Boing Boing 

Prisoner escapes by faking an email ordering his release


Neil Moore was locked up in England's notorious Wandsworth Prison when he used a smuggled cellphone to send an email to the prison that appeared to come from a court clerk who was ordering his release on parole.

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First-hand reports of torture from Homan Square, Chicago PD's "black site"


In the wake of last week's revelations about Homan Square, the off-the-books "black site" where Chicago PD disappear prisoners for violent, aggressive interrogation, four of the site's victims have come forward to describe the highly racialized human rights abuses at the secret site.

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Use Facebook while in South Carolina jail, go to solitary for 37 years


Prisons have a legitimate interest in controlling contraband, but in South Carolina, using social media from behind bars is a Class I offense, carrying stiffer penalties than murder, escape and hostage-taking.

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Universal wants to take away prisoners' mixtapes


They're suing a group that sends care-packages to prisoners that include mixtapes featuring funk, soul and hiphop artists.

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An animator's sketches from the LA County Jail


Elana Pritchard (see her kickstarter), an animator who is a protege of Ralph Bakshi, was thrown in the scandal haunted LA County Jail for three months for violating a court order; on Bakshi's advice, she kept herself sane by illustrating her experiences using a golf pencil and scrap paper.

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Wrongly convicted man released from US prison after 39 years

Jose writes, "A 12 year old child was forced by the police to give false testimony against three black teens in 1975; the last two men have just been released from prison. I was moved to tears by both the terrible injustice and the way one of these men, Ricky Jackson, spoke out without any sign of hatred."

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Gallery of Russian criminal tattoo police file photos

The dollar bills, skyscrapers and machine gun with the initials ‘US’ stamped on it convey this inmate’s love for the American mafia-like lifestyle. The eyes signify ‘I’m watching over you’ (the other inmates in the prison or camp). The epaulette tattooed on the shoulder denotes the inmates 'rank' among the criminal caste.


The dollar bills, skyscrapers and machine gun with the initials ‘US’ stamped on it convey this inmate’s love for the American mafia-like lifestyle. The eyes signify ‘I’m watching over you’ (the other inmates in the prison or camp). The epaulette tattooed on the shoulder denotes the inmates 'rank' among the criminal caste.

Fuel has a new book out with 180 photos of Russian criminal tattoo from the 1960s-1980s. It is a Kickstarter-funded project.

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#EndTheQuota: stop the Congressional mandate to jail 34K immigrants each night

Sasha writes, "Since 2010, the detention bed quota - a Congressional mandate that requires the incarceration of 34,000 immigrants in jails and detention centers in the U.S. at any given time - has stolen countless months, days and hours from immigrants and their families and communities; this website is a powerful interactive visual representation of this system, combined with stories of detainees and steps to #EndTheQuota."

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Being physically unable to commit a crime is no defense against a system that has been fine tuned for prosecution

Techdirt's Tim Cushing highlights some of the more Kafkaesque moments in modern American justice -- handcuffed men who shoot themselves in the back, men who are arraigned for crimes they allegedly committed while in jail, and comes to this conclusion:

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A prison visit with The Pirate Bay's Peter "brokep" Sunde


Julia Reda, a German Pirate Party MEP, was allowed to visit Sunde in a Swedish prison, and came away with a sad and important report on his tenure there, and his views on the future of the Internet and copyright.

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DOJ slams Riker's Island for horrific violence against young inmates

From the age of 16 on, children are integrated into the general population at Riker's Island, where the guards routinely engage in brutal, illegal beatings whose video evidence mysteriously disappears.

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Michigan sheriff issues inmates black-and-white striped uniforms


He's worried that "Orange is the New Black" has made orange prisoner uniforms too cool.

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New Mexico threatens inmate with 90 days' solitary because his family made him a Facebook page

The New Mexico Corrections Department has a policy prohibiting inmates from "accessing the Internet through third parties," which they've interpreted to mean that prisoners whose families maintain Facebook pages for them can be punished with solitary confinement.

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Formerly incarcerated woman on why 'Orange Is The New Black' is mostly inaccurate

Orange is the New Black.


Orange is the New Black.

A confession: I'm not a fan of the TV series "Orange is the New Black." I love some of the actors on the show, but I think it's kind of a romanticized white fantasy that makes cute of an experience that is not cute, as even today's headlines on this very blog reveal. With glee, I read this Washington City Paper analysis of the show by a woman who served time in prison on a drug-related offense. She is very funny, and her critique is informative.

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California prisons sterilized at least 150 female inmates

While most of the sterilizations were agreed to by the women, those same women also report being heavily pressured into the surgeries. For instance, one woman reports that, in 2010, a doctor tried to convince her to have a tubal ligation while she was sedated and strapped to a surgical table for a C-section. What's more, the doctors pushing for and performing sterilizations didn't have approval from the state to do the procedures at all.

And here's the part that really stood out to me: When prison staff pushed back against the doctors in 2005 and questioned the fact that women were being sterilized, it wasn't because the staff was concerned about proper oversight or whether the women were being pushed into making decisions they wouldn't have made except under duress — it was because the staff was upset the women were getting extra medical services they didn't "deserve".

During one meeting in late 2005, a few correctional officers differed with Long’s medical team over adding tubal ligations to a local hospital’s contract, Kelsey, 57, said. The officers viewed the surgeries as nonessential medical care and questioned whether the state should pay.

“They were just fed up,” Kelsey said. “They didn’t think criminals and inmates had a right to the care we were providing them and they let their personal opinions be heard.”

The service was included, however, and Kelsey said the grumbling subsided.

You can read the rest of journalist Corey Johnson's story at The Center for Investigative Reporting and The Desert Sun. There's also a report on the matter recently published by The California State Auditor.

Timberland's new warranty conditions screw the prisoners who must buy them


Timberland -- whose boots are the sole option for many prisoners in US correctional institutions, thanks to sweetheart deals with prison commissaries -- has a new set of kafkaesque warranty conditions for prisoners that makes it effectively impossible to get defective footwear repaired, meaning that prisoners could spend decades without suitable footwear.

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Pornoscanners head to prisons

Normally technology migrates from prisons to schools to airports -- think CCTVs and Pre-Check -- but for the late and unlamented radioactive pornoscanners that the TSA had to give up on, the technology path went the other way -- if you're lucky enough to be incarcerated in the USA (which incarcerates more people than any other nation on Earth), you may be treated to one or more TSA-surplus pornoscans.