Have a Nice Day


The drum beat of stories about prison continues.

Last week, every day on my drive in to work, I heard a different story about prison on National Public Radio’s Marketplace Tech Report. At the end of each segment they said, “Go to our special website for this series to read more” but I can’t find it. The series is called Jailbreak (clever, huh?) and if you can find the link please let me know.

But in the process of trying to find the Jailbreak series I found a dozen great short podcasts on NPR. There’s one called, “Connecting inmates with their children through books,” another about for-profit prison companies adjusting to a new era. Apparently the prison population has decreased slightly, which is bad for their business model. What a shame!

There was a story about keeping mental health patients stable and out of jail. I don’t expect you to listen to all these stories, but they are a good representation of the economic, health, and social issues that all intersect in prison.

There was one story I could barely stand to finish listening to. From Solitary to the Streets was much as the title implies: prisoners, kept in solitary confinement for years, then set free with no support or resources. It’s an 11-minute podcast that will break your heart, if you have one. This is the kind of story that gets me so mad and upset that I worry I might drive off the road. Vince was in solitary confinement for less than a week and I think he would say it was the worst part of his one-year in prison so far.

This same week, there was news that Ross Ulbricht, creator of the Silk Road black market website where people could buy drugs and fake IDs, launder money, and conduct all sorts of other nefarious activities, was sentenced to life in prison. Life in prison. He’s 30 years old. Obviously the guy is a jerk with no moral compass. But life? I don’t know enough about the story yet to be suspicious about the government’s motives, but I’m sure that will come.

Back to the subject of jail breaks, the story that’s been fascinating to me is the real New York prison break. I won’t post a link because there are frequent developments. How did they get power tools? How did they communicate with each other and their presumed accomplices to create such a brazen and fine-tuned plan? How did they cut through the walls of their cells and the steam pipe without being heard? And the smiley face! Was that part of the plan that they snickered over for months, or was it spontaneous?


I have caught myself cheering them on, then remind myself that these guys are murderers. I have to check my allegiances; I firmly believe in the rule of law and the 10 Commandments. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t succumb to the sweet-talking B.S. of a lifer and smuggle in power tools to help him escape. But I can’t wait for the book and the movie to come out.

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