["Working hard" won't be necessary in a timesizing world and it will be a lot easier for everyone, and we mean everyone, to "give back."]
1/01/2004 & more recent dates - prison stories - we continue our coverage of prisons on our omnibus badnews page to speed up diagnosis and leave more time for the cure - we'll park material here only if it gets lengthy in coverage or commentary.
12/30/2003 1 prison story -
- Arkansas: Old Testament followers sue prisons, by Ariel Hart, NYT, A16.
Yahwists, religious followers of Old Testament food and grooming requirements, have filed suit in Pulaski County Circuit Court against the Arkansas prison system, seeking to let inmates growth their hair and beards and eat kosher meals.... The plaintiffs are not inmates but are filing as taxpayers concerned for Yahwist inmates, said one of their lawyers, David Bowden..\..
[Are there any Yahwist inmates? They can't mean Jewish because Jews would never pronounce the holy name of God (probably, but not certainly, "Yahweh") - they'd substitute the word Adonai instead, meaning "Lord."]
Prison officials say beards and long hair would be a security risk. [But] the US Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit told the state last year that it must serve kosher meals to an inmate or let him serve time in another state.
[Now that may just have been a Jewish inmate, not a "Yahwist."]
12/29/2003 1 prison story -
- More women in prison, pointer (to A9), NYT, front page.
The number of women in prison is growing fast, even though overall crime is falling, in a trend officials are struggling to explain.
[How about Ashcroft's longer sentences? Target -]
Women find a new arena for equality: Prison - Experts ponder significance of sharp increase in arerst rate since early 90s, by Fox Butterfield, NYT, A9.
[How about "Be careful what you wish for"?]
...In Oklahoma...the incarceration rate for women is more than double the national average....
Nationally, from 1993 through 2002, while overall crime was falling, the number of women arrested rose 14.1%, according to the FBI's Uniform Crime Report. In the same period, the number of men arrested fell 5.9%....
[How about sex-change operations?]
12/25/2003 1 prison story -
- Florida: A religion-based prison, AP via NYT, A10.
In Lawtey, Gov. Jeb Bush dedicated what is being called the nation's first religion-based prison.
[Well, Lawtey-dah in Flori-duh. Why not come clean, brethren, and jess call it a CHRIST-based prison. The ACLU must be swamped.]
In addition to prayer sessions, the Lawtey Correctional Institution will offer Bible study, choir practice and religious counseling. Participation is voluntary [ri-i-ight], and inmates are free to transfer out [re-e-eally].
Gov. Jeb Bush [chief duh-mmy of Flori-duh], a Republican [surprise!], told the inmates: "I can't think of a better place to reflect on the awesome love of our Lord Jesus than to be here at Lawtey Correctional."
[Why it's almost a Honor an'a Privilege!]
Howard Simon, exec. dir. of the ACLU of Florida, called the prison part of "a major constitutional showdown" over government financing for religious programs.
[The Bushes are trying to turn America into a fundamentalist state. The founders would horsewhip them. Thank God another Howard is gittin' back his groooove -]
Dean, under attack, revives feisty style, NYT, A10.
12/24/2003 1 prison story -
- ["Your tax dollars at work" -]
Oklahoma: Inmate mistaken for dead, AP via NYT, A12 (//Boston Globe, A2, flagged by colleague Kate).
The family of a state prison inmate held a funeral and a burial for him before...Kevin Wyckoff, the inmate who was supposed to be dead, telephoned his father on Monday evening [12/22].
[There's a sensational present for you.]
The burial had taken place earlier in the day..\.. Prison officials had misidentified another inmate who had hanged himself...tentatively identified as Steven Howe, 34. A prison spokesman said the two inmates were similar in appearance.
12/23/2003 2 prison stories -
12/18/2003 1 prison story -
- They won't be home for Christmas - But they will be soon, and a party in prison helps these mothers prepare, by Leslie Kaufman, NYT, A23.
...This holiday season, New York City estimates that it has in its foster care program more than 150 children of women being held at Rikers Island. And although most of the women who rotate through the medium- and low-security jail will be there months instead of years, city officials say they are acutely aware of the grief such separation causes the children, particularly at this time of year.
To try to ease the pain and to make the expected reunification of mothers and children smoother, the city invited inmates' children to a Christmas party at the women's jail at Rikers last week. It was the fourth such Christmas party to be held.
Despite the soft carols coming from the stereo and enough candy canes for all the elves at the North Pole, there was no disguising the jailhouse ambience. Sparse strands of gold tinsel decorated the concrete block walls. Appetizers of cheese doodles and barbecued potato chips were served on paper plates. The mothers were dressed in gray Dept. of Corrections jumpsuits.
Still, many of the women said they were grateful to be having the party....
- Kenya: Thinning out prisons, Reuters via NYT, A13.
