politics

New York is going to close some prisons, and some people aren’t happy about it…

I had quite a busy day yesterday, updating my travel blog. I’m not even halfway through our vacation, so I suspect I have a few more days of intensive travel writing and video production ahead of me. Travel blogging is fun, and I really enjoy looking at the photos I take when we travel. On the other hand, when I upload a lot of photos, my Internet invariably craps out, wasting time and frustrating me as I have to repeat tasks.

Writing on this blog is less frustrating, because I don’t use as many pictures… and also, I feel like I can be more authentic on this blog, because most of what I write is about how I feel, rather than what I’ve seen and experienced. Regular readers of my blog may know that I’m not a big fan of prison. In fact, the older I get, and the more I read up on the subject of criminal justice, the more I think we have too many prisons and way too many incarcerated people in the United States. I’ve actually felt this way for a long time, even before I started watching Jessica Kent’s excellent and informative YouTube videos.

According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, a whole lot of people are in prison due to drug offenses. While sometimes people on drugs do terrible things to themselves and to other people, quite a lot of drug offenders are non-violent. Some states are starting to realize that putting people behind bars for drug offenses isn’t always the best idea. In New York State, lawmakers have been dismantling the strict anti drug laws that were passed in the 1970s. Consequently, their prisons are gradually emptying. Over his almost 11 years in office, former Governor Andrew M. Cuomo shut down 18 prisons in New York. His successor, Governor Kathy Hochul, is following Cuomo’s lead, and has plans to close six more prisons.

Republicans, in particular, are unhappy about the decision to close prisons, even though New York’s prison population is at its lowest since 1984, and there are several facilities that aren’t even close to full capacity. Again, this is because of criminal justice reforms and decriminalization of the use of certain drugs, like marijuana. You’d think Republicans, who so often speak of being the “law and order people”, would be glad to see a decline in people going to prison, especially since there’s a monetary and societal cost to locking people up. For one thing, a person with a prison record has a harder time finding work or housing. People who can’t find work or housing are more likely to turn to crime as a means of survival. Or they might try to access welfare, which we all know Republicans aren’t too keen on. They’re all about protecting life, as long as the life is that of the unborn. But once a person is born, a lot of them don’t really give a shit, do they?

In any case, some Republicans in New York are against closing the prisons because they provide jobs in rural communities where places to work are lacking. Some also mention that they’re worried about safety and the increase in crime. But… the New York Times article I linked mentions that there are a lot of empty cells in New York. Those cells cost money to maintain. And consolidation is a great way to save money. According to the article, if those six prisons are closed, taxpayers could save $142 million. Of course, there’s also money to be made in the prison industry. For profit prisons do exist, and there are companies that produce products for prisons, which then get sold to inmates for rip off prices. I’m sure some Republicans don’t want to see prisons closed for that reason. And let’s not forget that inmates also often work for pennies on the hour, which also is a money maker for some people.

Personally, I find it disturbing that so many people in the United States, the supposed “land of the free”, are locked up in jails and prisons. According to PrisonPolicy.org, which admittedly has an anti-mass incarceration agenda, one out of every five prisoners in the world is incarcerated in the United States. That same source reports that less than 5 percent of the world’s population live in the United States, but about 20 percent of the world’s incarcerated are in the United States.

I noticed a lot of people commenting that it’s wrong for New York to close the prisons because they think the crime rate with increase. More than one person compared closing the prisons to the decision to deinstitutionalize people with mental illnesses. But, the difference is, a lot of people who wind up incarcerated aren’t there because they’re a danger to themselves or society. They’re there for non violent offenses, as a means of filling the local coffers or allowing politicians to make names for themselves as being “tough on crime.”

