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Quercki : prison   66

CAPTURED: People in Prison Drawing People Who Should Be
we asked people in prison to paint or draw people we felt should be in prison–the CEOs of companies destroying our environment, economy, and society.

Here are the results. Click on the images to see the crimes committed by both the companies and the artists.

We present this project to help expose crimes masquerading as commerce.
CEO  corporations  crime  portrait  prison  artists 
7 weeks ago by Quercki
How Prison Abolitionists Acquired a Former Baby Store in Oakland's Temescal District | KQED Arts
Where months ago the building’s blue facade advertised toys and car seats, now murals and slogans promote a world without incarceration. An image of a white dove ascends from brown hands, and a woman blows the word “Libertad” from a conch shell. Window banners mark local campaigns against police conferences and gang injunctions, and lettering above the 7,000-square-foot corner storefront’s entrance announces the new occupants’ intentions: “Building People Power.”

This will be the new national offices of Critical Resistance. The prison abolitionist group, cofounded 20 years ago by the activist and scholar Angela Davis, recently acquired the $3.3 million real estate through a young supporter who’s vowed to “radically redistribute” her inherited wealth, and is building offices and gathering space to share with allied groups. It’s an improbable fate for commercial property in an area synonymous with the city’s influx of young professionals.

And the unlikely deal required even more surprisingly interlocked interests: The Cabellos, who ran Baby World for decades, sold the building to Critical Resistance after rejecting offers from developers and corporate retailers (including one they blame for helping drive them out of business). They wanted to mitigate gentrification in North Oakland, and were endeared to the nonprofit’s politics by their harrowing experience of the United States-backed coup in their native Chile.
Oakland  baby  store  prison  abolition  donation 
9 weeks ago by Quercki
America's Forgotten Mass Imprisonment of Women Believed to Be Sexually Immoral - HISTORY
So, beginning in 1918, federal officials began pushing every state in the nation to pass a “model law,” which enabled officials to forcibly examine any person “reasonably suspected” of having an STI. Under this statute, those who tested positive for an STI could be held in detention for as long as it took to render him or her noninfectious. (On paper, the law was gender-neutral; in practice, it almost exclusively focused on regulating women and their bodies.)

READ MORE: How Ireland Turned 'Fallen Women' into Slaves

The Plan enjoyed complicity, if not outright support, in high places. New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia gave speeches lauding the Plan; then-California Governor Earl Warren personally spearheaded its enforcement in his state. In 1918, the attorney general personally sent a letter to every U.S. attorney in the country, assuring them this law was constitutional; he also sent a letter to every U.S. district judge, urging them not to interfere with its enforcement. During World War II, the American Civil Liberties Union not only failed to oppose the Plan; its founder, Roger Baldwin, sent a memorandum encouraging its local branches to cooperate with officials enforcing it.
STI  women  prison 
10 weeks ago by Quercki
Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2019 | Prison Policy Initiative
Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2019
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By Wendy Sawyer and Peter Wagner
March 19, 2019

Can it really be true that most people in jail are being held before trial? And how much of mass incarceration is a result of the war on drugs? These questions are harder to answer than you might think, because our country’s systems of confinement are so fragmented. The various government agencies involved in the justice system collect a lot of critical data, but it is not designed to help policymakers or the public understand what’s going on. As public support for criminal justice reform continues to build, however, it’s more important than ever that we get the facts straight and understand the big picture.

This report offers some much needed clarity by piecing together this country’s disparate systems of confinement. The American criminal justice system holds almost 2.3 million people in 1,719 state prisons, 109 federal prisons, 1,772 juvenile correctional facilities, 3,163 local jails, and 80 Indian Country jails as well as in military prisons, immigration detention facilities, civil commitment centers, state psychiatric hospitals, and prisons in the U.S. territories. This report provides a detailed look at where and why people are locked up in the U.S., and dispels some modern myths to focus attention on the real drivers of mass incarceration.
prison  jail  detention  data 
may 2019 by Quercki
Vanishing Violence: Tracking California’s remarkable collapse in youth crime
Possible reasons include a decline of lead poisoning in children, which reduced the toxic effects on young brains, and pivotal shifts in the street drug trade, including diminishing demand for crack cocaine and strict laws that sent dealers who might recruit young people away for decades.

