Murder, Mayhem, and Meditation

Murder, Mayhem, and Meditation

2014, Crime  -   66 Comments
Ratings: 8.28/10 from 120 users.

Vice News correspondent Kaj Larsen takes viewers inside California's Salinas Valley State Prison, one of the most notorious maximum security prisons in the nation. Home to several dangerous gangs, it is estimated that 700 assaults will occur this year alone, a number that viewers are told is actually an improvement over years past.

In a unique turn of expectations, it is revealed that Salinas is exploring progressive options to improve the rehabilitation expectations for prisoners. In an alternative approach to managing the gang violence within the prison, there is a new focus being put on practices of meditation and mindfulness.

However, outside of the peaceful atmosphere of the meditation sessions the reality of prison life continues uninterrupted. In a display of the ever-present gang violence that permeates the efforts to improve the mindset and behavior of the prisoners, air medics arrive to retrieve a freshly shanked prisoner.

The distinct power of the prison gangs is described as Larsen asks about the typical first day for a white guy like himself. It is explained that he would be asked for his paperwork by the gang leaders, and segregated into a group based on race. The organization and influence of the gangs is essentially equal to that of the prison administration.

Offering an example of a success story, Larsen speaks to a paroled ex-gang member who explains the "debriefing" process of extracting prisoners from their gangs and setting them on the path to rehabilitation, and his relief to be out of the system and away from prison life.

With the US prison system at maximum capacity the need to release prisoners is greater than ever, and prisons like Salinas are making efforts to reduce the risk to the public. The film addresses the issue of the sustainability of the American prison system – with only 5% of the world's population we are home to 20% of the world's prisoners – and explains that the efforts being made at Salinas are in the interest of rehabilitating violent prisoners for eventual reintroduction into the general community.

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66 Comments / User Reviews

  1. donal trap

    the best place to f*** the Spanish a** without getting rape charges, to being in California prison .

  2. tweety

    Inmates should not be affiliated w/any gang activity (while incarcerated) to be paroled. Yes, we have a long way to go...truly admire what they are doing in this prison. There needs to be another option for those on the outside & in a gang who commit murder. Leaving their neighborhood/community should be the first step.

  3. Lane Jacobson

    i enjoy prison documentaries but this one sucked. the guy from vice was just annoying.

  4. erte4wt4etrg

    Amerika's gulags. Warehousing the poor is big business and there are more laws in a police state all the time, they create them just to nab 'customers'. We're cattle to our corporate overlords, they ruin a country and ship out all the jobs then lock up the desperate broken people left behind. Hurray globali$m, welcome to the modern slave state.

    Nice to see them learning mindfulness.

  5. Lunalicrichard

    It is so sad to see that Europe and The Netherlands ( witch had the most liberal jail system in the world for a time ) is trying to look more and more to the US prison system as a solution : Rack 'em and Stack 'em seems to be the parole ! And of al places the US is finaly seeing that it doesn't work ! That you make really dangerous people that way if you lock people up as animals .
    I would like for the dutch governement to watch this documentary and make them see what the future is for us if they keep doing what they're doing now .

    1. awful_truth

      That is because it is viewed as another business, which is why the U.S has more people incarcerated than China, even though they have 5 times the U.S population.

    2. Lunalicrichard

      Very true !

  6. bringmeredwine

    Perhaps if some of these offenders had received help and support during their early years, they might have skipped the gang lifestyle.
    I think that's where more money should go, for family support programs, parenting classes, early learning education, community outreach and better equipped schools.
    But honestly, the way these violent offenders live at this prison is just crazy. Why are they allowed any social mingling at all? That's when all the violence starts up. I vote to keep them in lock down unless they are attending a rehab program at that moment. I don't care which gang their cell mate is affiliated with, either. Break them up!
    The lunatics are running the asylum, imo.

