Archive for April, 2018

William Blake, Los Entering the Grave. Etching with pen, watercolour and gold, 1804-20. 220 x 160 mm. Yale Center for British Art, New Haven.

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The line between sports and war has always been uncomfortably thin. It’s a cliché of aristocratic military lore that Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton—but like many clichés, it contains more than a kernel of truth. In our frenetically digitized mass society, meanwhile, we casually understand that combat presented as harmless fun in the guise of sports, video games, and television probably goes a long way in softening the military’s image. But in plumbing the deeper nexus that connects our dizzying varieties of competitive leisure to the deadly serious business of combat, Lenoir and Caldwell do more than call out the clumsy PR initiatives of today’s Pentagon. While of course noting the crucial conflicts of interests in, say, the Pentagon’s notorious payoffs to the National Football League, Lenoir and Caldwell write that the real work of sanitizing Pentagon operations for public view resides in making the work of war seem mundane and familiar: “Routinizing war is important for a globalized capitalist empire,” they write, “and … implicit in this process is the understanding of war as a project with not only military but also ideological and political dimensions.” In particular, they observe, video games and television are indispensable to the challenge of “habituating civilians to perpetual war.” How this relationship between modern entertainment and war has developed over time and grown baroquely syncretized via the new economy of omni-digital gratification forms the fascinating nucleus of the book.

In stunningly short order, the Pentagon set about exploiting the obvious training implications offered by console gaming. In 1980 the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) set about appropriating the Atari game Battlezone and repurposing it as a revolutionary new training system called Bradley Trainer. That program’s success next prompted the engineers at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to create the Simulator Network project (SIMNET, in Pentagon-ese). The breakthrough concept in SIMNET was to sidestep the costs of building physically realistic simulators—which had initially proved more expensive than the vehicles they were meant to simulate—by scaling the program to console users.

Here was one of the first self-conscious iterations of the military-entertainment complex—and Lenoir and Caldwell highlight the recruiting gains encoded in the innocuous-seeming logic of the Pentagon’s new virtual gaming platform. SIMNET operated on “selective functional fidelity rather than full physical fidelity”—i.e., experientially simulating a cockpit rather than recreating a cockpit replica. And that was just the first-order breakthrough: “The vehicle simulator was viewed as a tool for the training of crews as a military unit, thus emphasizing collective rather than individual training.”

By 1990, the nascent personal gaming industry was working on a revolving-door basis with the engineers at DARPA. Talent, money, and (especially) ideas now moved promiscuously back and forth between a growing industry hungry for the attention of consumers and a Pentagon looking for renewed purpose in the waning days of the Cold War.

The Great Simulation and Modern Memory
As this civilian-military synergy hardened into the post-Cold War status quo, simulator software morphed from a savvy bit of cost-saving hackery into a virtual raison d’être. Presiding over this shift was the recalibration of Pentagon strategy known as the “Revolution in Military Affairs.” The RMA, like the simulation boom, was partially a response to shrinking budgets—it was, however, much more than a cost-containment tactic. RMA—which incidentally was rooted in the Cold War speculations of Soviet strategists such as Nikolai Ograkov—was a reorientation of American military force away from the giant land wars of the past and toward ever greater reliance on high-tech gadgetry. Not only are key tech innovations such as precision-guided missiles and laser-targeting software cheaper than carpet bombing, they’re also less wantonly destructive of human life, making them an easy sell to political leaders and civilian supporters. The lead thinkers behind RMA promised to cut down on the massive numbers of casualties entailed in fully industrialized “total wars.” But in order to close the sale, Pentagon officials needed to direct their resources to the real-world prototypes for a new generation of virtually engineered and executed warfare.

The new doctrine found its ideal test lab in the First Gulf War. In that long-ago conflict, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster—now better known as President Trump’s obsequious (but now dispatched) National Security Advisor—deployed a new battery of sophisticated digital gadgetry to disable Soviet-built Iraqi tanks in what came to be known as the Battle of 73 Easting. It was such a resounding success, Lenoir and Caldwell tell us, that “[a] few days after the battle the military decided to capitalize on the Battle of 73 Easting to bolster future SIMNET training.” That’s right: in a prophetic sort of positive feedback loop, digitally enabled battle was now furnishing the raw material for digitally simulated military training. Data was gathered on the battle. Participants were interviewed. The 2nd Cavalry helped DARPA recreate the battle vehicle by vehicle. SIMNET eventually turned the Battle of 73 Easting training simulation into a sort of inverse Kobayashi Maru—the fictional Starfleet simulation notorious for being impossible to defeat—in which, despite a series of different programmed outcomes, it’s almost impossible to lose.

