Prisoners are persons whom most of us would rather not think about. Banished from everyday sight, they exist in a shadow world that only dimly enters our awareness. They are members of a "total institution" that controls their daily existence in a way that few of us can imagine. "[P]rison is a complex of physical arrangements and of measures, all wholly governmental, all wholly performed by agents of government, which determine the total existence of certain human beings (except perhaps in the realm of the spirit, and inevitably there as well) from sundown to sundown, sleeping, walking, speaking, silent, working, playing, viewing, eating, voiding, reading, alone, with others. . . ." It is thus easy to think of prisoners as members of a separate netherworld, driven by its own demands, ordered by its own customs, ruled by those whose claim to power rests on raw necessity. -- Justice William Brennan, dissenting in O’Lone v. Estate of Shabazz, 482 U.S. 342, 354-55 (1987).

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Eglin Lunch Suggestions

Yesterday at dinner, there was an addition to the dinnerline, an Eglin Lunch Suggestion Box. "Well this is interesting," I thought. "The prison is actually soliciting suggestions from the inmates."

The Eglin AFB work detail is notorious for the terrible box lunches, which is why most inmates dread the assignment (along with the 5:30a bus ride). There must have been a mini-revolt, or maybe the rumour that they staged a boycott was true after all.

The more cynical inmates guessed that the only reason the suggestion box was there was to impress the visitors from the regional office. I don't know. The warden has a meeting scheduled tonight with the Eglin detail. I am guessing it is about lunch!

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