In Baltimore McDonald's, a Stark Lesson on US Prisons

Jeffrey Toobin finds ex-inmates galore at inner-city locale

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Apr 15, 2014 12:42 PM CDT

(Newser) – In the course of writing about how a gang called the Black Guerrilla Family began calling the shots inside the Baltimore City Detention Center, Jeffrey Toobin of the New Yorker sought to track down people who had done time at the facility. He struck gold in an unusual spot: A taxi driver suggested he try the McDonald's on North Avenue, and Toobin discovered that roughly two-thirds of the male customers there over the course of two days had indeed been inmates at BCDC.

"Somehow the McDonald’s was even more shocking to me than BCDC itself, where virtually every inmate I saw was black," writes Toobin. "My informal McDonald’s survey brought home to me how ubiquitous the experience of being in jail is in certain parts of America." He wondered how it might play if he wandered into a McDonald's in the suburbs and started asking people if they had been in jail. "I expect that most, if not all, would have looked at me as if I were insane," writes Toobin. "But in Baltimore nobody was surprised by the question. And maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised by the answers." Click for the full post.

  (Shutterstock)
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