It was, in short, a model of digital-age vertical integration: exactly what the military wanted. And to speed along this happy synergy, the strictures governing DoD procurement policies were relaxed. Here, too, an adjustment to financial procedure concealed a much broader, and far-reaching, cultural shift. “The shift in procurement policy led to a loosening—even erasure—of the boundaries between military contractors and the commercial sector,” Lenoir and Caldwell write. “As a result, many important technologies in the area of networking, simulation, virtual reality, and AI moved from behind the walls of military secrecy into the commercial sector; and, even more important, technology began to flow freely from the commercial sector, particularly the game industry, into the military.”

The conduit was now so wide open that by 2004 we had such games as Full Spectrum Warrior, “a successful product of a collaboration among the military and game and film industries,” and America’s Army, in which SIMNET founder Jack Thorpe “saw … the same potential offered by Ender’s Battle School and envisioned a perfect military Battleplex providing a lifelong learning environment for combat decision leaders guided by proactive pedagogy and combat simulators.”


Scott Beauchamp, “War Games.The Baffler. No. 39, April 30, 2018.

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“Convicts In The Dungeon,” Kingston Daily Standard. April 30, 1912. Page 01.

Darkness Will Tame Their Refractory Spirits.

Terrible Din in ‘Pen’

Other Prisoners Were Locked Up In Their Cells and They Made ‘Rome Howl’ For Hours.

Languishing in the Penitentiary dungeon in pitch darkness, where no sound can be heard but the impatient steps of the convicts themselves, confined in each cell, now lie the five desperadoes, McNeil, Bonner, Brown, Kelly and Jones, who on Monday made such a sensational escape from the Portsmouth Penitentiary.

Before the County Court of General Sessions, which sits in June, convenes, it is expected that the desperate spirit of the most noted quintette of prisoners that have ever been confined at the big institution at one time will be completely broken. Assault and attempt to escape will be the charges on which the convicts will again face the judge and the men will stand virtually convicted as they were caught in the act and will probably have an addition of five years each added to their sentences.

Has Nothing To Say.
Warden Platt, when seen by The Standard reporter to-day, would make no statement for publication about the escape and subsequent recapture of his prize ‘cons.’ Evidence in the shape of an iron support, two feet in length, two inches in width, and a quarter of an inch thick – the weapon with which McNeil knocked out and miraculously escaped killing Guard Ross Davis, is on exhibition in the Warden’s office. The plan to make a break for freedom is thought to have been formed by the Meecum brothers, the dwarfed American ‘bad men’ who were convicted under the names of Jones and Kelly. This pair demonstrated the fact that they can converse with each other by telegraph signals tapped on the iron bars when in Toronto jail en route for Portsmouth, and McNeil is thought to have been the tool used by the brainy ones of the gang to make the initial effot towards the break for freedom.

Deceived The Gate Guard.
On releasing his fellow conspirators and in getting the uniforms from Guard Davis and the Penitentiary Doctor, the men were in a position to bluff Guard Rutherford on the big north gate which he swung open, thinking that the three men in the convict garb were being detailed for outside work under an able escort.

On getting outside the quintette of convicts raced across the street and up through the warden’s grounds from which position they made off in a body, taking a northwestern course which took them to the forty foot road where three were subsequently recaptured, the other two being caught later at the Cataraqui creek two miles from the penitentiary.

Offered No Resistance.
The men offered no resistance when the guards overtook them as they were unarmed, but had Bonner’s attempt to secure fire-arms at the Cummings homestead been successful the bloodshed by the desperadoes would undoubtedly have been much greater and more serious.

When the alarm was run shortly after the men had got through the gate the entire convict body were immediately locked up in their cells and the bedlam they raised, proving by the untoward occurrence that there was some part of the institution in trouble, has never before been heard in the history of the oldest official. The 496 prisoners raised a fearful row for hours and were only quieted when darkness fell.

Guard Davis Seriously Hurt.
Guard Ross Davis who was struck down by McNeil, suffered the severest injury, the iron bar striking him over the back of the head cutting a cash which required eight stitches to close and caused a slight concussion of the brain which it is not expected will result seriously. Gardener McCarthy and Guard Cummings escaped with slight injuries, which, however, will be very sore for some time to come. Guard Rutherford, who was temporarily alone on the gate is on duty this morning though his wrist is badly damaged from a blow from a baton and his head bears a lump which tells of contact with the same weapon.

‘Pen’ Short of Guards
The Penitentiary is short about ten guards and keepers and it is said that unless the force be added to immediately the fracas of Monday will be repeated by other desperadoes now confined which may easily result more seriously.

