Monthly Archives: April 2006

emerging from prison as an adult

to borrow a story from the distinguished dr. uggen’s hometown, the pioneer press ran a great piece a couple of weeks ago on steven glaze, a young man who was prosecuted as an adult at age 15, served 11 years in prison, and is now back out in the community trying to find a job, navigate a whole new world, and create a new life.

glaze walked out of prison with only his prison-issue television set and $100 to his name. even though glaze had taken advantage of all of the educational and vocational opportunities available to him while incarcerated, he reentered the community with the stigma of a long prison sentence, a lack of legitimate work history, and without even a driver’s license to help smooth his way.

four months after his release, glaze is still looking for a job and is growing ever more frustrated. he claims it has been the most challenging experience of his life. adding to the pressure is the fact that his fiance, rachel (who he met during a prison poetry workshop — another example of female volunteers falling in love with prison inmates), is pregnant with twins. it seems his struggles to adjust to his new life on the outside have just begun.

other juveniles tried as adults will face similar pressures sooner or later. as i wrote about recently, willard jimerson, jr. was prosecuted as an adult at age 13 and sentenced to 23 years. he’s 25 today and will serve another decade behind bars, but he will eventually get out and be expected to function as an adult in the larger society.

more recently, on friday, a 15-year-old boy, evan savoie, from ephrata, washington was convicted of first-degree murder and he now faces 20 to 26 years in prison. savoie was 12-years-old at the time of his crime and he is the youngest murder defendant since 1931 to be prosecuted as an adult in washington state.

as i’ve said before and will continue to reiterate, we should remember that all of these young men (and young women in similar situations) will likely survive their prison sentences and will be returned to the community to live among us. knowing that, how would you like to see them treated for their crimes?

emerging from prison as an adult

to borrow a story from the distinguished dr. uggen’s hometown, the pioneer press ran a great piece a couple of weeks ago on steven glaze, a young man who was prosecuted as an adult at age 15, served 11 years in prison, and is now back out in the community trying to find a job, navigate a whole new world, and create a new life.

glaze walked out of prison with only his prison-issue television set and $100 to his name. even though glaze had taken advantage of all of the educational and vocational opportunities available to him while incarcerated, he reentered the community with the stigma of a long prison sentence, a lack of legitimate work history, and without even a driver’s license to help smooth his way.

four months after his release, glaze is still looking for a job and is growing ever more frustrated. he claims it has been the most challenging experience of his life. adding to the pressure is the fact that his fiance, rachel (who he met during a prison poetry workshop — another example of female volunteers falling in love with prison inmates), is pregnant with twins. it seems his struggles to adjust to his new life on the outside have just begun.

other juveniles tried as adults will face similar pressures sooner or later. as i wrote about recently, willard jimerson, jr. was prosecuted as an adult at age 13 and sentenced to 23 years. he’s 25 today and will serve another decade behind bars, but he will eventually get out and be expected to function as an adult in the larger society.

more recently, on friday, a 15-year-old boy, evan savoie, from ephrata, washington was convicted of first-degree murder and he now faces 20 to 26 years in prison. savoie was 12-years-old at the time of his crime and he is the youngest murder defendant since 1931 to be prosecuted as an adult in washington state.

as i’ve said before and will continue to reiterate, we should remember that all of these young men (and young women in similar situations) will likely survive their prison sentences and will be returned to the community to live among us. knowing that, how would you like to see them treated for their crimes?

how many of your students are doing the reading?

over a fine dinner with jeff draine and irene wong, i asked whether their penn students did all of the reading assigned for coursework. jeff replied that he doubted it, but quickly noted that his inside-out students indeed do all the reading.

jeff teaches in the inside-out prison exchange program, which takes university undergrads behind prison walls to attend class with inmates. in jeff’s experience, the “inside” or incarcerated students often lead the way. this sets a high bar for preparation and participation that can motivate the “outside” students to work a little more diligently than they otherwise would.

i could envision such a pattern holding for my minnversity undergrads as well. if they heard inmates critiquing code of the streets, for example, they’d be more likely to dig into it to form their own opinions (especially if the critique somehow challenged ol’ doc uggen’s reading of the text). my pubcrim colleague michelle took the inside-out training program last summer, so i’m looking forward to some firsthand blogging on her experiences teaching in the program next year.

how many of your students are doing the reading?

over a fine dinner with jeff draine and irene wong, i asked whether their penn students did all of the reading assigned for coursework. jeff replied that he doubted it, but quickly noted that his inside-out students indeed do all the reading.

jeff teaches in the inside-out prison exchange program, which takes university undergrads behind prison walls to attend class with inmates. in jeff’s experience, the “inside” or incarcerated students often lead the way. this sets a high bar for preparation and participation that can motivate the “outside” students to work a little more diligently than they otherwise would.