Pres. Mwai Kibaki freed 11,546 prisoners to ease crowding in prisons notorious among Kenyans as centers of malnutrition and disease. Kenya's 97 prisons hold tens of thousands of inmates.... Most of those freed were petty or first-time offenders with a record of good conduct....
12/14/2003 1 prison story -
- Hussein enters post-9/11 web of U.S. prisons - A secret network of prisons from Afghanistan to Cuba, by Risen & Shanker, NYT, front page & A15.
...what has developed into a global detention system run by the Pentagon and the CIA, according to government officials. It is a secretive universe, they said, made up of large and small facilities scattered throughout the world that have sprouted up to handle the hundreds of suspected terrorists of Al Qaeda, [less relevant] Taliban warlords and [irrelevant] former officials of the Iraqi government arrested by the US and its 'allies' [our quotes] since 9/11/01 and the [gratuitous] war in Iraq. ...A network of detention centers rang[es] from Afghanistan to the US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
Officials described it as a prison system with its own unique [better, 'unaccountable'?!] hierarchy, one in which the most important captives are kept at the greatest distance from the prying eye [better, 'justly controlling eyes'] or the public and the media.
[Note the deterioration of American expectations of its own 'democracy' as reflected in the front-page word choices of America's top newspaper.]
It is a system in whch the jailers have refined the arts of interrogation [ie: torture] in order to drain the detainees of crucial information.
...It seems likely that [Saddam] is at a highly secure detention facility established at Baghdad International Airport, where the US is holding other top Iraqi leaders it has captured....
The CIA has quietly established its own detention system to handle especially important prisoners. The most important Qaeda leaders [now we're finally back to relevant-to-9/11 terrorists] are held in small groups in undisclosed locations in friendly countries [ i.e., countries within the new American "Concrete Curtain" - or is it merely a "Plastic Curtain"?] in the developing world, where they face long interrogations with no promise of ever gaining release.
[So what's the difference between the neo-cons' nightmarish USA and the old USSR? They had incommunicado gulags in Siberia; we have 'a secret web of prisons' in underdeveloped countries. Insignificant Saddam may have had a spider hole but we're now the big spider.]
For example, at least two of the top Qaeda figures captured since 9/11/01 - Abu Zubaydah and Ramzi bin al-Shibh - were held for a time in a secure location in Thailand....
CIA officials refuse to say precisely how many Qaeda operatives the agency has in detention,
[What does this say about the achievability of Soros' dream of an 'open society' in the USA? General & Pres. Ike Eisenhower's nightmare of a sidelining of the democratic civilian machinery of government in America by its military is coming true.]
but they say about 75% of the top 2 doz. Qaeda leaders in place at the time of 9/11/01 have been killed or captured. That suggests the CIA's detention capacity is far smaller than the large system established by the Pentagon.
[Add that to the huge system established by our prison-industrial complex after the end of the Cold War, with its 2,200,000 American detainees, and you have a nation accelerating backwards.]
In dealing with its captives, the CIA has the 'advantage' [our quotes] of almost complete isolation.
[Just like the Communist jailers in the USSR. Just like the Nazi jailers in the Third Reich.]
Officials say that allows the agency's interrogators to alter the physical surroundings of the Qaeda detainees to try to disorient them and also convince them [ie: fool them into thinking] that they are being held by Arab security services feared for their use of torture.
[Finally, the word itself appears. And it only took 7 paragraphs and 10½ column inches - gotta get this baby buried inconspicuously near the bottom of some inside page.]
Guards are sometimes dressed in the uniforms of the native countries of the detainees, a technique that may be particularly effective on captives who have experienced jail time back home.
Officials said the CIA might not be able to use the full range of interrogation [ie: torture] techniques on [9/11-irrelevant] Mr. Hussein that have been employed with Qaeda leaders. ...The agency's handling of him may eventually come under scrutiny \if he faces\ some sort of public judicial review....
Pentagon and CIA officials have denied that they use torture against detainees captured in either Iraq or the wider campaign against terror.
[Hey, Communist and Nazi officials denied that too but with no accountability....]
The agency's officials have declined to comment on the techniques they use with detainees, but a senior Pentagon official said Wednesday that interrogations conducted by the Pentagon followed "well-established techniques" that do not not violate the human rights of the detainees.
[But with no accountability....]
Certain techniques that interrogators may wish to apply to elicit information from important detainees require "a higher level of scrutiny" by officials before they can be used, the Pentagon official said.
One military officer said the use of sleep deprivation, for example, must be approved by senior Pentagon officials.
[Heck, we use that on our medical trainees, truck drivers and pilots!]
