Biden signs law mandating working cameras in prisons

Originally published at: Biden signs law mandating working cameras in prisons | Boing Boing

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interesting idea… after installation, soon to be followed by guards turning them off.

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I don’t mean to be cynical*, but given all the laws that US prisons routinely violate, and how rarely anyone is held accountable, I wonder how much difference this will actually make. It’ll all come down to enforcement provisions, I’m guessing.

*Given the horrific state of US prisons, I’m afraid cynicism isn’t just the default position, but unavoidable.

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Now they’ll be functional but always pointed in the wrong direction.

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The mysterious death of one Jeffrey Epstein…

Except that it really wasn’t. In-custody deaths involving incompetence, indifference, and outright cruelty are not at all unusual in our prison system, and absolutely no one with any familiarity with how our jails & prisons work was surprised at the comedy of errors that existed there.

This is a great proposal as far as it goes, but as always the only real test will be the consequences consequences faced by those who disregard it. If guards & sheriffs & wardens face no meaningful penalties for violating the requirements (and that would be the default setting of the system) then it is just a suggestion.

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Yeah, this is definitely going to be down to how enforced/enforceable this law actually is. I’d always just assumed that ‘broken’ cameras were deliberately broken so sketchy shit could be done, if the people that run these institutions want the plausible deniability of a ‘broken’ camera, they’ll still manage to manufacture it, damn the new law.

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They had to make this a law?

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Yes, because when cameras don’t work, it is much harder to hold people accountable for abuse aimed at prisoners. And as such, people who run prisons do not have a vested interest in making sure they work. So passing a law gives another mechanism for accountability to ensure that prisoners stop being killed in prison.

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I once had someone explain that it was not at all unusual for the cameras in Epstein’s cell to be “broken”. Happens all the time in prisons. I could not get them to quite work out that a high rate of security cameras being broken in prisons, as compared to basically everywhere else, was itself suspicious.

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