They Really Do Hate Us: Academics on the Law-Abiding Public

The long list of slights committed by the public against criminals just grew a little bit longer.  We are now guilty of not thinking about the incarcerated enough during the time that they are behind bars, a distraction predicted to grow worse as prisons rely on videoconferencing for prisoner doctor appointments, psychiatric counseling, and family visits.

Although the actually relevant parties — from guards to prisoners to psychiatrists — seem happy with videoconferencing, it does not sit well with Nancy Stoller, a professor of something called “Community Studies” at University of California, Santa Cruz:

Relying on technology to keep inmates behind bars makes them “disappear more and more from the public consciousness, and I think there’s a (negative) long-term consequence of that,” said Nancy Stoller, a professor at the University of California-Santa Cruz and the coordinator of a jail and prison task force at the American Public Health Association. . . .

Expanded videoconferencing could have long-term consequences on prisoners’ mental health and their ability to interact effectively with others, she said.

Ah yes, the negative consequences of not being able to fling your feces at health care workers, or stab the guard transporting you to psych intake.  We’re all a little poorer for that.

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