American military officials said Wednesday that 38 of the 55 most wanted [9/11-irrelevant] Iraqi leaders had either been killed or captured, and several hundred lower-level government officials and Baath Party operatives are also being held. While the most senior [9/11-irrelevant] officials captured are being held at the Baghdad Airport, many of the lower-level [9/11-irrelevant] Iraqis are now in Abu Gharib prison west of Baghdad, which was infamous as a torture den under Mr. Hussein's rule [much of it while he was a US ally enjoying US support] but has since been refurbished by American forces.
[What's the diff if it's refurbished? We're still not rewriting the script here - we're just swapping roles.]
Smaller, regional facilities have also been set up around Iraq temporarily to handle Iraqis caught up in street-level military operations intended to stem the insurgency.
In [semi-relevant] Afghanistan, meanwhilek the U.S. military is running a large detention center at Bagram Air Base, where [semi-relevant] Taliban, [relevant] Qaeda and [??-relevant] other foreign fighters caught in the country [no focally relevant Saudis mentioned??] are held and questioned. Smaller, short-term detention centers have also been run in both Kandahar and Kabul.
Many of those [semi-relevant] caught in Afghanistan were eventually flown to Guantanamo, which has become the best-known prison in the global campaign against terror.
[Or the neo-cons' global campaign of distraction from their lack of a really effective campaign against terror, for example, in capturing Osama and the anthrax mailer and in dealing with the Saudis and the Sharon government in Israel.]
Guantanamo now holds about 660 prisoners, although that number is expected to decline as some of them are turned over to their home countries.
Still, Guantanamo's inmates are among the least significant of any detainees captured since 9/11/01, according to several American counterterrorism experts [ergo, only "semi-relevant"].
The CIA has not sent any of the highest-ranking Qaeda leaders it has captured to the base, officials said.
[And one last witticism -]
A final category of detainees are those Qaeda operatives who really are being held by Arab countries, like Egypt, which then provide debriefing reports to the U.S.
[as opposed to just being fooled into thinking they're being held by Arab countries (see above).]
- N.H. eyes privatizing its prisons, by B.J. Roche, Boston Globe, B6.
The cost of corrections is getting a second(?) look in the region: New Hampshire Gov. Craig Benson last week proposed privatizing the state's prison system.
[Hooboy. As "further fields look greener," so the Other Sector Looks Cheaper.]
If it happens, N.H. would become the first state in the nation to totally privatize its corrections system.
But states have been "outsourcing" prisoners to other states to save money for years;
It's one way to cope with growing numbers of inmates.
- Vermont sent 502 prisoners - more than a quarter of its inmates - out of state in 2002,
- while Connecticut sent 500, and the Legislature has approved a plan to send 2,000 more.
[No it isn't. It makes it impossible for families to visit and should be illegal!]
- Though Maine's incarceration rate is among the lowest in the country, the state saw the nation's biggest increase in its prison population between 2001 and 2002 - 11.5%.
- Rhode Island followed with 8.6%;
- Connecticut was also in the nation's top five, with a 7.9% increase.
12/09/2003 1 prison story -
- An end run around Miranda, editorial, NYT, A28.
The Supreme Court hears arguments today in a case that could greatly undermine Miranda warnings, among the best known of all constitutional protections. Not long ago, opponents of Miranda v. Arizona had hopes of overturning [Miranda], but the Supreme Court reaffirmed the ruling in 2000. Now the justices are considering [two-part] interrogation tactics that sneak around it [by putting off the Miranda warning till the second interrogation]....
12/08/2003 2 prison stories -
12/05/2003 1 prison story -
- The story of a sentence, pointer summary (to A4), WSJ, front page.
Shellie Lee Langmade's drug term has oscillated with the politics of sentencing, both before and after the arrival of John Ashcroft in the AG's office.
- In angry outbursts, New York's U.S. judges protest new sentencing procedures, by Ian Urbina, NYT, A25.
Judge Sterling Johnson Jr...of Federal District Court in Brooklyn recently issued an order blocking part of a law sponsored by Rep. Tom Feeney of Florida...from being carried out in his court. [photos caption]
...In the last few months, federal judges in NY, who tend to steer judiciously clear of politics and public debate, have been surprisingly vocal in their criticism of a new sentencing law that they say represents a breach in the separation of powers and bullies them into handing down harsher sentences.... The provision, known as the Feeney amendment, was tacked onto the Amber Alert bill signed by pResident Bush on April 30....
11/28/2003 1 prison story -
- Arkansas: U.S. moves on prisons, by Steve Barnes, NYT, A22.
Two state prisons at Newport, one for each sex, have failed to provide adequate medical care to inmates and to protect them against physical and sexual assault, the Justice Dept. said, adding that it would seek sanctions against the state unless improvements were made.... Until recently, the prisons were operated by the Wackenhut Corrections Corp.
11/25/2003 1 prison story -
- Although prisons are safer, officers' use of leave soars - At least $23m was spent last year to cover lost workdays, by Paul von Zielbauer, NYT, C10.
