Lovebirds in Prison

If, like me, you’re looking for that special someone, it’s always good to keep your options open. But if you’re the type to play with fire in this department, thankfully, the shady folks over at Meet an Inmate have set up what may very well be the 21st century’s answer to the mail order bride (particularly given increasing incarnation rates). If you are a red-blooded male, for only $3 each, you can obtain the contact information for a prison inmate of your choice. (Male addresses are free. So you’re in luck, ladies!),! The site has categorized the inmates by age — all of them featuring a picture. For each entry, you’ll find out the release date and what “activities in prison” each inmate is involved in. But, strangely enough, you won’t get the answer on what the inmate’s doing time for. (Well, I suppose you need to maintain enigma somewhere.)

If you’re willing to accept a potential lover’s “ruthless past”, into girl next door types who aren’t into shortcuts or you’re a 50-60 year old man into Geminis who work out, then the sky’s the limit!

Sure, your potential sweetheart might have stabbed someone in the back (literally!) or might be able to give some video game junkie-cum-romantic the real definition of “grand theft auto.” But if Hollywood treacle is any reliable indicator of life, then I think we can all agree that “love conquers all.”

Because the “Value of a Person” Comes From How Womanly You Look As You’re Tearing Your Guts Out During a Prison Psychotherapy Session

The Chronicle: “Onuma Chumsri, a 24-year-old Thai woman awaiting sentence for drug trafficking, was the winner Thursday night of the annual Miss Spring contest at Santa Monica Women’s Prison in Lima’s Chorrillos district. ‘Sex appeal is important but it is not as if we are seeking just the physical aspect but rather the value as a woman, the value of the person is the essence of all of this,’ said Maria Jaen, director of the prison. Prison officials said preparations for the contest started two months ago. Entrants were required to have good conduct, attend psychological therapy sessions, and participate in some of the prison’s permanent workshops, such as cosmetology, drawing, and fabric painting.” (Thanks, Minh & Lina!)

Fourth Amendment Decimated in Three States

The Associated Press: “Acting on a Baton Rouge case, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that police do not need an arrest or search warrant to conduct a swift sweep of private property to ensure their own safety. Any evidence discovered during that search now is admissible in court as long as the search is a ‘cursory inspection,’ and if police entered the site for a legitimate law enforcement purpose and believed it may be dangerous.”

Work in the Prison

Jospeh T. Hallinan’s Going Up the River has countless revelations for anyone interested in how the prison-industrial complex has changed American life. But two, so far, have particularly stuck out for me:

“Well,” he says, “my wife and I have been married twenty-eight years and lived nineteen years in a travel trailer.” He looks me dead in the eye. “Do you have any idea?”

After ten years, he will be eligible to receive medical coverage after retirement, a benefit so precious, he says, that he is willing to spend his days among killers and thieves. “Be fifty-four and try to go out and buy health insurance.”

The second item concerns teachers attracted by the increased pay rate afforded to public school teachers who have since moved on to educate prisoners in Beeville, Texas:

He and Dave, I knew, feel a little guilty about their defection. Both mention repeatedly, for instance, how much they miss working with kids. But they don’t feel that guilty. “I’m much more relaxed,” Dave says. “I have more time with my family. My lesson plans are a lot easier to write. I haven’t had a parent come to see me yet. And all in all besides that I got about a six-thousand dollar raise.”

Stafford will be fifty-six in a few days, and Texas has mandatory retirement at sixty-five, which means he’s got nine years left. Whether he’ll stay that long, he doesn’t know. “I tell everybody I’m doing five to ten,” he says. “My inmates like that.”

Beyond the rising incarceration rate, and beyond the ways in which corporations have cut exclusive deals for both the products used in penitentiaries and the labor employed to manufacture American goods, is the startling realization that the penitentiary, in some impoverished towns, has become the new Wal-Mart. If your employer won’t pay your health benefits, or if you can’t afford the exorbitant rates of an HMO, work in the prison. If you want to really teach, but can’t afford to live on the impoverished rates the school districts are paying teachers, work in the prison. Not only will they pay you more, but your teaching demands will be considerably less. Because most of the inmates are high school dropouts (in Texas, 60% are, and Hallinan notes that this is about equal to the national average). Of course, even if you rehabilitate prisoners through education, their prospects are grim. In the 1960s, there was a brief moment in which grants were given out to prisoners so that they could earn four-year degrees. The grants were killed in 1994.