Michael from Muckrock writes, "MuckRock's crowdfunding campaign to fund a series of FOIA requests and an investigation into America's Private Prison industry is in its last weeks, and the project's reporter, Beryl Lipton, has put together a list factchecking the industry's primary talking points, ranging from how they end up costing tax payers more than traditional prisons to how the industry actively works to build up the market by lobbying against policies that would reduce sentences -- and their margins." Read the rest
What's worse than courts demanding that poor people pay extortionate fines to the state for minor offense? Asking them to literally pay with their own blood.
"We have a name for locking people up and forcing them to do real work without wages. It's called slavery." Read the rest
Ohio authorities are investigating how a prisoner obtained a list of the usernames and passwords for prison administrators.
The "Revictimization Relief Act" allows suits against offenders whose "conduct...perpetuates the continuing effect of the crime on the victim," but the fact that it was aimed at silencing jailed activist Mumia Abu-Jamal was never made a secret -- the governor signed it into law saying that it "was inspired by the excesses and pious hypocrisy of one particular killer." Read the rest
Philosopher Rebecca Roache led a team of scholars at Oxford to think about the future of punishment. Aeon interviewed her about the project.
Roache: "Some crimes are so bad they require a really long period of punishment, and a lot of people seem to get out of that punishment by dying. And so I thought, why not make prison sentences for particularly odious criminals worse by extending their lives?"
One idea: Give prisoners drugs that make them experience a 1,000-year jail sentence in their mind.
Roache: "There are a number of psychoactive drugs that distort people’s sense of time, so you could imagine developing a pill or a liquid that made someone feel like they were serving a 1,000-year sentence. Of course, there is a widely held view that any amount of tinkering with a person’s brain is unacceptably invasive. But you might not need to interfere with the brain directly."
What about an eternal prison sentence, in other words, a Hell on Earth? Who would deserve such a sentence?
Roache: "Suppose there was some physics experiment that stood a decent chance of generating a black hole that could destroy the planet and all future generations. If someone deliberately set up an experiment like that, I could see that being the kind of supercrime that would justify an eternal sentence."
(Image: Prison cell with bed inside Alcatraz main building san francisco california, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from timpearcelosgatos's photostream) Read the rest