[Maybe if we shortened the workweek....]
The rate of inmate assaults on NY state correction officers has dropped by half since 1991, but that has not stopped the amount of workers' comp leave taken by correction officers from growing by more than 40% in recent years, according to a recent audit.
Last year, the rate of inmate assaults fell to a 23-year low.... And the current state prison population - about 65,000 - is the lowest since 1993.... Yet despite such improvements, the amount of workers' comp leave taken by state correction officers grew to an average of 35 days per claim last year from 24 days in 1997.... And three-quarters of all claims...during that 5-year period stemmed from minor injuries that involved no inmate contact....
[But there begins to emerge a pattern of fraud -]
"Slipped on the ice in the parking lot, tripped on the curb, slipped on the steps, banged into the open file cabinet - that was the type of the injury we saw the bulk of the time," said Dan Weiler, a spokesman for the state controller, Alan Hevesi, whose office did the audit....
In New York, correction officers receive full pay for the first 6 months of workers' comp leave, after which they must use personal time off.
[And guess what...]
..\..Though most of the injuries leading to the workers' comp claims were relatively minor, at 14 state prisons that auditors studied in detail, the average leave lasted more than 5 months...but rarely did any stretch beyond 6 months.... 90,000 workdays [were] lost to workers' comp claims last year \by\ the 20,000 prison officers....
11/21/2003 2 prison stories -
- Colleges trail prisons in funds - Report hits [Massachusetts] state cuts in higher ed, Boston Globe, B1.
[Or ... Mass. prisons lead Mass. colleges in state funding. How soon till that's nationwide?]
11/17/2003 1 prison headline -
- [there's the good news -]
New Mexico: In a different sort of hot water, by Mindy Sink, NYT, A24.
Some criminals with substance abuse problems may do time in a sauna if the Correction Dept. can finance a pilot program, Second Chance.... The theory behind the sauna is that some drugs, including cocaine and heroin, stay in fatty tissues and have to be cleansed out.
[And we haven't even talked about vortexes and crystals yet.]
..\..It originated in Mexico, where drug problems are rampant in prisons....
[How sweet - from olde Mexico to New Mexico.]
Officials plan to seek an $800,000 federal grant to pay for group and family therapy, educational workshops, vitamin supplements and detoxifying time in saunas....
[Hey, maybe we better copy this to Makework - 11/21/2003 #2.]
- [and there's the bad news -]
Indiana: More inmates than beds, by Jo Napolitano, NYT, A24.
Crowding in state prisons is at its worst in 40 years, leading officials to begin double-bunking inmates in cells. If the prison population continues to increase, the state says it will house inmates in prison classrooms and recreation areas. The system, meant to house 16,000 prisoners, is holding 22,000....
11/14/2003 1 prison headline -
- Questions over keeping sex offenders jailed after terms are up, by Laura Mansnerus, NYT, A19, continued from front page series "Unfinished sentences - Keeping prisoners as patients."
"This is so much like everything that was criticized in the Soviet Union." Margaret Smith, a criminologist at the Prisoners' Self Help Legal Clinic in Newark NJ [photo caption]
[But with their recidivism so high when we just release them, how about we assign them a least-incompatible, live-in or -near, sex worker to take care of things. Merely having them wear a bracelet with a GPS tracking chip is not all that reassuring. The bracelet suggestion came from -]
Robert Deavers...a Vietnam vet [who] shortly after finishing a prison term for attempted rape [actually] raped two women. Yet he has been considered a success in treatment....
11/10/2003 1 prison story -
- Study calls California parole system a $1 billion failure - From 2,995 parolees [re-]imprisoned in 1980 to 89,363 in 2000, NYT, A14.
...for minor parole violations....
11/07/2003 1 prison story -
- With cash tight, states reassess long jail terms - Strict laws loosened - More treatment offered - Parole is easier for nonviolent inmates, by Fox Butterfield, NYT, front page.
...In the past year, about 25 states have passed laws eliminating some of the lengthy mandatory minimum sentences so popular in the 1980s and 90s.... In the process, politicians across the political spectrum say they are discovering a new motto. Instead of being tough on crime, it is more effective to be smart on crime....
[Think there's any hope that carries over to "work smart, not hard"?]
11/01/2003 1 prison story -
- Why ex-cons can't find jobs, tease line, CommonWealth Mag fall 2003 (rec'd in mail today), cover.
[and the corresponding summary -]
Job (dis)qualifications - Employers find it easier to get criminal records, and ex-cons find it nearly impossible to re-enter society [ie: the job market], contents entry, CommonWealth Mag fall 2003, p.5.
[and the article itself -]
Job (dis)qualifications - Now widely disseminated, criminal records make it hard for ex-offenders to go straight, by David S. Bernstein, CommonWealth Mag fall 2003, p.48ff.
