Resistance Behind Bars(3rd Blog Post)

I picked up Resistance Behind Bars by Victoria Law over spring break, which highlights the issues facing women in prison as well as challenges the patriarchal ideology that women are passive and docile and that women do not organize in order to challenge readers to reconsider how they view women fighting for change.518xl+eenAL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ The book is the result of eight years of research and is organized into 11 main parts, covering everything from sexual abuse to education to medical conditions. However, what I found especially powerful wasn’t something that had an entire chapter dedicated to it, it was something that was a recurring theme throughout the chapters.

What spoke to me the most and what I found the most powerful was not inherently the injustices women face while incarcerated, it was the tactics used in order to keep prisoners obedient and quiet about the injustices. Women who speak out about sexual abuse find their complaints often ignored as well as finding grievances denied. In more extreme cases and very frequently, when inappropriate sexual relationships between prisoners and guards take place, the inmates involved are targeted and harassed by staff members. In one case there was a relationship between corrections officer Phillip  Lewis and prisoner Lynch, who reported having a sexual relationship with authorities. She was targeted by staff members and was also told by a residential unit officer that, “Bitches like you get found in ditches.” A prisoner at the Ohio Reformatory for Women stated that staff make the lives of prisoners who report sexual misconduct a, “living hell.” This type of harassment is common and is one of the powerful motivators to keep a girl quiet about the many injustices that are found behind prison walls.

Another tactic used to keep prisoners controlled and silent is involved with prisoners organizing. Women sharing information and networking “undermines the operations of a system that seeks to foster an atmosphere of alienation and isolation”, therefore they are a threat to the system’s complete control over its prisoners and subsequently they risk repercussions. One prisoner at the Central California Women’s Facility who helped others with legal work were fired from her position as a law library clerk. Also at the CCFW, women who demanded medical attention for their fellow prisoners were faced with a team of guards who assembled in order to trash their cells. Essentially, anything that threatens the complete control and intimidation is met with many motivations to keep prisoners silent. One of the questions I gave to the guard at the women’s prison my mom knows asked about if the harassment and threat of room searches and threats of lack of privileges also took place in Alaska and I am very interested in hearing his response. There is also the high possibility of me being able to meet with a prisoner at the women’s prison here who is serving a life term sentence which I am looking forward to.

Education in prison is a very complex and intricate topic, because it is extremely beneficial to the prisoners but harmful for the system of the prisons. A 2003 report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that 42% of women in state prisons had neither a high school diploma or a GED, with only 36% of women had graduated high school. While there are many obstacles, such as prison environments and prison security measures hindering learning, the costs involved with providing education to prisoners,  and the resistance from those in charge. Many women in prison have not had the chance to get an education to to drug addictions, abusive relationships and they find themselves changed for life due to the newfound opportunities. Educational programs are credited by some with helping them develop the skills necessary to successfully stay out of prison as well as helping their self esteem and self image. I would argue that those at high risk for recidivism should have their educational pursuits supported as to hopefully prevent them becoming incarcerated again. Prisoners who appeared to be able to defend themselves intellectually found themselves less likely to become a target of prison injustices. Because of this, there is frequently resistance from those in charge about providing educational opportunities for prisoners. This is because educated prisoners challenge the complete control those in prison systems currently have.

In terms of Alaska, the prison’s population grown continues to grow and has a projected 11% increase in its state prison population by 2018. That same growth across the country is expected to rise only 3%. The recidivism rate in Alaska is staggering, with two out of three former prisoners returning to prison within the first three years of their release, mostly within the first six months. Over the last decade, Alaska has experienced a 66% growth rate in recidivism. Also, an estimated 80% of people under the Alaska’s Department of Corrections (ADOC)  jurisdiction suffer from an alcohol and or drug addiction. It is obvious that something must be done to decrease the recidivism rate and help past inmates re enter society productively and live lives that are safe and beneficial to the economy.The cScreen Shot 2015-03-30 at 12.51.02 PMhoice Alaska faces now is to invest in proven cost-effective approaches today or to invest in a new costly prison tomorrow, at least $250 million, with poor public safety outcomes. The state can’t afford to continue on with its past criminal justice practices which were costly and produced such a high recidivism rate. As shown in the table, it is very costly to house prisoners and it is unrealistic with Alaska’s budget and bad for Alaska’s economic future. I am hoping to meet with an inmate and the prison guard to learn more of the personal view on the situation in Alaska and develop a stronger personal opinion of the situation.

Advertisements

The Influence of Online Presence [Final Media Editorial]

Have you ever googled yourself? You might be surprised by what comes up.

Historians will tell you assumptions about cultures and events based off of what evidence is left behind, such as cave paintings. This is what history is,”the bodies of knowledge about the past produced by historians”. The same thing is likely to happen in the future, with historians making assumptions based off the evidence left behind by our society. But instead of rocks and paintings, we will leave behind a new kind of evidence- technology. What we do with this technology now and how we interact using this technology will have a major impact on not only our society today, but how our society is perceived tomorrow.

It’s not just our whole society that needs to be taken into consideration. Social media has boomed in recent years, and today colleges and employers check social media and your digital footprint when going through their hiring and accepting process. Your digital footprint “is the body of data that exists as a result of actions and communications online that can in some way be traced back to an individual.” Scholarship providers who responded to a survey sent by the National Scholarship Providers Association reports that a quarter of scholarship providers in 2011 used social media to check out applications. They most commonly look for behavior that could reflect badly on the scholarship provider, including underage drinking, illegal drug use, provocative pictures, racial slurs, as well as searching for verification of the information provided on the application.

