January 11, 2013 ~ Prisons for Profit | Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly | PBS

LUCKY SEVERSON, correspondent: In the United States there are more than two million citizens locked up behind razor wire and prison bars.

MARK MAUER: We lock up our citizens at far greater rates than any other industrialized nation or any other kind of nation in the world.SEVERSON: Mark Mauer is the executive director of The Sentencing Project. He says that when it comes to lock ups, Louisiana is easily the toughest state in the nation.

MAUER: Louisiana has been at the top of the pack and just incarcerating people at rates that are just unimaginable any place else in the world.

SEVERSON: Richard Crane is the former chief counsel to the Louisiana Corrections Department. He says there was a push nationwide in the early 1980s to crack down on crime, and Louisiana took it seriously.

via January 11, 2013 ~ Prisons for Profit | Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly | PBS.


What It’s Like to Experience New Technology After 25 Years in Jail

When I went to prison, in 1987, Motorola manufactured the large, gray cellphone that I used. People referred to it as “the brick.” It had the capacity to send or receive phone calls, but there wasn’t any text messaging back then.

I also had a pager, but it could only transmit digits, as I recall. I had a personal computer manufactured by IBM with a DOS operating system that I didn’t really understand and 40 megabytes of memory. I was told that was a big deal. I linked the computer to an Epson dot-matrix printer, and I remember the perforated paper fed through on a track system that easily derailed. It was a hassle.

Technology has changed considerably during the 25 years that I served. I read extensively during my term of incarceration, but reading about technology felt a bit like reading about typing. Regardless of how much I read, I wouldn’t grasp the power of technology until I started using it. Forget the power, I don’t even understand the language of technology. For example, I never understood what people meant when they spoke of a “browser.” In fact, I just asked my wife to define a browser, and when she described it as a program that would allow me to access the Internet, I gave her a blank stare.

“But I thought the browser was the little text box on top of the screen, where I type in what I’m looking to find on Google.”

“No honey,” she said. “That’s the URL bar.”

via What It’s Like to Experience New Technology After 25 Years in Jail.


Can Forgiveness Play a Role in Criminal Justice? – NYTimes.com

Can Forgiveness Play a Role in Criminal Justice? – NYTimes.com.