- Showing 10 posts published between Mar 01, 2010 and Mar 31, 2010 [Show all]
Prisons in the sky
by Dan Van Ness
One of the persistent themes in penology has been the idea that architecture can help produce transformation in people. From the monastery-like isolation of prisoners in the Walnut Street Jail and its successor the Eastern State Penitentiary in the late 18th and early 19th Centuries to the Auburn model allowing for aggregate work but individual isolation, to Jeremy Bentham's Panopticon, to today's Supermax prisons, form has indeed followed function.
Now eVolo magazine has awarded first place in its 2010 Skyscraper Competition to Malaysian architectural students for their Vertical Prison, conceived of as somehow floating high above the ground with elevator pods transporting prisoners, staff, food and so forth between the prison and earth.
Prisoners would work in farms to supply earth with organic products. Those who behaved well would be given cells with windows pointed to the earth so they would be motivated to reform themselves.
The naivete of the design (the prison floats without support in the sky) and reform strategy (the architecture students do not appear to have researched the history of prisons) is remarkable, as is that of the judges of the competition.
Crime victims get right to apology
Criminals could be ordered to say sorry to victims in face-toface meetings as part of their sentence.
Gordon Brown wants those who have had offences committed against them to be given the right to a personal apology.
Criminals would also have to explain why they broke the law and offer some way of putting it right. The plans to shame them would be on top of any prison or community sentence handed out.
New UNC Senator laments tragedy of T&T prison system
from Jai Parasram's blog:
Opposition Senator Verna St Rose Greaves made an emotional appeal to government Tuesday to improve prison conditions in Trinidad and Tobago as part of a strategy for dealing with crime.
In her maiden speech in the Upper House, St Rose Greaves spoke about the country's high crime rate and in particular the recent murder of four members of one family.
“When they rolled those four coffins out, it rocked me to my core. So if I cry, I apologise, but I cry for the nation as we have ignored our responsibilities,” St Rose Greaves said in her contribution to the debate on the Prison Amendment Bill.
Domestic Violence Surrogate Dialogue
from their website:
Our Mission: The Domestic Violence Surrogate Dialogue (DVSD) program is designed to arrange an appropriate setting and environment whereby domestic violence victims and offenders may meet and engage in a conversation intended to lead to a form of restorative justice. A goal of the session is to generate understanding between the victim and offender as to each other's views and attitudes, as well as focus on the many consequences of domestic violence.
Ideally, the dialogue will be a catalyst for the victim to begin the release of feelings that will allow her to abandon her anger and initiate a healing process. She will also be able to ask probing questions of an offender that she would never have been able to ask her own abuser for fear of retribution.
At the same time, the interactive conversation with the survivor may motivate the offender to seek and find redemption. The offender would recognize that the victim is a person who has been harmed, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally.
The program also provides the offender an opportunity to help a victim of the same crime he had committed. By revealing his own insight, motivations and manipulations, the offender can enable the victim to discover how to identify and avoid violent behavior in future relationships. For both surrogates, these outcomes would represent a dramatic breakthrough.
from their website:
Jailbrake is a competition to find and support great ideas that could break the cycle of youth offending using simple web and mobile tools. Whether that’s about helping more young people access services and support, or giving them a way of staying safe.
We’re looking for people who have an idea about how to slow down and stop the cycle of youth offending – whether you’re part of a youth offending team, a service user, police officer or a member of a local community – with people who can make their ideas idea a reality.
....From January to March 2010, we ran a call for ideas to find great new ideas to slow down and stop the cycle of youth offending using simple web and mobile tools.
A grand total of 50 very early stage ideas were submitted to Jailbrake and we chose just six that we saw the greatest potential to build at the Jailbrake weekend, 26th-28th March 2010.
So here are our six ideas:
New Items in the RJ Online Database
New additions to the RJ Online research database over the last week covered several issues related to youth justice, Indigenous groups, victim offender mediation, and peacebuilding.
Coffee shop is site of healing
He didn't know what to expect. He was sick with dread. His eyes were bloodshot from crying. Aaron Poisson was returning to the Starbucks where two years earlier his actions had killed another man.
He didn't have to be here. He had served his time. Now 21, Poisson spent nine months in jail after pleading guilty of fatally running over Roger Kreutz, a customer trying to stop Poisson as the young man fled this coffee shop off Watson Road with a stolen tip jar containing less than $5. He says he didn't intend to hurt Kreutz, didn't know until days later what he had done.
Accompanied by his father, Poisson was headed back to the Starbucks, to a ceremony to spread Kreutz's ashes below a memorial tree planted just yards from the fatal scene. Kreutz's extended family and dozens of friends were there. Poisson feared their anger, the hatred.
"But it feels like something I have to do," said Poisson, wearing a sweater and black slacks, as though he were headed to church. "It's something I want to do."
Courage to repair
from the editorial in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
A racist prank perpetrated outside the University of Missouri's Gaines/Oldham Black Culture Center 11 days ago has evoked a reassuring response.
The two undergraduates — Zachary E. Tucker and Sean D. Fitzgerald — tried to make a mockery of the bitter history of black servitude. They scattered cotton balls outside the culture center under cover of night.
But their crude handiwork was greeted with sharp and universal condemnation. Both students were identified and suspended from school.
Last week, they were arrested. The Boone County prosecutor is weighing whether to pursue criminal charges.
DNA testing works, but not if we fail to utilize it
On March 24, Texas plans to execute Henry Watkins Skinner even though untested DNA evidence could show we've got the wrong man. DNA testing could resolve doubts about Skinner's guilt in the 1993 Pampa slayings of his girlfriend and her two sons, but the state inexplicably has blocked that testing for more than a decade.
President Sirleaf not bound by timeline on TRC Report, says Minister
Tuesday this week marked 90 days since Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) submitted its final edited reported to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Under Article 10, Section 48 of the TRC act, the president is to report to the national legislature within three months after receiving the TRC report and on a quarterly basis after the implementation of the commission’s recommendations.
Information minister Cletus Sieh said while President Sirleaf is concerned about the report being implemented, she is not bound by some timeline.