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In WA the head of the state prison system ordered a study of whether people behaved better or worse after being driven crazy. So she ordered an end to driving people crazy.

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Nov 14, 2023Liked by Robyn Pennacchia

I have so much to add to this. In 1993 I tried the Pelican Bay case where we tried, but failed, to shut down the SHU on 8th Amendment grounds. Some factoids: most of the SHU inhabitants were allegedly prison gang “affiliates” who were fingered as such by other inmates. Not surprising, because the only way to exit the SHU before sentence completion is “snitch or die”. Guess what happens. So many inmates there, many already sick and mentally ill, became fully deranged, playing with feces, etc. At least they set up a new psychiatric SHU where a psychologist might drop by every now and then.

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"We can do better, so why don’t we?"

In my opinion, the most likely answer to this question is, "Because being 'tough on crime' wins elections."

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It depends on who it is, I suppose. Would one want a Ted Bundy or Aileen Wuornos out with a shiv amid General Population?

But...

I have read articles about people who have emerged from months, years, and decades in solitary confinement, and their psyches are completely destroyed. They are unable to cope with anything, even something as simple as a conversation with a relative or friend. That's because they have not had one for years.

A reporter did a story about a man who had emerged from solitary to lead an organization that fights the practice. They talked in his office about what he endured in prison. After that, she went to lunch. He went home for the rest of the day, mostly to vomit and endure flashbacks.

She returned from lunch and was told the man had gone home and why. Stunned and horrified, she postponed the rest of the interview to the following day. That was agreed upon.

Next day, when she came in, she did everything she could to keep the questions about what was going on with his organization now and in the future, to cause him no further emotional distress.

That's all I got.

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author

True story, I actually met a guy who was in prison with Ted Bundy. Apparently he mostly kept to himself and didn't really interact with anyone.

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That actually doesn't surprise me, somehow.

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So have adequate staffing to search for weapons.

At a now dead online support forum for prisoners and families, I read that a lot of people heard from their loved ones on the inside things like "I would have gotten into that fight, but I didn't want to lose visitation". For people closer to the norm than Ted Bundy, proportional consequences work.

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Very interesting and thoughtful comment.

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Shitting on prisoners, of all kinds, is always a smart play for politicians.

And a contemptible one.

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Nov 14, 2023·edited Nov 14, 2023Liked by Robyn Pennacchia

My first GPS monitoring company (EMASS) AND the Missouri Attorney General's prosecutor seem to believe that House Arrest = Solitary Confinement. It doesn't, but they illegally enforce it that way unless you stand up to them, which most people don't, but of course I did. They regularly and repeatedly deny Constitutionally-protected civil rights to pre-trial individuals on House Arrest, such as the right to peacefully assemble and the right to attend religious services.

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deletedNov 14, 2023Liked by Robyn Pennacchia
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I'm very glad to hear that. I've been wearing a GPS monitor cuff for 2 years and 3 months and I'm getting extremely sick of it and how much it costs me. It should be free since the county is saving thousands of dollars by not keeping me in jail, but of course they would never do that.

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This is nice. Even 4 states trying to be more humane is better than none. And all the objections skanky Noem brought up were countered. PROGRESS!!

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It's the result of prioritizing the appearance of "safety" over actual safety. Similar to how we make everyone go through a genital scanner to get on a plane, while tests of simulated terrorists show TSA misses 99% of them.

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America loves security theater.

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Do capital punishment next!

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author

I do capital punishment like four times a week! (topic-wise, not, like, me executing people-wise)

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You can't be pro-life if you don't support capital punishment!

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Anyone who says "oh well federal prisons, they hold the worst of the worst, they probably deserve whatever they get" should remember that Native American juveniles end up in federal prison due to a quirk in laws, so whatever you're advocating for prisoners is happening *to children.* And if you think they've been so bad THEY deserve it, please recall that status crimes (delinquency) criminalize otherwise legal behavior by teens.

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Then remember about half the people in Federal are there on War On Some Drugs charges.

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Oh gracious yes. But not everyone agrees that's bad.

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Nov 14, 2023Liked by Robyn Pennacchia

Don't forget America's political prisoner, Leonard Peltier.

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deletedNov 14, 2023Liked by Robyn Pennacchia
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I honestly thought Obama would but I guess it used to be bad form for presidents to cross the FBI.

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Well, we could put them in concentration camps with ratty barracks style housing, starvation rations, brutal guards, hard labor, and no health care so they will be too weak to cause trouble. Like the Nazi death camps Stephen Miller loves to visit. And send in National Guard troops in combat gear and live ammo to put down any protest. Like Trump says he will do if elected in 2024. Rounding up everyone without papers or anyone ever registered to vote as a Democrat, immediately reporting them or locking them away, and figuring out what to do with them years from now.

The Heritage Foundation rounded up about 75 far right Nazi and White Supremacist organizations to prepare a manifesto hundreds of pages long about how to take over the country and brutally maintain control. I bet they are pissed that Trump is saying the quiet parts out loud and forewarning the nation. But then again the mainstream media is more concerned about Biden's age than detailed written plans to replace a constitutional government with a dictator, so it remains to be seen how much traction this will get in the CBS evening news. Is that tremor a fault line in the earth slipping or is Walter Cronkite spinning in his grave.

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We are a nation full of sadists.

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founding

I’ll say it again: I hate us so fucking much and I am so ashamed at the things we do.

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Don't. We do a lot good, after all people DIE every day trying to come here. We just have a long ways to go on some issues.

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But if we get rid of solitary, it will erase some of the cruelty of the American system.

Where's the Exceptionalism in that?

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The American penal system is an exercise in punitive retribution, NOT an agency focused upon education and rehabilitation. From where I'm sitting and sulking resentfully I see a very myopic, misguided system that focuses almost entirely upon the crime and undesirable behaviors associated with crime. Our system doesn't spend enough [if any] time focusing on improving the lives of these individuals and providing them the education, skills, guidance and support to leave prison a productive, proactive individual who feels well earned pride, a more positive attitude, and viable hopes and dreams for a far better future.

American prisons book petty crooks to serve their sentence and too damned often ultimately release a far more educated criminal who will ultimately commit more grievous crimes. This is NOT how it's supposed to work.

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Endorsed. My prison pen pal was determined to prepare for life outside. She found no post-secondary education and the only vocational program had two openings for 300 prisoners. The purpose of a system is what it does.

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