Warden Platt has made an official report and at present does not know whether officials will come from Ottawa to investigate or whether the evidence will be taken by himself and colleagues.

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“Three Years for Youth,” Toronto Globe. April 30, 1914. Page 08.

William Redsell Pleads Guilty of Housebreaking.

In the Police Court yesterday morning William Redsell was given a heavy sentence of three years in the Kingston Penitentiary. Redsell, who is only 17 years old, his two companions, Isaac Levine and Samuel Stein, both 13 years of age, were charged with housebreaking. Redsell pleaded guilty. His two companions were remanded for a week in the Shelter by the Juvenile Court Commissioner.

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1954 (2018)

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Sofia Bassi, Dust to dust. Oil on canvas, 1968. Source.  

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“Desperate Stoney Mountain Convicts Got Away From Penitentiary,” Kingston Daily Standard. April 29, 1912. Page 01.

All Were Caught by the Guards Before They Had Gone Very Far.

Carried Out Their Promise That They Would Try to Make Their Escape Before Very Long.

Five desperadoes made a sensational escape from the Portsmouth Penitentiary this morning at eleven o’clock. Four of them were captured within an hour, and the fifth was captured about one o’clock.

The five who escaped were Arthur Bonner, Frank Jones, H. Kelly, George Brown and Vincent McNeil. The first four were the desperate quartette who were recently transferred from Stoney Mountain Penitentiary, McNeil was sentenced at Woodstock to five years for theft and has been in the penitentiary only about four months.

Attacked Officers
The quintette, who, being incorrigibles, were confined in the prison of isolation, about 11 o’clock this morning attacked Keeper Madden, Guard Davis, and Dr. Phelan, the penitentiary physician. Davis was severely beaten about the head. Overcoming the three men, the convicts bound and gagged them and took off their clothing. Two of the convicts put on the clothes of liberty. These were Bonner who rigged himself out in the keeper’s clothes, and Jones who donned Dr. Phelan’s suit, overcoat and hat.

The convicts taking the keys of the prison from Keeper Madden, unlocked the door, and raced across the yard to the north gate. Keeper Rutherford, who was outside the gate, saw the men approaching from the observation hole, but as the convict who was leading was in the guard’s clothes, he thought everything was all right and opened the gate.

The men rushed out, one of them hitting the keeper over the head with a ‘billy.’

The five dashed across the road to the warden’s grounds. They hit Guard McCarthy, who was on duty on the grounds, over the heads with a ‘billy.’ Scaling the rear wall, they took possession of a rig belonging to a farmer by the name of Reese. They soon came to the end of the road, and jumped out of the rig.

In the meantime, J. R. Foster who had been notified of the escape by a convict orderly, had the prison bell rung.

The Chase Begins.
Mounted Scout Patton saw the escaping men and gave chase. Brown ran into the prison quarry, where Instructor Beaupre nabbed ‘im.

Kelly headed towards Portsmouth where he was caught by Guard Clark in a barn.

Bonner, McNeil and Jones dropped out of sight for the time being. But a large number of officers were on the look out for them. Shortly after 12 o’clock the first two were seen on the Front road about one mile and a half from the penitentiary. When a party of guards called to them to stop they refused to obey, and the pursuers opened fire. In order to dodge the bullets the convicts jumped into the lake. The cold water took all fight out of them, and they surrendered. 

The last to be gathered in was Jones, one of the most desperate of the five. About one o’clock he was found hiding in a barn back of Union street, belonging to John Cummings. Mr. Cummings’ little girl saw Jones in the barn and asked him what he was doing there. He replied that he was looking for an escaped convict. The girl told her father, who informed the officers of the penitentiary. By the time they arrived he had escaped across the prison fields to the Strausbenzie property where he was located in a shed by Guard Driscoll.

When he was told to hold up his arms, he said:

‘I might as well give up, but seventeen years is an awful long time to do, and if I had anything to defend myself with I would give you a go for it.’

Attacked Officers.
Convict McNeil, who was let out of his cell to do some work in the corridor, suddenly attacked Guard Ross Davis. He secured his ‘billy’ and beat him fiercely over the head. Gaining possession of the guard’s keys, McNeil unlocked the cells of the four other convicts. The five then attacked Keeper Madden, who had been in another part of the building when Davis was assaulted. After taking off his clothes they locked him and Davis in a cell together.

Dr. Phelan shortly afterwards entered the ward and he was promptly seized, and his clothing removed. He was then locked in a cell.

All three were bound and gagged, before being placed in the cells.