Some politicians and elected law enforcement officials– Joe Arpaio, former sheriff of Maricopa County in Arizona comes to mind— get off on being inhumane to prisoners to show how “tough” they are on crime. They save money by serving barely edible food, forcing prisoners to live in shitty or squalid conditions, and humiliating them by making them wear pink underwear. Then, when the person is inevitably released after having been abused and traumatized, that person is expected to function on the right side of the law and go out and get a job. But, as recidivism rates show us, a whole lot of people wind up back behind bars once they’ve been in the first time. Shouldn’t the goal in a decent society be to help people choose a life without committing crimes?

I’ve also noticed that a lot of people, especially in the United States, have this attitude that jail or prison is the only way to punish someone who has broken the law. I recall how so many people were calling for Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, rich, white actresses who committed mail fraud, to sit in prison for years. The actresses got short prison stints instead. So many people seemed disappointed about that. I guess it’s because they saw what the actresses did as the height of white privilege. But how does it serve society for two non violent offenders to sit in a prison cell for years on end? Huffman and Loughlin will surely recover from their time in the jug, but people of more average means have a harder time doing that. Locking people up doesn’t just affect the person who ends up in prison. It also affects their families, friends, employers, and anyone else who depends on them for any reason.

There’s something really grotesque about the idea of people whose livelihoods depend on locking up other people. I know prisons are necessary for those who commit violent offenses and are a real danger to others. I do think we should have prisons for people who can’t safely function in society. But we shouldn’t be wanting to lock people up simply so people in rural communities can continue to make a living. It’s a violation of human rights. And the fact that the United States is a wealthy, western country with so many people behind bars is concerning. We should want to do better than that. Besides, having a prison in a community isn’t exactly a draw for community growth, is it?

So… count me among those who is happy that Governor Hochul wishes to close six prisons in New York. I hope it happens, and she saves taxpayers money, and families anguish. Those who are working in the prisons can do what Republicans often tell people in trouble to do… They can pull themselves up by their bootstraps and find another line of work. Seriously… that’s what they tell the down and out and disenfranchised, don’t they? Maybe Governor Hochul can find a way to repurpose those facilities so that they can be of a positive use to the communities they serve. And people who work in the prisons can find work in the repurposed facilities, which will hopefully focus more on rehabilitation and compassion, rather than warehousing human beings, mistreating them, and ripping them off through slave labor and their commissary accounts.

I think the United States criminal justice system needs a massive overhaul. From abusive and corrupt police officers who have tainted the reputations of all cops, to inhumane and unfair prisons that make people worse instead of correcting their behaviors, to locally run police departments that depend on ripping off people through issuing extortionate traffic tickets in order to pay salaries… The goal should be on fairness and creating a better society, not enslaving, abusing, and extorting money on citizens so that people will have work to do.

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education, poor judgment, stupid people, true crime

I hope you know that this will go down on your permanent record!

Good morning, y’all… It’s my third Wednesday as a pseudo single person. Bill is supposed to come home sometime between tomorrow night and Friday night. Originally, the plan was for him to come back Friday night, but he needs to get a new ID card or he can’t work. Our cards expire on the 23rd, even though we just updated them in September. Bill is now on a new contract and that means new cards. Come to think of it, before long, I’ll also need a new regular military ID– the one I’d use in the USA if we were there.

In any case, Bill tried to get a new card made at an installation somewhat close to where he is right now, but that office ran out of ID cards on the day he was going to go. The other ID office near his current location is closed until the 29th. So then Bill said maybe he’d come home on Thursday night and get new cards made in Wiesbaden. I assume he’d be taking me, too, since I also need a new card, not that I spend any time on the installation during the COVID-19 mess. But then last night, he said getting one in Wiesbaden is also not possible. So now he says he will try to get one in Hohenfels, which was his original plan. Maybe they have a restock of IDs by now. If he does that, he says maybe he’ll be home Friday morning. That would be good.

It occurs to me how lucky we are to like each other so much. Yes, we love each other, but we also LIKE each other a lot. And we miss each other when we aren’t together. Bill’s business trips are boring for both of us. Sometimes I go with him, but then I end up hanging out by myself all day in a hotel room or wandering aimlessly. I am actually glad I got to go with him to Poland in November 2019, though. That was a pretty interesting trip. It would have been even better if we could have driven ourselves there rather than flown.

