A shocking exposé of the violence at Rikers Island:
Under a practice known as “the Program,” guards were deputizing inmates, often in the teen jail [RNDC], and pitting them against one another in fights as a way to keep order and extort them for phone, food, and television privileges. … Serious injury reports show that since January 1, inmates at RNDC have sustained 10 broken jaws, six broken noses, and three broken eye sockets. That tally doesn’t count inmates who have kept quiet or who wait for treatment until after they have left the system.
Mike Konczal considers the future of prison reform:
It’s taken decades and millions of lives, but elite opinion is starting to move against mass incarceration.
The New Yorker and the New York Review of Books ran detailed exposés on the scale and violence of the penal state. Conservative leaders like Grover Norquist have said that mass incarceration violates the principles of “fiscal responsibility, accountability, and limited government,” while GOP darlings like Mitch Daniels have tried to take the lead in state reform. Soon the common wisdom will shift from “we need to get tough on crime” to “we jail too many people for too long for the wrong reasons.” The next question is what to do about it, and here the answers are harder.
Via Andrew Sullivan.