Monthly Archives: March 2013

Ramani's blog

Here are some of  the Infamous prisons of the World.


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The Traveler Journalist

The building of a penitentiary in the city of Taquarituba, countryside of São Paulo state, Brazil, is dividing the resident’s opinions. While some people fear a rising in city’s criminality, others believe that the prison will bring more job opportunities to town.

Journalist Eros Alonso, 60, is against the installation of the complex. He claims that the government fails to invest in other greater public needs in order to expand the prison system. “We believe that our region needs other investments. We do not accept the prison. It is being imposed by the authorities. The entire region is already filled with penitentiaries, and we don’t have a good hospital, neither a public university. These are our real claims”, he says.

The journalist also complains that a penitentiary in town scares away investors: “Many people do not want to invest in a municipality with a penitentiary. The money applied to the…

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The penal system of Venezuela is an embarrassment.

House Mom Tales

Venezuelan Inmates Reportedly Open A Nightclub Inside Prison
Venezuelan inmates have opened their own nightclub and hosted friends and family at an inaugural bash complete with strippers and a light and sound show, a newspaper reported Saturday.The late-night party highlighted the plight of the crime-ridden country’s overcrowded penal system, where criminals often use bribery and intimidation to exercise virtual control over the facilities built to incarcerate them.The so-called “Yacht Club” at a prison on Margarita Island in the Caribbean boasts “professional sound, spectacular lights, air conditioning, strippers, bad girls and all the toys,” the inmates wrote in an invitation to their opening night gig, according to the El Universel newspaper.The party was attended by friends and relatives of the detainees, who publicized it through messages on social media, the newspaper reported.

It quoted sources in the Ministry of Corrections — which has not yet commented publicly on the incident —…

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GA: Temporary repairs made to faulty Ga. prison locks

Holy smokes.  At this prison, three inmates were killed within a six week period.  Officials have reportedly confiscated over 200 shanks and 140 cellphones since January.  Now they’re making “temporary repairs” to fix “hundreds of broken locks.”  Is it just me, or isn’t prison a place where you’re supposed to be able to lock people up?  And how about some permanent repairs?

…at least no one has to worry that the inmates won’t be able to call for help if a riot happens.

Read the article here.

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Gender and Justice Report on Massachusetts Female Offenders Released

Check out the article describing the report here.

Check out the fact sheets on women offenders in MA here.

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NZ: Greater transparency for prison system

From the article: “All 17 prisons are now measured on their performance against each other in a range of areas including security, assaults, drug tests and rehabilitation programmes. They are then categorised in four performance grades, with the resulting tables released quarterly.”

I am always interested in prison oversight and find the different methods to be fascinating.  The UK has an extensive prison inspectorate, which uses several teams of expert inspectors to evaluate a prison.  It then gives a rating (good, reasonably good, not reasonably good, or poor) in each of four areas (safety, purposeful activities, respect and dignity, and resettlement/reentry).  Unsurprisingly, I believe Australia has picked this method up and I know that Canada, which does not currently have an inspectorate (it has a large ombudsman office), is considering it.

NZ DOC’s website provides the following “three steps to determining a prison’s overall rating:”

  • At the first level key security measures like escapes and unnatural deaths will be checked. If any of these occur the prison will be classified as needing improvement, no matter how well it’s doing in the next two measures.
  • At the next level internal prison issues like the number of complaints, drug testing results, assaults etc are measured. If these are not up to standard the prison will be classified as needing improvement.
  • The third level measures some aspects of our ultimate goal of reducing re-offending, by increasing participation in programmes allowing prisoners to gain job skills and real jobs.

They then use rankings of “Exceptional, Exceeding, Effective, and Needs Improvement.”  You can see an example of their ranking of the prisons here.

To me, this seems like a good start, but perhaps too superficial.  There’s a big push in the US to have “data-driven” corrections – let’s boil everything down to a number, assign a weight, multiply, and boom, you have an effective evaluation of the prison.  Of course, it doesn’t really work like that.  You do need to use metrics (and I object to any prison inspection or evaluation system that is based purely on an inspector’s “feeling” about a prison), but prisons are complex and just looking at the numbers without further investigation often misses the contributing causes and connections between the numbers.  It also opens the door for the prison to manipulate the numbers in order to appear better or simply under-report.

Still, I’m all for public scrutiny and if this brings additional attention to important data such as assault rates, then that’s great.

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Gunmen Attack Greek Prison, 11 Inmates In Dramatic Escape

” Greece’s Trikala prison turned into a battleground on Friday night as gunmen armed with automatic weapons attacked the prison, leaving two guards seriously injured. Eleven inmates made a dramatic escape.
Justice Minister Antonis Roupakiotis described the prison attack as a “commando operation, with hundreds of shots fired” CTV reported. Five grenades exploded during the successful escape bid in which 11 Albanian prisoners, all convicted of robbery and theft, made a dramatic getaway.

Gunmen armed with Kalashnikovs arrived at the prison in a pick up truck and a van, and maintained fire for over half-an-hour. The escapees broke through cell windows and escaped through perimeter fences topped with barbed wire. Acting on reports that shots were also fired from within the prison, authorities are searching for weapons.”

” Gunmen used “very heavy weapons” to attack a prison in Greece and free…

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Adventures of An Aspiring Librarian


Recently I had the opportunity to visit a prison library with the UNC Special Libraries Student Association.

After classes, we adventurers carpooled to the Polk Correctional Institute in Butner, North Carolina. Polk Correctional Institute is a state-run prison that houses over 900 male inmates. While the prison generally houses your typical criminal offenders, it also has a high security maximum control unit intended for the state’s most violent offenders.

The inmates at Polk (aside from those in maximum security) typically have a daily schedule that includes meals, classes, recreational activities and other routines. They can even go to the prison library at a certain time and check out books and other materials!

Once we arrived at the prison, we were escorted in past the barbed wire and through security. We couldn’t bring in any items except for our IDs. Once signing in and moving past security, the librarian met us…

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The energy of dance, love and unity! Celebrating the power of  woman!

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Second Sentence

Recidivism is at an all-time low in the state of Ohio as of a report released on February 22.

According to an article from, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) announced its offender recidivism rate is at a record low, with only 28.7 percent of inmates returning to prison after release.

How are Ohio prisons making this happen?

According to the article, Ohio has done this through “[…] a reliance on evidenced-based programming, the Ohio Risk Assessment System, and refined reception processes that better identify offender needs.”

Neither the “evidence-based programming” nor the “refined reception processes” are specified by the article.

However, we at Second Sentence find it hopeful that trained rehabilitation professionals might be working with released or soon-to-be released inmates on how to better facilitate their re-entry into society.

One of the tools employed in Ohio that may be making a difference is the Ohio…

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