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Prison stories - Oct-Dec/2002
[Commentary] ©2002 Philip Hyde, The Timesizing Wire, Box 622, Cambridge MA 02140 USA (617) 623-8080 - HOMEPAGE

12/31/2002   1 prison item, reported in the Wall St Journal or the NY Times - 12/26/2002   2 prison items, reported in the Wall St Journal or the NY Times -
  1. [some good news]
    Michigan to drop minimum sentence rules for drug crimes - Plans to give judges more discretion in tailoring punishment to fit the crime, AP via NYT, A20.
    [This development in Michigan was mentioned in a list in the article on 12/19 below and today we have a whole article on it - it was the most important item on that unprioritized list.]

  2. [and some more good news that should have been unnecessary]
    Correctional Services sells prison, WSJ, A7.
    Correctional Services Corp. sold a 600-bed Florence, Ariz. prison and all its assets to the Industrial Development Authority of the County of Pinal for about $10m in gross proceeds....
    [Would Pinal be Florence's county by any chance? And would this therefore be the beginning of the end of the stupid idea of privatizing prisons and trying to run them on a for-profit basis?]
    The company said it expects to finish its analysis of underperforming facilities by the end of the fourth quarter.
    [And what, pray tell, is an "underperforming prison facility"??? What a bizarre warping of the American Way.]
    Correctional Services will continue to manage the facility under its renewed contract with the Arizona Dept. of Corrections.
    [Pathetic. This is like farming out contracts on garbage collection. We gonna farm out tax collection next, like the Roman Empire?]
12/19/2002   1 prison item, reported in the Wall St Journal or the NY Times - 12/16/2002   1 prison item, reported in the Wall St Journal or the NY Times - 12/13/2002   1 prison item, reported in the Wall St Journal or the NY Times - 12/03/2002   1 prison item, reported in the Wall St Journal or the NY Times - 12/02/2002   1 prison item, reported in the Wall St Journal or the NY Times - 11/29/2002   1 prison item, reported in the Wall St Journal or the NY Times - 11/25/2002   1 prison item, reported in the Wall St Journal or the NY Times - 10/29/2002   1 prison item, reported in the Wall St Journal or the NY Times - 10/28/2002   1 prison item, reported in the Wall St Journal or the NY Times - 10/19/2002   1 prison item, reported in the Wall St Journal or the NY Times -
  1. Yearning to vote, letter to editor by Anthony Papa of NYC, NYT, A30.
    Re "Former felons have a right to vote" (editorial, Oct. 17):
    I was a first-time nonviolent offender who served 12 years under the Rockefeller drug laws of NY state. When I was released on parole, I could not vote. This was a great blow to my self-esteem.
    My South Bronx neighborhood was deteriorating, and there were many community issues I wanted to voice my opinion on through the vote. But I couldn't. I felt the pain of felony disenfranchisement and was being further punished for my crime.
    [In the long-term future, the vote will probably devolve on the self-supporting. Of course, with shorter hours and high-tech job designers for the handicapped, it will be much easier to support oneself.]
    I waited five years until I got off parole to cast my first vote. I felt elated to do so. I was finally accepted, by society in my capacity as a citizen. The right to vote is an important part of the rehabilitation process and should be given to those who have paid their debt to society.
    [Amen.]

  2. [here's a situation that shouldn't be prison-like but is -]
    New York restricts confinements of mentally ill, by Clifford Levy, NYT, front page.
    Officials at state psychiatric hospital in New York ordered social workers this week to stop sending discharged patients to locked units in private nursing homes. The move ends a six-year-old practice that was supposed to help scale back the state's costly psychiatric system but has raised civil rights concerns.
    The [Gov.] Pataki administration has allowed as many as a dozen nursing homes to keep discharged psychiatric patients locked away in the units, where they are prohibited from going outside on their own, have almost no contact with others and have little ability to contest their confinement.
    The turnabout comes after the U.S. Justice Dept. opened a review of the units to determine whether conditions violate federal laws that protect the rights of people who are institutionalized or have disabilities. The department began the review after an article about the units appeared in The New York Times on Oct. 6. The civil rights issue has arisen because residents of the units had not been deemed by the state to be a danger to themselves or to others and therefore did not meet the typical legal standard used to keep someone in a locked hospital psychiatric ward. The units are not regulated as psychiatric facilities, so the residents do not have the protections of people committed to psychiatric wards: the right to a lawyer and to a hearing to contest having their freedom taken away....

10/01/2002   1 prison item, reported in the Wall St Journal or the NY Times -
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