Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Recommended Reading

I just finished reading the very long investigative report on a for-profit prison company by a Mother Jones reporter who spent four months working as a prison guard or "corrections officer" for the Corrections Corporation of America. It's... harrowing.

The report is divided into five chapters. It describes his training, work, and interactions with coworkers and inmates in detail. It paints a picture of a chronically understaffed, barely functioning prison that routinely denies inmates basic healthcare, training, and recreation. The reporter, Shane Bauer, describes how he begins to change under these conditions as he struggles with fear, witnesses horrific violence, and tries to find an impossible balance between maintaining his humanity and maintaining control and power over other, incarcerated human beings.

The entire thing is an argument in favor of prison abolition, and certainly the end of for-profit prisons.

Trigger warnings for rape, rape threats, sexual abuse, sexual assault, stabbings, general assault, homophobia, misogyny, racism, homophobic, misogynistic, and racial slurs, medical abuse, abuse of the mentally ill, medical neglect, description of a severe infection, and suicide. Please let me know if I missed any.

My Four Months as a Private Prison Guard

As a friend recommended to me, you might want to take it in shifts. I read nearly the entire thing in one sitting before bed. I didn't sleep very well last night.

But if you think you can handle it, it is a very important read.

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