A reporter called me to talk about the phenomenon of people checking in on social media from prisons, becoming The Mayor on Foursquare, tagging themselves in their mugshots, checking in when visiting their relatives, etc. I admit I hadn’t considered such a thing might be a thing. But it is a thing. So I thought about it, and here’s what I said:
1. We have the highest incarceration rates in the world (even as violent crime has decreased). More people than ever know someone who is in prison. It is even kind of normal (her question was basically where is the shame).
2. Prison culture is romanticized and normalized in our media, and prisoners are presented to us as entertainment. LOCKDOWN, anyone?
3. Many corporations are profiting from the for-profit prisons and the media about the prisons.
4. So many people are incarcerated for nonviolent crimes (drug offenses) in this country that “prison” and “shame” and “danger” are no longer synonymous.
Social media are fun, and people are doing it everywhere.
I hope I didn’t forget anything. If I’m quoted I’ll update with a link.