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February 25, 2015

Various posts on the subjective experiences of punishment from SL&P (and a timely article about prison rape)

Following up on today's class discussion (and tomorrow's video) concerning imprisonment and the subjective experiences offenders may face, here are various posts of note from the archives of Sentencing Law & Policy:

These posts are a mix of links to serious academic articles and interesting real-world cases on some topics we covered in class.

Finally, I just noticed that The Atlantic has this lengthy new article about another part of the subjective experience of imprisonment for many.  The piece is headlined "Rape in the American Prison: In 2003, Congress passed legislation to eliminate sexual assaults against inmates.  One young man’s story shows how elusive that goal remains."

February 25, 2015 in Class activities, Theories of punishment | Permalink


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I understand how different people are impacted in various ways by a jail or prison sentence. Of course someone such as Floyd Mayweather would face nutrition issues compared to his normal calculated diet, but, there are some realities that we face when making prisons. Cells aren't built at the time of sentencing for that particular convict. People have to deal with the realities that are present. For example, Floyd should learn to drink tap water for 3 months. It is jail.
However, that isn't to say there aren't improvements that can be made to make prisons safer, or into a place for criminal rehabilitation.
I feel the issue here really is how we view prison. If we assume arguendo that as was brought up in class, that society has changed to view prison more as banishment, there is less will (political, societal, etc) to make any investments into change. Banishment type punishment is easy to cast out as 'out of sight, out of mind' and that is where the danger really lies.

Posted by: Chris S. | Feb 26, 2015 2:10:18 PM

Well stated!

Posted by: Doug B. | Feb 27, 2015 8:03:20 PM

In light of the article posted about prison rape I thought I would share this article published in Slate entitled "how to go to prison." The article discusses a set of videos released by the Marshall Project explaining how to avoid being raped in prison. The article also details how there are a growing number of "survival guides" being written by ex-convicts for those in, or going, to prison (i.e. How to Get Along with Your Cellmate). Especially interesting, after watching the video on Thursday, is the guide called "How to Survive Solitary" which was created and distributed by a Quaker Organization. This is of interest because if you recall, the film explaining how Quakers and their theology was behind many of the conditions that the prison in the film was created upon (essentially long-term solitary confinement for the duration of your sentence).


Posted by: Kristen Maiorino | Mar 2, 2015 10:51:05 AM

Subjective Experience in Prison:

Minimizing the difference...In class we discussed making a 6 month sentence the "same" for everyone. I just don't see how this is possible. How can you control the subjective experience of punishment without controlling the subjective experience of everyday life (outside of prison)? Anyone have any suggestions/ideas?

Posted by: Hallie Saferin | Mar 3, 2015 3:21:50 PM

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