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Prison stories - July-December/2001
[Commentary] ©2000-2001 Philip Hyde, The Timesizing Wire, Box 622, Cambridge MA 02140 USA (617) 623-8080 - HOMEPAGE

12/20/2001  today's prison news - 12/16/2001  weekend prison news - 12/14/2001  1 prison item - 12/11/2001  1 prison item - 12/05/2001  1 prison story - 12/03/2001  1 weekend prison story - 11/30/2001  1 prison story - 11/28/2001  1 prison story - 11/27/2001  1 prison story - 11/10/2001  1 prison story - 11/09/2001  1 prison story - 10/02/2001  1 prison story - 9/16/2001  1 weekend prison story - 9/12/2001  1 prison story - 8/27/2001  2 weekend prison stories -
  1. Number of adults in corrections system soars - Yearly increase slows; 3% are on parole, probation, by Jennifer Loven, BG, A2.
    WASHINGTON - The number of adults behind bars, on parole, or on probation reached a record 6.46 million in 2000 - or one in 32 American adults [more than one in 10 black males], the government reported yesterday....
    [Ah, America, Land of the Free.]
    Over the past two decades, the number of adults in the corrections system has tripled, so they now make up 3.1% of the country's adult population, compared with 1% in 1980, said Allen J. Beck, a chief researcher with the Justice Dept.'s Bureau of Justice Statistics.... During the 1990s, the corrections population increased 49%. By the end of last year, there were 2.1m more adults in the system than there were in 1990..\.. "It's just overwhelming," said Kara Gotsch, a spokeswoman for the ACLU's National Prison Project, which advocates alternatives to incarceration. "It just shows that we need to put much more into prevention."...
    [It all comes back to jobs. If we cut the workweek and make it easier to earn a better living, we get more jobs and less crime. If we don't, we make it easier to earn a dishonest living than an honest one, so we get fewer jobs and more crime.]
    Nearly 2.5m people were released from parole or probation in 2000. Among parolees...in 1990..\..half successfully completed the terms of their release. By 2000, just 43% completed parole and stayed out [of prison] through the end of the year.... [Still,] Beck [claimed] that the number of Americans who have returned to prison has remained stable over time. [However,] to Gotsch, that shows the shortsightedness of policies that focus more on punishment and less on rehabilitation.
    ["As ye sow, so shall ye reap" or modern "What goes around, comes around." Deal out punishment and boomerang, get punished. We don't need punishment, we just need Buckminster Fuller's "design out the possibility of recurrence."]
    "It's no wonder that they're re-offending at incredibly high rates, because we don't teach them anything else," she said.
    [Her point is reinforced by the Massachusetts-specific article below. And take a look at commercial TV programming. Much of it is training for crime, and violent crime at that. Or at least for sexsexsex without a thought about AIDS or contraception. And check out "Back-to-school shocking - Students' racy fashions have parents, educators in a bind," by Laura Pappano, BG, front page, where we read, " 'Those folks who make up the styles are making me crazy,' said Paul Berkel, principal at Dover-Sherborn Regional Middle School..\.. When school opens Wednesday at the Thomas Blake Middle School in Medfield, Peg Mongiello, the principal, {will} demand {that students} not reveal the four B's - breasts, buttocks, belly buttons, or boxer {short}s. Mongiello keeps T-shirts, blouses, and dress shirts in her office for students who bare too much skin." Hey, maybe we should just go for nude schooling. That'd probably fix things fast.]

