The Sheriff Joe Arpaio Memorial Prison Reform Thread

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Aresen
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Re: The Sheriff Joe Arpaio Memorial Prison Reform Thread

Post by Aresen »

Hugh Akston wrote: 02 Mar 2021, 10:46 ME prisoners are growing and preparing their own food
Prison food is high on refined carbohydrates, sodium and sugar and low on nutrients — diets the rest of us have been told to avoid. Like everything about prisons, it disproportionately affects people of color, and it has grown worse during the pandemic. With most states spending $3 or less per person a day for meals, penitentiaries have become hidden food deserts, paralleling the neighborhoods from which many inmates have come.
At the Mountain View Correctional Facility in Maine, however, an organic farmer with dirt under his fingernails and reform on his mind is demonstrating a new path, making the prison a pioneer in a nascent farm-to-prison table movement. “It would be a whole lot easier to just go ahead and throw on some chicken patties,” said Mark McBrine, the facility’s food service manager, who comes from generations of farmers. “But by putting time into it and cooking from scratch, we can provide much healthier and better-quality meals that save money and benefit the well-being of residents and staff.”
This medium- and minimum-security prison has a 750-tree heirloom apple orchard and a three-acre vegetable farm. The inmates cultivate and harvest crops, learn to prepare healthful meals from scratch and bake virtually all the prison’s rolls, breads and muffins. For what they don’t grow, Mr. McBrine aggressively courts fellow farmers and other local sources, scoring significant “opportunity buys” — from surplus organic mushrooms to multigrain stone-milled flour.

Early in the pandemic, when local suppliers were overflowing with food for shuttered restaurants, Mr. McBrine snapped up 45 free-range turkeys at 59 cents a pound and prepared a full Thanksgiving-style dinner in March with all the trimmings, followed by his grandmother’s recipe for turkey potpies with biscuit toppings.
The issue, though, goes way beyond fostering good behavior. Though the average American rarely spends time worrying over how incarcerated people are being treated, their physical, psychological and emotional health has a ripple effect on all of us, especially after they serve their time. If the goal of prison involves not only punishment but also rehabilitation and lowering recidivism, then sending a healthier person back into society is in everyone’s interest.

“Mark teaches them the science and health values behind what they’re doing,” Mr. Morin said. “So when they leave they have a knowledge base that they can utilize in the community.” Over the last five years, more than 25 of Mr. McBrine’s “graduates” have landed full-time work at a large commercial bakery.
In Maine, the enlightened approach comes from the top: Randall Liberty, the state’s corrections commissioner, is a certified master gardener and beekeeper. He is also a former inmate’s son and grew up in a trailer on public assistance and ate molasses and biscuits for dinner when money was tight.

When he was warden at Maine State Prison, Mr. Liberty instituted composting after learning, to his horror, that leftovers from the 3,000 meals served a day were being thrown away. The composting saved $100,000 annually and enriched the soil where a two-and-a-half-acre vegetable garden now flourishes. He also installed beehives “outside the wire” periphery that he initially tended himself (inmates now care for the hives throughout the system). Prisoners can become certified master gardeners or beekeepers through the University of Maine’s cooperative extension.
The public health ramifications of a poor diet are profound: Incarcerated people suffer from higher rates of costly chronic conditions, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes. “Lifestyle changes are a significant tool for these conditions, and diet is a huge part,” noted Dr. Shira Shavit, a professor at the University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine and the executive director of the Transitions Clinic Network, a constellation of 44 health clinics for formerly incarcerated patients. In addition to a lack of daily fresh fruits and vegetables, Dr. Shavit pointed out that in prison, “people don’t learn needed skills about healthy eating because there are very few food choices.
I have faith in the ability of some 'tough on crime' Governor or Attorney General to fuck that up.
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JD
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Re: The Sheriff Joe Arpaio Memorial Prison Reform Thread

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It sounds good, but I share some of Aresen's fears. I remember reading about one prison that had a farming program. Sounds good, right? But it was entirely devoted to hydroponic farming of tomatoes, and all of the tomatoes went home with one of the wardens, who sold them. Here's hoping that Mountain View's program does better.
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Kolohe
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Re: The Sheriff Joe Arpaio Memorial Prison Reform Thread

