By Sasha Abramsky
During this dramatic exposé of U.S. penitentiaries and the groups round them, Sasha Abramsky unearths that prisons have dumped their age-old target of rehabilitation, frequently for political purposes. the hot “ideal,” unknown to so much american citizens, is a punitive mandate marked through a force towards vengeance.
Surveying this country 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 culture? California’s 3 moves legislations typifies the politics that take advantage of the grief of victims’ households and our fears of violent crime. Brilliantly researched and compellingly advised, American Furies indicates that the ethos of “lock ’em up and throw away the key” has huge, immense social expenditures.
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Additional resources for American Furies: Crime, Punishment, and Vengeance in the Age of Mass Imprisonment
Eastern State and the myriad other penitentiaries that sprang up in nineteenth-century America were not, in the literal sense, Panopticons. ) Despite the apparent simplicity of the idea, building enormous circular prisons with cellblocks ranged against the perimeter, with contraptions inserted to prevent inmates from seeing or communicating with other prisoners in the facing cells, proved too expensive a proposition for most penal architects and state legislatures to accept. Jeremy Bentham’s ideas were ingenious, but in many ways they were far ahead of their time, too reliant on embryonic or not-yet-existent technologies.
Repeated, with slight variations on the original experiment design, at a number of institutions around the country over the next several years, the Milgram experiment redeﬁned how psychologists understood the concept of obedience and the power of authority to get ordinary people to engage in utterly inhumane actions. “The results of the experiment are both surprising and dismaying,” Milgram wrote in his book Obedience to Authority. Despite the fact that many subjects experience stress, despite the fact that many protest to the experimenter, a substantial proportion continue to the last shock on the generator.
So long as we don’t feel personally at risk, most of us seem to be titillated by these glimpses into the darker recesses of our collective psyche. Out by Eastern State’s death row cellblock, added to the building in 1954 during the last wave of expansions, a couple and their two young children gawked at the exhibits. ” the woman asked my guide excitedly as we walked by. The guide explained that Eastern State had no electric chair; inmates were transported to the prison at Rockview for their executions.