Also, what you post online can also get you fired. Gilbert Gottfried, commonly known as the voice of the Aflac duck, made a joke at the expense of Japanese tsunami victims and found himself out of a job less than an hour after the joke was posted. Florida teacher Olivia Sprauer had her provocative modeling photos posted on Facebook and was asked to resign. Another teacher in Denver, Carly Mckinney had a questionable twitter in which she expressed her opinion about how much she liked to smoke weed as well as her opinion about her hot students. She was placed on administrative leave and eventually fired.

Unfortunately, organizations are unlikely to change their behavior regarding online presence. The change must be individual in which awareness and self consciousness is increased concerning the implications of online behavior. Important factors to consider when posting online are to stop comparing yourself to others, be authentic, and make sure that your online persona is aligned with your offline persona. If you wouldn’t say something or act a certain way in person, you shouldn’t do so online. Your time and effort should not be spent trying to create this perfect image of yourself that doesn’t align with reality. There are in fact, respectable organizations who have taken their time and posted tips to creating the perfect online profile. The very concept of this is deceiving and dishonest. These tips include avoiding mentioning God, to post pictures outdoors if you’re a gay man, not to post about karaoke, and to learn how to surf. All of this is done in order to get more potential dates, but on false pretenses and dissimulation of your true self. In following these tips and using this in order to craft and shape this online persona which is loosely connected to you, you lose grasp of yourself and your individuality online. Also, when who you are online isn’t truly who you are offline, meeting in person and that first date will be awkward for all of those involved.

What’s the solution to all of this? Google yourself.

Whatever comes up is what employers, colleges, your peers, and scholarship providers can see and the online information you find is what is used to build their perception of you, including your personality and character. The relationship between online and offline behavior is often a complex and confusing situation.The best advice that I have been personally given in relation to how you should behave online is to simply think before you post. In the same way that historians make judgments based off the evidence left behind by old civilizations, organizations and individuals look at the evidence you leave behind digitally. That intoxicated and provocative selfie from spring break may lead to the termination of your employment, or that tweet you posted about how you hate your boss or that Instagram post showing illegal substance use. Another option is to post as you wish but to take precautions with online privacy settings. Because today we live in a more digital world where social media is more prevalent at times than face to face interaction, it is imperative that awareness is brought to online behavior.

Editorial in Process

Have you ever googled yourself? You might be surprised by what comes up.

Historians will tell you assumptions about cultures and events based off of what evidence is left behind, such as cave paintings. This is what history is,”the bodies of knowledge about the past produced by historians”. The same thing is likely to happen in the future, with historians making assumptions based off the evidence left behind by our society. But instead of rocks and paintings, we will leave behind a new kind of evidence- technology. What we do with this technology now and how we interact using this technology now will have major impact on not only our society today but how our society is perceived tomorrow.

But it’s not just our whole society that needs to be taken into consideration. Social media has boomed in the recent years and a study from the University of Michigan suggests that Facebook leads to being unhappy. Today colleges and employers check social media and your digital footprint when going through their hiring and accepting process. Your digital footprint “is the body of data that exists as a result of actions and communications online that can in some way be traced back to an individual.” Scholarship providers who responded to a survey sent by the National Scholarship Providers Association reports that a quarter of scholarship providers in 2011 used social media to check out applications. They most commonly look for behavior that could reflect badly on the scholarship provider, including underage drinking, illegal drug use, provocative pictures or racial slurs, as well as searching for verification of information on the application.

If you have a stable job now you should still be concerned because what you post online can also get you fired. Gilbert Gottfried, commonly known as the voice of the Aflac duck, made a joke at the expense of Japanese tsunami victims and found himself out of a job less than an hour after the joke was posted online. Florida teacher Olivia Sprauer had her provocative modeling photos posted on Facebook and was asked to resign. Another teacher in Denver, Carly Mckinney had a questionable twitter in which she expressed her opinion about how much she liked to smoke weed and her opinion about her hot students. She was placed on administrative leave and eventually fired. Another employee of Suisse was fired for being on Facebook when she had called in sick. Facebook has also led to inappropriate and illegal relationships between students and teachers and has also led to the termination of employment.

Organizations are unlikely to change their behavior regarding online presence. The change must be individual in which awareness and self consciousness is increased concerning the implications of online behavior. Important factors to consider when posting online are to stop comparing yourself to others, be authentic, and make sure that your online persona is aligned with your offline persona. Your time and effort should not be spent trying to create this perfect image of yourself that doesn’t align with reality. Social media for more social purposes should be discussed as well. On the other hand, there are respectable organizations who have taken their time and posted tips to creating the perfect online profile. The very concept of this is deceiving and dishonest. These tips include avoiding the mention of God, what sexuality and what gender should selfie and who should not, not to post about karaoke, and to learn how to surf. In following these tips and using this to craft and shape this perception of you, you lose grasp of yourself and your individuality online and your digital persona does not match up with your offline persona, making meeting in person and that first date awkward for all of those involved.

So I suggest you go google yourself.

Whatever comes up is what employers and colleges and scholarship providers can see and the online information you find is what information they use to make assumptions of your personality and character. The relationship between online and offline behavior is often a complex and confusing situation. The best advice that I have been personally given in relation to how you should behave online is simply to think before you post and think about how people will perceive you based off of what you post. In the same way that historians make judgments based off the evidence left behind by old civilizations, organizations look at the evidence you leave behind digitally and make judgments based off of that evidence. That intoxicated and provocative selfie from spring break may lead to the termination of your employment, along with that tweet you posted about how you hate your boss or that Instagram post showing illegal substance use. Some may argue that working so hard to make yourself appear perfect online and a match up between online and offline personality may also be as deceptive as learning to surf to get more dates on tinder. In that case, another option is to take precautions with online privacy settings. Your friends and online groups should be taken in consideration as well as what people post online about you.