Two recommended radio stories to keep your blood boiling through the weekend*:
First: this story by NPR's John Burnett about a town in Mississippi that is home to Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility, the nation's largest juvenile prison. The prison is a source of profit for the for-profit company that runs the facility (with a ratio of
guards to inmates inmates to guards 5 times what would be typical in similar institutions), and for the town itself, which would probably dry up and blow away without the revenue and jobs the prison provides.
Running prisons for private profit has to be one of the most immoral things our country does in our already wildly immoral justice system. It's sick on it's face, and indefensible.
If you have a little more time for outrage this weekend, check out this week's episode of This American Life, in which Ira Glass reports on the drug court in Glynn County Georgia, a program designed to provide a treatment-based alternative to hard time for drug addicts who commit crimes, but instead is run by Superior Court Judge Amanda Williams in a mind-bogglingly punitive way. The story follows Lindsey Dills, a kid who forges two checks on her parents' checking account at 17, one for $40 and one for $60, and ends up in drug court for five and a half years, including 14 months in prison and some of that time in solitary confinement.
Another girl is sent away for possessing 2 prescription pills, which belonged to her mother. Kafka would be proud.
While Judge Williams has no problem sentencing non-violent drug court rule violators to "indefinite sentences" (seriously!), apparently people who beat puppies to death with sledgehammers deserve more mercy in her eyes.
A 50-year-old Glynn County woman who pleaded guilty to charges she beat two 7-week-old puppies to death with a sledgehammer has been fined $2,000 and sentenced to five years on probation.
Glynn County Chief Superior Court Judge Amanda Williams sentenced Catherine Louise Tyre of Sterling as a first offender under a plea agreement.
Here's an 80-year-old man somberly alleging that Williams and her son ruined his life:
"The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons." - Dostoevsky
* I don't know why I always come across these horrible stories on the weekends. Sorry. I'm really a pretty cheerful guy. To make up for it, here's a video of twin bunny rabbits in cups.