August 4, 2006

Disciplining the prisoner who paints with the juice of the M&M.

Harsh.

13 comments:

Jennifer said...

That does seem awfully harsh. I guess here is where we insert the obligatory well, if he could refrain from killing people, he could paint and sell whatever he'd like.

Dave said...

Two observations:

1) This person should have been executed long before he became glorified by the Times, and

2) What "consequences" are there for someone serving a life sentence? Clearly this is not a capital offense.

The Drill SGT said...

A couple of other observations:

1. The general rule against operating businesses from inside prison is intended to deal with mobsters and con artists, etc who continue their trade inside and with whom the system wants a remedy. The prison is being consistent in the application of the regulations. Anything less would get them sued by the ACLU and another inmate with too much time on his hands.

2. This man is not nice. Drugs, murder, "slashing the throat of a prison guard. crimes have consequences. file him away till he dies.

RightWingDuck said...

$500 for a painting? I guess sometimes it DOES pay to play with your food.

RWD

Tibore said...

One hand, other hand opinion.

On the one hand, when someone's serving a life sentence, their lives are completely dominated and run by the prison system. That's the consequence of being incarcerated: They're given rules to live by, and they're compelled to follow them. That's part of the reason prison is so harsh.

On the other hand: Someone I knew who worked in corrections said the inmates worked so hard at subverting the rules and undermining the system that she was actually "impressed with their productivity" (her own choice of words). She felt that if they'd actually concentrate on non-subversive, or actually truly productive activities, they'd make their prison stays a heck of a lot more bearable. Not completely bearable, mind you - it's still prison - but a lot less harsh. A prisoner actually doing anything artistic that didn't involve defacing something would've impressed the hell out of her. That same prisoner contributing proceeds to a charity would've probably made her do cartwheels.

My point? If the activity is non destructive and actually productive in any sense, why ban it? Ban the profitability off of it - make them either surrender the money to charity, for example. But allowing the prisoner to conduct the activity is probably better for the correctional officers and the administration, since they have one less recalcitrant prisoner to worry about. It's better for the prisoner as well, because it keeps them busy at something that's not harmful.

My 2 cents...

Ken Mitchell said...

I thought that inmates were normally allowed to earn money only to pay restitution for their crimes; if the money isn't going to the families of his victims, then he's cheating them.

And the other commenters are right; this isn't a nice person. Prison is supposed to be miserable, to discourage people from getting sent there.

JohnF said...

I see The New York Times' disclosures are again wrecking good things.

Pogo said...

Ah, just like the Birdman of Alcatraz. He also murdered a guard. In the movie, they left out his repeatedly violent background.

One sees a bit of the 'noble savage' idea come out when newspapers fall in love with murderous criminals.

Jack Henry Abbott was a case in point. Author Norman Mailer championed his release. But just six weeks after getting out of prison, he stabbed a restuarant worker who wouldn't permit him use of a toilet.

Advice: Don't read their books, buy their art, or become pen-pals.
Stay. Very. Far. Away.

AlaskaJack said...

Pogo mentioned the Birdman of Alcatraz. He was indeed a charming fellow, known for his wit and honesty. At a parole hearing shortly befor he died, when asked why he should be paroled, he is said to have replied as follows: "I'm an old man; I don't have much time left and there's stll a whole lot of people out there that I gotta kill."

This scene would have made a great ending to the movie. With creative camera work and the right music, we're talking high brow aesthetics here. I can't imagine why they didn't use it.

Another Old Navy Chief said...

AlaskaJack,

Perhaps because the movie was released in 1962 and if the incident you mentioned happened "shortly before his death" it probably had not occurred when the movie was made (He died in Nov 1963)...

stealthlawprof said...

Sure prison is not supposed to be a pleasant place. But, really, do we believe that the California prison officials have nothing better to do than to crack down on a fellow who is painting postcards and giving them away? Apparently, they no longer have a gang problem, they no longer have budget issues, and they no longer have violence in their prisons because they are spending time protecting the world from a guy who is "leaching the colors out of M&M's". Amazing.

TWM said...

"Mr. Johnson, who is 46, is serving three life sentences. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in 1980 for a drug-related killing, drawing a sentence of 15 years to life. In 1989, he was convicted of slashing the throat of one guard and assaulting another. Those crimes resulted in two additional sentences of nine years to life."

I am not sure you can BE too harsh to such a person. I am not sure you want to be less harsh to one.

knoxgirl said...

This puts me in mind of Jack Henry Abbott, and I see Pogo brought him up as well.

Not sure how I feel about this one, except that if a friend or relative of mine had been killed by him, I wouldn't be too keen on the fact that he's getting high-profile art exhibits and fifteen minutes of fame when he's supposed to be shut away from the world.