Upselling Prison

No matter what your prisonware supplier tells you - these do NOT age wellA former inmate sizes up detention products, #1 in a casual series.

It’s a dubious distinction, I know, but I’ve been among the first 75 inmates to enter a brand new prison. The place hadn’t been “officially” opened yet, and it wasn’t even entirely complete. In fact, it took months before the technological marvel it was said to be actually began to function as designed. My memoir, Where Excuses Go to Die, can tell you more about that story; today we’re simply going to look at some of the design elements and corrections products that represent modern incarceration in America.

Big phone companies rip off inmate familiesI bring up my own experience because, in the absence of a boisterous and threatening prison population, I actually had the luxury of appreciating the punitive design genius behind shelving, inmate phones, door hinges, mattresses, linens, flooring, high pressure laminate table tops, mirrors, hooks and hardware, and so forth – almost as if they’d been displayed in an art gallery. It was spooky and (relatively) wonderful.

Imagine an essentially empty prison, almost entirely free of brutality, toothless Yard apes, and the white power hoo ha they blabber on about. It didn’t last, of course, but I treasured it while it did. Throughout the following year, inmates and staffers recognizing each other from that quieter time enjoyed something of a secret handshake, as if we were a step above unappreciative newcomers. It made eye contact and common goals a bit easier for us both to reach.

At any rate, whether you take your first custody turd in a prison cell, a county jail, or a police substation, sitting on your first steel pot will make you wonder what sadist invented such an uncomfortable throne. Read more

“Kids for Cash” Judge vs. Parents

Hurt parents’ barbs and bitch-outs cut much deeper than their backhands. So let’s send the judge who got rich sentencing juveniles to his friends’ privately-owned jails into a “hostility cage” with victims’ families.

Michael J. Mullen / Associated Press
Source: CNN

The unedited footage of Sandy Fonzo screaming at former Luzerne County judge Mark Ciavarella is powerful. My own fists were clenched by the end of it: I can only imagine the fury that 370 similarly outraged mothers and fathers would produce. Sandy Fonzo is a woman both desperate to be heard and desperately angry. Though I do not know her, I root for her. Her son’s suicide may have ultimately been his responsibility, but it stemmed from an inability to recover from what happened to him in custody. I’ve seen that trauma up close and the behavioral issues that often follow. Had that been my kid, I don’t think I’d have been satisfied with a verbal confrontation. Read more