The convicts then unlocked the prison with the keeper’s keys and began their wild dasy for liberty.

Guard Severely Injured.
Guard Davis is very severely injured about the head, and is now in the hospital.

Gate Keeper Rutherford and Guard McCarthy have sore heads as a result of being struck with a `billy` but their condition is not serious.

Keeper Madden and Dr. Phelan got off lightly.

Convicts To Be Tried.
The five convicts who attempted to excape will be tried in a court of law on the charge of escaping from the penitentiary. It is quite probable that their terms of imprisonment will be materially extended.

Portsmouth Excited.
Portsmouth was in a state of terror when it was heard that five desperate convicts had escaped. The citizens breathed a sigh of relief when they learned that all five had been captured. During the chase the small boy was much in evidence and materially assisted the guards in keeping track of the men.

Demanded A Gun.
During the break for liberty this morning, Convict Bonner, dressed in the uniform of a guard, entered a Portsmouth residence, and informing the lady of the house that some prisoners had escaped, and claiming to be unarmed, he demanded a gun, but was refused, as there were no firearms in the house.

Notified Ottawa.
The Department of Justice at Ottawa was immediately notified by telephone of the escape of the convicts, and their subsequent recapture.

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April 28, 2018: a new episode of The Anatomy Lesson at 11pm EST on CFRC 101.9fm. Music by 18andCounting & The Only Ensemble, Cabaret du ciel, Therapy Font, DOOMSQUAD & NAILBITER, 700 Bliss (Moor Mother + Dj Haram), Lolina, Knifedoutofexistence + more. Check out the setlist below, tune in at 101.9 on your FM dial, stream at http://audio.cfrc.ca:8000/listen.pls or listen to the archive at cfrc.ca or on mixcloud here: https://www.mixcloud.com/cameronwillis1232/the-anatomy-lesson-april-28-2018/

Women of the Pore – “Dissemination” Upanishads (2018)
Videoblu – “Entering the Skin” Repeating (2017)
700 Bliss – “Cosmic Slop” Spa 700 (2018)
Cabaret du Ciel – “Staircase To Nowhere” Skies in the Mirror (1992)
Knifedoutofexistence – “Ouroboros” Reclaiming Stolen Time (2018)
Gorgeous Children – “Frozen Affairs” Gorgeous Children (2012)
Dino J. A. Deane – “The Burial Tree” For Leena (1991-‘98/2018)

Lolina – “Style And Punishment” The Smoke (2018)
Doomsquad & Nailbiter – “Cleaning Pleasure” Views from the 666 (2018)
Terror Against Terror – “Psychological Warfare” Psychological Warfare Technology Systems (1992)
Final Cop – “Culture of Conquest” Thin The Blue Line (2017)
Therapy Font – “Narcissistic Wound” A Shell for Vagrant Content (2018)
Isolrubin BK – “The Dynamics Involved In An Injury…” Crash Injury Trauma (1993)
18andCounting & The Only Ensemble – “Ruin The Ritual” Animal Skins (2018)
Horoscope – “Nature will grow even after you have lost everything” Nature will grow even after you have lost everything (2017)

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“Famine and World-Hunger Are On Our Threshold – We Must Produce More Food,” Toronto Globe. April 28, 1917. Page 14.

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Rose Colored Monster (Suehiro Maruo)

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“We are not miracle workers. We are taking the outcasts of society; society has
failed with respect to these people and we are taking them in.
"We have a responsibility of providing to the inmate the opportunities for
change. They are there, and we, within the system, attempt to motivate him so
that he can take advantage of them. So we treat him as a reasonably
responsible individual. If on the street he committed a crime, he is held
reponsible for his actions and sent to prison. Therefore. I think we should treat
him in the same way. And the system has to be brought and modified to the
point where he is motivated, where there are built-in motivational factors that
will bring him to take advantage of the programs that are available.”

 – H. D.
Sheehan, Director, Dorchester Institution (7:31).

“I do not mean that it is not justified to try and rehabilitate prisoners: I mean
that it is inappropriate for a judge to send somebody into incarceration and
part of his purpose is to impose rehabilitation or treatment. He can tell you
those medical facts, but you have the right to decide whether to accept it or
reject it.”

 – Dr. B. A. Boyd, Medical Director, Ontario Mental Health Centre,
Penetanguishene (36:6).

Alternatives to Incarceration 
189. Society has spent millions of dollars over the years to create and maintain
the proven failure of prisons. Incarceration has failed in its two essential purposes—
correcting the offender and providing permanent protection to society. The recidivist
rate of up to 80 per cent is the evidence of both. 