    1. Lunalicrichard

      it is not possible at this point to break up gangs in the prisons . Because first the mindset of inmate's has to be changed . Otherwise you get massive murder rates in jails . The hate is too great and it is a very American issue to boot . American culture is violent in it's very core . One would need to change social and cultural things first to make a change in the prisons .
      You have to know that prison is a mini version of society , only it's based directly on profit , and not sugar coated as it is outside prison .
      If you make prison in your way , what you create is maniacs and monsters far worse then what you see now .
      People are social creature's and if you take away the social part , we go crazy . Imagine that you are in the system , that it is you in that cell . How would you like to be treated ? How would it make you feel if you are not allowed to have contact with others ?
      It's so easy to judge when it's not you that is in a situation ....
      The violence is what the system created for the most part .
      In my country we very seldom have violence in prisons . Because we treated them like human beings , not like trash .
      No man has ever come out of jail a better person ! No One !
      People come out of jails worse then when they came in , and that is a fact . Revenge doesn't work , and it never will work .

    2. bringmeredwine

      I'm sure most violent inmates are antisocial. Too bad if they don't like being segregated for the safety of everyone else. I haven't raped/beaten/kidnapped or murdered anyone lately so I don't know what it would feel like to get locked away from society.
      I pity the poor child though who becomes that broken adult.

    3. Lunalicrichard

      People become more anti social if you treat them as sub human , as "monsters " . And don't forget that we all have double standard to violence . If your husband kills the rapist of your daughter , is he a hero or a criminal ?
      your views are based on fear , not on knowledge . I myself know a little of the american prison system and a lot about the dutch prison system . Prisons all over the world are basically revenge farms . And that's okay if that is what society wants . But know what kind of people you breed in these facility's ! Don't whine when an inmate comes out of that system and goes on a murderous rampage , because that is what you wanted ; Animals and monsters ! Make no mistake about that !
      Just for the record : i think the emphasis should lie with victims of crimes more then on the criminal . Or at least have an equal part .
      You have to ask yourself what did the prison systems today have to show for all the effort and money that went in building all these new prisons , and locking up so many people bring to society ?
      Do you feel safer now when you walk down the street ( or drive more likely ) ?
      What would you rather see released from prison ; a angry beast that has no concern for people's life or possessions , or a rehab that at least has a chance to be a normal person again ?
      To cry for revenge is a very human emotion and we all have them , even the worst criminals have them . You are not so different as you think you are from any prisoner . It only takes one or 2 bad decisions and you are on your way ......
      the last thing i want to point out is that these children don't need your pity , what they need is a loving neighbour or a friend or family that takes care of the needs of a child in trouble . Only if people shun away from kids like that do you create problems later in life .
      Please don't take this as a personal attack on your person ,, because that is not my intention . Sometimes i'm too harsh in my choice of words or it comes over very raw ( i'm dutch , not American btw ) I just want to make people change their thinking and make them see the other side of the coin .
      Thank you for your response .
      PS : I don't have all the answers either , i'm just like you searching for better ways to live and be a decent person .

    4. bringmeredwine

      I can't stop feeling pity for the child who becomes the violent offender. Maybe "compassion" is a better description?
      I totally agree family members, communities, schools, should reach out to children in need of assistance, love and guidance.
      I don't mind if we do not see eye to eye on the current prison system and your words were not harsh.
      I'm in Canada and our system is different from the US.
      Helicopters can land in compounds and whisk away Hell's Angels members and the guards aren't allowed to shoot at them.
      I haven't done the research but violent offenders escape every year due to glitches in security and a system that allows violent offenders to earn their way through time served to minimum security facilities or half way houses then some have walked away.

    5. awful_truth

      Interesting response. I am sure that the powers that be would suggest it is not feasible, due to overcrowding, etc. With that said, I completely agree with you that it is an obvious solution. (can't fight what you can't reach) Sadly, prison life is just gladiator school, and big business in the U.S due to privatization. If king Harper has his way in Canada, he will follow the U.S lead, even though the U.S admits Canada has a better system. Either way, I am happy for my own up bringing and choices, so I didn't have to encounter this type of insanity.(dealing with the outside world is bad enough)
      P.S: It is even more sad how many non violent people are incarcerated with these people. (the lunatics are not only running the asylum, they are running the world in general)

    6. bringmeredwine

      Totally agree, Old Chum.
      Sorry (how very Canadian of me) I didn't acknowledge sooner; I'm away from the internet much of the camping season:)

    7. awful_truth

      No sweat bmrw, the internet doesn't exist when I am on vacation either.
      Hey, who are you calling old? (LOL)
      I am a young 50!

