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."
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A quick tour of the Cost of Prisons in the United States
map reveals that the prison industry is doing well, especially in California, which has 135,000 people caged at a taxpayer cost of nearly $8 billion ($47,000 per inmate). From Think Progress
: "Between 2008 and 2012, the CEO of one of the world’s largest private prison firms earned $22 million in compensation, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings. (Thanks, Brian!)
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."
Hell on earth
(Image: Prison cell with bed inside Alcatraz main building san francisco california, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from timpearcelosgatos's photostream)
Drones are being used to drop care packages of drugs into Quebec prisons, according to Stephane Lemaire, president of the province's correctional officers' union. On Sunday, guards at the Hull jail watched a drone flying over the yard but couldn't determine if it delivered any contraband. The Ottawa Sun
paraphrased Lemaire as saying, "Officers don't have the right guns to take out drones -- especially near city centres -- and a net or even a jammer that would disrupt the drone's signal would go a long way."