  2. In Mass., freed inmates face dwindling prospects, by Sarah Schweitzer, BG, front page.
    As a swelling number of inmates wrap up sentences imposed during the incarceration boom of the 1990s, they are returning home to find few housing options and shrinking job prospects - a trend likely to worsen in a softening economy.... Already advocates for the homeless estimate that of the 20,000 inmates released from Massachusetts prisons and jails last year, 1 in 5 ended up in homeless shelters, in unstable living conditions with family and friends, or on the streets....
    The problem is compounded, specialists say, by cutbacks in programs like early release and parole, which provided supervision for inmates returning to life outside cell blocks.... "These are the people most in need of services," said Brian A. Callery, president of Community Resources for Justice, a Boston think tank and a support group for former offenders..\.. "What we have is a growing number of ex-offenders....with a new sentence imposed on them: hopelessness," said Philip Mangano, exec. dir. of the Mass. Housing and Shelter Alliance.... [and from photo caption on inside page, B5 -] Alfred Gibson says he has not been able to find housing or a job since he was released from prison in 1999.
    [Back to text - now, inside page -]
    "I've never dealt with so many women with criminal records," said Tracey Williams, program coordinator for the Breakaway Program at Dimock Community Health Center in Roxbury, which helps women find jobs and build self-esteem....
    Housing, Williams and others say, is the most pressing problem, particularly since federal rules bar many with criminal records from subsidized housing.
    [There's an incentive to swell the rate of recidivism.]
    "I've been homeless for years," said Alfred Gibson [from photo], who has been living in a shelter since his release from prison in 1999. This week, he qualified for federally subsidized housing, after a lengthy appeal. "Everyone wanted me to have a job before I got the housing, but I couldn't get a job."...
    [It all comes back to jobs.]
    Boston police say they are deeply concerned about the bubbling population of former offenders.... "We are all holding our breaths about the economy," said Conny Doty, director of the Mayor's Office of Jobs and Community Services. "As it softens and as we see layoffs, we may reach a point where employers who have been willing to step up to the plate will become more risk-averse."...
    [The pressure builds and builds to simply, flexibly, share the vanishing work and spread the funneling income - Timesizing, not downsizing - trim hours for all and keep all employed, instead of trimming jobs for a few, and a few more, and a few more....]

8/23/2001  1 prison story - 8/21/2001  1 prison story - 8/20/2001  1 prison story - 8/18/2001  1 prison story - 8/17/2001  1 prison story - 8/15/2001  1 prison story - 8/13/2001  1 prison story -

8/10/2001  Sentencing plan seen costing $900m plus, and swelling prisons, by Ralph Ranalli, Boston Globe, front page - Acting Governor Jane m. Swift's proposed guidelines [in Massachusetts] to toughen sentences for criminals would swell the state's prison population by 20%, the draft of a new report...by the state Sentencing Commission..\..predicts.... [The] proposal...mostly reflects the wishes of state prosecutors and keeps intact tough mandatory drug sentences. It also raises potential sentences by 25-35% and would shift "a substantial number of cases from the District Court to the Superior Court," the draft of the Sentencing Commission report states.
Those changes would swell the state's inmate population by 8,690 prisoners by 2009....
[Just what we need - not.]
The increase would be 2,203 in state prisons, which house about 11,000 inmates now, and 6,4878 in country jails, which had a population of 11,136 in 1999....
[Yeah, let's just turn Massachusetts into Alabama and start busing inmates back and forth between overcrowded state and county jails.]
"How can they make any kind of case with a straight face that our state needs a wholesale ratcheting up of the prison population?"..\..Martin Rosenthal, chairman of the guidelines committee of the Mass. Assoc. of Criminal Defense Attorneys...said. "There is no plausible case there that passes the laugh test."

8/02/2001  Former police officer strangled by inmates, AP via Boston Globe, A2.
SAVANNAH - ...because they feared he would expose their plan to escape by chiseling through a wall, authorities said.
[So with him dead, how'd the authorities find out?]
Michael Kelly Deal...who was in jail [for] failing to pay child support was found hanging by a bedsheet in his cell July 24.
[How'd other inmates get into his cell?]
Chatham County authorities originally believed that Deal had committed suicide, but investigators now believe he was strangled with a bandage outside his cell and then dragged inside and strung up, Sheriff Al St. Lawrence said.
[How'd other inmates get out of their cells, get into his cell, get him out and strangled, get him back in, and get back into their cells - all without notice? Something stinks in Savannah.]

8/01/2001  1 prison story -

[no prison items in July]

For earlier prison stories, click on the desired date -

  • May-June/2001.
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