prison center

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At Stafford Creek Corrections Center in Aberdeen, Washington, inmates participate in a program called Freedom Tails, which partners them with dogs who have been labeled as “unadoptable” and might otherwise be euthanized. Stafford Creek was the first prison in state of Washington to implement a dog training program, and the project was such a huge success that nearly every prison in the state now has a similar program. The inmates who participate in Freedom Tails go through a screening and interview process, and must not have a history of domestic violence, child abuse, or animal abuse, and they must be infraction-free. Inmates are not paid to be in the program, as their participation is on a volunteer basis. There is a very long waiting list to get in.

The dogs that come into the program are often traumatized by abuse or neglect from their former owners, and are not socialized to interact with humans. The inmates work with the dogs to overcome these obstacles and build trust with their handlers. They then learn basic obedience, potty training, and recognizing verbal and hand-signal commands. Some dogs that show a special proclivity for learning and working with humans are trained to be service dogs for the disabled. On occasion, Freedom Tails brings in dogs who already have a home, but need to be trained for specialized commands specific to their owner. For example, a wheelchair-bound woman needed her dog to be able to open doors, retrieve her medicine bag, or help her up if she fell out of her chair. The dog learned all of these skills at Freedom Tails and earned an International Therapy Dog certification.

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¡PRESENTE! The Young Lords in New York
On view July 22, 2015 – October 17, 2015

¡PRESENTE! The Young Lords in New York explores the legacy of the Young Lords in East Harlem, the Bronx and the Lower East Side, focusing on specific political events that the Young Lords organized in these locations.

El Museo’s exhibition draws from works in the museum’s own collection including copies of the Young Lords weekly newspaper, Palante. It also explores the legacy of the Young Lords and the relationship between art and activism. Images by photographer Hiram Maristany that feature the Young Lords’ Garbage Offensive, their take over of the First Spanish Methodist Church of East Harlem (later renamed by the Young Lords as The People’s Church), their free morning breakfast program, the rerouting of a TB-testing truck and the funeral of Julio Roldán will all be highlighted in the exhibition.
Paintings and political prints (Antonio Martorell, Domingo García, and Marcos Dimas) from El Museo’s permanent collection will be on display. Works commissioned specifically for this exhibition by Coco Lopez, JC lenochan, Miguel Luciano, and Shellyne Rodriguez are also featured.

¡Presente! The Young Lords in New York will be exhibited at The Bronx Museum of the Arts (July 2 – October 15, 2015), El Museo del Barrio (July 22-October 17, 2015), and Loisaida Inc. (July 30 – October 10, 2015). The exhibition is co-organized by all three institutions. 

At El Museo del Barrio the exhibition is made possible with Public Support from Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the New York City Council.

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Stateville Correctional Center (SCC) is a maximum security prison for men, located in Crest Hill, Illinois, about 38 miles from Chicago.  SCC was built in 1925 with an original inmate capacity of 1,506 inmates, and expanded over time to accommodate over 4,300. SCC is notable for its “F-house” cell block, which was designed after the panopticon concept. Also referred to as a “roundhouse”, the F-house cell block features four tiers of cells in a circle, with an armed tower in the center. Since the 1990s, F-house has been the only roundhouse cell block in the United States. In December of 2016, the Illinois Department of Corrections announced that F-house would be closed permanently, as part of an effort by Gov. Bruce Rauner to repair the Illinois prison system. Prison watch dog and advocacy groups have called for F-house to be shut down for years, amidst concerns for inmate safety and the long-term effects of the “cage-like, chaotic” nature of the cell block. All sounds were amplified by the high ceilings and cement, creating a “sensory nightmare”, and inmates were not able to determine if they were being watched by the guards in the tower or by other inmates at any time, so had to live as if they were always being watched. The structure will remain standing due to its historical significance, but will never house inmates again.

Notable inmates at Stateville have included:

Richard Speck – In 1966, Speck tortured, raped and murdered eight student nurses from the South Chicago Community hospital. His sentence of death was overturned and he was given eight consecutive life sentences instead. Speck died of a heart attack in 1991.

Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb – Of the famed Leopold and Loeb, two wealthy University of Chicago students who kidnapped and murdered a 14 year old boy, because they believed their wealth and superiority allowed them to commit “the perfect crime.”

In 1994, serial killer John Wayne Gacy was executed at Stateville.

What if from now on, when I made or reblogged posts, I just tagged them with the first suggested tag for each word in the post?

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Spring Creek Correctional Center is a maximum security prison for men, located in Seward, Kenai Peninsula Borough, Alaska - about 125 miles south of Anchorage. Built in 1988, Spring Creek is the only maximum security prison in the state, and houses its most violent inmates. The prison is surrounded on all sides by the vast Alaskan wilderness.

Notable inmates at Spring Creek have included:

Robert Hansen - Known as “The Butcher Baker”, Hansen was responsible for the abduction, rape and murder of at least 17 women, and was believed to have assaulted more than 30. Hansen grew up in rural Iowa, and had severe acne which left him with noticeable scarring on his face, and he also struggled with stuttering, which caused him to be painfully shy and awkward. He was bullied at school and was shunned by girls, which left him with feelings of intense hatred towards them. In his high school years, he took up hunting as a hobby as well as a refuge. He moved to Alaska in 1967 with his wife and two children, and seemed to settle into an ordinary life. By Hansen’s admission, he began abducting young women in 1971, but he was not caught until 1983. Hansen was incarcerated at Spring Creek until May of 2014, when he was moved to the Anchorage Correctional Complex, where he died.