    8. bringmeredwine

      Such a young thing; I'm 52.
      I watched 48 Hours last night and a poor man was dragged out of his BMW on his driveway, beaten then shot by 3 18 year olds who'd followed him home.
      This is in Florida: Their driver recieved 30 years for aggravated robbery, the other 2 were both convicted of capital murder (each blamed the other for shooting the gun) and sentenced to life in prison.
      In Cincinnati, another 18 year old walked right up to a young man at a children's football game for peace (I'm not kidding) and shot him dead in broad daylight. He received 12 years for manslaughter.
      Did he have a better lawyer or what?
      All these young men had been in and out of juvie. One had already been convicted of armed robbery. It never ends!

    9. awful_truth

      Your examples are precisely why I love being a Canadian. (you live by the sword, and you will die by the sword - American way of life) Sadly, many innocent people also fall victim to those who have no respect for life, or control over themselves.
      Your right, it never ends, and it never will. All we can do is learn to protect ourselves, and those around us. It also helps not to make a victim of yourself. I will leave you with some profound wisdom I have learned as a martial artist of many years. (the best way to avoid a punch is not to be there!) Take care, and best wishes bringmeredwine.

    10. bringmeredwine

      I just sent you more pearls of wisdom, but replied to myself.
      Rolls eyes

    11. Lunalicrichard

      If you would break them up now , without a system change and a change in mindset of American prisoner , it will be a bloodbath ! They would try to kill each other every way possible . And we can't put them all in isolation for ever ...
      Where we do have a chance is with first timers who come to prison . They are not yet in the "jail " mindset and are not yet in the gangs and gang politics . They should be kept in a separate housing unit and start to let them mingle from day one . Let them take courses , let or force them to work for money and let them be treated like human beings , not like rejects or "convicts" . The staff have to lose their whole " criminals are dangerous ' phobia and be civil and respectful to inmates . That of course has to go 2 ways and if rules are broken there is punishment . We have a rule that a person is not allowed to be separated for longer then 21 days . That is in a bare cell , with a matras and books / magazines .
      And it works as well as all other forms of punishment in jails .
      We all benefit from humanity in America's prisons .
      Except for a few hardcore criminals , the majority comes out of jail with far less hate and anger and with a perspective of a life ahead . That is the most important thing for inmates , to have prospect of a normal life again . If a person has no prospect of a future in where he / she can live a normal life , they will keep doing things to others because they feel like they don't belong to society anyway . So why should i care what society thinks i should do ? that is the most comman line of thought for people in jails and who have been in jails and have to really struggle to be accepted as a person again . I'm not talking about crazy , serial killers or people who kill kids and rape them . This is for the majority of the population , that have done a crime ( yes ,even murder ) but are not violent individuals when they come to jail . It is the life in prison that makes them more violent , commit more crimes while in jail just to stay safe and alive .
      That has to stop ! Prisons should be safe for staff and inmates . You shouldn't have to be afraid for your life when you come to jail .

      Ask yourself this ; Why are prisons in the USA so different from jails in Europe ? Why doesn't Europe have the same amount of murder , stabbings and violent incidents in their prisons ?
      And this is FACT ! Not fiction or a persons belief . This is researched over and over again !
      But the State's just won't get it . They love to have these way of torture of people , how else can you explain this refusal to change ?

    12. bringmeredwine

      Japan has an interesting prison system. If you have the time you might find it an interesting read. I might have even watched a doc about it here?
      I don't understand lots of American ways either! Though most of the folks I've met seem to be a lot like me, the way they view the world and feel about things that matter.
      I can't explain the actions of their government, nor of my own government, these days.

