Thursday, April 9, 2015

Did anyone read the prison piece in last Sunday’s New York Times magazine?


Did anyone read the prison piece in last Sunday’s New York Times magazine? Dear god, I gasped out loud in public three times while reading the horrors that go in ADX, one of those Supermax federal prisons. I cannot recall ever gasping out loud in public over an article in my lifetime. It made me want to become a human rights lawyer. I have had first hand experience with a sociopath or two, complete narcicist, compulsive liar, etc. with all the disorders that are so scary because the person with the disorder is great at tricking people into sympathy. I know how rough those interactions can be, how cunning and relentless the person can be and how it is human nature to get tricked. I understand why the workers and enforcers are jaded, but still.  I am way aware of all that and I still believe that there has got to be a better way, that there needs to be room for humanity, that creating an environment that makes messed up people even worse is never the answer.

I actually took a class on prisons in high school and it was fascinating. We discussed the purpose of prison and if it worked and looked at the changing prison philosophies over time in the US. I have no answers, but I do seek information. I know that our prison systems are teeming with young men and especially young black men. http://www.prisonpolicy.org/graphs/raceinc.html I know that most of the worst offenders in ADX, America’s toughest federal prison, are not black. In the article they have a photo gallery of the worst offender and they are primarily white. Weird, huh?

I am actually very interested in the subject and I highly recommend the film, Bastards of the Party, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bastards_of_the_Party
And The Farm-Angola USA, which wasn’t available on dvd but you can see on you tube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFqVIlL0A2A. I especially love how some of the lifers just shine with peace and love, you can see their transformation. They may have been murderers and they are stuck there forever, but they have healed and changed, it is visual and palpable. Even the most brilliant con artist with the best personality disorder tactic cannot manifest that glow of transformation. Its real. I believe in the possibility to heal and change. 

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