Sunday, July 19, 2009

If you have to go to prison, consider Massachusetts

If I ever go to Prison, I hope it's in Massachusetts. On my ride today, I passed a series of well appointed prison houses along the 115, an hour west of Boston. Just looking at a Texas prison I feel like I've committed a crime--they look like a car feels that's been sitting in a hot parking lot all day. I think that's what prison must be like in Texas, getting into hot cars, one after another. Now that I think about it, that's exactly what gets you into prison.

Enough with the puns. I'm not planning to commit any crimes, but if I did (unlikely) and if I were caught (even more unlikely), I'd like to be sent to one of these prisons I passed today. Ignoring for a moment the walls and wire, these prisons weren't altogether unattractive places. They were well-dimensioned brick structures with balanced roofs and complementary guard towers. Someone had taken care with the landscaping, the grounds were verdant and trim with tidy hedges and privacy trees. The temperature was lovely. There were songbirds.

I think that, aside from avoiding a Boggs-in-the-shower-scene situation, an aesthetically pleasing, well designed prison would be high on my list, more so than education and job training programs. I'd much prefer the feel of a bar'd Boston brownstone than Joe Arpaio's pink pajama program or prison pet partnerships or any other alliterative program in the clink.

The Mass State website describes one of these prisons as having "spacious and campus-like atmosphere and architecture..." If you think you just have to have something that doesn't belong to you, but twelve of your peers disagree, you can't do much better than "campus-like architecture."