In San Francisco, said Gascón, prosecutors moved away from incarcerating children for low-level offenses like truancy or petty theft as research showed that even one stint in juvenile hall led to a higher likelihood of recidivism.

“We recognized that actually institutionalizing people, especially young people for low-level offenses, actually has the reverse impact,” Gascón said. “It doesn’t deter them.”

The transition from a lock-’em-up mentality toward home- or community-based alterna
juvenile  deliquent  crime  prison  california  drop 
march 2019 by Quercki
After 17 years, Guantanamo still erodes U.S. commitment to the rule of law - The Washington Post
Peter Jan Honigsberg is professor of law at the University of San Francisco and founder and director of Witness to Guantanamo.

Jan. 11 marks the 17th anniversary of the opening of the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Seven hundred-and-eighty Muslim men and boys were held in the prison, many for a decade or longer, and nearly all without charges. Forty men still languish in Guantanamo. President Trump has stated that he has no interest in shuttering it. Instead, he has suggested that he would like to “load it up with some bad dudes.”

The Guantanamo detention center has not been on most people’s minds in the almost two decades since it opened. In fact, after President Barack Obama said on this second day in office that he would close the prison within one year, many people thought he did. He never fulfilled his promise.
2018  Guantanamo  prison 
january 2019 by Quercki
Detaining immigrants is big business / Boing Boing
how lucrative the business of detaining immigrant asylum-seekers in the United States has become.

“In 2018 alone, for-profit immigration detention was a nearly $1 billion industry underwritten by taxpayers and beset by problems that include suicide, minimal oversight, and what immigration advocates say uncomfortably resembles slave labor,” write the Beast's Spencer Ackerman and Adam Rawnsley.

Excerpt from '$800 Million in Taxpayer Money Went to Private Prisons Where Migrants Work for Pennies' --
immigration  ICE  private  prison  profit  taxes 
january 2019 by Quercki
Florida police chief gets 3 years in prison for framing 3 innocent Black men / Boing Boing
For framing innocent black men, a police chief in Florida will go to prison for three years. Impunity is the norm in America for cases like this, so the conviction is a big deal.

Raimundo Atesiano, the former police chief of Biscayne Park, Florida, stands convicted of directing his officers to frame innocent men in a series of unsolved burglaries. He now admits he was trying to please white community leaders, and manipulate property crimes statistics in the town of 3,000 residents.
Florida  police  prison  liar  fraud  false_accusation  Black 
november 2018 by Quercki
Colorado Abolishes Prison Slavery in Huge Win for Prisoners Rights | Fortune
Colorado voted overwhelmingly in favor of abolishing slavery and forced servitude as punishment for a crime, more than 150 years after the U.S. Constitution ratified the 13th Amendment.

Language still exists to allow forced servitude as punishment in more than a dozen state constitutions, including Nevada, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. Before voters went to the polls in Colorado on Tuesday, the state constitution included a passage that reads: “There shall never be in this state either slavery or involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.”

Last night, with 95% of Colorado counties reporting results, the anti-slavery measure Amendment A had the support of 65% of voters. It needed just 55% support to become law, the Denver Post reported.
slavery  prison  Colorado 
november 2018 by Quercki
Oakland organization celebrates 40 years of prison policy reform and legal advocacy | Oakland North
LSPC was originally founded as an organization for women who were in prison. “Legal Services for Prisoners with Children was originally the Network of Women in Prison,” said communications coordinator Mark Fujiwara. “The original focus was on a small population of women who were overlooked, underserved and unnoticed, women who had families. Over time the organization made the decision to help incarcerated people instead of just women.”

