Plato, it is said, confronted Diogenes as the great Cynic philosopher washed his greens for dinner. “If you had humored Dionysius”—the tyrant of Syracuse who had called Plato as an adviser—”you wouldn’t be rinsing greens now.”
Diogenes answered him, “And if you rinsed greens, you wouldn’t have been a slave to Dionysius.”
In order to write about the inner workings of a private prison, journalist Shane Bauer took a prison guard position at a Louisiana prison for four months, at $9 an hour. The prison is operated by Corrections Corporation of America, whose CEO made $3.4 million in 2015, nearly 19 times the amount paid to the director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. During Bauer’s time as a correctional officer, the federal Department of Corrections temporarily took charge of the prison due to a rash of stabbings among inmates. Thirty-four percent of prison guards suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder, a rate higher than that for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. Correctional officers commit suicide two and a half times more frequently than the general population (Mother Jones, July/August).