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May 28, 2018

"Cell Phones and 'Excessive Contact': The Contradictory Imperatives Facing California’s Parole-Eligible Lifers"

The title of this post is the title of this new article authored by Nazgol Ghandnoosh now available on-line. Here is its abstract:

A growing literature emphasizes that U.S. correctional systems have remained committed to rehabilitative goals despite their turn toward incapacitation and punishment.  Although past research has documented this commitment in prisons and parole supervision agencies, less is understood about how it is manifested in the discretionary parole release process.

This article explores whether and how parole boards encourage people serving parole-eligible life sentences (“lifers”) to maintain ties to friends and family outside of prison, and the results of such encouragement.  Interviews, ethnographic fieldwork, and parole-hearing transcripts reveal that California’s parole board encourages such rehabilitative ties through comments at parole hearings and through its parole-eligibility criteria.  But to sustain these relationships, some lifers engage in misconduct to bypass restrictive prison policies by using contraband cell phones or engaging in physical contact with visitors that is deemed “excessive.”  When detected, these disciplinary infractions become a stated cause of parole denials.

May 28, 2018 at 11:58 AM | Permalink


A third of prisoners have a serious mental illness, that is not addiction. It gets treated in most prisons. They improve. One feature of paranoia is to not believe there is anything wrong with oneself. Discharge would immediately result in the stopping of medication, 100% of the time by this group. Around the world, 10% of murders are committed by these psychotic people, untreated. Almost all mass shootings involve paranoid schizophrenia. Except for their psychosis, they are high functioning, when treated. They are working, supporting families, and acting like normal people. Keeping them in prison could thus prevent 80,000 murders around the world. Forcing them into treatment, imprisoning them for non-adherence, would end 90% of mass shootings.

A third of prisoners are goofy knuckleheads. They thrive in the structured setting of prison. They take advantage of programs, social skills training, of anger management, and of educational opportunities. Taking prison away would be like taking insulin away from a diabetic doing very well. When released, these prisoners immediately relapse into crime, as a diabetic would off insulin. These are the people with telephone book length rap sheets, and the legal system just puts them in revolving doors. Rehab could work if their addiction is controlled, and they have continual supervision, as diabetic needs continual insulin. Any successful rehab programs contain these people, but at 50. Old age is the real active ingredient of rehabilitation.

The rest are career criminals. They make a lot of money and wield a lot power from criminality. Yes, train a drug kingpin and serial killer of many competitors and apostates, making $ millions, to do maintenance work. This is how we clean a room properly.

Posted by: David Behar | May 28, 2018 1:28:35 PM

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