The Shawshank Exemption

Americans don’t want to talk about prisons. But “ooh, ‘Lock-up America’ is on – let’s watch!” 

American History X is the dumbest movie ever. No dedicated, red-hot, curb-stomping, career White Supremacist is gonna suddenly see the light, repent, and boo-hoo for redemption as a result of being sodomized over a laundry cart.

U.S. incarceration rates are staggering: we now house 760 inmates for every 100,000 people; 7.1 million Americans are currently under lock and key. For too many years we’ve tried to win the War on Drugs by incarcerating our way out of it, and now here in California there are 300 parolees for every 1000 residents. And still the only way Californians (or anyone else, for that matter) seem able to digest America’s prison problem is by watching the same old clichés onscreen – what I call the “three Rs” of rape, riots, and rotten food.

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