Gonzales v. Oregon
Bail, Judicial Activism, and Judicial Ethics

American's Obsession With Prisons

On Monday Fox will air the pilot for "Prison Break," a show about a brother who committed a crime in order to go to prison (to help his wrongfully convicted brother escape from prison).  Before "Prison Break" was "Oz."  Almost any night I brave the cess pool, I see numerous specials on prison - purporting to tell, e.g., what it's like inside Riker's Island.  And there are numerous movies set in prison.

Anyhow, why?  What explains American's obsession with prisons?  Most of these programs showcase prison rape.  Is the obession with prison folklore somehow sexual?  People like to joke about prison rape, "Don't drop the soap," etc.  Or is it something non-sexual, but still primative?  Do Americans enjoy specials on prison for the same reason we enjoy watching specials on animals - the element of the untamed amoung us? 

I don't have a clue, so please share your thoughts in the comments.