San Quentin, You Been Living Hell To Me

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Maybe it's a byproduct of Abu Ghraib and maybe it's just a coincidence, but there do seem to be more articles than usual lately on conditions in stateside prisons and jails. The San Francisco Bay Guardian's feature on California abuses makes an explicit comparison to Iraq; the Baltimore City Paper's report on the local detention center does not. Those of you who don't like to get your news from alt-weeklies can turn to USA Today, which has run a sobering piece on the Native American prison system.

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  1. I have always given Bush credit when he deserves it – like whe I opened my comment on this week’s press event with “I thought it was a pretty good speech.”

    The rarity of praise-worthy actions by this admin is not my fault.

  2. The difference between peacefully petitioning the government for redress of grievances and rioting, blocking and pillaging needs to be explained. No one has the right, however great their grievance against the government or the world, to force me to pay attention to them. When they grab me by the lapels or block my movement, the only topic at hand is their abrogation of my rights. Give me the right to bust that “protested” in the snot locker and walk over his body, or accept the fact that I will allow my surrogates to do the same. Tough Goddamn shit if you are subjected to the indignanty of a strip search. Stay the fuck ouit of my way and don’t try to force me to listen to you.
    As for jails, solitary non body contact for all for the duration of their sentence.

  3. Steve Lopez over at the LAT wrote a great story on May 14: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-lopez14may14,1,1731514.column?coll=la-util-news-local

    “I don’t mean to diminish the suffering and humiliation of inmates at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, but they’re lucky they weren’t locked up in L.A. County Jail.”

  4. The logical solution is containerization.

  5. Sorry for getting a little off-topic here, but I haven’t seen any discussion posts on it. I’m wondering what the brain trust here thinks about the razing of Abu Ghraib?

    Me, I think it’s total bullshit. Knock down a few buildings, and it somehow purges us of our sins. Please.

  6. Not to mention The New Republic’s “America’s Abu Ghraibs,” from the May 26 issue. Yes, I think there’s a connection.

    Nice Guy, symoblism isn’t everything, but it is a powerful tool, more powerful than words. By itself, the demolition won’t achive anything, but as a part of a broader strategy, it’s a good move.

  7. Raising the prison shouldn’t clear our consciences, but it should help reduce it’s value as a political tool for our enemies.

    And that is worth razing a few buildings over.

    However, back on topic…

    Power corrupts. This is the same here, there, everywhere. Prison guards take advantage of prisoners and only strong legal protections and effective enforcement mechanisms can keep than phenomena in check.

  8. joe:

    You’re defending Bush?! Hmmmmm. Maybe you are a bizarro-joe 🙂

    I think the belief of a “broader strategy” is a generous assumption. I myself think we’ll burn down a few buildings, and resume the gay bondage somewhere else, sans the cameras this time around.

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