July 30, 2009

I'm baaaaack!

Howdy, y'all. Just a word to let you know I have returned from the hoosegow and am now, again on patrol of the homeless-, sacramento-, and buddho-blogospheres – to the extent the probation departmento of the Sacramento justice system allows.

The county jail facility in the city of Elk Grove where I've been for the past 32 days was interesting. I hope to blog about it soon. My biggest complains are that the dorm was noisy as hell much of the time which was nerve rattling and cognitively impairing; that cops/guards were excessively meanspirited, though I recognize they have a tough job, sometimes; and that the culture of black twentysomethings seems to be in particularly bad shape. Among many positive surprizes: My fellow inmates [and certainly including those who were black twentysomethings] were overwhelmingly interesting and sociable people; there were many acts of kindness coming from my brother inmates; and the level of chess playing was very advanced.

One thing I come away from my experience not understanding is the purpose of jail. I come away wondering what theories there are 'out there' on what jail is supposed to achieve.

Sure, basically it should be punishment. Is it proper, then, for inmates with the means to be able to buy items from the commissary, and have phone use, totalling more than $600/month, whereas poor inmates must make do with welfare, which consists of small quantities of basic toiletries, two stamped envelopes, two sheets of paper and a stubby pencil? Shouldn't punishment be wholly a function of time served and be equal, as can be otherwise, comparing one inmate with another?