Anyway… on to today’s topic. I cannot, for the life of me, understand the mentality of some people– mothers especially– who feel the need to commit crimes on behalf of their children. Especially crimes that are more about their egos than preserving life or limb. I mean, I can understand a woman going all “mama bear” on someone who literally threatens or hurts her child somehow. But what about the moms who feel like they need to engage in fraud, harassment, or computer crimes to make sure her little darling(s) is/are on top of the heap? We’ve spent the last two years hearing about Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin committing fraud and cheating to get their daughters into good schools. But more ordinary moms of more modest means also commit these crimes on behalf of their children.

I ran across two such stories yesterday involving meddlesome moms who are now in legal trouble because they couldn’t or wouldn’t let their daughters achieve things on their own. In one case, the mom and daughter were both involved and BOTH of them got arrested. I’m sure that will look good on the girl’s permanent record.

Case #1

Meet Raffaela Spone, a 50 year old mom from Chalfont, Pennsylvania. She is currently facing misdemeanor charges for producing “deep fake” nudes of her daughters’ rivals on her high school cheerleading team. Ms. Spone was arrested on March 5, having been charged with three counts of cyber harassment of a child and three counts of harassment. In her mug shot, she stares blank faced at the camera, her heavily lined eyes glaring, her thin, maroon lips pursed into a line. She wears a chartreuse colored top and a necklace, indicating that fashion and looking snappy is important to her.

Ms. Spone allegedly doctored photos of her daughters’ rivals on a Doylestown area cheerleading team, creating realistic looking images that make it look like the girls were photographed nude, vaping, or drinking beer in bikinis. She sent these fake photos to cheerleading coaches in an effort to get the girls kicked off their team. She also texted the photos to the girls themselves and suggested that at least one of them should kill herself. The three victimized girls were all on the same team as Spone’s daughter, but investigators don’t think she had anything to do with the harassment or was aware of what her mother was doing.

A case like this has all the trappings of a Lifetime movie. In fact, back in the 1993, HBO made a satirical movie about Wanda Holloway, a mother in Texas who actually hired a hitman to kill her daughter’s cheerleading rival. Fortunately, the would be hitman turned Wanda in and the plot failed. In that film rendition, The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom, Holly Hunter played Wanda Holloway. In 1992, ABC also made a movie about Wanda Holloway, Willing to Kill: The Texas Cheerleader Story, with Lesley Ann Warren playing Wanda. I haven’t seen either film. Maybe I’ll seek them out today.

I wonder if Raffaela Spone thinks someone might portray her on film someday. I’m sure Lifetime would be all over it. At least in this case, no one was physically hurt and murder was never on the table. If she is convicted, Raffaela Spone could spend six months to a year in prison. Mitigating matters is the fact that in one of the doctored photos that was supposed to appear to be a nude, Spone had digitally removed the bikini in the photo and overlaid flesh colored bars that gave the photo a “Barbie doll” effect, with no genitalia showing. Had anything private been showing, Spone would be facing much more serious charges.

Meanwhile, I’m sure everyone in their town now knows who Spone’s daughter is, even though she wasn’t implicated in the case. In her quest to cheat for her daughter, Spone has made things much worse for her. Even though the daughter wasn’t involved, her permanent record now has a blight. Hopefully, the people of that community are empathetic. I can only imagine Spone is probably a nightmare when she’s behind closed doors, particularly if she’s willing to go to these lengths to cheat for her daughter.

Case #2

We now move south to Florida, where a 17 year old high school student and her mother, Laura Rose Carroll, who also happens to be an assistant principal at Bellview Elementary School, have been arrested for hacking the school’s computer system. Ms. Carroll is alleged to have logged into the school’s computer system and casted 246 votes for her daughter, who was on the Homecoming Court. Ms. Carroll’s efforts, had they not been discovered, would have resulted in her daughter winning the contest under false pretenses.