    13. Clevergirl1969

      Recommend you watch a documentary by National Geographic called “Solitary Confinement”.

  7. larry walden

    Your prison rehab system is a load of bull. It will never work with existing policies. Solutions: (1) take all the murderers rapists and gang leaders and immediately hang them in the prison yards. (2) Each month sponsor a show down fight outside in the main yard with all prisoners present. Volunteer gang members are given a shank and allowed to kill and maim each other until the last man standing. Bodies will be left to rot for three days to remind other prisoners of the consequences. Promptly shoot the last man standing as his reward. (3) Any inmate caught with a weapon to be promptly executed. (4) Bring back the chain gang system and force the prisoners to break rock for road works. (5) Replace US currency with prison script. (6) Fire all the do-gooder brain dead wardens and so-called social experts and promote guards with good records and common sense to administrative posts. (7th) Know that your Buddha meditations are a load of crap and never accomplished anything. AND LAST, DO NOT FORGET ALL THE INNOCENT PEOPLE WITH BROKEN LIVES THESE INMATES HAVE VICTIMIZED
    Sounds Cruel? No. Nothing like the harm done to others by these Animals.

    1. BradfordVonDaserdyly

      Come back to your comment in a few days to see the replies that may be posted, there are a few rabid liberals that are delusional and will strongly disagree with you. Read the comments below to see what I mean.

      I agree with you.

    2. rodrigo

      And no, I am not talking about the "warrior gene" but if it is that what you want to believe, fine with me ;)

    3. BradfordVonDaserdyly

      Cite your source than.
      Or are just making things up?

    4. Lunalicrichard

      What about being human first ?

    5. a_no_n

      i like the way that all arguments against your beliefs are labeled as delusional before you've even seen them.

      Personally i don't see how making prison guards above any and all laws could possibly make the situation better.

      I also think saying that the people arguing against mindlessly slaughtering everyone we don't like is "rabid".
      I think you've severely misunderstood what the word rabid means.

    6. a_no_n

      the problem with state sanctioned murder is that the state more often than not kills the wrong person.

      If Executions work, then why do areas that have the death penalty also have the worst records for these types of crimes?

      Your point number two sounds more like a pitch for a post apocalyptic movie than it does a justice system...What makes it ok for prison guards to assist people in murdering each other but not regular people? point two makes no sense and sounds more like the blood thirsty rant of a deranged mad man than anything else.

      point three...what's to stop the guards abusing that rule to justify killing anyone they fancy? a toothbrush can be considered a weapon, that's going to make taking a shower precarious.

      point four seems silly breaking rocks really the best way to use their time?

      point 5 i have no idea what you mean by prison script.

      point 6 why "Do-gooders" what exactly is a do gooder?

      point 7, fine, so long as you accept that all the Jesus mumbo jumbo and everything else is crap too.

      as for your last point did it ever occur to you that most of those inmates have been victims themselves at some point or another?

      in short, your logic is flawed, you seem more concerned with satisfying your own bloodlust than you do in achieving to say if your system ever was implimented, i'd hope that the psychopaths like you would be the first ones thrown into it.

    7. Lunalicrichard

      I'm sorry for some of the things i said yesterday , mostly the foul language . That was uncalled for and i apologise .
      BUt i still get really mad when i encounter people with this much hate and ignorance . I just cant help it .

  8. bionara

    Great documentary! All the best to Juan and his family. I sincerely hope his second chance serves him well :)

  9. ~Oliver B Koslik Esq

    I wrote a TED article on "Internet in jails" before. Though it was deleted when they re-vamped their site.

    Basically I researched the costs of installing computers in each cell. Plus yearly maintenance and internet subscription. It was relatively cheap.

    Each prison toilet cast ~25,000$ to buy install and maintain.
    It was a figure I was basing my thesis on... the computer option was like 40% cheaper.

    Initial funding could come from companies that are looking to hire "online widget workers" (basic operations like data entry etc).
    So they would set it up, earn potentially HUGE profit, but as well contribute MASSIVELY to society... its a win win lock down!