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There used to be (?) (still is?) a tourist trap on the coastal drive between Freeport and Bangor which was the Maine State Prison selling wood crafts.
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thoreau
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Re: The Sheriff Joe Arpaio Memorial Prison Reform Thread

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Kolohe wrote: 03 Mar 2021, 09:54 There used to be (?) (still is?) a tourist trap on the coastal drive between Freeport and Bangor which was the Maine State Prison selling wood crafts.
Didn't they used to have an inmate who would do your taxes and carve you a stone figurine?
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Kolohe
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Re: The Sheriff Joe Arpaio Memorial Prison Reform Thread

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thoreau wrote: 03 Mar 2021, 13:59
Kolohe wrote: 03 Mar 2021, 09:54 There used to be (?) (still is?) a tourist trap on the coastal drive between Freeport and Bangor which was the Maine State Prison selling wood crafts.
Didn't they used to have an inmate who would do your taxes and carve you a stone figurine?
Yep, the guy would only accept payment in movie posters.
when you wake up as the queen of the n=1 kingdom and mount your steed non sequiturius, do you look out upon all you survey and think “damn, it feels good to be a green idea sleeping furiously?" - dhex
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Pham Nuwen
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Re: The Sheriff Joe Arpaio Memorial Prison Reform Thread

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Also a sweet one bunk Hilton.
Goddamn libertarian message board. Hugh Akston

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Hugh Akston
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Re: The Sheriff Joe Arpaio Memorial Prison Reform Thread

Post by Hugh Akston »

JD wrote: 03 Mar 2021, 09:04 It sounds good, but I share some of Aresen's fears. I remember reading about one prison that had a farming program. Sounds good, right? But it was entirely devoted to hydroponic farming of tomatoes, and all of the tomatoes went home with one of the wardens, who sold them. Here's hoping that Mountain View's program does better.
I actually watched Brubaker last night, and the scam they were running (based on an actual incident in MS) included not only selling the produce grown on the farm rather than feeding it to the inmates, but also selling the bulk-priced canned goods meant for the prisoners to local grocers.
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Ellie
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Re: The Sheriff Joe Arpaio Memorial Prison Reform Thread

Post by Ellie »

I also worry about when agriculture meets bureaucracy. Next year there's a blight or a cold snap in June and they lose half their harvest, but oh no, we already cut the prison's food budget because we assumed you'd have enough from your gardens, I guess you just have to starve for a while
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Shem
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Re: The Sheriff Joe Arpaio Memorial Prison Reform Thread

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Man, you guys are sunshine in a can.
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Hugh Akston
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Re: The Sheriff Joe Arpaio Memorial Prison Reform Thread

Post by Hugh Akston »

Virginia has ended the death penalty
Virginia is the first state in what was the Confederacy to stop using the punishment. The commonwealth has executed more people than any other state since the first execution took place at Jamestown in 1608.
23 down, 27 to go.
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Warren
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Re: The Sheriff Joe Arpaio Memorial Prison Reform Thread

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Hugh Akston wrote: 25 Mar 2021, 10:31 Virginia has ended the death penalty
Virginia is the first state in what was the Confederacy to stop using the punishment. The commonwealth has executed more people than any other state since the first execution took place at Jamestown in 1608.
23 down, 27 to go.
*raises glass*
To the death of the death penalty.
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Hugh Akston
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Re: The Sheriff Joe Arpaio Memorial Prison Reform Thread

Post by Hugh Akston »

New York has passed a law limiting the use of solitary confinement
The majority of those in solitary for serious rule violations spent between one and three months inside, though many terms lasted three to six months. About 130 people were in isolation for more than one year.
The current legislation would restrict the use of solitary to no more than 15 consecutive days, or 20 total days over a two-month period. Punitive segregation would be banned entirely for people under 22 or over 54, those who are pregnant and individuals with mental and physical disabilities, among other groups.
Not pictured in the article or the bill: oversight and enforcement mechanisms, or consequences for prison employees who violate the law. The department of corrections is required to submit regular reports about the use of solitary confinement. On the very slim chance that corrections employees fall short of 100% accuracy in self-reporting, I'm certain that the state of New York is even now hiring a small army of impartial prison inspectors to look out for the welfare of inmates.
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