190. Many expert witnesses testified that if Canada builds prisons, those
prisons will be immediately filled. Conversely, if alternatives for prison can be found
for the majority, who are not dangerous, some of the existing buildings will be
emptied. Thus, before entering into a multi-million dollar construction program, less
costly, and more productive alternatives should be introduced. 

191. Probation and parole, done conscientiously with thorough preparation
and planning for the offender in society, is the most effective and least costly part of
the correctional system. It is estimated that the annual cost is only $1,400 per
offender on parole, compared to $17,515 in prison. The failure rate is estimated at
40 per cent against the oft-quoted 60 to 80 per cent in the various provincial and
federal prison systems. Apart from the direct saving, the parolee can maintain
normal family life and fulfill his responsibilities by maintaining his dependents off
welfare rolls. 

192. Throughout this continent and overseas, innovative experiments in alternatives
are being tried within the correctional services and after-care agencies. In St.
Catherines the John Howard Society is experimenting with a program using what
they call “restitution houses”, where the offender can live while he works to pay off
his debt to the person he robbed or harmed. While he is in there, he can work
productively to carry out family and other obligations. Alternatives must be sought
for drug offenders both inside and outside prison. 

193. If successful re-integration of offenders into the community is one of the
objects of the criminal justice system—and it surely must be—then the criminal
courts must have available to them a wide range of dispositions in addition to
imprisonment. We do not suggest that the law’s response to prohibited behaviour
should be any easier on wrongdoers, but firmly insist that it be more effective. It is
apparent that the penitentiary system is not an effective means for dealing with a
significant proportion of the criminality that exists in Canada. If we continue to
conceive of imprisonment as a sort of universal solvent to the problems of crime in
our society, we will do nothing more than repeat old prescriptions for failure. The
penitentiary system should be relied on to do only what it is capable of doing and not
be expected to accomplish the impossible task of solving complex, social behavioural
and economic problems using steel bars, gas, walls, clubs, repression and isolation as
its methods. 

194. For one thing, Canadian prisons are overcrowded, and this is in large part
due to the nature of our Criminal Code, which tends to make excessive use of
incarceration as a sanction. Insufficient use has been made of alternative penalties
such as restitution, fines and periods of community service. These alternative
sanctions, it is believed, would be the appropriate manner of dealing with many
non-violent offenders against property, and particularly with young adult offenders. 

195. A rough breakdown of the Federal inmate population, classified by major
offence, illustrates some of the problems our present use of incarceration has created: 

Murder, attempted murder or manslaughter 1,401 (15.3%) 
DSO, rape, or other sexual offence 701 (7.7%)

Wounding, assault or robbery 2,995 (32.7%)

Narcotics 911 (9.9%)

Break & Enter, theft or possession of stolen goods 1,976 (21.6%)

Fraud 415 (4.5%)

Other 759 (8.3%)

196. In addition to financial losses, the damage done to the individual’s
familial and social relationships, and to his employment future, must also be taken
into account. The drastic changes incarceration introduces into his life may often
make it impossible for him to ever re-establish himself in society. He may become
“institutionalized” to such an extent that, no matter what programs are made
available to him, he will continue to offend.  

197. Nor does the victim derive any real benefit from the incarceration of the
offender against property. While he may draw some satisfaction from the knowledge
that the offender is being punished, his loss all too often remains a loss. It is clear,
then, that incarceration is a drastic measure and must be used more sparingly;
particularly at the present time when our penitentiaries are so full of inmates that
the C.P.S. finds it impossible to eliminate its archaic institutions. 

Recommendation 2: The criminal justice system should be carefully re-examined with a view to
enlarging the alternatives to incarceration. 

198. Imprisonment will be a useful social technique only to the extent that its
purposes and limitations are clearly understood. 

Principle I 

The purposes of imprisonment are the protection of society and the denunciation
of criminal behaviour. In addition, imprisonment is also a legitimate measure as
a last resort where a wrongdoer, having been given the opportunity, has wilfully
failed to comply with other, more constructive and less severe alternatives to

199. Punishment means any form of official control exercised over the
freedom of a wrongdoer, whether it be incarceration for a term of years in the case
of a serious offence, or, in less serious matters, subjection to supervision, control,
mandatory restitution, restrictions on movement or activities or other forms of
sentence, appropriate to the individual circumstances of each case, that ought to be
made available to the courts under the Criminal Code

200. We do not recommend imprisonment for the purpose of rehabilitation.
Even the concept is objectionable on several grounds. It implies that penal institutions
are capable of adjusting an individual as if he were an imperfectly-operating
mechanism, and, through acting externally on him, can make him over into a better
person. In addition, it is misleading to judges, offers a false sense of security to the
public, is the source of confusion to correctional service personnel as to their role,
and is a false promise to inmates and their families. We prefer to approach the
problem with a new term—"personal reformation"—which emphasizes the personal
responsibility of the prisoners interested. 