The list of charges against Laura Rose Carroll and her daughter is long. According to The Hill, “the mother and daughter will be charged with offenses against users of computers, computer systems, computer networks, and electronic devices, unlawful use of a two-way communications device, criminal use of personally identifiable information and conspiracy to commit these offenses.” Arrest records also indicate that Ms. Carroll’s daughter also had improper access to her mother’s “FOCUS” account. I’m assuming that FOCUS is some kind of school computer system that has all of the permanent records of the students in the school system. Naturally, that would include personal information that should not be accessible to anyone who doesn’t specifically need access to such personal and confidential information. A witness claims that the daughter had access to the FOCUS account for a long time and use it frequently to get information about test scores and grades. The daughter also allegedly divulged private information about other students to her friends.

Given who Ms. Carroll is, it’s highly likely that everyone knows who her daughter is, despite her name not being printed in the media due to her age. Not knowing anything at all about this duo and not finding the news articles about them particularly illuminating, I wonder what the conditions were that led to this mother-daughter crime spree. Which one of them is the more toxically ambitious of the two? Is it mom who wants to see her daughter crowned in a means to stroke her own ego and, perhaps, vicariously live through her daughter’s achievements, even if they were ill gotten? Or is it the daughter who convinced her mother to help her cheat? It will be interesting to see if the media reveals any more details about this case.

I suspect Ms. Carroll is now unemployed. If she’s not unemployed yet, she probably will be very soon. Her bond was set at $8500, while her daughter was carted off to juvenile hall. I wonder if it was worth it to them.

These cases make me appreciate my mom more. I mean, hell, my mom won a beauty contest when she was 16 years old. I’m sure she would have loved it if I had been pretty and popular instead of outspoken and obnoxious. Fortunately, my mom is not ambitious for anyone but herself, and she pretty much stayed out of my life once I was at puberty. She stuck to paying the bills and encouraging me to get a job and GTFO on my own. She sure as hell wasn’t involved in my horse shows, which was what I was doing when I was a teen. She didn’t even look at my report cards. At the time, I thought that made her uncaring, but now I think she did me a solid. Anything I achieved, I did so legitimately and mostly on my own. At least neither of us were ever arrested for cheating or harassment or any other embarrassing misdeed that would have wound up on my permanent record. I have the satisfaction of knowing I can do things on my own… which I’ve been unhappily proving for almost three weeks now.

On another note… for some reason, as I type this, I am reminded of this classic song by Violent Femmes… the album this song comes from never ages, even though the lead singer can’t sing. What he has is vocal charisma. I’m sure it’s served him well over the years.

“I hope you know that this will go down on your PERMANENT RECORD!” Oh yeah?
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true crime

So Lori Loughlin and her husband are pleading guilty… it’s about time.

A couple of days ago, I read the news that actress Lori Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli have decided to enter guilty pleas to paying $500,000 to get their daughters, Olivia Jade, and Isabella into the University of Southern California. The two, who have constantly been in the news since March 2019, initially pleaded not guilty to the crimes for which they are accused. Loughlin and Giannulli have both been charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud. Giannulli has also been charged with honest services wire and mail fraud.

Prosecutors also accused the couple of money laundering and federal programs bribery, but in exchange for their guilty pleas, prosecutors have agreed to drop the money laundering and bribery charges. Before this deal was hatched, Loughlin and Giannulli were facing the possibility of spending many years in prison. Now, provided that the judge, Nathaniel Gorton, accepts their guilty pleas, Loughlin will likely spend two months in prison and Giannulli will spend five months. In addition, they will each pay fines– $150,000 for Loughlin and $250,000 for Giannulli, and do community service– 100 hours for Loughlin and 250 for Giannulli. They will also be on supervised probation for two years. So far, Judge Gorton has said he needs to consider the pre-sentencing report.

