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Want to Time Travel Back to the 80s? Visit a Prison “Typing Room”

The Marshall Project – “Most federal prisons have a designated area for inmates to pursue legal work: a legal library/typing room. Though we are in the 21st century and digital tech is everywhere, the Bureau of Prisons, or BOP, is dead set, come hell or high water, on keeping legal libraries/typing rooms firmly lodged in its halcyon days of glory: the 1980s, when Congress, in its infinite wisdom, created mass incarceration. Yes, there are computers. But they run on simplistic, primitive systems that may have been the cat’s meow 16 years ago, but are in desperate need of an upgrade. But the most striking anachronism in the legal library is the electric typewriter, a true icon and state-of-the-art staple of the 1980s. It’s always fun to watch the faces of criminal justice students touring the prison, wide-eyed and fearful. We are the wild beasts in the zoo that they’ve been told about and here we are in our natural habitat, here in the legal library fighting our cases on typewriters. They’re probably thinking, Good Lord! How do you edit? How do you copy/paste? How do you spell-check?…”

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