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
   (Shutterstock)

(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.

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Showing 3 of 24 comments
Corsica
Apr 16, 2014 8:53 AM CDT
"...a Stark Lesson on US Prisons." WTF does that mean? Sounds like the author is trying to say that prison conditions are brutal and primitive when it's the occupants that make it so.
Ezekiel 25:17
Apr 15, 2014 9:25 PM CDT
There are two tracks for a Black family. More likely ten for a White one. I experienced a Black family on a recent airline flight. I had booked business class so I wasn't cramped. It was one of those 6-seat wide Air buses. I was in 1A. This Black family shows up and they were in 1b,1c, 2a,2b,2c. The kids sat and buckled their seats. The mom asked a question and the kids responded very kindly. At snack time they kids made their order and they were very cordial and courteous to the attendants. At landing they waited until the plane stopped and then got up to get their rucksacks. A pleasant flight with a very nice family of any race. I do not see these kids heading to prison. Now take this group of kids at a rec facility I used to help manage. Kids bust through the door and take balls out of the hands of other kids. They get done and instead of handing it back they throw it as far away as they can. Time for snack time these kids run up to the front of the line and grab several drinks and snacks. They bump into other kids as they run to get a seat at a table. they wind up tossing cookies or spilling the drinks for fun. I know these kids have one track ahead and its not college. Most are from single mom homes. Many see crimes go down outside their window. All of them see the big wads of money the dudes carry who sell drugs and pimp girls. They want that. They get that, then they get hard time. We can't seem to stop this cycle.
hashtag
Apr 15, 2014 4:10 PM CDT
When something isn't news, just label ot opinion, and provide no opinion.