Monday, April 29, 2013


I just read an article on prisoners who rate prisons and jails on Yelp.

If you didn't know, the difference between prison and jail is that jail is for up to one year; prison is anything longer than that time.  For longer sentences, inmates tend to prefer prison- less frustrating and people who have been in longer know the rules and culture better than short timers who sometimes behave like complete idiots.

I think rating these places on Yelp and other social sites is a great idea. It gets information out to the public and can bring to light any serious offenses, as well as commend those who protect them (i.e. correctional officers). 

However, in the comments were really hateful stuff, such as Catalyst247s "they are prisoners, they need a nice warm cup of STFU" and Reality201s thought that "I think that prisoners should work for their food digging ditches, picking fruit and other "jobs Americans do not want to do". No work = no food."

Having taught in a men's prison, I can tell you that the people who are posting these comments have never been to one. Prisons are not a fun place where people relax, watch tv, eat and work out nonstop. Public opinion is so poor that often the food is spoiled, the work - at 23 cents per hour- is hard and it's often unsafe to go to sleep.

Here is what I wish I could say to each person who put up a negative comment:

a) people do get out of jail and prison after serving their time.
b) you obviously have never been in a prison if you think it's club med.
c) how society treats those on the fringes is a good way to judge that society. yes, I am glad that prisons and jails are being reviewed on Yelp. I am also sad at the proudly ignorant responses.

Ah well.

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