There were three guest speakers at the gala: Journalist Mark Hill of BET News, Vonya Quarles, the executive director of Starting Over Inc., and Michelle Alexander, author of the book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. Each spoke about the work they’re doing to advocate for alternatives to prison and the idea that it is not the only form of punishment that can be used.

Mark Hill, in particular, spoke about abolishing prisons and creating a new way for the justice system to respond when someone has done something wrong. “We have to get rid of this idea that justice means punishment. Our idea is that justice means punishment and for too many of us punishment means confinement.
prison  Oakland  justice  family  children 
october 2018 by Quercki
Half of all transgender prisoners are sex offenders or dangerous category A inmates | Fair Play For Women
Half of all transgender prisoners are sex offenders or dangerous category A inmates
2017.11.09 Nicola Williams 35 Views prisons, sex offences, transgender prisoners, transgender violence, transwomen, women's safety 25 min read

This is the report we published in October 2017. Since that time the MoJ have confirmed by FOI that 60 of the 125 transgender prisoners known to be in prison in England and Wales are convicted sex offenders.

Some claim that the figure of 125 trans prisoners is too low, because the MoJ doesn’t count prisoners on short sentences or people who don’t declare they are trans. They say 60 sex offenders does not represent half of the trans population in prison, its a much smaller fraction.

Nevertheless, if these 60 sex offenders all transferred into women’s prisons this would increase the total sex offender population by a further 50%. With 1 in 3 sex offenders in the women’s prison being male born. This is a problem that cannot be ignored.

Sex offending is overwhelming committed by males. There are 13,000 male sex offenders in prison compared to about 100 women. Almost 20% of male prisoners have committed sex offences. Our figures suggest that sex offending rates amongst trans prisoners is at least comparable to male rates. If we are to believe that trans sex offending was more like the female figures (of 3%) then there would have to be an extra 1875 ‘hidden’ transgender prisoners.

Some claim we don’t know the sex of these 60 trans sex offenders. Whilst true that the MOJ have not provided this data it is highly unlikely they are female-born. We know from other MOJ data obtained by Fair Play that 44 of the trans prisoners are in specialist prisons for male sex offenders (none here are female born). Although we can’t rule out a few of these 16 might be female-born sex offenders, it’s more likely that the remaining 16 are males distributed across the other male prisons, or males already in women’s prisons.
transgender  sexual_assault  prison 
september 2018 by Quercki
ECHIDNE OF THE SNAKES: More Men Are Raped in US Than Women?
In 2008, the general percentages of sexual assault per 1000 non-institutionalized persons over the age of 12 in the US were 0.3% for men and 1.3% for women.  However hard I try, I cannot make the magnitude ranking of those percentages flip by adding that prison-and-jail data with proper population weights. Because the female victimization rate inside prisons and jails is still higher than the male victimization rates.

Looking at the population inside prisons and jails does decrease the overall difference between female and male sexual assault victimization rates. That's because the male population of prisons and jails is much higher than the female population and because sexual assault is much more common in those institutional settings than in the general population.

But it doesn't flip the percentages.  The Daily Mail article is wrong: Self-reported rates of sexual assault are still considerably higher for women than for men.
rape  men  prison  statistics 
may 2018 by Quercki
Why Does Our Justice System Fight So Hard to Keep Innocent People Behind Bars? | The Nation
In his new book, Blind Injustice: A Former Prosecutor Exposes the Psychology and Politics of Wrongful Convictions, University of Cincinnati legal scholar Mark Godsey examines why that happens. Godsey was a former prosecutor who would later go on to co-found the Ohio Innocence Project, a chapter of the national organization. The book, which is in part a confessional, looks at how innocent people can become the victims of faulty eyewitness testimony, bad forensics, and a variety of blinding cognitive biases on the part of law-enforcement personnel, prosecutors, and judges, and why the system so tenaciously defends the status quo, even when it’s guilty of railroading innocent citizens.