MASSACHUSETTS -...The CORI [Criminal Offender Record Information] system was created, three decades ago, to restrict...access to circumstances where public safety clearly outweighed the criminal offender's privacy. But to...thousands of ex-offenders...privacy is not the issue. [They] just want...a chance to work for a living....
Making it possible for ex-offenders to get jobs and places to live was the whole idea behind limiting access to criminal records. Prior to 1972, when the CORI law was enacted, pretty much anybody could call up the state Dept. of Correction and the Parole Board and get criminal records on anyone in the state.... That year, Massachusetts created the CHSB [Criminal History Systems Board] to collect the data in a single repository - and to safeguard its dissemination. Then-Gov. Francis Sargent and his successor, Michael Dukakis, believed in a process of community reintegration for ex-offenders.... One aspect of that strategy was the restriction of access to individual criminal records, in order to keep opportunities open to ex-offenders. The CHSB stood in the path of those seeking those records, placing the onus on the employer to demonstrate that the danger of putting an ex-con to work outweighted the applicant's right to privacy - and the chance for a fresh start....
[Better an ex-con in our office that a neo-con in our White House!]
Then in 1988 came the infamous Willie Horton case, which drove a stake through the heart of the reintegration model, turning public attitudes against the idea of giving second chances to ex-offenders, especially if such chances put the law-abiding public at risk. One casualty was the privacy-protecting purpose of CORI..\..
These days, criminal-record checks have become a wide-spread employment practice, and even mandatory for jobs at schools, youth-services agencies, nursing homes, and financial institutions.... The result may be greater vigilance, in terms of keeping known criminals out of job placements that might be risky. But it also means more obstacles to the straight and narrow for ex-cons, who find themselves shut out of jobs in growing sectors of the economy. That's a trade-off society may end up paying for in other ways.
Every year some 1,000 new entities - including public offices, state-funded agencies, and private companies - receive the certification that allows them to receive CORI reports on prospective employees....
- ...In the early 1990s, the CHSB processed 10,000 non-law-enforcement-related CORI reports a month, according to exec. dir. Barry LaCroix.
- By 2,000, the Board was answering 42,000 inquiries.
- Today, the figure is close to 100,000 a month.
10/29/2003 1 prison story -
- Out of the asylum, into the cell - How to help the mentally ill stay out of prison, op ed by Sally Satel, NYT, A29
A new report by Human Rights Watch has found that American prisons and jails contain three times more mentally ill people than do our psychiatric hospitals. The study confirmed what mental health and corrections experts have long known: incarceration has become the nation's default mental health treatment....
[Basically, incarceration, with disability and homelessness as intermediate steps on the slippery slope down, has become America's default everything - health insurance, training, self-support, you name it. The unspeakably affluent of America, in this current bout of grabby meanness, stand to take a much bigger population, including themselves, a lot further distance down than the world has yet seen - from a lot higher up. How unnecessary.]
According to the Justice Dept., roughly 16% of American inmates have serious psychiatric illnesses like schizophrenia, manic-depressive illness and disabling depression. Life on the inside is a special nightmare for these inmates. The are targets of cruel manipulation and of physical and sexual abuse. Bizarre behavior, like responding to imaginary voices or self-mutilation, can get them punished - and the usual penalty, solitary confinement, only worsens hallucinations and delusions....
- The Los Angeles County jail [for example], with 3,400 mentally ill prisoners, functions as the largest psychiatric inpatient institution in the U.S
- New York's Rikers Island, with 3,000 mentally ill inmates, is second.
10/24/2003 1 prison story -
- Tennessee: Inmates escape, AP via NYT, A20.
8 inmates climbed out of an air duct [sounds like Star Trek last nite] at the Sullivan County jail in Blountville and escaped outside on a rope made from uniforms tied together.
[Thanks for the instructions.]
One was recaptured.
[7 to 1 - good odds. More instrux -]
The inmates, who were being held on charges that included attempted murder, stole a pickup and drove it thru a fence to flee. Jail officials learned that the inmates were missing before daybreak.
[Not when they drove thru the fence?]
Blountville is 96 miles northeast of Knoxville.
10/23/2003 1 prison story -
- Missouri: 2 inmates missing, AP via NYT, A17.
Two convicted murderers...Chris Sims...and Shannon Phillips..\..disappeared from a state prison in Jefferson City hours after an inmate who had killed his 3 siblings...Toby Viles, 28, was found dead in the ice-making plant with wounds to his neck and head. The three men worked there alone with chisels and hammers.
[Doesn't sound like real intelligent prison placement or supervision for three murderers.]
..\..The police set up roadblocks outside the prison, but it was not clear whether the 2 inmates had escaped. Prison officials were searching the penitentiary grounds, which cover 47 acres and include 25 buildings and numerous tunnels....