201. The courts should not attempt to determine whether an individual needs
personal reformation, and if so, imprison him for that purpose. There will be many
wrongdoers before our courts who may need personal reformation, but who have not
committed crimes that call for imprisonment either for the protection of society or
for the denunciation of criminal behaviour by this form of punishment. As we have
stressed, there are better ways than imprisonment to deal with a large proportion of

202. Once a decision to imprison has been taken for the purposes we have
recommended, the correctional techniques employed should be aimed at encouraging
and assisting personal reformation by wrongdoers. At present we find that this is not
the case. Given a major improvement of the system, however, it would be possible to
create conditions under which persons who must be in penitentiaries for their crimes
can return to society as law-abiding citizens. The concept of personal reformation is therefore related to the results, rather than the purposes, of imprisonment. The result
to be sought is a decrease in recidivist criminality. 

Principle 2 

“Protection of society” as a purpose of imprisonment includes not only protection
during a term of imprisonment by the physical removal of a person who is
dangerous or who has failed to respect values that are protected by the criminal
law, but also the protection of society after his release by means of a prison
system designed to assist him towards personal reformation. 

Punishment by Law 
203. The mere fact that an individual is sentenced to incarceration constitutes
the punishment for his offence, since the sentence inherently means that the offender
will, for a certain length of time, be restricted in his freedoms of movement and
association. The Penitentiary Service is neither required nor authorized to levy
further sanctions against the inmate, unless he in some way violates the rules of the
institution. The inmate has the right at all times to expect humane treatment and
living conditions, and as much liberty as can be permitted by the requirements of

204. There must be a clear distinction made between punishment and vengeance.
Punishment is the means by which society expresses its disapproval of the
behaviour of one of its members. Vengeance is a much more primitive and illogical
reaction to offensive behaviour, and has no place in the correctional practices of an
enlightened nation. 

205. In cases where imprisonment is determined to be the appropriate
response to criminality, in light of the purposes of imprisonment we have stated, we
recommend that the following principle should govern behaviour by all officials in
the penitentiary system: 

Principle 3 

The sentence of imprisonment imposed by the court constitutes the punishment.
Those who work in the penitentiary system have no authority, right or duty to
impose additional penalties except for proven misconduct during incarceration. 

206. This may appear to be self-evident, but considering the tendency among
custodial personnel to regard their duty as one of punishing prisoners, we think it
worth over-emphasizing. We shall deal with sanctions for misconduct in prison in a
later part of this Report. 

Essential Conditions during Incarceration 
207. Once an individual has been placed in a penal institution, the effort must
be made to assist and encourage him to alter his behaviour so that he will not offend
society again. To do this, he must be offered opportunities to improve himself by
providing him with whatever training and counselling he may require. In providing
these services we are not only assisting him, but ourselves as well, since it is in the
public interest that he return to society as a reformed man.

Principle 4

Only the wrongdoer can bring about reform in himself since he is responsible for
his own behaviour; but the penitentiary system must be structured to give  positive support to his efforts at reform by providing certain essential conditions:
discipline, justice, work, academic and vocational training, and socialization. 

–  Mark MacGuigan, Chairman, Report to Parliament of The Sub-Committee on the Penitentiary System in Canada & Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs. Second Session of the Thirtieth Parliament, 1976-77. pp. 35-39. 

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“Jail-Breaker Sentenced,” Toronto Globe. April 27, 1917. Page 07.

“Guelph, April 26. – (Special.) – Henry Manning, a young man who was sent to the Ontario Reformatory from Hamilton for an offence committed in that city, was before Magistrate Watt yesterday on three charges, first, that of forcibly breaking his way from prison at the Ontario Reformatory; second, escaping from the Reformatory, and third, theft of a suit of clothes from Wm. Haliburton, a guard at that institution. He was sentenced to two years in Kingston Penitentiary for theft and for escaping, and three years for breaking prison; the sentences, however, are to run concurrently.”

[Interestingly, Manning was not sent to the Kingston Penitentiary, and did not enlist in the Canadian military either – without access to the Guelph papers, or the records of the Ontario Reformatory there, it is difficult to know what happened to him.]

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Chief Trade Instructor James Adams, Architect, “Kingston Penitentiary, South Wing of Main Prison Building, Extension & Internal Reconstruction,” April 2, 1895. Queen’s University Archives.

