Prisons

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I have had some awfully difficult patients lately.  Males, in their early twenties, who misbehave and ignore all known authorities including me, and often tell me they will not take any “stinking” pills no matter what, and tell me to go do obscene things to myself. (I am old enough to know how and when to do the latter without their instruction.)

I felt silly that they bothered me, since I have actually had some success working with some very hardened criminals who have murdered folks and done some pretty heinous things.  As a matter of fact, such folks usually like me.  I actually remember from my prison work one cell block I often visited in person, where I earned the nickname “Mary Poppins” — for it was hot and I wore a hat tied with a scarf to fight the sun and the desert wind.

Even after the hat and scarf were determined to be a breach of prison security (since they covered my face and represented a potential method of disguise and flight for the inmates) they still called me “Mary Poppins” and broke into “A Spoonful of Sugar” whenever I entered the cell block.

Granted the inmates had few amusements, but I still think they liked me.

Sometimes, even with all my Herculean mental efforts, my best insights come from my husband.  Brilliant in aspects of his mind other than his excellent taste in women, he explained to me that the young toughs who came to my clinic and treated me so poorly were simply “pre-prison,” and had not yet dealt with the consequences of their actions.  Brilliant, and I believe, correct.

As a former prison doctor, I was more inclined to read a recent story about the effort to reduce state prison populations by turning low-level offenders back to county facilities. But this is the kind of headline that suggests there is something going on that is not at all what the story is about.

Counties and state government in California are not really in an adversarial relationship.  It is just that nothing works terribly well, which is no shock to anyone who has lived in California for a bit.

Border Patrol State of Jefferson (1941)

Rugged individualists in Northern California and Southern Oregon have wanted to form their own state of Jefferson for the past 70 years.

As far back as 1945 the folks in Northern California (along with Southern Oregon) wanted to secede because their agricultural interests made them feel

Read more on What Happens In Prison Anyway?…

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It’s called freedom of religion, folks.  That means you have the right to worship as you please, even if you’re in prison, even if you’re Muslim, and even if you’re Taliban.

Prison is horrible.  More horrible than anyone who has never been in or near one can imagine.  I know.  I worked inside prisons, back when someone might have had at least a little respect for credentials like mine.  This was before they started over-disciplining doctors and forcing their asses out of those august institutions in favor of cheaper folks, like nurse practitioners. Read more on Freedom of Religion in Prison…

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Putting scientists in prison because they did not accurately predict the danger of an earthquake and communicate it to the people is without precedent – at least as far as I can find.  And it’s probably not a terribly good idea. I guess the lawyers will appeal this one, but there is something else going on.

Junior High geography was pretty colorful at my prep school.  We studied the world, particularly the modern world, with a teacher who held us completely spellbound.  She had used all of her summers for traveling and showered us with rich discussions of the Mediterranean.  She painted a picture of a sun-drenched Italy that I found hard to connect to the ancient stories I heard about in Latin class. Read more on Legal Punishment When Scientists Fail to Warn of Earthquake…

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