Archive for October 20th, 2011

Of the three official objects of our prison system: vengeance, deterrence, and reformation of the criminal, only one is achieved; and that is the one which is nakedly abominable.  – George Bernard Shaw

Some euphemisms are just so absurd it’s a wonder they aren’t the subject of constant public ridicule; one of these is “Department of Corrections”, a common American phrase meaning “Prison Department”.  It also has a number of derivatives like “correctional institution” (prison) and “correctional officer” (jailer).  But surely, no sane person believes that prisoners are being “corrected” or rehabilitated in any way; in fact, the evidence is the opposite, that locking criminals up for long periods of time merely makes them worse, and imprisoning those who break minor laws destroys their lives and/or turns them into career criminals.  The reasons for this should be obvious; prisons are little more than schools for crime, where those who are not thoroughly violent when they get in are forced to become more violent to survive.  Furthermore, excessive sentences remove prisoners from society for so long they forget how to behave among normal people and internalize the prison mode of behavior so that it’s difficult to “unlearn” when they get out, especially since criminal background checks, offender registries and other post-incarceration punishments often prevent former prisoners from ever returning to normal society.  These measures create a permanent criminal underclass who can never make a good living or otherwise reintegrate, so their incentives to return to crime (or enter it for the first time if their initial incarceration was for a consensual “offense”) are very strong indeed.  Women who cannot get “regular” jobs can always fall back on prostitution or marriage, but for male ex-convicts there aren’t many options for a worthwhile income other than drug dealing.

None of this makes any difference to lawheads, who defend their punitive mindset with tautologies, a priori statements and asinine slogans derived from TV cop show theme songs.  They take sadistic pleasure in seeing others suffer even if that suffering undermines rehabilitation, endangers society at large and costs the state tremendous amounts of money.  The prevalence of such warped mentalities in the United States can be demonstrated by the fact that we have only 5% of the world’s population, but 25% of the world’s prisoners and that since 1980 the incarceration rate has grown wildly out of proportion to the crime rate, largely thanks to mandatory sentencing laws, “three strikes” laws and the War on Drugs.  Nor are these perverts satisfied with caging human beings; oh, no!  They constantly agitate for longer sentences and harsher treatment of prisoners, both during their imprisonment and after their release.  And when badge-licking sadism gets into bed with political correctness and neofeminist “social construction” mythology, the result is just plain revolting:

A group of prisoners has begun a letter-writing campaign to protest what they see as an unfair ban on pornography inside [Connecticut’s] correctional institutions.  The Department of Correction announced in July that it would be banning all material that contains “pictorial depictions of sexual activity or nudity” from the prisons beginning next summer.  The state says the ban is intended to improve the work environment for prison staffers, especially female staffers, who might be inadvertently exposed to pornography.  “While it is not supposed to be displayed, it is still visible to staff, whether it be on the inside of a foot locker or underneath their bunks, so they are still exposed to it,” said Correction Department spokesman Brian Garnett.  “And secondarily, is the fact that this is contrary to our rehabilitative efforts, particularly when it comes to sex offenders.”

OK, let’s see if we can follow the “logic” here; they’re applying “hostile work environment” rhetoric derived from “sexual harassment” law to prisons?  The mind boggles; one would think any sane being with the most rudimentary knowledge of human sexual behavior would recognize that for a woman, the inside of a men’s prison would be practically the archetype of a “hostile work environment”.  And if a woman is able to see under a male prisoner’s bunk or into his foot locker, porn is the least thing she has to worry about being “exposed” to.  And how, pray tell, is access to material which the great majority of adult males view regularly somehow “contrary to rehabilitative efforts”?  Looking at porn is one of the few normal male things prisoners can do, and contrary to anti-porn claims it seems to reduce the rate of sex offense rather than increasing it.

…Bill Dunlop, a law professor at Quinnipiac University, said there is a constitutional argument to be made.  But, he said the courts have generally sided with prison officials, as long as they can prove the ban has a legitimate goal other than to simply suppress material that some people might find objectionable — such as maintaining safety in the prisons, or keeping the material out of the hands of sex offenders.  “The courts don’t require the prison officials to look for other ways of achieving those goals without infringing on First Amendment rights, to the extent that they would for government outside the prison,” he said.  “Based on the press release and the notice to the prisoners, it looks as though it’s in the general area of regulations that have been upheld in the past.”  But the state’s total ban on sexually explicit material appears to go beyond bans that the Supreme Court has upheld in the past, he said.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut…is not representing any of the inmates and doesn’t advocate for pornography in prisons, but is concerned that the ban could be enforced in an arbitrary and overly broad manner.  “Similar regulations have been used to censor an image of the Sistine Chapel, newspapers and magazines with lingerie ads and the novel Ulysses,” Andrew Schneider, executive director of the ACLU of Connecticut, said in a statement.

…The ban has the support of the union that represents prison guards.  Lisamarie Fontano, president of Local 387 of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, said she has been pushing for such a ban for several years, and has received complaints from female employees who have been sexually harassed by inmates using pornography.  “It’s a betterment to all to have it gone,” she said.  “Some inmates don’t want it, because their own sexual and mental issues were being forced onto them, even though it shouldn’t be there in the first place.”  Prisoners also use pornography as currency in prison, trading the pictures for other things of value, she said…

Given that prison guard unions, like all public employee unions, wield power far out of proportion to their numbers (the California prison guards’ union is thought to be the most powerful union in the United States), I have no doubt that the ban will be supported by the courts.  I don’t believe for one second that Fontano or any other female freaking prison guard is so lost in neofeminist La-la Land that she honestly believes that male sexual desire derives from looking at porn; she just wants to create her own sadistic mental porn by depriving male prisoners of one more simple human pleasure.

One Year Ago Today

Yesterday” is a cynical rumination on what it will take to get the mainstream media to stop acting as prohibitionist propaganda organs, and to really get the cause of sex worker rights moving, using lessons learned from gay rights activism.

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