With so much attention rightly focused on racial injustice in recent years, Godsey’s book offers another important piece of the puzzle. You can listen to my 25-minute discussion with Godsey in the player above, or read a transcript that’s been edited for length and clarity below.
justice  prison  fail 
march 2018 by Quercki
Women's Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2017 | Prison Policy Initiative
Women are disproportionately stuck in jails

A staggering number of women who are incarcerated are not even convicted: more than a quarter of women who are behind bars have not yet had a trial. Moreover, 60% of women in jail have not been convicted of a crime and are awaiting trial.

Avoiding pre-trial incarceration is uniquely challenging for women. The number of unconvicted women stuck in jail is surely not because courts are considering women, who are generally the primary caregivers of children, to be a flight risk. The far more likely answer is that incarcerated women, who have lower incomes than incarcerated men, have an even harder time affording cash bail. A previous study found that women who could not make bail had an annual median income of just $11,071. And among those women, Black women had a median annual income of only $9,083 (just 20% that of a white non-incarcerated man). When the typical $10,000 bail amounts to a full year’s income, it’s no wonder that women are stuck in jail awaiting trial.
prison  jail  women  statistics  ACLU 
october 2017 by Quercki
Art for Justice Fund
What will the Art for Justice Fund support?

Over the next five years (2017-2022), the Art for Justice Fund (A4JF) will support innovative advocacy and interventions aimed at safely cutting the prison population in states with the highest rates of incarceration, and strengthening the education and employment options for people leaving prison. In addition, the Fund will support selected artistic initiatives that enable artists to bear witness to the injustices of the system and speak to the potential of people enmeshed in it.

What will Art for Justice Fund not fund?

Individual social service and alternative to incarceration programs that do not engage policy reforms or structural change.
Individual college in-prison or re-entry programs, outside of a larger public/private initiative.
Academic research disconnected to specific policy or practice initiatives.
art  justice  racism  prison 
june 2017 by Quercki
2. Setting Up — Stanford Prison Experiment
Our study of prison life began, then, with an average group of healthy, intelligent, middle-class males. These boys were arbitrarily divided into two groups by a flip of the coin. Half were randomly assigned to be guards, the other to be prisoners. It is important to remember that at the beginning of our experiment there were no differences between boys assigned to be a prisoner and boys assigned to be a guard.
Stanford  prison  experiment  male  research 
march 2017 by Quercki
Zimbardo’s Infamous Prison Experiment: Where the Key Players Are Now | World of Psychology
Zimbardo’s wife, now a professor of psychology at the University of California at Berkeley, talked about the changes she witnessed in him as the study went on and how she finally persuaded him to end it.

At first Phil didn’t seem different. I didn’t see any change in him until I actually went down to the basement and saw the prison. I met one guard who seemed nice and sweet and charming, and then I saw him in the yard later and I thought, “Oh my God, what happened here?” I saw the prisoners being marched to go down to the men’s room. I was getting sick to my stomach, physically ill. I said, “I can’t watch this.” But no one else was having the same problem.

Phil came after me and said, “What’s the matter with you?” That’s when I had this feeling like, “I don’t know you. How can you not see this?” It felt like we were standing on two different cliffs across a chasm. If we had not been dating before then, if he were just another faculty member and this happened, I might have said, “I’m sorry, I’m out of here” and just left. But because this was someone I was growing to like a lot, I thought that I had to figure this out. So I kept at it. I fought back, and ended up having a huge argument with him. I don’t think we’ve ever had an argument quite like that since then.