A lot of people think the proposed sentences are much too light. I’ve read a number of comments about how this couple is “privileged” and getting off because they are wealthy white people. And you know what? That’s probably true. It’s not fair. However, my personal feeling is that even though the sentences are very light, they’re still really going to suck for Loughlin and Giannulli. They haven’t done anything violent, so they aren’t a danger to other people. And they will never repeat this crime, since their daughters are now grown and have been exposed.

I’m not sure what people expect wealthy people to do in these situations. What would make this better and be just? Do people expect Lori Loughlin and her husband to just lose everything? If the people commenting were ever in Lori Loughlin’s shoes, would they volunteer to ruin their own lives out of contrition? People make mistakes, and this was a whopper of one. But in the grand scheme of things, this situation is kind of a minor thing. No one was hurt or killed. The worst that happened is that a couple of potential USC students didn’t get a fair shot at a place at a prestigious university. And that really sucks for people who work very hard, but aren’t blessed with wealth, fame, and good looks. But it’s not like someone died.

Does a longer stay in prison for Loughlin and Giannulli really serve society? What can they do for society when they sit in prison? I don’t think they can do much. But on the outside of prison, they can do community service and pay fines that will help someone. Maybe they’ll learn something from the experience of being locked up for a few months, but aside from that, I can’t see how their being behind bars is going to make the world a better place.

For the life of me, I don’t understand the obsession some people have with punishing people by locking them up for many years on end. I don’t think that warehousing people in prison is a good idea, unless the person being warehoused is a true threat to other people or their property. I mean, if someone repeatedly commits burglary or burns down buildings, I can see putting them in prison for that. But imprisoning people non violent crimes, particularly when no one was actually injured or killed, can ruin lives. I’d rather see people remain employable and accessible to their families, who also suffer when a loved one is incarcerated.

I admire the way Felicity Huffman handled her punishment for bribing a college official. She owned up to it immediately, pleaded guilty, paid a fine, and did her eleven days (down from fourteen) in prison. She’s doing community service and keeping a low profile. The news that has come out about her recently has been good. I think she’ll make a full recovery and we’ll see her acting again before too long. She will be able to put this behind her.

I don’t think Lori Loughlin and her husband were very smart in how they handled their situation. I get that they didn’t want to go to prison. Who does? But if they had just admitted what they did and made amends, this would be over much sooner. And then we could see “Aunt Becky” back on the small screen, flashing her pearly whites and being cute. Unfortunately, I think it will take a lot longer for her to recover from this mess because it’s been in the news for over a year.

I’m sure a lot of people think this deal is lame because it does seem like such a light sentence. And maybe if Lori Loughlin weren’t a rich, white woman, she might have gotten a stiffer sentence. On the other hand, if Lori Loughlin weren’t a rich woman, she probably wouldn’t be in this situation in the first place. Anyway, given all that is going on in the world right now, I don’t think we need to lock up people who aren’t going to be threatening others. I think this sentence is just. I also think it’s time this case was no longer news. So here’s hoping that Judge Gorton makes his final decision quickly and Loughlin and Giannulli can hurry up and do their time. I think I’m as ready to put this story behind me as Loughlin and Giannulli are.

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musings

Facebook is a lonely place…

Ever since this social isolation stuff began, I’ve noticed people are hanging out even more on social media. I run a Facebook group for food and wine and we’ve had a surge of new members. Why? Because people are sitting at home, drinking a lot… cooking a lot… and probably gaining weight.

For the most part, it’s been alright to hang out on Facebook even more than usual. I have noticed, though, that some people may think of Facebook friends as appearing closer than they actually are. Sometimes social media turns into a substitute for actual friendships.