Showing side and end elevations of South Wing, end elevation of West Wing, and traverse section showing cell configurations. 

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“The first of the new policies bans all books from being sent into federal facilities from outside sources including Amazon and Barnes & Noble. These retailers are usually the only means by which prisoners can receive books because most facilities reject reading material sent from individuals or small bookstores due to regulations aimed at eliminating contraband.

Now, prisoners instead will have to submit a request to purchase books — a limit of five per order — through an ordering system in which they must pay exorbitant prices and don’t have the option to buy cheaper used paperbacks. In addition, prisoners must pay a 30 percent tax plus shipping cost, according to prisoners and memos distributed in at least three BOP facilities. Under the new protocol, a book purchased from Amazon for as little as $11.76, with shipping included, could cost more than $26.

The new books policy has yet to be implemented BOP-wide but it has been in effect in the United States Penitentiary in Atwater, California, since October 11, 2017, according to Atwater officials. And it has been in place at the Victorville Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) since February 24, 2018, according to a BOP memo obtained by the CAN-DO Foundation, a nonprofit that advocates for clemency for all nonviolent drug offenders. In the memo, warden David Shinn wrote that the change was a result of “attempts to introduce narcotics … unauthorized positive urinalysis; inmate on inmate assaults; and inmate on staff assaults.”

Three prisoners incarcerated at FCI Victorville told In Justice Today that the new policy has resulted in a massive price increase for books as well as months of wait time between orders.

“One friend of mine bought two $4.99 books and the price ended up being $42 total,” said one prisoner, who requested not to be named out of fear of retribution from prison officials. “Plus, the books take months to arrive.”

The warden of the Coleman Correctional Complex in Florida sent a similar memo to prisoner in March advising that the policy will go into effect in May.

“Effective Monday, May 14, 2018, books from a publisher, book club, bookstore, or friends and family will no longer be accepted through the mail,” reads the memo from warden R.C. Cheatham which was first obtained by the Families Against Mandatory Minimums organization (FAMM). “Books will be rejected by mailroom staff and returned to sender.”

The BOP’s new policy is likely to be harmful because books are a critical part of the rehabilitation process, allowing prisoners to learn and develop new skills. A 2013 RAND study found that prisoners who received education in prison had 43 percent lower odds of recidivating than those who did not. “Your books are everything,” Amy Povah, a formerly incarcerated person and CAN-DO founder, told In Justice Today. “It’s what keeps you going.”

Clarence Remble, a prisoner who is serving a 36-year sentence at Victorville, told In Justice Today that steep prices and lengthy wait times have meant that he and other prisoners have stopped ordering books altogether.

“The fox is not worth the chase so I and others no longer order books cause they cost too much,” he said.

When asked about the book policy at Coleman during a BOP house oversight hearing on April 17, BOP Director Mark Inch claimed he hadn’t seen the memo and then stumbled through an unintelligible explanation of it.

“The memo you’re looking at, I’ve not actually seen that memo but the work that we are doing on combating the introduction of contraband into our facilities addresses multiple ways of materials are brought into our facilities as we look and pilot different ways to (inaudible) contraband,” he said.

Inch argued that prisoners can access books through recreational and legal libraries. But CAN-DO’s Povah says that library selections are mostly limited to Harlequin romance novels and fiction by the likes of Stephen King and John Grisham.

BOP told FAMM it is planning to write a “new memo” due to the criticism it received after news of the Coleman memo broke in the Miami New Times in early April, according to FAMM’s president, Kevin Ring. But prisoners in both Coleman and Victorville say they haven’t heard anything about a change in — or reversal of — the memo.”

– Lauren Gill, “New Federal Prison Policies May Put Books and Email on Ice.” In Justice Today, April 27, 2018.

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“MARVEL’S FIRST HIT, Iron Man, was released in 2008, just as the surge in Iraq was coming to a close. This marked the end of the hot wars of the Bush years and the transition to a cooler state of continuous half-war, characterized less by boots on the ground than by eyes in the sky. The Obama era revealed that the war on terror would be unlike past wars, with beginnings and ends. It was a way of life rather than a discrete event, a chronic condition rather than an acute one. The war was routinized and, with the dramatic surge in the use of drones, mechanized.

To those made uneasy by this, the Marvel movies offer consoling fictions. The threats in the films are not diffuse and vague, as in real life. They’re personal, well-defined, and unambiguously serious. It’s a reality fitted to the rhetoric, a world that actually looks the way politicians describe it. There are terrorists, vengeance-seekers, hostile foreign powers, demented scientists, and aliens, all eager to kill innocents in large numbers. “We live in a world of great threats” (as Iron Man puts it), of “infinite dangers” (Doctor Strange). “Safe is in short supply,” Thor affirms. The message here is much the same as in the TV show Homeland, another fruit of the Obama years.

