Locked in for Safety: Prisons

The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose.

- James A Baldwin

The economic capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of evil. 
Private capital tends to become concentrated in few hands, partly because of technological development.
The result of these developments is an oligarchy of private capital the enormous power of which cannot be effectively checked
even by a democratically organised society.

- Albert Einstein

A cement mixer collided with a prison van on the Kingston Pass.
Motorists are asked to be on the lookout for 16 hardened criminals.

- Ronnie Corbett

This topic should be one of importance to everyone.  It cuts to the core of our most basic philosophies.

My problems began after months and months of struggling with bills and banks and a mortgage payment, when one of my more prosperous clients called and casually asked, "Did I invest $30,000 or $40,000 in the last bond issue you sold me?"  Something like teeth gnawed at my chest.  "You mean you really don't remember?"  "No.  I've got so much going on I can't remember exactly.  Besides, that's your job, right?"  The teeth snapped hard.  I became a crook...
The Counterfeiter - "At first Jim even thought about abandoning his life of crime.  There he was with a stable job, a beautiful woman, contemplating marriage.  Who could ask for more?  Jim, actually.  So he did..."
Do not pass GO: Join the crowd and Go Directly to Jail:  "We've used prison beds to stimulate the economy," said Marty Lensing, who runs the Elayn Hunt Correctional Centre in St Gabriel, near Baton Rouge.  "In other words, it's an industry."
Injustice, We Believe - Pardon me?  Am I missing something?  An underaged child is found guilty of having sex with a parent?
Dying Marv - Meet Death Row Marv, a grey plastic figure 15 cm high recommended for children age 13 and over.  For only US$24, he allows them to experience the horrors of the death chamber in the role of executioner.  This subsection (6 pages) contains several atricles on the death penalty including what it's like to be both executed and executioner.
Methods of Capital Punishment - Lethal injection is used by 36 states, the US military and the US government, but is not always the only method of execution used.  Electrocution, the gas chamber, hanging and the firing squad are alternatives in some states...
As Condemned Await Fate - As a microphone dangles overhead, sometimes the prisoner looks at the victim's witnesses, seeking forgiveness.  Sometimes he proclaims his innocence.  Sometimes he turns his attention to the people he knows.  He may say something memorised or spontaneous, funny or vulgar, express love and sorrow and apologies.  He may pray or sing...
Countries Take Different Approaches to Executions - In Congo, death comes by firing squad.  Last year, as many as 100 civilians may have been executed by a special military court originally set up to try soldiers.  Those convicted by the court can ask Congo's president for clemency.  But people have been executed within 30 minutes of being sentenced...
Race - study after study has established a disturbing link between race and the death penalty.  Concerns persist in virtually every jurisdiction in which death remains a legal form of punishment, and appear intractable.  The myth is widely held that racial discrimination in the death penalty is exclusively a Southern phenomenon, but Philadelphia's death penalty has all the trappings of Southern death-belt racial discrimination ... and more...
Executioner's Song - When asked if he has any final words, Evans asks to say them privately to Cabana.  With great symbolic effect, he summons the executioner into the gas chamber.  "I love you," Evans tells Cabana.  Minutes later, just prior to giving the order to release the poison gas and begin Evans' 15-minute final ordeal, Cabana mouths his reply: "I love you, too."...
Freedom of the Press - "In Burma, censorship is total due to a state monopoly on access.  In addition, anyone who owns a computer must declare it to the government or face up to 15 years in prison..."
Living Outside the Law - "In the 50 chapters that follow, the author discusses in detail how he deceived the supermarket, restaurant, hotel, insurance company, credit card firm, airline, his employers, authorities, and even a court, among others.  Some tricks are amusing but virtually all of these 'ways to beat the system' can be called stealing..."
New Age Jail for a New Millennium - Corrections Minister Matt Robson claims that privatising prisons turns them into a growth industry - why would private managers want to reduce their prison population and put themselves out of a job?
Each Cell Has Its Own Toilet - Should prisoners be corrected?  Or just punished?  Or a bit of both?  Before you answer, try to imagine living here.  For years.  Now think about how you could possibly be expected to behave when you get out if your hatred for "the system" has been building all that time.
Auckland Central Remand Prison - " living in a poultry farm."
Justizzentrum Leoben is located in Styria, Austria.  The other prisons in Austria (I presume there ARE more) may look like prisons the world over, but this one is awesome...
This cell at Fullerton City Jail is a pay-to-stay site. “It’s like the Mayberry jail with modern technology,” a jailer says.
Prison Punishment - "The function of prisons is to rehabilitate and to punish - they're not designed to be some sort of state-funded Playboy Mansion...  Our jails must be places people don't want to end up - not places they fondly remember..." said National leader Jenny Shipley.
Retributive Justice - there is at least one proposition about punishment that everyone seems to agree on these days, regardless of his or her philosophical orientation.  It is that torture - the deliberate infliction of physical pain - is not a morally permissible way of punishing a wrongdoer.  Unless, curiously, that wrongdoer is a child in need of a spanking.
Coddling Is Cheaper - Inmates say providing a long-term goal helps them to stay sane and makes them less prone to violence.  It also makes the entire prison easier and less expensive to manage.  As one inmate serving a life term put it: "You create Spartan conditions, you're gonna get gladiators."
Inmates Teach MBA Students Ethics from behind Bars - Gamble, who embezzled Social Security payments he managed for the disabled, says his family members would have to be counted among his hundreds of victims.  Since he began serving a 32-month sentence, his mother has been moved to a nursing home, his father has had a heart attack and his wife has divorced him...
"I Love You.  PS Did You Kill Her?" - By posing as a lonely young woman, Bernard O'Mahoney has coaxed several alleged killers into confessing their guilt.  He's censorious about people who profit from crime, but is handsomely paid by the tabloids.  Now, one of his victims is suing him...
The Next Best Thing to Slaves - Cheap?  We're talking as little as 20ยข an hour, with no health care to worry about, or any of the other nonsense that workers on the outside always want.  And these guys always show up on time; they can't talk back and they sure won't be joining any of those pesky unions.
Rule of Law - "You lie on your hard prison mattress furious at your lawyer, clinging to one hope: the Court of Appeal.  You may be in for a shock..."
On the Spot - In Brazil, the Electronic Judge uses an artificial intelligence computer program which is carried in a laptop to the scene of an accident or dispute in a legal "rapid response unit" with a judge and clerk accompanied by police.  It's called "Justice on Wheels"...
Social Conscience - "the electronic tag applies its own conditioning.  It transmits a signal to the police.  More to the point, it also emits a startling high-pitched scream and delivers an instant, painful electric shock."
Somes Island Leper - not all prisons have walls...
On Prizes and Second Chances - should your future always depend on your past?  Or does everyone deserve at least one more chance (if not two)?

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