Friday, September 24, 2010

Writing Project Update - Slaughterhouse Returns

WORDS THESE PAST SEVERAL WEEKS: Hard to say. I've switched residences, switched cubicles, switched supervisors, switched nearly everything. But it's Friday night, the desk is facing northeast, and the keyboard still feels the same, so let's get to it.

RESPONSES TO LAST ENTRY: One, I think. I did have a number of people what happened and why I disappeared for a bit. and what can I say? Life intervened. It does that sometimes. In my time away I visited four states, jumped through the waves in the Pacific Ocean, hiked at Zion, dined at the Park Grill, watched friends get married and watched my children learn to enjoy swimming. If you can tell me how any of that doesn't beat sitting here typing, I'm sorry, I can't help you.
But I did miss it. And the amazing part is, I missed it enough that I wanted to get back into the routine of it. It's going to be great.

SUBMISSIONS: A bunch. I'll try to take them at different dates in the future, but I'd appreciate it if you could send some topics my way at


What do you think about the use of constant surveillance of high-level offenders (murderers and sex-offenders) as opposed to incarceration, and do you think there is any concern over their rights to privacy while under surveillance? 

Do you think people are justified in their concern that the implementation of the technology in this context could somehow lead down a slippery slope toward totalitarian abuses on the general population?

Indeed, research by the economists Jesse Shapiro of the University of Chicago and M. Keith Chen of Yale indicates that the stated purpose of incarceration, which is to place prisoners under harsh conditions on the assumption that they will be “scared straight,” is actively counterproductive. Such conditions—and U.S. prisons are astonishingly harsh, with as many as 20 percent of male inmates facing sexual assault—typically harden criminals, making them more violent and predatory. Essentially, when we lock someone up today, we are agreeing to pay a large (and growing) sum of money merely to put off dealing with him until he is released in a few years, often as a greater menace to society than when he went in.

Clearly, the concept of prisons without walls would be hugely unpopular among the general population and the smallest systemic failure would cause an uproarious backlash. Given the previous statement from the article, how do you think the benefits of success (cost-reduction and rehabilitation) weigh against the risk of potential systemic failure (repeat offenses by those being actively monitored)?


Oh, this is going to be fun. See you before the calendar flips.

500 WORDS FINISHED BY: 9/24-25 midnight

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