    Because of the fact that through internet and remote / cloud education. Any individual can "self-learn" what they are interested in. For hours and hours and hours everyday!

    Prision, in the future is quite viably a college or university.
    And voila you have your "rehabilitory scenario" playing out at full steam.

    Cuz what prisoner doesn't want internet privileges?

    +1 VICE

    1. dmxi

      hi oli B.,great comment....cheers for sharing!

    2. Lunalicrichard

      Yes , all inmates would like internet access in their cells , but it will never happen . Here is why : Porn , legal issues and people whom are in charge of such things hate the idea . And i live in a previous liberal country when it comes to prisons ,today my country is trying real hard to become the US on the prison issue . But that's a different story ......
      The powers that be don't want you to have down time in your cell . They don't want you to forget the walls around you . They want you to suffer , that's basically it .
      Most of them will never say it that plain , but that's the bottom line .....
      I would love it to happen what you want , but now especially , the call is for revenge , not rehab i am sad to say .
      They should start by building prisons with 1 person cells , that would be an enormous benefit and reduce violence for a big part . And yes , it will cost society a lot but they will get better people out of jail , Gangs would have less power over people in that case .
      I could go on and on about this subject , but i'll stop now ....

    3. ~Oliver B Koslik Esq

      Hi Lunalicrichard!

      With all due respect, you really only raised one (very good) point that would stand in the way of my idea, coming into fruition:

      The answer to any sort of "porn" or legal infractions being surfed, from a cell. Would be for the jail to install a "firewall type content filter" (think Chinese internet ((I've been there, trust me the whole country is on internet lockdown.))), that allows only approved websites to be viewed. Furthermore, filtering would be fairly simple to set-up, so as to catch delinquent usage.

    4. Lunalicrichard

      Indeed . It is simple to input technically , as for the dutch government they won't allow it in each cell . They have a library where you can internet on a restricted basis or in classes (for education ) .
      In this day and age it would be a great reduction off stress in prisons . As you said it would be a good thing , but i don't think they will ever allow it in the states especially with the bloodlust so rampant in the US when it comes to offenders . as i see it , the u.s in still fixed in the revenge mind set . Even if there are small signs of hope now .
      And i speak from personal experience in jails (not US ,thank god ! ) and i would invite you to come see how we dutch run the prisons system ( or at least did run it , for now we are on the revenge train also and are putting people in 4 man cells . because of cost for the last 15 to 20 years i'm sad to say ) . But even now i think we have the better system . we don't have gangs , stabbings , revolts or any of that stuff . we have fights of course and it's not kindergarden , but at least it's human . but i'm so scared that we are on the american path . now having people sit in their cell for 23 hours is not seldom anymore , and that is awful . that's how we make animals out of people .

    5. Corba Kai

      Sorry, the idea of giving convicted criminals access to the internet is ludicrous. You'd basically be giving thousands of very bad men access to the outside world. The main point of incarceration is to separate them from the outside world. Giving intelligent criminals with nothing but time on their hands the ability to surf the internet would lead to god knows what. Plotting revenge, being able to easily communicate with the outside world or other prisoners all over the country. These guys are capable of escaping max prisons in ways that would make Houdini look like a rank amateur. One can only imagine what they can do with the internet. They can run scams, intimidate, crime bosses could keep day-to-day contact with his affiliates on the outside. Even the porn issue, which is nothing compared to the other issues, would be a big problem. Sure you can block porn access, but inmates hardly need actual porn to get riled up. Simple R-rated material will suffice.

      Bottom line, giving convicted criminals such a privilege can only lead to bad things. It's like setting up a forum for the worst of the worst to plot and scheme all day day long. They separate many of these people from having contact with one another OR the outside world for very good reason.

      Imagine inmates being able to search the internet for info/addresses for the prison guards? On prosecutors, possibly witnesses, etc?

