By Sasha Abramsky
During this dramatic exposé of U.S. penitentiaries and the groups round them, Sasha Abramsky reveals that prisons have dumped their age-old aim of rehabilitation, usually for political purposes. the recent “ideal,” unknown to so much americans, is a punitive mandate marked via a force towards vengeance.
Surveying this kingdom of affairs—life sentences for nonviolent crimes, appalling stipulations, the expansion of non-public prisons, the remedy of juveniles—Abramsky asks: Does the vengeful impulse ennoble our tradition or demean it? What can turn into of people that are quarantined for years in a violent way of life? California’s 3 moves legislations typifies the politics that make the most the grief of victims’ households and our fears of violent crime. Brilliantly researched and compellingly instructed, American Furies indicates that the ethos of “lock ’em up and throw away the key” has huge, immense social expenditures.
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Extra info for American Furies: Crime, Punishment, and Vengeance in the Age of Mass Imprisonment
Through advertisements in local newspapers and a direct mailing to thousands of New Haven residents, Milgram’s team asked people to come forward to participate in an experiment on diƒerent learning techniques. 50 for a few hours of their time. When the volunteers—adults of all ages and both sexes, of varying racial, educational, class, and economic backgrounds—arrived at the laboratory, they were told that the goal of the experiment was to see whether people memorized things more eƒectively when they were threatened with punishment for failing.
Later, in the twentieth century, troublesome prisoners were thrown into an underground hole, colloquially called “Klondike,” and fed only bread and water for days on end. “It’d be common for inmates to come up not even knowing their name,” my guide tells me as we walk around the yard one particularly humid, cloying summer morning. ” Guards continued to throw THE HOLY EXPERIMENT 11 unfortunate prisoners into Klondike until 1959, when, in the face of ongoing criticism that the facility was unﬁt for human habitation, the prison ﬁnally opened a newer, aboveground punishment cellblock.
In 1787, while sojourning in Russia, Bentham, thirty-nine at the time, began jotting down ideas for a model prison that, he argued, could so precisely regulate the behavior of its inmates as to essentially reduce these individuals to programmed automatons. He ﬁlled up notebook after notebook with scribbled ideas and increasingly complex diagrams. Bentham’s words represented the philosophical side of the equation: the notion that, through precise adjustments in the disbursement of pleasure and pain in response to inmates’ behaviors, their behavior could be entirely regulated to make them productive and respectful.
American Furies: Crime, Punishment, and Vengeance in the Age of Mass Imprisonment by Sasha Abramsky