earendil31: (Default)
2010-02-15 09:41 pm
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A foreigner's life in a Beijing jail

I just found this article at the excellent Danwei.org.  It is a description of the daily routine in a Beijing municipal jail (kind of like a state penitentiary here) by a foreigner that had either the bad luck or the bad judgment to do something bad enough to end up there for seven months.  He was pretty lucky to end up with white-collar criminals, as opposed to the rest of the population which were there on life or death sentences for Much Worse Offenses.  Its the first time I've read anything on the jails in the capital, as pre-Olympic Beijing preferred to deal with foreigners either much more leniently (fines or deportation) than regular Chinese criminals. 

All in all, it sounds incredibly benign compared to what I know (from study, not experience) the rural jails are like.  Perhaps because the foreigner in question was going to be released and cuol dbe expected to report his experience quickly thereafter.  In any event, I would not have a problem if U.S. jails (for non-violent offenders such as these) operated in the same manner.  It certainly wouldn't work for the hyper-aggressive emotionally uncontrolled train wrecks you see on shows like MSNBC: Lockup.  But for people that are physically harmless but in for extended sentences, e.g. Bernie Madoff, I think something like this would work just fine.