Multi-generational cruelty: America's prisons shutting down kids' visitations

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Nixon created the southern strategy, not Clinton. To be sure, Clinton’s “tough on crime” policies (and welfare “reform,” and etc.) made this sort of thing worse, but it doesn’t seem right to call him the creator of a phenomenon that predated his presidency by some 20 years.


It’s no surprise that control is prioritized over rehabilitation in prisons, even when it appears irrational. From conception to construction to operation, prisons are designed solely for control. Once society accepts that it’s reasonable to expect absolute control over “bad actors”, you inevitably end up with insane systems like this, as well as others like mass surveillance, hypertrophied police, and the war on terror.

Total control of anyone - including “criminals” - is not possible, reasonable, or desirable.


Meanwhile in Finland they’ve gone the other way entirely…

Seriously, we should all be Finland.


Is sadism near universal among humanity?

If not, then why is it such a good political strategy?

What is a policy fucking over those people so much more appealing than one which improves your own lot?


@doctorow, I enjoyed your wonderfully illustrated review of Tabibi’s Divide but I think you’re mixing up a couple of things here… Richard Nixon had a “Southern Strategy”, as did Ronald Reagan… but I don’t recall Clinton having one?

Clinton inherited the “Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984” from Reagan’s era. That 1984 legislation both created the federal forfeiture system and outlawed rehabilitation of prisoners as a justification for imprisonment; it fits your description rather well.

I’m not a fan of the Clintons, mind you, but I think the damage you’re calling out was done primarily by the “Reagan Revolution”. It just took a while to get rolling, and the Holder Doctrine sort of put the cherry on the top.


This is kind of a Big Topic, but it mostly has to do with insecurity, AFAICT. There’s a population out there that’s deadly terrified - mostly of not being able to control their own economic success. This translates into a hostility to others who might “take” part of that. Criminals have been found guilty of “taking” that, so they’re, in the logic of the terrified, OK to take out your fear and anger and confusion on.

It’s also part of why racism can be so toxic and destructive in certain places.

It feels good to hate when you live most of your life in terror.


That is probably the most succinct expression I’ve read to describe the problem. I’m going to accept it as axiomatic.

When we combine that with “austerity measures” it becomes quite sinister.


Depriving the masses of education and livelihood makes so much more sense from that perspective


I think @Doctorow is using a Leftist Strategy. Blame Reagan all you want, Trump and his ilk are demonstrative of the fact that the right-wing in this country is not susceptible to moral (or any) criticisms. The political left, on the other hand, still has something approaching shame.


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