As a politico, I’m a big fan of deranged populist rhetoric regarding prisons. It’s just good political whoring.
If you are immediately unfamiliar, I’ll give you an example you’ve likely already encountered. For interpretative purposes, the following dramatization is best imagined as being said by an old man in a 1992 Alabama National Championship T-shirt at one of those gas stations that both sells hardware and makes sandwiches:
I tell you what, I pay my taxes and these assholes done gone and they take them prisoners and they done get three meals of day for free and the color TV and a place to exercise. And I pay taxes and don’t break the law and I don’t get any of that shit for free!
So you’ve probably heard that more than a few times, correct? And when you have a candidate say that in a cleaned-up way at a town hall or a campaign event, crowds eat that shit up.
Of course, as with many popular political memes, it ignores inconvenient realities. And if you took the realities into account here, it’s a bit harder to make prison seem like criminals’ taxpayer-funded vacation.
To demonstrate, I’ll mention a few things that Alabama prisoners likely face on a daily basis and follow each example with our same caricature of a crotchety old man that hangs out at the gas station attempting to rationalize these things as prisoners living the good life.
-The ever-present threat of brutal violence.
So yeah, it can be a bit difficult to reconcile reality and the image that people want to believe because they need something to be angry at because they feel like they’ve been denied it all somehow.
A House committee has approved a bill to ban prisoners from using social networking sites.
‘Kay. Continue reading