We know that the only hope we have in regaining a foothold in the culture (as onion skin thin as that hope is), is to stoke the passion fires of our remaining base, who are rapidly dwindling to now include only those most susceptible to fear of the other; those who are most easily aroused by talk of other people’s bedrooms and body parts and marriages.
Their ideas about inmate classification and solitary confinement match another undercurrent of penal innovation in the United States that persisted into the Progressive Era.
We really want to hold the kind of power that we’ve become accustomed to (and are rapidly losing.)And so we’ve once more trotted out every dangerous, Science-denying stereotype, every tired religious platitude about Adam and Eve, “God’s design”, and “ordained differences between men and women”—because that’s all we have left.
We’ve tossed out all but a handful of quite debatable verses from the expansive library of Scripture, and once again chosen to go back to the well of injecting ourselves in someone else’s personal business one more time—in the hopes that maybe it will be like it was in the old days, when people didn’t realize how twisted we’d gotten it and just how little Jesus we were actually emulating, and believing this kind of harassment is redemptive.
The second began after the Civil War and gained momentum during the Progressive Era, bringing a number of new mechanisms—such as parole, probation, and indeterminate sentencing—into the mainstream of American penal practice.
Finally, since the early 1970s, the United States has engaged in a historically unprecedented expansion of its imprisonment systems at both the federal and state level.