Tagprison

New Trend In Prison: Tattoo Your Eyes!

See also: World’s First Eyeball Tattoo

(via Neatorama)

Study: States can’t afford death penalty

according to a new report that concludes that states are wasting millions on an inefficient death penalty system, diverting scarce funds from other anti-crime and law enforcement programs.

“Thirty-five states still retain the death penalty, but fewer and fewer executions are taking place every year,” said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center. “But the overall death row population has remained relatively steady. At a time of budget shortfalls nationwide, the death penalty is turning into an expensive form of life without parole.”

His group commissioned the study released Tuesday.

A privately conducted poll of 500 police chiefs released with the report found the death penalty ranked last among their priorities for reducing violent crime. Only 1 percent found it to the best way to achieve that goal. Adding police officers ranked first.

CNN: Study: States can’t afford death penalty

(via Bill)

Governments have been maintaining other policies that not only can they not afford, but are amoral – for example, the drug war. This hasn’t stopped them yet. Still, one can hope this report will lead to some reversal of policy.

Netherlands to close prisons for lack of criminals

The Dutch justice ministry has announced it will close eight prisons and cut 1,200 jobs in the prison system. A decline in crime has left many cells empty.

During the 1990s the Netherlands faced a shortage of prison cells, but a decline in crime has since led to overcapacity in the prison system. The country now has capacity for 14,000 prisoners but only 12,000 detainees.

Deputy justice minister Nebahat Albayrak announced on Tuesday that eight prisons will be closed, resulting in the loss of 1,200 jobs. Natural redundancy and other measures should prevent any forced lay-offs, the minister said.

The overcapacity is a result of the declining crime rate, which the ministry’s research department expects to continue for some time.

NRC: Netherlands to close prisons for lack of criminals

(via Cryptogon)

Questions:

1. If certain politicians and pundits are to believed, The Netherlands has been experiencing a crime epidemic as the result of rampant immigration. Could it be that this was only xenophobic scare mongering?

2. What would happen in the US if prison populations were to decline? Also, since the US has been experiencing overall reductions in crime over time as well, why is our prison population not decreasing? What is the key difference between the US and the the Netherlands in this regard?

Update: I forgot to give link back to Cryptogon early. Many apologies.

America’s Most Common Torture: Solitary Confinement

The expanding torture scandal has left the American public horror-struck at how casually the Bush administration and its employees countenanced torture techniques like sleep deprivation, waterboarding and stress positions. However, another form of torture was not just used on detainees, but is being used on at least 25,000 Americans right now.

That’s the number of people currently held in long-term solitary confinement in the United States, living for years in 80-square-foot concrete cubes lit by round-the-clock fluorescent light, with little or no human contact. The U.S. is alone among developed countries in using long-term solitary confinement on a regular basis.

Academic scientific analysis of solitary confinement is still in its early stages, but the results are obvious, and echo the experiences of Americans who’ve been held in solitary confinement by terrorists or as prisoners of war. Human beings evolved to be social creatures. Solitary confinement drives us mad.

Wired.com spoke with psychologist Craig Haney of the University of California, Santa Cruz, an expert on long-term solitary confinement. Asked if it’s torture, Haney replied, “For some people, it is.”

Wired: Solitary Confinement: The Invisible Torture

(via Disinfo)

California May Be Forced to Release Up to a Third of All Prisoners

Federal judges on Monday tentatively ordered California to release tens of thousands of inmates, up to a third of all prisoners, in the next three years to stop dangerous overcrowding.

As many as 57,000 could be let go if the current population were cut by the maximum percentage considered by a three-judge panel. Judges said the move could be done without threatening public safety — and might improve a public safety hazard.

The state immediately said it would appeal the final ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Trend-setting California, the Golden State, has an immense prison system responsible for nearly 170,000 inmates, and their care has become a major political and budget issue as officials weigh multibillion costs of improved facilities against death and illness behind bars.

Full Story: Reuters

(via Cryptogon)

California May Be Forced to Release Up to a Third of All Prisoners

Federal judges on Monday tentatively ordered California to release tens of thousands of inmates, up to a third of all prisoners, in the next three years to stop dangerous overcrowding.

As many as 57,000 could be let go if the current population were cut by the maximum percentage considered by a three-judge panel. Judges said the move could be done without threatening public safety — and might improve a public safety hazard.

The state immediately said it would appeal the final ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Trend-setting California, the Golden State, has an immense prison system responsible for nearly 170,000 inmates, and their care has become a major political and budget issue as officials weigh multibillion costs of improved facilities against death and illness behind bars.

Full Story: Reuters

(via Cryptogon)

Related External Links

Judges Took Bribes to Send Children to Privately Owned Juvenile Detention Centers

State lawmakers are seeking ways to compensate children sent to detention centers by a pair of Luzerne County judges charged with taking kickbacks for sending juvenile defendants to facilities in Luzerne and Butler counties. […]

They made the request yesterday, the same day a third Luzerne County court official was arrested in the ongoing corruption probe.

Court Administrator William T. Sharkey Sr., 57, of West Hazelton, yesterday agreed to plead guilty to embezzling more than $70,000 in illegal gambling money seized by authorities between June 1998 and June 2008.

Two other county court officials were charged last week with fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud.

Full Story: Post Gazette

(via Cryptogon)

Related External Links

Webb Sets His Sights on Prison Reform

This spring, Webb (D-Va.) plans to introduce legislation on a long-standing passion of his: reforming the U.S. prison system. Jails teem with young black men who later struggle to rejoin society, he says. Drug addicts and the mentally ill take up cells that would be better used for violent criminals. And politicians have failed to address this costly problem for fear of being labeled “soft on crime.”

It is a gamble for Webb, a fiery and cerebral Democrat from a staunchly law-and-order state. Virginia abolished parole in 1995, and it trails only Texas in the number of people it has executed. Moreover, as the country struggles with two wars overseas and an ailing economy, overflowing prisons are the last thing on many lawmakers’ minds.

But Webb has never been one to rely on polls or political indicators to guide his way. He seems instead to charge ahead on projects that he has decided are worthy of his time, regardless of how they play – or even whether they represent the priorities of the state he represents.

Full Story: TruthOut

(via The Agitator)

Wands and wine for imprisoned pagans

The Times reports:

PAGAN priests will be allowed to use wine and wands during ceremonies in jails under instructions issued to every prison governor.

Inmates practising paganism will be allowed a hoodless robe, incense and a piece of religious jewellery among their personal possessions. They will also be allowed to have Tarot cards but are forbidden from using them to tell the fortunes of other prisoners.

Full Story: Times Online: Wands and wine for imprisoned pagans

Prisoners to design own jail

Hmmm…

The scheme was initiated by Rideout (Creative Arts for Rehabiliation), a company that promotes the arts within the prison system. Co-director Chris Johnston says its aim is “to influence the decisions that are made about prison architecture and design, which almost always relegate education provision to a low priority and the role of the arts even lower.”

Full Story: The Guardian: Prisoners to design own jail

Apprently it’s “purely conceptual” with the prisoners only building models of otheir projects at the end… but the idea of engaging prisoners in a different way is facinating. This will no doubt raise questions about prisoners being treated too well, etc. But if it helps keep these people from coming back to prison, why not?

(via Cool Hunting)

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