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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Oct. 10, 1973)
Author exposes prison weaknesses, myths
Kind and Usual Punishment by Jessica Mitford
Thp Lincoln Telephone Directory lists the
f. bru.kfi State Penitentiary as one of Lincoln's
"I'V-hts of Interest." Jessica Mitford, in Kind and
'J ,iul Punishment is more than interested in prisons,
: ' i 's angry about them.
Ten yrars ago Mitford joined the group of elite
truck rakers with her expose of the funeral business in
T!:-j An-orican Way of Death. Fortunately for the
A "let iCtKl public she has continued that tradition in
t;.ir, book on prisons.
She begins with the relationship between guard and
prisoner and a short account of a voluntary stay in
puson in which she participated.
Ma foid casts a critical eye on crime s'. :ics,
!.. i Ls.cina ihem as a game which the FBI plays with
!;.; An-'rican public. She states that "at least three
. s:t is . .f American prisoners could not have been
i. :;. ur-ii fifty years ago, since the acts for which
v, v.. ((: convicted were then not criminal
Mitford points out that indeterminate sentence:;,
which remove the exact duration of punishment from
the whims of a judge to civilians, has resulted in
li.-rxjer sentences and is used by many prisons as a
threat to prisoners waiting for parole.
The two best chapters in the book deal with the
of prisoners by pharmaceutical companies to test
n, w (iruris and the "Prison Business." In the first
chapter Mitford details the abuse which prisoners
suffer at the hands of science.
They get the opportunity to be the "volunteers"
for new drugs of which more than 90 per cent never
get into medical practice because of the drug's
toxicity. She draws an analogy between the doctors
tried at Nurembuerg and some of the scientists in
America, one of whom was quoted as saying:
"Criminals in our penitentiaries are fine experimental
material-and much cheaper than chimpanzees."
The second chapter is concerned with the
industries and goods which prisons are involved in
producing. This chapter is a financial breakdown of
wn re the money goes in prisons and how it is used.
Prisons have a higher profit realization than any
business or industry in the United States.
Yet every year many prisons plead for more
money. Mitford concludes that the majority of the
money benefits those running the prisons, not the
Mitford ends her book by discussing whether there
should be prison reform or abolition. She begins a
cmind araument for abolition of prisons, but
somewhere near the conclusion she seems to change
her mind and opts for some institutional control o
those who are violently dangerous.
Mitford is a aood muckraker. She has done an
immense amount of research and everything is noted
so her findings can be checked. In her interviews with
prison officials she has the knack of drawing them
into saying things which are both illuminating and
She is blunt and satirical; a behaviorist stated that
if he could have had Oswald when he was young a
"major tragedy of this generation could have been
averted." Mitford notes that the behaviorist is
speaking of Lee Harvey Oswald not "Russell G.
Oswald, the New York commissioner of Corrections
who ordered the troous into Attica, as a result of
which 43 perished by gunfire."
Mitford is not selective in her attacks. They hit
liberals and conservatives alike. She is habitually
distrustful, and if the evidence is scanty or
non-existant she'll be sure to point it out. She also
manages, despite the short length of the book, to
study prisons in remarkable depth.
Mitford's book probably will emerge as a leading
work on penal problems but not on solutions, for
hers are weak. It's a shame, for in the last analvsis
only solutions count. J
0 N 54th & O STS. 434-7421
FT A 7'
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and the best El
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SMI All I HdKI I) V.IDI Hijfonll OMfANt
Album 'real gem,'
features top artists
Moon Germs Joe Farrell
With jazz albums, one usually can predict the quality of
what lies in the grooves by looking over the collective artists
for favorites and stand out musician;;. Moon Germs, with Joe
Farrell on flute and soprano sax, Hot bio Hancock on electric
piano, Stan Clarke on bass and Jack DeJohnette on drums, is
an obvious winner.
But something more happens on this album that can't quite
be deduced from the personnel, and it turns Moon Germs into
one of the best albums to come out all year.
The songs, two by Farrel, one by Clarke and one by Chick
Corea are monsters and give each man a chance to explore just
what he can do.
stick it in your eor
The opening cut, Great Gorge, is a prime example. It opens
with Farrell stating the theme in tones that only Joe could get
from his soprano. Underneath him, Hancock, Clarke and
DeJohnette are playing as if funk was something they kept in
their back pocket.
Suddenly, the tide changes, .ind it's Farrell playing at
rip-tide strength. Then Hancock plucks us from the sea and
propels us to the farthest reaches of space at blitzing speed.
Clarke has tuned in and the two battle for cosmic
supremacy until Herbie kicks in the modulator, transcending
time and space in dimensions never dreamed of.
Hancock flies out of the range of hearing, and we are left
with DeJohnette slashing his way down until he brings us back
to earth. Farrell has had it there all the time, and the great
odyssey dissolves back into the ihcme.
Obviously I'm excited about this album. It's an album that
generates a lot of excitement and much more. Not picking this
one up is a major mistake.
is a genuine masterpiece of staggering
proportions." -Edward Dehr, Newsweek
is not a 'dirty' movie. The film is stark,
sensitive and completely shattering
in its intensity. Yes, by all means, see
Last Tango'." -Aaron Schlndler, Family Circle
Wednesday, October 10, 1973
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