I feared that if the study went on, he would become someone I no longer cared for, no longer loved, no longer respected. It’s an interesting question: Suppose he kept going, what would I have done? I honestly don’t know.
prison  experiment  Stanford  psychology 
march 2017 by Quercki
Afraid of Jail? Buy an Upgrade | The Marshall Project
allowing some defendants to avoid the region’s notoriously dangerous county jails has long rankled some in law enforcement who believe it runs counter to the spirit of equal justice.The region’s pay-to-stay jails took in nearly $7 million from the programs from 2011 through 2015, according to revenue figures provided by the cities. In attracting paying customers, some cities openly tout their facilities as safer, cleaner and with more modern amenities. The Santa Ana jail’s website, for example, notes that jail is a “highly disruptive experience” and promotes its jail as a place where criminals can serve their time in a “less intimidating environment.”“The whole criminal justice system is becoming more and more about: How much money do you have? Can you afford better attorneys? Can you afford to pay for a nicer place to stay?” said John Eum, a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department who investigated the hip-hop choreographer.
jail  prison  justice  felony  class 
march 2017 by Quercki
The Largest Prison Strike in History Is Being Ignored By Major Media. | We Are Change
Thousands of prisoners in over 24 states began a labor strike on September 9, the 45th anniversary of the Attica prison uprising, to demand better conditions and healthcare, the right to unionize and what one organizing group calls an “end to slavery in America.” But one would hardly know it watching major U.S. media, which has mostly ignored the largest prison labor strike in history. One week on, the New York Times, Washington Post, NBC News, ABC News, MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, and NPR have not covered the prison strikes at all.
In the same time period since the strike began, CNN has run stories on Clinton’s “body double,” the New York Times ran a piece on women getting buzzcuts and ABC News had an “exclusive trailer” for its parent corporation Disney’s upcoming film. There was certainly enough airtime and column inches to mention that workers had coordinated a national strike of unprecedented scale, but for these outlets the coverage has been nonexistent.
A handful of national outlets have covered the strike: The Nation, City Lab,Engadget, Money Watch, Buzzfeed, and as of Thursday, the Wall Street Journal, but every other major publication, network news and cable network has thus far been silent.
prison  strike  media  blackout 
september 2016 by Quercki
Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2016 | Prison Policy Initiative
There is a lot of interesting and valuable research out there, but varying definitions make it hard — for both people new to criminal justice and for experienced policy wonks — to get the big picture.

This report offers some much needed clarity by piecing together this country’s disparate systems of confinement. The American criminal justice system holds more than 2.3 million people in 1,719 state prisons, 102 federal prisons, 942 juvenile correctional facilities, 3,283 local jails, and 79 Indian Country jails as well as in military prisons, immigration detention facilities, civil commitment centers, and prisons in the U.S. territories. And we go deeper to provide further detail on why convicted and not convicted people are locked up in local jails.
prison  jail  graphs  data  *** 
march 2016 by Quercki
Whose fault is mass incarceration?
Here's the reality: if you want to fix mass incarceration, stop talking about Hillary and start talking about your local district attorney. If you want to fix mass incarceration but you don't know the name of your local district attorney—or you don't know when the primary is, or who is opposing them—you are making the biggest mistake you can make as a voter and as a responsible citizen. You cannot improve this problem if you don't know who is prosecuting cases in your county.

John Pfaff, a professor at Fordham focused on criminal justice, confirms that at least over the last 25 years, "the growth in prison population has been driven almost entirely by change in precisely one part of the criminal justice chain—the prosecutor’s decision to file a felony claim." That's a huge impact by a very rarely examined population. 

The lesson here is that accountability matters.
howto  prison  solution 
february 2016 by Quercki
Pay for Success in Recidivism - The Atlantic
Less than $1 out of every $100 of federal government spending is “backed by even the most basic evidence that the money is being spent wisely,” wrote Peter Orszag, the former head of the Office of Management and Budget, and John Bridgeland, the former director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, in a 2013 piece in The Atlantic.

In their article, Orszag and Bridgeland advocate for a “moneyball for government,” arguing that an era of fiscal scarcity should force Washington to become more results-oriented.