Evan Ramsey - On February 19th, 1997, Ramsey shot four people, (killing two) at Bethel Regional High School, where he was a student. Ramsey’s upbringing was tumultuous, and he spent much of his time in different foster homes, where he was abused. At Bethel High, Ramsey was picked on and bullied by other students, some of whom would only address him as “Screech”. Ramsey planned out the shooting in advance, and more than 15 students knew of his plans in the weeks before it happened. Many of them watched and filmed the shooting from the balcony of the library that overlooked the commons.

After his arrest, Ramsey told police that he didn’t understand what he was doing at the time of the shooting, or that his actions would cause people to die. His trial was delayed for more than a year while the prosecution weighed their decision to try him as a juvenile, or as an adult. Ultimately, he was found guilty of two counts of first degree murder, three counts of first degree attempted murder, and fifteen counts of third degree assault, for which he was sentenced to 210 years in prison. Following an appeal, his sentence was reduced to two 99 year sentences. He will be eligible for parole in 2066.

These States are Still Putting You in Jail for HIV

Between 2008 and 2013, there were 180 prosecutions of people accused of spreading HIV under antiquated laws passed long before we understood the disease, according to the Center for HIV Law and Policy. These laws can put an HIV-positive person in jail for biting someone, spitting at someone, or even just having consensual sex (regardless of whether protection is used). We know now that you can’t get HIV from biting or spit, of course, but 32 states still have those laws on the books, and people are still being sent to prison for violating them.

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Stateville Correctional Center is a maximum security prison located in Crest Hill, Illinois. This facility is one of the few to be designed according to the eighteenth century Panopticon style, which proposes that a single watchtower be placed inside of a massive circular structure. According to the concept, this design controls behavior by allowing inmates to be viewed by watchmen at all times without knowledge of who is being observed.

Shows that give at least one shit about queer people: for the clexa fans.
  1. South of Nowhere- this show stars a young lesbian in high school who loves and has relationships with girls, none of whom die.
  2. Carmilla- I’m sure you’ve heard of it but it stars a lesbian in college who falls in love with a vampire who (spoilers) does not die.
  3. The L Word- Centered around a group of queer friends so even if one of them did die there would still be like 13 more. Enough gays to go around. Very sex-centric.
  4. Queer as Folk- Another queer group show, but mostly focused on gay males, although there are queer women in it. They give a shit about queers tho and thats my #1 standard really.
  5. Orange is the New Black- I’m sure you’ve heard, this is a prison dramedy centered around queer women. Again, im pretty sure one or two of them die but in this case there are still a million others to love.
  6. Wentworth- it is much like orange is the new black, a few less laughs and more drama. Basically prison lesbians with accents.
  7. The Fosters- A family who’s matriarchs are an ass kicking pair of lesbians who do not die even a little. They are an inspiring lesbian couple and one of their youngest sons is gay and I love him. 
  8. I’ve heard some gay whispers about Person of Interest, The Shannara Chronicals, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and there is some gayness in How to Get Away With Murder. I mention these as an afterthought because I’m not yet sure if any gays die. 

The Norconian Resort Supreme, Norco, California, 1928

(The resort, which was popular in it’s heyday with celebrities like Babe Ruth, Norma Shearer and Buster Keaton, didn’t make it through the great depression and was later used as a naval base and is now a prison/rehabilitation center for addicts)

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Clallam Bay Corrections Center is a medium, maximum and closed-custody prison for men, located near Clallam Bay, Washington. (about 133 miles NW of Seattle.) The facility houses around 900 inmates, all of whom were convicted for crimes in Washington State. The location is so remote that there are no radio station frequencies or cell phone service. It is in the north western-most tip of Washington State, and is separated from Canada by the Strait of Juan De Fuca. Inmates in medium security reportedly are able to see Vancouver Island from their cell windows. The prison participates in a dog training program. Select inmates who have undergone rigorous screening and interviews and are approved for the program are partnered with a dog who has been labeled as “unadoptable” by local animal shelters, and are tasked with training them in obedience and social skills to facilitate their adoption into a forever home. The dog sleeps in a cell with their handler and gets plenty of unconditional love, affection and exercise. The effect that this partnership has on the inmate cannot be overstated. For a person who has been abused, neglected and thrown away, or a person who has made horrible mistakes and has rightly been abandoned by everyone they ever knew, forging a bond with an animal who has been through the same things can be transformative.

This ‪#‎TDOV‬ (trans day of visibility) let’s not forget that visibility can actually be lethal for many. Indeed, visibility for some is often contingent on erasure for others.

Many Black, indigenous, and other people of color who are trans or gender non-conforming may not have access to the resources and safety to “visibly” express our genders. When we do we often put our bodies on the line for even more familial, state, and interpersonal violence. Folks who are in detention centers, prisons, and/or living under occupation often are unable to be “visible” in their genders. Folks who are working class, surviving on the streets, navigating the foster care system, the shelter system, houselessness, may not be able to be visible in their genders. Young people who are confined to their homes and are constantly regulated by their families may not be able to be visible in our genders.

We should never create hierarchies where we celebrate “visible” trans people over others. Instead of blaming people for not being visible, let’s dismantle the systems that prevent the majority of the world from accessing gender self-determination. Instead of shaming people for not being “out,” let’s trust people that they know what they need to do to keep safe. Instead of valorizing one type of trans visibility, let’s challenge the standards of visibility themselves (which are defined by white supremacy, capitalism, ableism, and colonialism). Let’s respect each person’s self-identification, regardless of what they look like to us. Let’s uplift the folks whose visibility does not align with conventional cis and white binary beauty norms. Let’s uplift the gender non-conforming folks who are constantly erased not just by cis people, but also trans movements themselves.

You do not have to be “visible,” to be trans.
All genders are valid, whether they are conventionally “visible” or not.

—  Darkmatter