Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Should prosecutors experience one day in prison before taking the job?

These Maryland legislators did just that. They should be praised. They wanted to see what prison life was like so that they were more informed about the criminal justice laws they were proposing and voting on. Prosecutors routinely throw out numbers like 5 years, 10 years, or more, without even knowing what one day is like in prison.  Perhaps they should.

From the WP:

The conditions inside the facility were reminiscent of a prison movie: stale air, dim hallways, only the bare necessities. The prisoners described getting about an hour and a half of physical recreation per day, but, depending on where you fell in the lineup for the yard, that could be cut to 45 minutes. Prisoners are allowed outside recreation only four months of the year: June through September. The rest of the year, they are told, is too cold to go outside. Because of lengthy construction projects, some inmates had not been outside for recreation time in more than a year.

On a day when outside temperatures reached 100 degrees, we quickly realized that cellblocks in most state correctional facilities are not air conditioned. It’s so hot that inmates sleep on the floor with their feet in toilet water. Rats infested the food and gnawed through walls.


Paul Petruzzi said...

And we should too. (except for those of use who have already had a tour)


In state court, walk into any courtroom any day of the week and you will routinely hear the following comment by the ASA:

"Judge, let's reset that for tomorrow (or roll it over for tomorrow) and ask corrections to bring him back and we can address his release at that time, or a plea at that time, etc.

I used to say to the Judge, upon hearing that, "Judge, every ASA should spend 24 hours in jail before being able to stand before you and ask you to roll a case over until tomorrow if it can be resolved today; especially if it means that my client may be released from jail."

I also used to do seminars for young ASAs and would tell them the same thing.

Anonymous said...

Two more unarmed black men just got shot. Anything that helps those in power see how those affected by their power live . . . but we have a long way to go

Anonymous said...

Yes. Judges too.