A new partnership among New York State, 40 private investors, and a nonprofit called the Center for Employment Opportunities seeks to apply this sort of thinking to an area of policy that has been particularly resistant to interventions: lowering the recidivism rate in an era of growing prison populations.
prison  re-entry  crime  solution  government  spending 
december 2015 by Quercki
Following Incarceration, Most Released Offenders Never Return to Prison
William Rhodes1
Gerald Gaes2
Jeremy Luallen1
Ryan Kling1
Tom Rich1
Michael Shively1
1Abt Associates, Inc., Cambridge, MA, USA
2Abt Associates, Inc., Crofton, MD, USA
William Rhodes, Abt Associates, Inc., 55 Wheeler Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA. Email:

Recent studies suggest that 50% of offenders released from state prisons return to prison within 3 to 5 years. In contrast, this article shows that roughly two of every three offenders who enter and exit prison will never return to prison. Using data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ newly revised National Corrections Reporting Program, we examine prison admissions and releases over a 13-year period in 17 states and over shorter periods in other states to determine the rate at which individual offenders return to prison. We distinguish between the traditional event-based sampling methods for studying recidivism and our alternative offender-based method, explaining how each is useful but how the two approaches answer different policy questions.
prison  statistics  recidivism 
november 2015 by Quercki
Why do so many prisoners end up back in prison? A new study says maybe they don’t.
In reality, the authors of the paper report, 2 out of 3 people who serve time in prison never come back, and only 11 percent come back multiple times. 

The reason for the shocking discrepancy between these new findings and those of the BJS, according to Abt’s William Rhodes, is that the BJS used a sample population in which repeat offenders were vastly overrepresented.

I called Rhodes to ask him about why this happened and how he and his co-authors avoided the same problem in their analysis. His explanation for why the recidivism problem is not nearly as bad as many of us have believed is below
prison  statistics  recidivism  criticalthinking 
november 2015 by Quercki
Santa Clara Co.: Sheriff's Office must navigate policy pitfalls as it mulls body cameras in jails - Inside Bay Area
The Oakland Police Department was the first large city in the country to deploy body cameras, introducing them in 2010. Documented uses of force plummeted in the city, from 1,945 instances the first year to 611 recorded in 2014.

But the agency also recently found itself embroiled in a widening national debate over how and when footage is released to the public, which currently has no presumptive right to it. In August, the department held a viewing of body-worn camera video for select media members regarding two officer-involved deaths, and critics alleged department officials hand-picked its audience and selected encounters favorable to police.

Officer Johnna Watson, an Oakland police spokeswoman, said those instances were highlighted because of the risk posed by the rumors of brutality.

"The stories were so egregious. It really rose to the level of a safety issue for officers and the community," Watson said, adding that department officials realize, in hindsight, that more media should have been invited to view them and the videos should have been quickly posted online.
police  sheriff  jail  prison  camera 
october 2015 by Quercki
30 Percent of California's Forest Firefighters Are Prisoners | Mother Jones
Why are prisoners fighting fires? For years, California's prison system has operated a number of "conservation camps," in which low-level felons in the state prison system volunteer to do manual labor outside, like clearing brush to prevent forest fires or fighting the fires themselves. A handful of other states have similar programs, but California's program is by far the largest, with roughly 4,000 participants. At its best, the program is a win-win situation: Inmates learn useful skills and spend time outside the normal confines of prison, and the collaboration with Cal Fire saves the state roughly $80 million a year.

For each day they work in the program, the inmates receive a two-day reduction from their sentences.
Participants make $2 per day in the program and $2 an hour when they're on a fire line. That may sound paltry, though it's not bad by prison standards: Many prison jobs bring in less than $1 per hour. In addition, for each day they work in the program, the inmates receive a two-day reduction from their sentences.
wildfire  prison  california 
september 2015 by Quercki
Speaking of the SCOTUS, 3 Strikes Law Struck Down. Private Prisons Haz a Sad
The Supreme Court on Friday struck down part of a federal law intended keep people convicted of repeated violent crimes in prison longer.
The justices ruled that a catchall phrase in the Armed Career Criminal Act defining what crimes make a defendant eligible for a longer prison term is too vague.