[Your privatized prison-industrial complex at work, at a cost, to you, of $30,000 per inmate per year. Guess there's a reason they call the biggest company, Wackenhut, though maybe Flakyhut would also capture it.]
Missing inmates found hiding inside prison, AP via 10/27/2003 NYT, A17.
...still inside the Missouri State Penitentiary...in the same building where Toby Viles...was killed 4 days earlier.... "They had constructed a very carefully concealed false wall, which was right near their work site at the ice house,"..\..a corrections dept. spokesman, John Fougere, said.... The inmates had food with them.... They were found when a prison staff member, tapping the wall as part of the search, was able to punch a hole in it..\.. Hundreds of prison officials had been combing the penitentiary and its grounds since the men disappeared....
[Back to 10/24. Compare in next column -]
Louisiana: Firings in crime-rate investigation, AP via NYT, A17.
Five police officers in New Orleans were fired and another was demoted after a lengthy investigation into whether officers manipulated crime statistics to make it look as if the crime rate was going down....
[Compare the doctoring of school dropout rates in Texas that was reported on Bill Moyer's NOW program (PBS) a couple of weeks ago. Then there's all the doctored corporate quarterlies that are getting revised back a year or three, and mutual fund reports, and even scientific reports.... Are we re-entering the Hyksos Period in ancient Egyptian History, when the "sea people" invaded and society broke down such that children were set against parents and v.v.? - or the entropy zone that coincided with the end of the Domesday Booke, when "all the devils in hell are loose in the land"? Oh, then in the next column to that, we find -]
A raise for the Senate, by Carl Hulse, NYT, A17.
The Senate voted to accept an automatic raise of about $3,400, rejecting an effort to remove the increase from a spending measure. Lawmakers voted 60 to 34 to defeat an effort by Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), who regularly challenges the cost-of-living adjustment that was instituted to avoid politically difficult fights over pay increases. By his count, it was the 5th consecutive annual increase given to members of Congress, raising their salary by a cumulative $21,000 since 1999 [and bringing] the pay of most lawmakers to about $158,000 annually....
[which most of us could retire on - this during 4 years when the rest of us have lost our pensions and are one paycheck away from homelessness - if we still have a job. As Dave Barry defines it, the US Senate is "white male millionaires, working for you."]
10/22/2003 1 prison story -
- A federal judge accused Congress and Ashcroft, news blurb, WSJ, front page.
...of trying to intimidate judges into handing down harsher sentences than they believe suitable [or affordable?].
[Ashcroft & buds undoubtedly have a lot of stock in Wackenhut Corrections Corp. and the rest of the prison-industrial complex, which until this year, had replaced the military-industrial complex as the neo-cons' Great Wealth Hope.]
10/19/2003 1 prison story -
- Study finds hundreds of thousands of inmates mentally ill, NYT, A16.
As many as one in five of the 2.1m [actually 2.2m] Americans in jail and prison are seriously mentally ill, a comprehensive study [by Human Rights Watch] shows. [blurb, A25]
- Report says many inmates in isolation are mentally ill, NYT, A25.
Nearly one of every four [of the roughly 5,000] NY State prisoners kept in punitive segregation is mentally ill, a new report [by the Correctional Assoc. of NY] shows. [blurb, A16]
- [but they're still better off than North Koreans -]
Rights group exposes conditions in North Korean prison camps - Hard labor with starvation food rations is the charge [of the private U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea], NYT, A7.
[Though maybe this U.S. group should clean up their own prisons before re-e-eaching across the Pacific.]
10/12/2003 1 UNprison story -
- Disease rates high in Mass. prisons - Rate of HIV infections is 7th-highest in US, Boston Globe, front page.
10/07/2003 1 prison story -
- 19 years later, innocence comes home, by Dick Lehr, Boston Globe, front page.
Hours after being freed from prison, Dennis Maher walked into his parents' home in Lowell MA in April. [photo caption]
...DNA testing freed him this spring from a life term for rapes. His was the 127th exoneration won by the New York-based Innocence Project....
[But how many other lives is our 'gotta-convict-somebody-fast' and 'zero tolerance' system wasting wrongly? How many fed-up employees in our "justice" system would seek jobs elsewhere if there were lots of alternatives?]
10/04/2003 1 prison story -
- Restricting prison food, letter to editor by Barry Kade of Montgomery VT, NYT, A30.
Re 9/30/2003 [below]: As someone who has spent time in prison, both as a prisoner in the 1960s and currently as a prisoners' rights advocate, I can attest that
- when prisoners are not supplied with adequate food, they are forced to supplement their diets through the prison commissary. This shifts the cost from the state to the prisoners' family members, who are often at the bottom of the economic ladder.
- It also increases the incidence of inmate strong-arming, as the prison underground economic shifts to the most basic of needs.
