This is my one hundredth Break Out Blog post. In the summer of 2016, I started writing without a true guiding compass. I had no specific plan for going forward, but I knew the subjects associated with prison reform corralled complex issues that needed to be changed in state and federal prison systems. I had a sketchy outline in my mind of how to organize my thoughts. In the first Break Out Blog post, I wrote that “I will cover a wide variety of topics, including inmates with mental illnesses, the importance of visitation, the private prison industry, and prison atrocities.”
Over time, I recognized a pattern of topics that I wanted to share with you. These topics fall into seven categories: mental health, prison reform, prison culture, inside perspectives, criminal justice reform, re-entry, and shock.
For this one hundredth post, I present one sample from each of the seven groups based on how each post illustrates its catalogued category:
- Mental Health. Meet Dorothea Dix: Early Advocate for Mentally Ill Prisoners
It’s easy to lose your mind in prison. The insane world of forced routine accentuated by culture clashes, boredom, and the loss of personal freedoms can cause people to question their sanity.
- Prison Reform. Held Captive for Profit
Our dysfunctional justice system and greed provide a foundation for for-profit prisons. What are for-profit prisons? Also called private prisons, they are places where inmates are physically confined—incarcerated—by private companies that contract with states or the federal government to alleviate overcrowding in their respective prison systems.
- Prison Culture. Haven’t Been There, Haven’t Done That
Being a prison reform blogger is frustrating. The frustration lies in not being able to take readers into a prison environment with mere words.
- Inside Perspectives. What Does Prison Reform Mean?
There are several categories of people who have strong, visceral feelings about what prison reform should look like. The categories span a broad spectrum of perspectives associated with reforming prisons.
- Criminal Justice Reform. A Hat Tip to Justice Anthony Kennedy: The Jurist Who Called Out Mass Incarceration
The politics associated with the appointment of a replacement for Justice Kennedy, 81, who resigned June 27, 2018, from the US Supreme Court after thirty years of service, is gut-wrenching. Take your own gut test: what rights and protections do you fear are being whittled away by the sway and stench of political expediency?
Skin Deep: Looking Beyond the Tattoos is a book you absorb through your eyes and into your heart. This 176-page coffee table book is a thoughtful catalog of stunning photographs of formerly incarcerated people and their self-disclosures about their tattoos.
The curtain rises for Act 2. As discussed in Act 1, Greenlighting: Jailhouse Snitches, the term greenlighting comes from a lawsuit filed in the Orange County (California) superior court on April 4, 2018, against the Orange County district attorney and the sheriff. The lawsuit does not ask for money; it asks the court to overhaul the Orange County justice system.
This is a sampling of topics discussed in my previous posts. I look forward to continuing to give my views and perspectives on the important issues that impact the social justice movement of prison reform. I invite you to make topic suggestions.
Image courtesy of 123rf.com