Jul 132011

NoC News Analysis

Well, now it’s shamelessly clear: prisoners are chattel.

Ohio is trying to close an $8 million budget deficit, and, as necessity is the mother of invention, it’s trying something new: selling state prisons to private corporations to raise money for the state budget. However, this isn’t simply a property sell-off of outdated and unused prison buildings. Rather, the state is offering prison packages: buy the land, the buildings, and your corporation gets the prisoners, too!

The best (meaning astounding) part is that winning bidders can even operate their new prisons with 20-year contracts, which include a per-diem payment from the state. In order to win the bidding, though, the corporations have to come to the table with all kinds of war-game plans like how they would engage in “hot pursuit of escapees.” (This quote from Linda Janes, the chief of staff for the Ohio agency responsible for the state’s prisons.)

Evidently, here’s how the Ohio plan goes:

First: Incarcerate a bunch of people.

Second: Refuse to raise state taxes because the state has to “tighten its belt.”

Third: Sell prisons and prisoners to private corporations.

Fourth: Pay corporations to maintain prisoners.

Seems like a strange business plan to NoC. Forget the fact that it’s completely immoral.

Jun 222011

NoC News

PRESS RELEASE — After discovering that incarcerated females in Kentucky prisons have limited access to adequate feminine supplies, Transylvania University student Lillie Beiting began a drive to outfit one prison with a supply of feminine hygiene products. Working in tandem with campus nurse Laina Smith, Beiting donated 13 cases of feminine supplies to a local women’s prison. Continue reading »

Mar 162011

A St. Patrick’s Day tribute to political prisoners

By Beth Connors-Manke

In January, I got to visit Ireland, land of my ancestors. On my mom’s side, the Barrys arrived in the U.S. in the late 1800s, part of the Irish diaspora that occurred after the Potato Famine in the 1840s and 50s. My dad’s side, the Connors, arrived with the big immigrant influx in the early twentieth century. Both sides arrived poor and hard-scrabble.

Whenever you trek to your family’s “mother land,” you’re probably searching for something. If not some instinctual stirring of the blood, then some sense of place or of the culture that shaped your family. When we arrived in Dublin, it took me approximately 15 minutes to decide that whatever I was looking for was mythic.

While I grew up being told at the dinner table that “the Irish eat their potatoes,” walking around Dublin quickly told me that I was far from the Irish life of my great-grandparents. I was far in time from their experience, and Dublin itself was a different place, a place that, to the tourist’s eye, was simply another Euro city, with pedestrian plazas and large chain stores situated much as I had just seen them in London. (Sorry, native Dubliners. We’ll accept your hate mail at the address on the masthead.)

I amended my expectations. If history brought me to Eire, then I should look to history, not to Grafton Street (where the beautiful movie Once is partially set) or even Temple Bar, as a way to connect to my family’s life in Ireland. This led me to Kilmainham Gaol. Continue reading »