  10. The Observer

    When America starts their next war, empty all the prisoners into the army, use them as cannon fodder, then they serve a useful purpose, and cost the taxpayer nothing.

  11. tlspt48

    ...way...way...way 2 vanilla...

  12. User_1

    Great doc VICE! This was well done and did give a good representation of life at this prison. I hope the best for the people locked up there and hope they get through their time quickly.

    1. TheDanishViking

      Agree. Good stuff.

  13. arcot

    Can be possible to punish the body, can it be possible to punish the mind?

  14. a_no_n

    seems to me to be akin to putting a band aid on a gun shot wound

  15. BradfordVonDaserdyly

    I could not make through this liberal propaganda.
    They are violent criminals and deserve nothing but contempt.

    1. rodrigo

      No wonder why America has the highest incarceration rate in the world. I think you are still living in the 1800... Or your parents indoctrinated you very well. Either way, Science teach us now, in the 21st century!, that things are a bit more complex than what simple minds like yours could ever understand, and that incarceration has been proved not to be the solution. Let alone what the other fellow here says about "drug addicts".
      People become violent exactly because of a society full of narrow minded people like you. When we have evolved enough to change that kind of mentality, just then we will start getting rid of violence. The prove is that in societies that don't have a mentality like yours, there is NO VIOLENCE. :)

    2. a_no_n

      I agree with you right up until the last sentence.

      As the Tibetan monks proved when they had power, nations that seemingly have no violence merely restrict their outbursts to behind closed doors.

      Violence is an unfortunate part of human nature, pretending it is something that can be entirely gotten rid of is just as much a misunderstanding as the initial ignorance you were commenting against.

    3. rodrigo

      Unfortunately your argument is faulty. That is, your inductive conclusion is inaccurate. Just because a culture does as you say, it can't be used to described "human nature". Humans are not naturally violent. Here is why. There is an longitudinal study ( I can give you references if you like) where genes related to violence have been identify in a population sample. This gene was identify to predispose people to violence. After 20 years of following these people, none of these individuals show violent behavior UNLESS they were abused when they were children. Even further, people that carried the genes were less likely to present violent behavior than the once that didn't. And yes there are societies were there is virtually NO violence. Like the Amish. More accurate is to say that the present socio-economic structure is what generates violence, that has also been strongly correlated in studies. As Gandhi said:"poverty is the worst form of violence". And here is a question for you. If violence is in our nature, why we don't see babies committing acts of violence? And what is the common denominator among the people incarcerated?
      Violence as a human nature characteristic is a long lived "belief" created about 5000 years ago. The funny things is that now in the 21st century we still are not evolved enough to realize this is not the case...
      Oh and in the case of Tibetans, the only thing that proves is that power corrupts and is not evidence of "human nature", there is a conceptual difference.

    4. a_no_n

      i'd advise you pick up a history'll quickly see that about 99.9% of it is based around war and fighting.

      It's a lovely idea that we all might be peaceful beings with love in our hearts and goodness in our intentions...but it's very naive to deny the base animal inside that would tear it's own brother to shreds if the need arose.

    5. rodrigo

      That's why I said 5000 years ago... And that's why I said "in the 21st century" if you keep thinking that is human nature, then how would you change it? (Let alone the fact that human nature IS change therefore human nature is NOT fixed, thus the argument that "because it's human nature it can't be changed", is false) And why would you keep thinking the same way? When are we going to evolve? Didn't you get that part? The animal part that will guide you to do what it is required to survive, has NOTHING to do with our current violence nor the violence exposed in this documentary. And even in that case I doubt an Amish would kill a brother to eat him in the case of scarcity:)... You just made yet another faulty argument, this time a "straw man" argument, that has nothing to do with what I just said. I advise you to "understand", and "think" for yourself not just repeat out of indoctrination. :) elaborate and articulate your own thinking. Once you do that may be then you will understand and make sense of what I am saying, until then good luck living in your "evil" and pessimistic world. Peace brother. :)

    6. a_no_n

      to be honest all you're showing me with that garbage is how sheltered a life you've led.

      it's not about good or evil it's just reality.

      don't try telling me that people change in a year when a medieval style Caliphate has formed in the middle east..

