Category Archives: Prison

Goodbye, North Dakota and Kansas

North Dakota and Kansas want to call this a human being.


Goodbye road repair. Goodbye police protection.

Goodbye fire fighters and robbery detection.

Goodbye schools, goodbye traffic rules.

Goodbye licensed cabs. Goodbye DNA labs.

And goodbye to preventive vaccine jabs . . ..



Why, you may ask. Why indeed.


North Dakota’s senate and Kansas’s house of representatives have voted to spend billions on unnecessary criminalization of normal, in fact, healthy and inevitable developmental processes. Which will leave them little money for road repair, etcetera. I’m not sure why the lawyers in their legislative bodies didn’t warn them.


What? You hear them squawk.


Well, didn’t you, ND and KS legislators? Didn’t you vote to make it law in your state that a fertilized egg is a person? You did, right? I have the articles about it right here and here.


Oh, that, you murmur. No big deal. Protection, yeah, that’s it, protection.


Whoa, hold on. If a fertilized egg is a person, and if it somehow fails to complete the nine-month journey to birth, that means – of course it does – homicide and potential murder. Right?


Follow me down this slippery slope you’ve created.


In order to determine that there is, in your view, a human in existence, you will need to test – on a daily if not hourly basis – every female child or adult of childbearing age in your state. Even those visiting for seminars and conferences, or celebrating Grandma’s 60th birthday. That means every female between . . . oh, let’s play safe and call it from eight years old to 60. Oops, that means Grandma, too, but of course in order to catch outliers, you need to be generous with your terms.


So somehow, every day, every female from third-grade to five-years-from-Medicare will need to take some sort of test (blood? saliva? pheromones?) to determine whether she’s carrying a human being within her.


If she is, you have to follow her. Medically, of course, unless you really want to pay officers to shadow tweens to determine whether they’re hitting that tennis ball just a tad too hard.


And if that fertilized egg – sorry, human being – fails to thrive? If a spontaneous abortion, AKA miscarriage, occurs, as it does in what reputable medical researchers estimate is at least one-third of pregnancies? Even though miscarriage is nature’s way of making sure fertilized eggs with faulty genetics don’t continue?


Well, hell. You’re going to have to use the rest of your taxes, beyond what you’ve already invested in surveillance and testing, to investigate the potential criminality of the erstwhile pregnant citizen. Was it a planned abortion? Was it “accidental”? I put that word in quotes because you will need to, as well. As every good 19th-century gynecologist knows, miscarriages happen for a variety of reasons: climbing stairs; riding a horse astride; sex with one’s husband, and so on. Add to those the possibility of miscarrying on a flight to ND/KS, or perhaps working long hours while teaching school. Wait, there will be no schools, you won’t be able to afford them. So much the better. That will force everyone to homeschool their children. Or, you know, not.


If the investigation determines that the pregnant citizen may have been at fault for taking a swim in a brisk lake?


Out comes the grand jury. The indictment. Incarceration (her children will just have to get along without their mom, her husband without his wife) and trial. With a guilty verdict, jail or prison. Again, the children will suffer, but what do you care?


You’ve just jailed a woman guilty of nothing but possessing a human body which God has designed to rid itself of some genetic errors.


Naturally, you’ll have to let violent criminals out of prison early in order to make room for citizens who have done nothing wrong.


Also, you’ve bankrupted your state and made it unlikely to be selected as the destination for national and regional conferences and tourism.


So what! You’ve declared your interest. You’ve shown you support children. From conception to birth, anyway, the most important months, and that’s what counts.


Until a member of your family is pregnant, or hit by a driver running a red light. Oh, dear . . ..


Goodbye traffic light maintenance.

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Filed under Birth control, Conception, Contraceptive, Family, Harassment, Health, Law, Miscarriage, Misogyny, Personhood, Pregnancy, Prison, Surveillance, War against women

“I Never Want To Know The Person I Was Again”

Wouldn’t it be better never to live behind these?


If you read this Guardian article and your mouth does not drop like mine did, check your pulse.


In Texas, the land of “convict at all costs”, maxi-prisons, and an appalling Death Row population, they’re no longer bowing to the interests of corporations that want to make big bucks off building and staffing yet more prisons. Instead, they’re taking the title “Department of Corrections” seriously. In the process, Tea Party sympathizers are adopting the philosophies of liberals who for decades have decried the easy, “slam ‘em into the slammer” ethos of America’s third-largest state.


Why this change?


Money. It costs Texas $50 per day per imprisoned inmate. The state no longer has that kind of money. When Republican Jerry Madden was appointed to head the Texas corrections committee, his mandate required him to build no new facilities for incarceration. So he had to think outside the big box.


Lo and behold, he turned to programs which liberal interests had been pleading to use for years. They pointed to other states, with lower incarceration rates than Texas, but also, oddly enough, lower crime rates. What were those states doing right that Texas could imitate?


What Texas found, it has copied: Personalized rehabilitation. An understanding that some people are poorly parented from birth. (“We are trying to provide 18 years of parenting in one year of drug court.” ) Small groups, so a judge overseeing them can tailor the approach to individuals. The knowledge that if offenders break parole, use drugs, don’t show up, they will be back in the system.


