Tag Archives: Colorado

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Dana Liebelson and Ryan J. Reilly investigate jailhouse suicides and other deaths for the Huffington Post:

Suicide has been the leading cause of death in jails in every year since 2000, according to the latest Justice Department data. This is not the case in prisons, where inmates are more likely to die of cancer, heart and liver disease. There’s a reason for this difference. People land in jail right after they’ve been arrested. They’re often angry, desperate or afraid. They may be intoxicated or have psychiatric conditions that officers have no way of knowing about.

The experts we spoke with emphasized that entering jail is an instantly dehumanizing process. “You get clothes that don’t fit you, you get strip-searched, you lose any semblance of privacy, you don’t get to make many decisions that we all take for granted,” said Jeffrey Metzner, a psychiatrist at the University of Colorado in Denver who specializes in inmate mental health. “I don’t think most of us realize just how frightening that experience is,” added Steve J. Martin, a corrections expert who is monitoring reforms at Rikers Island Correctional Facility in New York City. “You have a total and absolute loss—immediate loss—of control over your being, over your physical being.”

Under these circumstances, people can deteriorate at an alarming speed. About two weeks after Bland’s death, 20-year-old Brissa Lopez was arrested for allegedly fighting with her boyfriend, and arrived at a Texas jail around 4:47 a.m. She was “very cooperative” and “chuckled as she removed her tongue and lip ring,” according to a sergeant who admitted her. Staff checked on her at 6:15 a.m. Some 40 minutes later, she was found hanging from a fire alarm cage by a bedsheet.

Motel owner spent 30 years spying on his guests’ sex lives, considered himself a “researcher”

In a handwritten note to writer Gay Talese in 1980, Colorado motel owner Gerald Foos described how he had been spying on customers’ sex lives through a network of peepholes in the rooms’ ceilings. Foos said he’d been taking notes, which he offered to share for Talese’s upcoming book, “Thy Neighbor’s Wife,” in exchange for a confidentiality agreement.

True to his word, Foos had taken meticulous notes, filling reams of paper with his observations of cheaters; closeted gay people; swingers; forbidden interracial couples; gigolos; feuding holiday makers; fetishists, and more, across a wide swathe of human sexuality. Foos’s notebooks — which he began to send to Talese — were full of self-serving and increasingly cynical and detached observations in a mock-clinical style that chronicled Foos’s slide into a kind of obsessive misanthropy that left him hating the people he couldn’t look away from….

Foos is a bizarre and fascinating character. He considers his own spying to be harmless, but rails at state surveillance, lauding Snowden as a heroic whistleblower and deploring the NSA’s mass surveillance. He eventually released Talese from his confidentiality agreement, believing that the statute of limitations had run out on his last act of spying (he was forced to quit in 1995, when arthritis made it too difficult for him to ascend to his surveillance attic).

Should a journalist’s confidentiality agreement extend to knowledge of criminal acts?

Motel owner spent 30 years spying on his guests’ sex lives, considered himself a “researcher” [Cory Doctorow – Boing Boing]