i could envision such a pattern holding for my minnversity undergrads as well. if they heard inmates critiquing code of the streets, for example, they’d be more likely to dig into it to form their own opinions (especially if the critique somehow challenged ol’ doc uggen’s reading of the text). my pubcrim colleague michelle took the inside-out training program last summer, so i’m looking forward to some firsthand blogging on her experiences teaching in the program next year.

the most important holiday of the year?

today, april 26, is administrative professional’s day a/k/a secretary’s day. like defense secretary rumsfeld, i eagerly await the shower of prizes and recognition that will surely come my way as ASC executive secretary.

let me assure you that administrative professional’s day is no hallmark holiday. the wikipedia entry lists the standard gifts as candy, flowers, a card, and “occasionally, extra time off.” this will not stand. i work too hard typing minutes to be placated by a vermont teddy bear.

i’ve been secretary since 2003, so i have some expertise in this area. let me propose the following officially approved administrative professional’s day gifts:

1. an extension cord for my laptop so i can sit at the big table
2. a large quantity of small-batch bourbon
3. a significant clothing allowance
4. comp me a couple nights at the conference hotel. club level, please
5. a secretary’s secretary who would perform all actual work and work-like duties
6. a personalized stainless-steel ice-cream scooper
7. i guess i wouldn’t mind a few flowers, candy, and cards

i fly to philadelphia today and state college on thursday, so i won’t collect my gifts until returning this weekend. the next stop is dc on may 2, when i’ll take rummy out for a little lunch and commiseration.

the most important holiday of the year?

today, april 26, is administrative professional’s day a/k/a secretary’s day. like defense secretary rumsfeld, i eagerly await the shower of prizes and recognition that will surely come my way as ASC executive secretary.

let me assure you that administrative professional’s day is no hallmark holiday. the wikipedia entry lists the standard gifts as candy, flowers, a card, and “occasionally, extra time off.” this will not stand. i work too hard typing minutes to be placated by a vermont teddy bear.

i’ve been secretary since 2003, so i have some expertise in this area. let me propose the following officially approved administrative professional’s day gifts:

1. an extension cord for my laptop so i can sit at the big table
2. a large quantity of small-batch bourbon
3. a significant clothing allowance
4. comp me a couple nights at the conference hotel. club level, please
5. a secretary’s secretary who would perform all actual work and work-like duties
6. a personalized stainless-steel ice-cream scooper
7. i guess i wouldn’t mind a few flowers, candy, and cards

i fly to philadelphia today and state college on thursday, so i won’t collect my gifts until returning this weekend. the next stop is dc on may 2, when i’ll take rummy out for a little lunch and commiseration.

tip for the crim meetings

i’ve just returned from los angeles, where the 2006 american society of criminology meetings will be held. each year the ASC holds its midyear executive board meeting in the conference facilities for the upcoming november meeting. that way, the board can get a taste of the facilities and hammer down meeting details as it does its business.

the 2006 meetings will take place at the convention center, which means that the ASC booked rooms in three or four expensive hotels and will bus participants back and forth. i figure that the room block will fill fast, so i thought i’d pass along a little inside information.

after my stay this weekend, i can personally give a strong endorsement to the biltmore. the rooms are cool, with ancient curvy bathtubs and other amenities. but the truly inspiring spots are the art-deco lobbies, fountains, wrought-iron work, and pool area.

in the 1930s the academy awards were held at the biltmore, so there are great black-and-white photos of tyrone power, walt disney, and martha raye hanging about. plus, they still film scenes from the west wing and commander in chief in the boardroom and other spots in the hotel.

in my humble opinion, the whole place has a funky charm and nine billion times more texture than most conference hotels. see you in the bar

tip for the crim meetings

i’ve just returned from los angeles, where the 2006 american society of criminology meetings will be held. each year the ASC holds its midyear executive board meeting in the conference facilities for the upcoming november meeting. that way, the board can get a taste of the facilities and hammer down meeting details as it does its business.

the 2006 meetings will take place at the convention center, which means that the ASC booked rooms in three or four expensive hotels and will bus participants back and forth. i figure that the room block will fill fast, so i thought i’d pass along a little inside information.

after my stay this weekend, i can personally give a strong endorsement to the biltmore. the rooms are cool, with ancient curvy bathtubs and other amenities. but the truly inspiring spots are the art-deco lobbies, fountains, wrought-iron work, and pool area.

in the 1930s the academy awards were held at the biltmore, so there are great black-and-white photos of tyrone power, walt disney, and martha raye hanging about. plus, they still film scenes from the west wing and commander in chief in the boardroom and other spots in the hotel.

in my humble opinion, the whole place has a funky charm and nine billion times more texture than most conference hotels. see you in the bar

killing sex offenders, volume II

a vigilante gunned down two released sex offenders last august in bellingham, washington. this sunday, joseph l. gray and william elliott were shot to death in maine, apparently by a young canadian man who shot himself when surrounded by officers. once again, the press cites a state sex offender registry as leading the killer to the victims.

