(Via Doster), In light of this: Unnecessary deaths and amputation, grossly inadequate medical care, systematic prisoner beatings. These are just some of the findings from a 17-month probe of the Cook County Jail by the U.S. attorney’s office. In one case, an inmate left untreated for a gunshot wound developed sepsis and died. Another inmate went untreated and needed an amputation. Just one dentist serves 9,800 inmates and he only deals in extractions. The U.S. attorney’s office found that 25 percent of the dental procedures result in infection. It's really loooong past time we start thinking about this: If the prison boom was indeed produced by a historic collision between the jobless ghetto and a punitive politics of civil rights backlash, retreating from mass incarceration will involve equally fundamental shifts in politics and economics. What would a new politics of criminal justice look like, and what policies would it promote? Bruce Western's comprehensive look at such policies is, like everything Western writes, an absolute must-read. Do not delay.
Brian Cook was an editor at In These Times from 2003 to 2009. He now works on the editorial staff of Playboy magazine.