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Posts tagged "Prison"

Another Week Ends: Rote Religion, Prison Basketball, Google Search Data, Repentant Economists, Arrogant Philosophers, Space Music from Sufjan, and Water Slide Wonders

Another Week Ends: Rote Religion, Prison Basketball, Google Search Data, Repentant Economists, Arrogant Philosophers, Space Music from Sufjan, and Water Slide Wonders

1. First up this week, we have an amazing piece by screenwriter Dorothy Fortenberry, who is currently working on Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale. In “Half-Full of Grace,” for the Los Angeles Review of Books, Fortenberry explains why she still goes to Mass, every Sunday, despite all her expectations to the contrary as a child. In a world of performance, that gracious yet monotonous hour provides a break from the wheel:

I do not impress anyone at church. I do not say anything surprising or charming, because the things I say are rote responses that someone else decided on centuries ago. I am not special at church, and…

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Tough Love Lessons in a Year of Jail Ministry

Tough Love Lessons in a Year of Jail Ministry

Before even beginning this post, you probably noticed the one giant, smug asterisk that naturally attached itself to the title: *Oh goodness, that’s right. Can’t believe I forgot to tell you! I do jail ministry. NBD. I’d love to, you know, grab a beer and tell you more about it sometime…

Let me alleviate any forespoken superiority with a quick rejoinder: God did not equip me with enough confidence to throw “successful tips” out about much, and definitely not about doing jail Bible studies. I do not have tips. I am a “sensitive” guy, which does not exactly disqualify me from…

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The Results We Never Asked For: The Tragedy of Lawrence Phillips

The Results We Never Asked For: The Tragedy of Lawrence Phillips

Former Nebraska Cornhusker football star Lawrence Phillips’ apparent suicide in prison has been lodged in my mind as few celebrity (speaking broadly) deaths ever have. To be clear, I’ve never been a fan of Phillips, and I hadn’t thought about him enough to follow his post-Nebraska life. The story touches so much of who I am, though, that I can’t quite make sense of it.

A bit of background: Phillips was the star running back on the 1994 National Champion Huskers team, and he was a leading favorite for the Heisman Trophy at the beginning of the 1995 season. That ended…

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Waffle Makers and Blueberry Forests: Learning to Live Again (in Prison)

Waffle Makers and Blueberry Forests: Learning to Live Again (in Prison)

In the same Sunday issue, The New York Times Magazine published two articles that drew some not-so-subtle conclusions about the American prison system, about its problematic rise in numbers, about its entrenched recidivism, and about its inherent contradictions to the American themes of freedom, opportunity, and hope. Of the two articles, one of them was a character study of ADX in Colorado, “America’s Toughest Federal Prison.”

Since opening in 1994, the ADX has remained not just the only federal supermax but also the apogee of a particular strain of the American penal system, wherein abstract dreams of rehabilitation have been entirely…

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And The Law Won (Or Did It?): Netflix's Orange is the New Black

And The Law Won (Or Did It?): Netflix’s Orange is the New Black

In prison, nothing comes for free—not food, not shower shoes, not even the past. For Piper Chapman, who goes from West Village yuppie to inmate, learning this comes at a tremendous price. Orange is the New Black is Netflix’s latest TV project and was released all at once in mid July for our binge-watching enjoyment. The show is (loosely) based on Piper Kerman’s memoir of the same title and follows protagonist Piper Chapman, a blonde with a Seven Sisters education, after she receives a 15-month sentence for having been involved with her ex-girlfriend’s international drug ring about 10…

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Hector Black Forgives The Man Who Murdered His Daughter

Hector Black Forgives The Man Who Murdered His Daughter

I recently learned about Transom.org through This American Life. If you like TAL, you might enjoy listening to the Transom podcast, which produced an amazing (and relatively brief) interview with Hector Black, an elderly organic farmer, whose adopted daughter was killed by a crack-addicted burglar. Black describes this terrible incident and the ensuing relationship he developed with the perpetrator, Ivan Simpson, including publicly forgiving him. At Simpson’s trial, Black delivered a written statement. It all reminds me of the man who forgave the “Green River Killer.” Here are some highlights from the interview:

I was saying how much we loved Patricia, how…

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"You Don't Change People By Power": Grace in a Norwegian Prison

“You Don’t Change People By Power”: Grace in a Norwegian Prison

A thought-provoking article from the The Guardian about Norway’s prison island Bastoy, where inmates are treated like human beings (i.e. sinners in need of mercy) and which has the lowest recidivism rate in Europe (16%!). Don’t call it imputation, but apparently, grace works. A couple choice quotes:

From the warden, Arne Nilsen:

“In closed prisons we keep them locked up for some years and then let them back out, not having had any real responsibility for working or cooking. In the law, being sent to prison is nothing to do with putting you in a terrible prison to make you suffer. The punishment is…

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Same Crisis, New Ailment: On Rewarding Bad Behavior

Same Crisis, New Ailment: On Rewarding Bad Behavior

This post on the infidelity of the inner-lawyer comes from Jason Redcay.

I believe it was Rod Rosenbladt that said we’re all natural born lawyers. We know the Law well—it is written on our very hearts. We can delineate good from bad, friend from foe, enough from not enough, and we’re especially adept when it applies to The Others. The inner lawyer knows how to separate the wheat from the chaff and, because it’s so obvious to us, we naturally think it’s our job to share its power. If we could just educate people on the Law, well, they would follow…

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Amazing Grace – The Man (in Black) Comes Around

Last night at our weekly Mockingbird Hour we took at the life of music legend Johnny Cash. One of the things we read was Dan Haseltine’s (lead singer of Jars of Clay) foreword for The Man Comes Around: The Spiritual Journey of Johnny Cash. It was so good that I thought I’d share it with all of you.

Just to give some context, for those who are unfamiliar with Cash’s life and career a couple of his biggest hits were songs about prisoners, and two of his biggest selling albums were live recordings of him playing at Folsom Prison and San…

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'Twelve Angry Men' Produced in a Lebanese Prison and Everyone Abreacts

‘Twelve Angry Men’ Produced in a Lebanese Prison and Everyone Abreacts

From a Wall Street Journal Theater Review:

Every Sunday for four months, inmates from the all-male prison, Roumieh, have performed an Arabic version of Reginald Rose’s “12 Angry Men” (interspersed with their own music and personal testimonials). The actors are rapists and murderers. The prison’s other inmates include the top al Qaeda convicts and leading suspects from Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri’s assassination.

The play’s director is a woman from the outside, a non-inmate, and every week 200 people crowd into a small room in the Lebanese prison to watch the production. The audience consists of many people who have never been inside…

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