both mr. gray and mr. elliott were listed on maine’s online registry of convicted sex offenders. one can access the offender’s name, address, date of birth, height, weight, and place of employment, as well as a color photograph. i learned that mr. elliott lived at 953 main street in east corinth, he was last convicted in 2002, served four months in jail, and had been on probation since that time. similar detail was provided for mr. gray, who was last convicted in massachusetts in 1992.

as a i wrote last year, the bellingham murderer sent a hand-written note to the seattle times, detailing his crimes and how he targeted the offenders. here’s what the since-convicted killer wrote on the subject:

“the State of Washington, like many states now lists sexual deviants on the Net. And on most of these sites it shares with us what sexual crimes these men have been caught for, and most are so sick you wonder how they can be free … In closing, we cannot tell the public so-and-so is ‘likely’ going to hurt another child, and here is his address then expect us to sit back and wait to see what child is next”

in a forthcoming article with jeff manza and melissa thompson, i ask whether felons constitute a criminal class, a status group, or a caste (at the time, maine was actually providing less detailed information online than states such as florida). we argue that caste-like relations best apply to hyperstigmatized sex offenders such as mr. gray and mr. elliott.

in my opinion, these murders contribute to the prevailing sense of hopelessness and permanent stigmatization felt by sex offenders, whether serving a life sentence in prison or a spell of probation for a less serious offense. in this regard, i’ve got nothing to add beyond what i wrote last fall:

even years before their scheduled release, both male and female prisoners have told me they feared “the internet” and public availability of information about them. rest assured that the bellingham murder story will quickly make the rounds of every TV room and sex offender unit in state penitentiaries. it is not a story of deterrence that will keep them from future crime. it is not a story of redemption or martyrdom that will give them strength as they work through the tough times. it is instead a story of the hysterical vigilante lying in wait, a story that embodies their fears about life after prison and their dim prospects for ever becoming a normal citizen in a community. and it makes them wonder why the hell they should go to treatment.

do such registries prevent more crime than they cause? who should be listed and for how long? in the name of public safety, dangerous information about many of us could be posted online — is there a compelling rationale for listing sex offenders and not murderers or arsonists or drunken drivers? is there anything in your past that your neighbors ought to know about?

killing sex offenders, volume II

a vigilante gunned down two released sex offenders last august in bellingham, washington. this sunday, joseph l. gray and william elliott were shot to death in maine, apparently by a young canadian man who shot himself when surrounded by officers. once again, the press cites a state sex offender registry as leading the killer to the victims.

both mr. gray and mr. elliott were listed on maine’s online registry of convicted sex offenders. one can access the offender’s name, address, date of birth, height, weight, and place of employment, as well as a color photograph. i learned that mr. elliott lived at 953 main street in east corinth, he was last convicted in 2002, served four months in jail, and had been on probation since that time. similar detail was provided for mr. gray, who was last convicted in massachusetts in 1992.

as a i wrote last year, the bellingham murderer sent a hand-written note to the seattle times, detailing his crimes and how he targeted the offenders. here’s what the since-convicted killer wrote on the subject:

“the State of Washington, like many states now lists sexual deviants on the Net. And on most of these sites it shares with us what sexual crimes these men have been caught for, and most are so sick you wonder how they can be free … In closing, we cannot tell the public so-and-so is ‘likely’ going to hurt another child, and here is his address then expect us to sit back and wait to see what child is next”

in a forthcoming article with jeff manza and melissa thompson, i ask whether felons constitute a criminal class, a status group, or a caste (at the time, maine was actually providing less detailed information online than states such as florida). we argue that caste-like relations best apply to hyperstigmatized sex offenders such as mr. gray and mr. elliott.

in my opinion, these murders contribute to the prevailing sense of hopelessness and permanent stigmatization felt by sex offenders, whether serving a life sentence in prison or a spell of probation for a less serious offense. in this regard, i’ve got nothing to add beyond what i wrote last fall:

even years before their scheduled release, both male and female prisoners have told me they feared “the internet” and public availability of information about them. rest assured that the bellingham murder story will quickly make the rounds of every TV room and sex offender unit in state penitentiaries. it is not a story of deterrence that will keep them from future crime. it is not a story of redemption or martyrdom that will give them strength as they work through the tough times. it is instead a story of the hysterical vigilante lying in wait, a story that embodies their fears about life after prison and their dim prospects for ever becoming a normal citizen in a community. and it makes them wonder why the hell they should go to treatment.

do such registries prevent more crime than they cause? who should be listed and for how long? in the name of public safety, dangerous information about many of us could be posted online — is there a compelling rationale for listing sex offenders and not murderers or arsonists or drunken drivers? is there anything in your past that your neighbors ought to know about?