- Food dissatisfaction is among the principal complaints voiced after prison riots. Hungry people focus on their hunger as nature's survival mechanism kicks in . Hunger always creates an explosive situation and is never a wise way to save money.
10/03/2003 1 prison story -
- Art and temptation at Rikers [Is. jail, NY] - Theft of Dali drawing leaves 4 guards facing bars, by Paul von Zielbauer, NYT, A13.
[Apparently they substituted...]
...a crudely sketched imitation of a drawing by Salvador Dali. The original drawing, signed and dedicated in an inscription by the artist to Rikers inmates in 1965, was on display near the jailhouse entrance....
10/02/2003 1 prison story -
- A U.S. appeals panel struck down, news blurb, WSJ, front page.
...a 2000 law requiring federal prisoners and parolees to give blood samples for the FBI's DNA database.
- Arizona: Plan to fight prison crowding, by Steve Barnes, NYT, A23.
Gov. Janet Napolitano announced a $700m plan to reduce prison crowding. The state has 31,000 inmates, 4,000 beyond its capacity.... In a legislative session to begin on Oct.20 the governor plans to ask for $26m immediately, to rent space from city and county jails, and would seek to build facilities, financed by bonds, for 9,100 more prisoners.
9/30/2003 1 prison story -
- Congress aims, news blurb, WSJ, front page.
...to send Bush this year a $1B bill to help states cover DNA testing for deathrow inmates and clear a backlog of untested samples in rape-evidence kits.
9/23/2003 some rare good news -
- States putting inmates on diets to trim budgets - Inmates lose 300 calories a day; Texas gains $6m, by Fox Butterfield, NYT, A12.
Desperate to cut budget deficits, officials in several states have begun reducing the amount or quality of food served to prison inmates, an issue that has long been a sensitive one for inmates and has often provoked protests. These new food plans involve either reducing the number of calories provided each day or eliminating a meal on weekends and holidays by serving two meals instead of three.... Among these states are Arizona, Iowa, Minnesota, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia; other states, including Massachusetts, are beginning to experiment with the reduced diets in individual prisons....
"This kind of stuff never gets you very much money," said Michael Jacobson, a professor of criminology at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan.... "It is always incredibly marginal, and it shows a lack of political will to take on the larger issues, like releasing some nonviolent offenders to get real savings."
Moreover, some advocates for prisoners and prisoners' families say the new reduced diets are causing health problems....
9/19/2003 1 prison story -
- Justice Breyer, news blurb, WSJ, front page.
...called mandatory minimum sentences unfair, removing the "oil in the gears" of justice. He helped devise sentencing policy.
[Which presumably means that he helped design this stupidly rigid policy and now he himself, one of its creators, has turned against it.]
9/16/2003 2 prison stories -
- Alabama: Settlement for inmate's death, by Ariel Hart, NYT, A16.
...The death of the inmate, James Carpenter, from flesh-eating bacteria \in\ Mobile County jail...in 2000 prompted a federal investigation. Mr. Carpenter, who was being held on misdemeanor charges, was found dead in his cell two weeks after his arrest, handcuffed and naked, with ulcers on his wrists and ankles from restraints. Though jail personnel were aware he was mentally ill, he was never treated for the condition, a lawyer for the family said..\.. The two teenage daughters...will receive about $350,000 each in settlements from the county....
9/02/2003 3 prison items -
- Florida: Inmates' suit claims abuse, AP via NYT, A15.
22 inmates have sued the state, saying [that] it allowed prison guards to torture them in their cells by spraying them with pepper spray and tear gas [and that] the use of chemical agents by prison guards had greatly increased.... Legal Services, which is representing the inmates, said that because the inmates sprayed were in their cells they generally did not pose a danger and that the spraying was done as retaliation, punishment or intimidation.
- A Saudi prison fire, WSJ, front page.
...left 67 inmates dead [in] Riyadh....
- Why can't we connect the dots on crime?, op ed by William Raspberry, Boston Globe, A13.
[You see a great headline like that and you say, Yeah! we're finally going to cut the obfuscation about the link between unemployment and crime! But alas, blow this Willy a razzberry - he's only talking about linking lack-of-education and crime, and as we know, education does not a job guarantee (latest along these lines: "More women in J-school doesn't translate to jobs," 8/27/2003 Boston Globe, C1). But he has a nice run-up and some good stats, so...]
...The Columbia [Spacecraft] Accident Investigation Board, after months of painstaking investigation of the Feb.1 space calamity, has issued a scathing report of those in charge. ...The NASA investigators found, not so much a lack of information [as] an almost willful failure to connect the dots.
..\..A similarly independent body ought to...look at our criminal justice system....