At the same time, Marvel restores the human element to the security apparatus. The Avengers put forward a fantasy in which the weapons of war aren’t machines but individuals. A world where air strikes are called down not by entering in GPS coordinates but by Thor channeling the power of lightning. A world where policing is handled not by a pilotless drone but by Iron Man, a small aerial vehicle who is nothing but pilot. When the Senate demands Tony Stark relinquish his suit—the “Iron Man weapon,” as the committee calls it—he refuses on humanistic grounds. To turn over the suit, he argues, would be “to turn over myself.” Iron Man’s enemies include a drone army piloted by a rival roboticist and, in Avengers: Age of Ultron, a drone army piloted by an artificial intelligence.

Yet even as the films restore a sense of heroism to a war that has become bureaucratic, they also betray profound anxiety about that war. This emerges through a peculiar feature of the Marvel movies. The heroes confront threats of all sorts, but time and again, they fight their doppelgängers. Iron Man takes on other scientists in metal suits. Ant-Man’s enemy is Yellowjacket, who is, like him, a shrinking technological insectoid. Captain America battles serum-enhanced supersoldiers (“What kind of monster would let a German scientist experiment on him to protect his country?” he asks, winking). Often, the heroes simply face their relatives, as when Black Panther fights his cousin, Thor fights his siblings, or Peter Quill, the leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy, fights his father (while another Guardian, Gamora, fights her sister). The Hulk’s antagonist is the Abomination, a similarly sized creature made with the Hulk’s own blood. And SHIELD, the shadowy governmental organization that runs the Avengers, must face HYDRA, another shadowy governmental organization that has infiltrated it.

What these heroes are fighting, in the end, is themselves. And in doing so, they’re channeling a cultural ambivalence regarding the weapons of today’s wars. Iron Man intervening in global affairs is good, but Iron Monger (the villain of the first film) doing so is bad. The world needs SHIELD but fears HYDRA. It’s as if the films can’t put forth a hero to protect society without immediately imagining how he might threaten it.

Often, the lines blur. “Hey Cap, how do we know the good guys from the bad guys?” one of the Avengers asks, as he tries to sort HYDRA from SHIELD. “If they’re shooting at you, they’re bad,” is Captain America’s less-than-conclusive answer. It’s a quick joke but a meaningful one, because it gets at the central, uncomfortable truth about life in the United States that these movies dance around. The good guys—surveilling everyone’s communications, calling down air strikes, fortifying themselves against the world—look an awful lot like bad guys.

“Are we the good guys? We’re the good guys, right?” one of Ant-Man’s allies nervously asks as they break into a technology firm. The heroes aren’t always sure. Captain America worries that SHIELD, which created the Avengers, has crossed a line—“holding a gun to everyone’s head and calling it protection.” The Avengers start to wonder if they themselves are out of control. “We need to be put in check,” is Tony Stark’s resigned conclusion. He’s got a point, since in the second Avengers film he’d created an artificial intelligence (a “global peacekeeping initiative”) that turned genocidal and destroyed a city. “If we can’t accept limitations,” Tony continues, “then we’re no better than the bad guys.”

Perhaps, but when the State Department insists that the Avengers place themselves under the authority of the United Nations, Captain America refuses. The Avengers may have built a murderbot that nearly eradicated humanity, but the UN is run by politicians, and politicians, Cap insists, have “agendas.”

Other Avengers join Captain America’s cause. When one villain, whose wife, father, and son were killed by Tony Stark’s robot, seeks to avenge their deaths, Cap’s faction turns vigilante to fight him. The villain’s ambition is “to see an empire fall.” Captain America and his teammates become outlaws, in violation of a UN accord, to uphold that empire.

The resulting conflict, told in Captain America: Civil War, is about legitimacy. Who should police the world, and who shouldn’t? It’s the same question posed by all of those doubles, except staged as a contest between the heroes themselves. As Iron Man battles Captain America, you realize how grim this all has become. Tasked with selling fantasies, the best Marvel’s writers can come up with is the hope that power be placed in the least worst hands, and even that isn’t particularly hopeful. We’re left with two exhausted men, fighting each other over whom to mistrust more, the peacekeepers or the government.”

– Daniel Immerwahr, “We’re the Good Guys, Right? On the Marvel movies.” N+1, April 26, 2018.

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