Rewards for those who turn their lives around.


There are many who do. They set aside drugs, get jobs, change their friends, learn to respect themselves. They also learn what went wrong in the past and how to prevent it happening again. The title of this blogpost is a quote from one man who, ten years ago, would have been speedily shuffled toward prison. Instead, he got the opportunity to re-create himself.


From the Guardian article: “At the root of the reforms is an idea alien to many on the right: to understand more and condemn less. ‘The people we are dealing with are not like you and me,’ Judge [Robert] Francis told me. ‘I found this a shock. I grew up in a house with married parents, both of whom had college degrees. I thought this was normal, but now I know it isn’t.’ The vast majority of people parading through his court come from broken homes, failed to graduate from school, began using drugs in their teens and had children before they were 20. ‘These people are preconceived to have a harder path through life than the likes of us,’ he said.”


For those who question whether this isn’t just softly-softly mollycoddling that will lead to more crime, Texas now uses “. . . sophisticated risk-analysis tools that have cut the number of low-risk offenders who reoffend within a year from 26% to under 1%”. That makes sense. Like profiling for airline flights, it takes what is known about an individual and plugs that information in to achieve a more refined and accurate judgment than simple “gut feeling”.


Considering that “Texas has freed 41 wrongly convicted inmates through DNA since 2001 — more than any other state”, it’s more than time to shout enough! Prosecutors and candidates running for state office in Texas have always garnered votes by claiming to be tough on crime. In the future, they’ll be required to amend that claim with a promise to spend less money on incarceration and more on correction, as well as vowing to put no defendant behind bars without thorough scrutiny of the DNA evidence.

In some US prisons, meditation is offered – even to lifers – as a way for them to achieve better mental health. There’s even a movie on one state program.


Still, wouldn’t it be healthier and less costly to make sure fewer people enter the prison system in the first place?

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Filed under Dhamma Brothers, DNA, Guardian, Inmate, London Guardian, Prison, Risk analysis, Texas

Mental Health Care Matters More Than Ever

Another example of cruelty


An American man fires shots at police officers, killing one, in a “divorce situation”. Three members of a British family, plus a French man, are killed by an apparent assassin. Online, bullying and “like if you hate” is bigger than ever, especially for children. Thousands of girls are still mutilated by their parents in the name of purity, and some die of blood loss or septicemia as a result of FGM (female genital mutilation).


Rape is still the most underreported crime, in any country, including wealthy Norway (where, shockingly, every single solved case of assault-rape in the country in 2010 was carried out by a Muslim immigrant).


What’s the solution? No guns would be good, but no guns are used on Facebook. Thank goodness.


What do all three of these problems have in common? Someone is not doing good thinking.


The line between evil and mental illness is very thin. The more we discover about healthy brains (especially with the research being done at the National Institutes of Health by Dr. Jay Giedd and his colleagues), the more we know how delicate, how changing and subject to harm, are our brains. In addition, they’re affected by other systems in the body, as well as by what we see and do. If we feed a video game habit, our brains will alter in ways different from those of a person who reads books instead.


Someone is not doing good thinking.


Can we acknowledge that people acting cruelly are not behaving at their highest level? That they are not the best possible persons they could be? That in becoming monsters they hurt themselves as well as others?


Who in their right mind wants to hurt themselves?


There you go.


I’m not saying that those who have broken criminal laws should not be set aside, for the protection of society. They must be. But prison guards know that most of the people under their supervision are mentally ill. Their crimes are the predictable result of mental illness, not its cause. Whether it’s taking mind-altering drugs, failing to take prescribed medication, indoctrination into cruel practices (such as in men who think that women should have no rights), or an undiagnosed condition (which can be longstanding and related to flaws in the brain, like psychopathology), crimes are born from mental illness.


So what are we doing about it, here in the US, in the Western world, globally?


Damn little.


Instead, we try to patch up a system of laws. We object – rightly – to the proliferation of guns and knives, which make cruelty so much easier. We call on right-thinking people to protest against harm, especially the physical. We place people in prison.


What we don’t do is place importance on good mental health from birth.


Instead, we leave children whose parents are proven to be harmful in the same homes. We ignore signs of cruelty. We make excuses. We fail to fund mental health initiatives. Although virtually everyone in the world is affected by bad mental health (as the wrong-thinkers themselves, as a relative or friend or co-worker or neighbor, as a victim of cruelty), we fail to arrest it, cure it, prevent it.


Granted, we still lack all the effective tools we need for every condition. However, if we put money into it, those tools (at least in the West) would be found and produced. If we look only at the huge strides made in the approach to bipolar disorder in the past few decades, we see that there are solutions. If we care enough to investigate.


Mental health care matters more than ever. Pass it on.

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Filed under Cruelty, FGM, Health, Jay Giedd, Mental health, Mental illness, Misogyny, Muslim, NIH, Norway, Prison, Rape, Rape is torture, Rapist as parasite