What might change it? ...Education..\.. Vincent Schiraldi, president of the DC-based Justice Policy Institute...notes there is a very strong correlation between educational failure and incarceration - especially among [black] males.... So why are we cutting funds for education - both K-12 and higher ed? It is, says Schiraldi, our failure to connect the dots. ..."If a third of my (white) nephews were looking at prison, we wouldn't have this policy. The president would declare a state of emergency, bring the best minds together to talk about education and treatment. Mandatory sentencing wouldn't even be on the table." In other words...we'd connect the dots.
- For example, the Dept. of Justice['s] recently issued...annual report..."Criminal Victimization 2002"..\..contained this wonderful news: Violent crimes and crimes against property declined last year to the lowest levels since the Dept. started compiling such records in in 1973. That's from the Dept's...August report. [But in their] July report titled "Prisoners in 2002" [we read]: America's prison and jail population increased by 3.7% from 2001 to 2002 - three times the rate of increase recorded a year earlier. An independent board...might wonder at the logic of increasing levels of incarceration at a time of signficant decreases in crime. [And] perhaps someone would raise the possibility that the increased incarceration rates produced the decreases in crime.
[Indeed, they have, because so many of the most "at risks" cohorts of the population are locked up and unavailable for mayhem on the streets.] ...The Justice Policy Institute [however] looked at the FBI Uniform Crime Report's homicide data and found [that] the regions of the country with the slower growth in prison population from 2001 to 2002 had declines in homicides, while those with the greater increases in incarceration had increases in homicides. [This proves] that there is no credible link between crime rates and incarceration rates.[No it doesn't. There are a host of other explanations here, such as, maybe there were a lot of releases during that period and the newly released prisoners, disoriented, unemployed and frustrated, killed people and were re-incarcerated. Or maybe the regions have an "social age threshold" between them - maybe the regions with lower inmate increase and murder (Northeast and Midwest) were more industrialized and advanced while those with higher levels of both (South and West) were more agricultural and backward. After all, the South and West were the regions that wanted slavery late in the 19th century when the British Empire (including Canada nee British North America) got rid of it in 1824 and the US North and Midwest fought it non-violently for decades before the Civil War.]
- ...According to another bureau report released last month - "Prevalence of Imprisonment in the US Populations, 1974-2001" - [2.7% of] adults living in the U.S. at the end of 2001 had been to prison at some time during his or her life. That's about...2.6% for white males..\..7.7% for Hispanic males \and\ 16.6%..\..for adult black males.... The Justice Dept. project[s] 32% of black males born in 2001 will spend some time in prison [nearly a third], unless something is done to change the trend.
[Well, it's more efficient to bypass the costly swamp of education, at least higher ed, which has become a big makework program designed to keep as many people as possible out of the job market for as long as possible, and just lunge directly for self-supporting jobs. It's apparently easier to attach training to jobs (on-the-job training) than to attach jobs to education (Northeastern is one of the few universities that has a work-study program), and independent, self-supporting job-holding is the ostensible goal of any education and treatment anyway. But to do that, we need something we don't have in this jobless recovery, and that it, jobs. To get them, we need to quit straining for rigid (minimum) 40-hour jobs, however artificial and taxpayer-bruising, and switch to just sharing the vanishing work. And in response to technology, we need to quit downsizing and start timesizing.]
- Prison life and inmate safety, 2 letters to ed, NYT, A22.
- ...by James McManus III of Phoenix.
Re "Prisoners of hate" (op-ed, Aug. 28)...about the prison murder of John Geoghan [made me think of] Albert DeSalvo, the..."Boston Strangler"...who was murdered in prison, \not\ the play..\.."Short Eyes."... The serial nature of [Massachusetts'] tolerance for prison mayhem and abuse isn't fiction.
- ..\..by Exec. Dir. Vincent Schiraldi of Justice Policy Institute of DC.
...Lowering staff-to-inmate ratios to improve inmate safety can be achieved in 2 ways: by adding guards or subtracting inmates. Subtracting inmates makes more policy and fiscal sense.... With 1.2m of our country's 2m [actually 2.2m] prisoners locked up for nonviolent offenses, diverting prisoners into treatment instead of incarceration is a much better way to address prison conditions than staffing up to ameliorate the effect of inflated incarceration rates.
[Amen, but let's catch it at its root, high under- and un-employment. We have made it easier for millions of Americans to make a dishonest living than an honest one with the 1-2-3 punch of (1) freezing the workweek at its 1940 level, (2) introducing wave after wave of work-assuming technology, and (3) reacting to that technology by downsizing the workforce instead of the workweek. Until we switch from downsizing to timesizing, we will continue to create criminals out of honest people made desperate.]
For earlier prison stories, click on the desired date -
- Sept/99 and before.
Comments, questions, suggestions? E-mail us or phone 617-623-8080 (Boston).
For a comprehensive long-term solution that makes earning an honest living a lot easier than earning a dishonest one, see our "social software" manual Timesizing, Not Downsizing, which is available online from *Amazon.com.