Don’t get me wrong. There are people I have “met” online that I consider real friends. Hell, I was friends with Bill for 18 months, having met him online. He truly was a friend to me during a time when I needed a friend… and he needed a friend. We chatted every day and got to be very close, even though we hadn’t met offline. I never thought I’d ever meet him, though, let alone marry him. And then there are people I have met offline and been friends with on Facebook who turn out to be people who fade away…

I did read a rather sad comment from someone this morning, though, which has inspired today’s post. This guy decided to go to the grocery store on his bike, and announced it on his Facebook page. He asked his friends for prayers. No one responded. He came back from the store and wrote:

Nobody responded to my bike post yesterday — and I literally almost died. Thank you so much for your concern…

I sense a bit of sadness and disgust in that post. I suspect this dude is kind of lonely. I have never met him before. He’s someone Bill knows from his adolescent days. In fact, this guy was someone who knew Bill when he got run over by his “friend’s” Subaru Brat. I’ve written this story before, but because I don’t have anything else to do and some readers might be curious, here’s what happened…

When Bill was sixteen years old, he was hanging out with some buddies. They were all drinking beer. One of his friends had a girlfriend who was doing that usual teen angst shit that teenaged girls are so good at. She stormed off, and her boyfriend, who owned a Subaru Brat (basically an ugly car with a bed like that of a pickup truck), got behind the wheel. Bill had gotten a ride with them, so he went to clamber into the back of the car. His friend didn’t see him, and started backing up as Bill was trying to mount. Bill lost his footing in the gravel and slipped under the car. His friend backed over him. The rear tire went right over Bill’s chest.

After a week in the hospital with a collapsed lung and extremely bloody eyes, Bill was released relatively unscathed. He does have a bit of arthritis in the area that was injured. A couple of his discs were crushed. He also says he had a near death experience. I believe him when he tells me that, because Bill is an unusually empathetic person. He’s very much in touch with God.

Oh nooooo!

Anyway… ever since then, people have called him Mr. Bill… including me. Even people who don’t know what happened to him try to be clever by sharing a picture of Mr. Bill on social media. This was a thing on Saturday Night Live. He kind of sounds like Towelie on South Park. It’s kind of funny to watch this. The world was a lot more dangerous back in the 70s and 80s. Interestingly enough, Mr. Bill was created by a guy who responded for a request from Saturday Night Live to send in home movies.

Walter Williams got a job writing for SNL after this.

So anyway… where was I. I got sidetracked by Mr. Bill…

Facebook offers a facade of closeness that doesn’t actually exist. Because so many people use it, you may find yourself connecting with people you’d never meet… or ever even want to meet. And people think they know you, but they don’t. So sometimes, you might feel slighted when you reach out on social media, hoping for prayers or whatever, and no one responds. The fact is, without social media, you might not have a connection anyway. I doubt I’d know Bill’s former classmate if he hadn’t decided to friend me on Facebook.

And while I don’t wish Bill’s friend ill, I don’t actually know him well enough to care about whether or not he goes to the store. I don’t think I ever even saw his post, but if I had, I probably wouldn’t have prayed for him. I don’t pray for most people. It’s not something I do. I completely missed that he posted this, though…

Good morning all!
Later on this morning I am going to get on my 18 speed mountain bike (which I haven’t done for about 10 years) and ride over to the grocery with back-pack and mental list! I have been told I should wear a mask — thing is I look odd as it is! Will you guys lift up a prayer for my safety, please? Thanks & God bless.

I can tell he was disappointed that no one responded. Sometimes, I’ve been disappointed in responses from other people, too. I try to remind myself that most of them are strangers. It hurts more when people I actually know or am related to ignore me. Then I realize that they have lives, just like I do. Most of my stuff just isn’t as interesting to other people as it is to me. And social media is, by and large, a facade. The real stuff happens offline. But then… maybe for some people, being online is less painful than dealing with reality offline.

On the other hand, I’ve been watching Desperate Housewives again. It’s a very entertaining show. I’m still on season one. Felicity Huffman’s character, Lynette Scavo, wants to get her kids into a private school and she mentions paying $15,000 as a “donation” to up her chances. That episode was from 2004 or 2005… interesting how art imitates real life sometimes. Years later, Huffman “donated” $15,000 to improve her daughter’s SAT scores. She ended up doing time in a federal prison.

Maybe this social isolation is getting to me. Hopefully, it won’t last too much longer, although my next door neighbor seems to be ignoring it. She’s had people over for the past three nights.

