Archive for the Category »Prison Stats «

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The Soul of America…

Having lived on Earth for 70 years, warehoused in a dozen federal prisons for 20, and now “free” for the past three, my knowledge and experience with all this compu-high tech is limited. Tech-wise, I might as well have been on a prison asteroid.PrisonMiningColony

America, the land of the world’s largest prison gulag system in the history of the world, currently 2.4 million souls and growing, will most definitely usher in prisons on asteroids. I can almost predict how it’ll go down. more…

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Prisoners & Families: Neo-Slavery…

I recall back in 2006 when I was being transferred from the federal prison at FCI Jesup, Georgia, to the prison camp at FPC Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.

Getting up at 2:30am, the procedures included stripping, total body-cavity searches, an orange jump-suit and chains from my waist, to hands, to feet. Herded into a bare holding-cell with some 40 other prisoners, we languished until past 10am for the steel-caged prison transport bus. more…

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Norway’s New Prison–Humanity vs. Corporatism…

We arrived at FCI Ray Brook (Lake Placid, NY) federal prison in a driving snow storm in the winter of 1990-91.  Not unusual for the site of the 1980 Winter Olympics.

After a year in Detroit’s Wayne County Jail and the holding facilities at FCI Milan, MI, Ray Brook (RBK) was my first officially designated prison to begin serving a 25-yr sentence for a cocaine conspiracy of which I was never a member.

By the time convictees actually reach their “home” prison in gulag America, it can feel like a great relief.  The jails, holding tanks, and transfer procedures are that draconian.

Filing off the bus wearing only slippers, elastic pants and T-shirts, we were relieved of our heavy burden of chains and cuffs. more…

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Record of Public Offense…

Short of the universal struggle for democracy, the largest and most important future organization for civil and human rights in American may well be felons.  If so, the next major anti-discrimination group will be those with a record of public offense:  The 15 millions-or-so felons in and out of the American gulag.

It’s been awhile since I’ve updated these stats, but with a tip-of-my-hat to Sidney Gendin, I’ll do so in this article.

To begin with, let’s do away with one conservative myth:  According to the US Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (USDOJ-BJS), all violent categories of crime have declined to the lowest records ever recorded.

Property crime rates have also declined.  Together, these categories include: Homicide, rape, robbery, assault, burglary  and theft (of the felonious types). more…

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Veterans & the Prison Experience…

As we commemorate this rememberance day, November 11th, as Veteran’s Day, we should remind ourselves of a few unpleasant facts…

101st Airborne

Since the draft ended in 1973, the all-volunteer military has become a significant source of jobs, education and other benefits for an increasing number of the working (and not-so-working) poor.

There are more than 23,000,000 military veterans in the US.  Over 2 million are from the Iraq and Afghan conflicts.

There is an estimated 16% of Iraq vets with a substance abuse problem, and 20% with a mental disorder or other cognitive impairment.  On any given night, 130,000 veterans are homeless.

Given the general tendency increasingly in the US to ignore homelessness, mental disorders, and substance abuse problems until they become criminal matters, there are more the 140,000 vets in the nation’s prisons…down from 225,000 ten yrs ago.

Some 40% of this number are in federal prison for drug “crimes” (15% for state prisons).  Five out of six prisoner-vets have discharges under honorable conditions.  About 20% are combat veterans.

As a veteran myself of the 101st Airborne (1959-61), I wish to greet all of my comrades—and all military veterans—on this special day.

I think we can do a lot better…

               Dr. Publico

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100th Anniversary!

This article is the 100th posting since last May of the American Tribune.   When I started this weblog, my idea was to write commentary on matters related to criminal justice thru the lens of a personal prison experience connection.  After 20+ years in the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), I certainly have no shortage of those.

Moral Growth...

I can’t say I’ve made everyone happy.  If anyone has figured out a way to make a moral omelette without cracking a few shells, please let me know.  Even Mark Twain and Will Rogers with all their talent, skill and humor had their detractors (little of the former do I).

I definitely have some ideas and goals for where I want to go.  I hope you’ve found—and will continue to find—these stories interesting and helpful.  However, it is not my intention to simply entertain you.  more…

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Prison Mental Illness…

It was one of those incidents I experienced during my 20+yrs of incarceration in the American Gulag.  Periodically, the rate of imprisonment out-stripped the available bed-space. Big Bubba Clinton started a furious drive to build more prisons, meanwhile…

MentalPrison-002On this occasion, the prison unit had some 20 extra double bunks in the common area where we usually sit around and watch TV in the evening off-hours.  One of the side 2-man cells was vacant in order to serve as a bathroom.

On one of the top bunks crowded into the common area lay this tall, lanky white guy propped-up on his elbows.  He was maybe 30 with longish hair.  He never spoke and we noted that his elbows, when he got down off the bunk, were literally worn down to white bone. more…