May 3, 2007

A certain crime, a certain prison?

As a popular saying goes, "Let the punishment fit the crime" do you feel that a certain crime should land you in a certain prison? For example, should white collar criminals be locked up with street criminals. Or in other words, should murderers be locked up with felony theft cases? Or should convicted murderers be commited to a specific prison of their own? Should a stock insider trader spend ten years in a prison, bunking next to a child molestor.

My view on this is that there should be some separation between prisons. I believe that an illegal stock trader should be required to bunk with some guy who raped 14 little girls (or whatever the match should be). This would ideally create a safer prison system as a whole. Reason being is that the less dangerous prisoners, while they should still be under maximum security (for risk of escape), should not be placed into an area in which he/she will most likely learn more criminal activites. Also, gang kingpins who are doing a life shot will not be able to pass information on to lower gang members who may only be in for a few years.
While criticisms may say this is costly, it would pay for itself in the long run by reducing gang violence and future crimes on the streets.

April 26, 2007

The Other Inmates?

Whether it is accurate to refer to prison guards as the other inmates is the question. For the most part everyone can agree that the job of a guard is not the most glamorous that there is. But as we saw in the film they are a close nit group of their own, they look out for each other and ensure each others safety. We could perceive this as just another gang amongst the many gangs that we find in prisons. In short I would be more than willing to say that yes perhaps officers are the other inmates. As stated in the film they may actually only be their for eight hours while the actual inmates are their for twenty four hours. As guards they have to also deal with the reality of the prison. In all this these men have to remain calm and not show their weakness. The rules of prison life may not totally apply to them but there are certain rules that they will still follow. They can never show fear, they can not be known as the one who talks too much. This is what is called the Prison Officers Code, just like the prisoners the officers are also bound by this code and this is something that has the guards feeling like the other inmate.

By Julius Eromosele

April 12, 2007

Group Work

Mitch Kuhlman
Wale Adebayo
Julius Eromosele
Kelli Ackerman
Jason Savage
Ashley Farnum
Kim Oster


Most of the inmates would be comprised of lower class individuals. This perpetuates a cycle that keeps the lower class incarcerated. The bourgeoisie holds the lower class down because it’s a class struggle.

“In terms of human misery, this system could hardly have been worse. The convict now found himself laboring for the profits of three separate parties; the sublessee, the lessee, and the state?

Alienation of the inmate – no control over their lives / outcome. These inmates are seen as workers / laborers not humans capable of rehabilitation or conformity.

March 28, 2007

Worse Than Slavery Questions 1 & 5 [GROUP: Caitlin Hewitt, Gregory Shapiro, Holly Sprenger, Johanna Zabawa, Jorn Sakobsen, Mitch Metty]

1. In what ways did each of these penal institutions resemble slavery?
A. Convict Leasing: A way to continue slavery after its abolition

-Economic Aims:
plantations were able to obtain cheap labor

-Conceptions of race and African-Americans inherent characteristics:
Many individuals felt that African-Americans were inherently savage and unintelligent and that without slavery or the convict lease system they would not be able to survive; the sentiment was that African Americans were just as dependent on slavery and the lease system as whites were but for different reasons

-Functions and practices of the "keepers":
convict lease bosses: in charge of contracting the laborers out
prison sergeants: in charge of the trustees, laborers, prisoners; maintain order and control

-The Trusty System:
the prisoners who worked their way up and worked alongside the guards; it was their job to shoot people who tired to escape; they were pardoned if they shot someone

-Means of maintaining prisoner/laborers:
all white juries, judges; increaesd rates of arrest when labor was needed
Resembles slavery in that blacks were a major target. Jails were originally built for whites but quickly turned black with the convict leasing system.

-Roles of the State/Governement:
it was their job to produce the laborers; they were profiting from it; created laws to pubish petty crimes harshly

5. To what examples in this book would a Durkheimian scholar refer to support his or her conception of punishment?

-Convict leasing system was an emotional response to the abolition of slavery
-fear that blacks would have the same rights as whites
-blacks had to be deviant to survive so this could be a punishment for violating the norms/rules of society
-violation of the collective conscience just by being black--when slavery was abolished the old collective conscience, i.e., the idea that blacks were inferior, was violated

[group ran out of time to discuss this question further]

February 13, 2007

First 2 Weeks - Activities

PDF files of some of the group work:

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