He left prison and came home to his family. But after what happened, he'll never see his kids again.

This is beyond f%ked up.

Let me preface this by saying this is the most heartwrenching 5 minutes I've watched in a long time. So keep your hanky at the ready. But if you can't watch the video right now, scroll down for a quick summary.

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Remember when prisons were run by, y'know, the government?

It's weird to say, but as prisons go, those are starting to feel like the good ol' days.


To set the stage, private prisons didn't even exist in the United States as recently as 1980. Today, there are well over 100. And between 1990 and 2010, the number of inmates in private prisons grew by about 1,600% despite an overall reduction in crime as the corporations behind those prisons lobbied and bribed their way to stricter laws and harsher sentences.

With profit (not corrections) as the ultimate goal, corporate prisons cut corners to a devastating effect.

Take it from Matthew Naidow. He's a shift captain at East Mississippi Correctional Facility, which is run as a for-profit prison:

Naidow says some pretty f%ked up stuff is happening behind those prison walls:

"Prisoners will scream for help and pound on doors, but guards are often nowhere to be found during emergencies. ... Not only are staff absent, reports Captain Naidow, but they are corrupt, 'working with gangs, extorti[ng people], [and] bringing in contraband.'"

Christopher Lindsey, a former EMCF inmate, went blind as a result of neglect at the prison.

"They know you got glaucoma and your pressure is running in the 30s, and they just walk on past you and just keeping living their day and don't even care. At that time they didn't have have no ... eye equipment or nothing."


Lindsey describes his experience as "hell with no fire."

Another former EMCF prisoner, Kenji Hobbes, was sent there after getting caught with weed.

Just to say it, that's ridiculous for a lot of reasons, but that's a whole 'nother story. Hobbes' real punishment wasn't the year he spent behind bars. It was the forcible hollowing out of his mind and spirit.


Cynthia Hobbes discusses the psychological damage her son endured in prison.

What happened to Hobbes remains a mystery. Thus far, no one has come forward to say what caused his condition.

I get that it's not easy for everyone to empathize with these men and the thousands of others who are neglected and abused in the U.S. prison system. But a truly "civilized" society is one that demands decency for everyone, regardless of their mistakes.

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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