New Orleans inmateThere are certain behaviors that land folks in jail. Most of us assume that those end once a crime-committing individual is behind bars, but a recently released video of shenanigans in a New Orleans parish prison has proven most of us-es wrong.

The footage shows inmates doing drugs, gambling, drinking beer, and brandishing guns. An armed inmate inside the prison. With a gun. Now that’s a variation on your typical incarceration storyline. Although it’s not clear when this debauchery was caught on camera, it is a neon-flashing testament to the immediate need for prison reform, not just lip service about it.

If you don’t like your hardcore criminals with access to firearms, needles, and alcohol, you’re going to be pretty unnerved by this. This is the raw, uncut version. Be forewarned:



Some of that there is enough to make me want to take punishment back to stoning and the pillory.

Sure, there’s a drug culture and a crooked corrections officer here and there to make a few bucks off of supplying inmates with dope and other underworld necessities. But if this is happening in prisons—and there’s no way that this is just happening in New Orleans—what’s the point of even locking wrong-doers up? If they can freely engage in the same behavior they would if they were out on the street, it’s pretty counterproductive. And a waste of taxpayer money, I might add.

What's keeping them from blowing away a few CO's and breaking out of the pen? Your guess is as good as mine. But it’s unsettling, as is the human rights violations against inmates just trying to serve their time and get out without being raped, malnourished, or beaten to a bloody pulp by an unruly few.

The prison in question closed last year. But does that make you feel better about what’s going on in other correctional facilities in the country? Not so much.

Do you think a return to creative, albeit slightly archaic, punishment is more effective than long-term incarceration?


Image via Tim Pearce, Los Gatos/Flickr