    7. rodrigo

      I am sorry for whatever had happened to you... Don't feel angry or sad, or hopeless, and don't recent others because they had had it easier than you. Things will get better, don't worry, everything will be ok as long as you remain conscious :) yes life can be hard at time but over all is a good thing. Good luck to you brother. Peace. Just remember that no matter what others do you always have the choice over your own life. And yes you are right it's not about good and evil that dichotomy is exactly what has the world in the state that it is, that's why I used quote marks when I used the word :)

    8. a_no_n

      wow...that's the most condescending, patronising trash i've ever read in my life.

      please take your undeserved sense of smug superiority and shove it back up your backside from whence it came.

    9. rodrigo

      Also reality does not mean negative but jut reality...

    10. BradfordVonDaserdyly

      Wrong again, the Amish have problems with violence just like every other society, below are examples of violence in Amish culture, including rape.

      Not all the Amish are the same – as in most protestant religions there are divisions within the group, each following their own variations on the rules. The reasons for these divisions are, as usual, over matters of doctrinal disagreement. There are eight distinct divisions within the Amish as a whole with the most conservative “Old Order” having split in the 1860s. Sometimes the divisions can be over very trivial matters – for example the Troyer Amish split over a dispute about hat brims. These differences in beliefs can often lead to bizarre forms of violence.

      Because men must grow their beards unrestricted and women their hair, it makes those two things prime targets for violence within or amongst differing Amish communities. The attacks involve cutting off the hair of beard of the person to be punished. This is not a lawful form of punishment in the Amish and even though the person being punished may not be guilty of anything in the eyes of his own community, the loss of hair causes great shame and shunning (not the excommunication type – just the social embarrassment type). Most recently an Amish sect leader Samuel Mullet coerced 15 of his followers to attack other Amish communities in this way. They were found guilty of the crimes and are facing 15 years in jail each for violation of hate crime laws. They were sentenced in January 2013.

      And from the television program 20/20, 20-year-old Mary Byler:

      "I would read books and I'd imagine. I had a great imagination that would take me to faraway places, you know, places where I was afraid I would never be, but wanted to be," she told "20/20's" Elizabeth Vargas.

      Mary says she'd use those fantasies as an emotional escape from what she says was her horrible reality -- a childhood and adolescence of sexual assault and rape.

      "If somebody was raping me, I'd look up to the ceiling, count the blocks or count the cracks in the wall, or just I was completely not there emotionally. I would have committed suicide many times over if I wouldn't be strong," she said.

      Through the years, by Mary's account, she was raped by several different attackers. But one abused her more often than the others -- her brother Johnny. Johnny, one of Mary's eight brothers, began assaulting her when he was 12 and she was 6. The assaults continued into her teen years, she said.

      "I couldn't go to the outhouse because there was always somebody waiting there. I couldn't go anywhere alone. There was just no place I could be alone," she said.

      As time passed, another brother, Eli, followed suit.

      "He'd rape me down in the milk house when I was cleaning up the milk house. He'd rape me down in the barn," she said.

      The violence in Mary's family began with the head of it -- a stepfather who, she says, continually beat both Mary and her brothers.

      "He hit them with shovels and hacksaws, fists, halters, anything and everything he could get his hands on," she said.

      Irene Garrett left the Amish community to marry an outsider and has written several books on Amish life. Sadly, Garrett says, Mary's plight is not an isolated case.

      "Overall in an Amish community, women are very quiet, they're very submissive," Garrett said.

      Amish women are not taught anything about sex, according to Garrett, which makes it even harder for a girl who's being abused to describe what's happening to her.

      Mary said she didn't know how to describe what was happening. "I thought they were being bad to me. That was the only word I had to express it," she said.

      In an Amish culture unaccustomed to women speaking up, Mary felt she got more scolding than sympathy when she told her mother what was going on.

