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).

Monday, July 2, 2007

Paris in Prison

[This was written during my last week in prison.]

I watched Paris Hilton on Larry King Live in the visiting room talking about her 23 days in the county jail. How's that for last-day-in-prison TV fare?

I really didn't have any strong reactions although I've always thought she was sent to jail for her celebrity; that is the judge wanted to make a statement to avoid the perception of showing favoritism to the rich and famous.

County jail is a tougher place to stay than a federal prison camp (23-hour lock down it sounds like and the food is much worse, although she did get a room to herself) so I'm sure it wasn't pleasant.

Only time will tell if she is really changed or not. I am not one of the kick-Paris-while-she's-down media types so I will give her the benefit of the doubt.