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true crime

Jail vs. prison…

Special thanks to Eric Perlin on Pixabay for allowing me to use his picture of jail bars.

There’s a lot I could write about today… but instead, I think I’ll write about the difference between jail versus prison. There seems to be some confusion in the wake of Felicity Huffman’s fourteen day prison sentence. Bear in mind, I have never been arrested myself, so I only know about this subject because I’ve read a lot about jails and prisons and because I am a word nerd.

Felicity Huffman was just sentenced to fourteen days in prison for her part in the Varsity Blues college admissions scandal. She will report to prison on October 25, 2019. Huffman’s charges are federal, which means she will likely go to a federal facility, rather than a local jail. Although a lot of people interchange the terms “jail” and “prison”, they aren’t really the same thing. Both jails and prisons are places of confinement used to hold people who have run afoul of the law, but jails are usually for people awaiting trial or serving short sentences on misdemeanor charges. Prisons are generally for people who have been convicted of serious crimes. Usually people who go to prison are going to be there for over a year, but sometimes people spend shorter stints in prisons.

People are still pissed…

The Bureau of Prisons technically refers to its facilities as “institutions”, and does not operate jails. Jails are usually found in counties or cities and are usually run by local governments. Prisons are run by state governments, the federal government, or private companies. Privately run prisons are for-profit facilities contracted by a government agencies. Governments pay private companies a per diem, either for each prisoner incarcerated or each available space for a prisoner, whether or not it’s occupied.

Although some people might think prison would be much worse than jail is, I have read in several accounts that being in jail actually sucks a lot worse than being in prison does. That’s mainly because jails are, by nature, places where people come and go. Many people who are in jail are still waiting to be tried for the crimes of which they have been accused. Either that, or they are serving short sentences for relatively minor crimes. Consequently, there’s less chance to “settle in”. Prisons often have rehabilitation programs for inmates; they can take courses or get jobs. They also often have more and better facilities. Inmates are able to make their spaces more “homelike”. Jails, by contrast, don’t have as many facilities or programs because the inmates aren’t typically staying long enough to make having them worthwhile. On the other hand, if a person is incarcerated in a jail in their hometown, that might make it easier for them to have visitors.

Felicity Huffman is reportedly hoping that she will be sent to Federal Correctional Institution Dublin, in Dublin, California. This minimum security facility is located near San Francisco and the area has nice weather year long. Supposedly, it is one of the “cushiest” prisons in the country, although it will no doubt still be horrible for someone who is used to living in a big house with an infinity pool. She will have to wear a khaki uniform and keep her bed made, but she can enjoy sunbathing on the weekends. I’m sure that will be a comfort to her.

The Bureau of Prisons will decide where Huffman will go. In 2004, Martha Stewart was a federal prisoner sentenced to five months at Federal Prison Camp Alderson, a minimum security facility in West Virginia. Although the prison was known for being somewhat relaxed, Stewart has said that being a federal prisoner was “horrifying” and no one should have to go through that kind of “indignity”. When you consider the level of culture shock for people like Martha Stewart in any kind of prison, I’m sure that the experience truly is “horrifying”.

Likewise, Dance Moms star, Abby Lee Miller, also did 366 days of federal time at medium security Victorville Federal Correctional Institution in Victorville, California. Although I’m sure it was a very long year and a day for Miller, she has gotten out of prison, lost scads of weight, and is getting treatment for cancer. She has also spoken out about her experience, even going so far as to offer advice to Huffman and Lori Loughlin, who will probably also find herself behind bars for a time (if she is convicted). Miller says that she was treated badly by prison guards because of her fame. Huffman may find that staff and inmates alike treat her badly because she’s wealthy, famous, and has a short sentence. But who knows?

Anyway, I still wish Felicity Huffman lots of luck. In a couple of months, the prison experience will just be a memory and she can work on putting this mess in the past.

I’m not sure why I find this topic so interesting. I think I would rather die than be incarcerated.

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