      She said her mother told her, "You don't fight hard enough and you don't pray hard enough." Mary said her mother made her feel as if the assaults were her fault. "Every time I would talk about this she would say that they have already confessed in church and you're just being unforgiving," she said.

      Indeed, Mary's brothers had confessed in church. In this closed society problems are handled internally, the church elders are both judge and jury.

    11. rodrigo

      Whatever you say, you win!;) peace!

    12. BradfordVonDaserdyly

      It is not about winning or loosing it is about what is true and what is real.

    13. BradfordVonDaserdyly

      Please supply the references, if you are referring to the "warrior gene", you have totally misinterpreted the study.

    14. carrie

      Love that, "parents indoctrinated you very well." Glad mine didn't corrupt me, left me to my own thoughts.

    15. BradfordVonDaserdyly

      Please name a single society that has no violence.
      Please, just one.
      There are none that I know of, you are delusional.

      My parents are liberals and I grew up in a very liberal city, I did not get indoctrinated by them or anyone else. It is so kind of you to assume my parents were not of your mindset and somehow "indoctrinated" me into not believing in lies and pseudoscience.

      Show us all were science has proven incarceration is not a solution to crime, you are just making things up in a sad attempt to bolster your position. Please cite your sources, Mother Jones and Salon shall not be accepted as sources.

      You seem angry, do you want to hit me?
      You call me narrow minded and insult me for disagreeing with you, that is very open minded of you.

    16. carrie

      wow, is everything liberal propaganda? you obviously have not lived a life.

    17. BradfordVonDaserdyly

      Not everything, but a great deal.
      Please explain how you have "lived a life" and that has somehow let you to the belief that criminals will somehow become model citizens after they get virtually zero penalty for committing crimes.
      When our prisons are nicer than the poor neighborhoods, prison is not a penalty.

      In 2012 when all of the US was distracted by the Trayvon Zimmerman race baiting the `Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012' was passed.

      The Smith-Mundt Act, which established public diplomacy and international broadcasting as activities of the U.S. government, has been in force since 1948. One of its provisions prohibits U.S. citizens from accessing the public diplomacy products of the U.S. government, whether in print or on the airwaves. The purpose of this provision was to prevent domestic government propagandizing.

      The Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012 effectively nullified the prohibition of domestic propaganda making domestic propaganda targeted at the US population legal. VoA and other programs are now produced by the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which shares a "strategic communications budget" with the State Department and has an annual budget of more than $700 million.

      $700 million a year for propaganda, that works out just shy of 2 million a day. That couldn't be influencing the production of documentaries, movies, and the rest of the media, naaaa, couldn't be. Not with the "most transparent administration in history" ...... hope and change and propaganda.

    18. Lunalicrichard

      You are right , propaganda is rampant and everywhere .
      Nobody said criminals will ever become "model citizens " but neither are you .
      Nor am i for that matter . And who cares if they become the showpiece for society's prison system ? That is not the focus or the purpose of the film .
      And let me tell you : the state of a cell has nothing to do with what you feel when that door closes . It doesn't matter if you have a TV or radio or nothing at all for the fact that you feel the punishment or not .
      The sad thing is that a lot of people make decisions on things they know absolutely nothing about ! And that is on a lot of subjects , not just crime or punishment / justice .
      People should learn to be independent thinkers . Or at least raise or kids as independent thinkers and persons and follow their own minds , not what the TV is telling them or some politician . But first teach them to be human . That is the most important of all !

    19. Lunalicrichard

      Condemn the act , not the person . Then you get progress .
      And all that hardcore revenge has done so well in the last 30 odd years ......... The men and woman that come out are all success story's of that systems politics and the violent crimes and murders have gone down after all the republican , gun totin' and state allowed murder has made crime non existent !
      ( i am being sarcastic if you didn't know )

  16. pwndecaf

    Start by removing all drug addicts - then we can talk about reforming the murderers. There will be a lot more room, too.

    1. a_no_n

      amen...perhaps if there's room to move about people will be less inclined to lash out.

      you're less likely to have your toes trodden on if you actually have space to move about.