And even Scalia was right on this one.
Six justices agreed that the phrase is unconstitutional. Writing for the court, Justice Antonin Scalia said using "so shapeless a provision to condemn someone to prison for 15 years to life" violates the Constitution's guarantee of due process.
The Prison Industrial Complex must be weeping.
From Occupy Democrats...

Now, prosecutors across the country will have to figure out who qualifies to have their sentences reduced, a move that is probably making private prison CEOs weep in despair. The private prison industry has been a long-time supporter of harsh mandatory minimum sentences because that means higher profits for them. The two biggest private prison corporations–GEO and Corrections Corporation of America— make about $3 billion annually off of incarcerated Americans; in turn they spend millions of dollars on lobbying efforts.
The lawmakers in many states are contractually required to fill up the beds in private prisons; so it’s not too hard to figure out why the ACCA is such a popular sentence enhancer. Private prisons have even been known to sue state governments if they aren’t filed to capacity- making taxpayers foot the bill for low crime rates. It’s an absolute travesty and a key piece in the conservative war against minorities and the poor, perpetuating the cycle of poverty and destroying communities around the country. Today’s ruling means Congress will have to clarify the law and you can bet that private prison lobbyists are about to throw even more money at lawmakers, but hopefully it sounds a death knell for mass incarceration in our nation.
prison  three-strikes  supreme_court  good 
june 2015 by Quercki
How the Right got Religion on Justice | The Marshall Project
The most significant question is whether conservatives are prepared to face the cost of the remedies, from in-prison education and job training to more robust probationary supervision and drug and mental-health treatment. Joan Petersilia, a criminologist who teaches at the Stanford Law School, points to the last great American exercise in decarceration, half a century ago: President Kennedy’s Community Mental Health Act, which aimed to reduce by half the number of patients in state mental hospitals. The promised alternatives — hundreds of community care facilities — were never fully funded, and thousands of deeply troubled people were liberated into homelessness. The mentally ill now make up a substantial portion of inmates in state prisons and county jails.
Nolan agrees about the cost of alternatives: “In each of the Right on Crime states, we have insisted that a large part of the savings be put back into the system.” As for his home state, Nolan says, “we were not a part of that mess.” Nolan thinks that Governor Jerry Brown failed to plan adequate prison alternatives because “he just wanted to get the court off his back.” When conservatives did venture into California, last November, to help pass Proposition 47, the measure required that two-thirds of any money saved be funnelled into alternative correctional programs. Nolan said, “Conservatives have insisted that money be plowed into services because we know that just releasing prisoners or diverting them from prisons without services would increase crime.” That is true, but it tends to be relegated to the fine print in conservative reform literature. The headlines promise tremendous savings to taxpayers.
prison  reform  racism  mental  illness 
june 2015 by Quercki
A Great Injustice — The Message — Medium
In a report to investors in 2014, CCA wrote that “The demand for our facilities and services could be adversely affected by the relaxation of enforcement efforts, leniency in conviction or parole standards and sentencing practices or through the decriminalization of certain activities that are currently proscribed by our criminal laws.”

Private prisons often require an occupancy rate as a contract condition with states, making policies like Stop and Frisk necessary to fill obligatory cells.
prison  law  crime  police 
may 2015 by Quercki
Alice Goffman: How we're priming some kids for college — and others for prison | Talk Video |
I want you to imagine for a second what Chuck and Tim's lives would be like if they were living in a neighborhood where kids were going to college, not prison. A neighborhood like the one I got to grow up in. Okay, you might say. But Chuck and Tim, kids like them, they're committing crimes! Don't they deserve to be in prison? Don't they deserve to be living in fear of arrest? Well, my answer would be no. They don't. And certainly not for the same things that other young people with more privilege are doing with impunity. If Chuck had gone to my high school, that schoolyard fight would have ended there, as a schoolyard fight. It never would have become an aggravated assault case. Not a single kid that I went to college with has a criminal record right now. Not a single one. But can you imagine how many might have if the police had stopped those kids and searched their pockets for drugs as they walked to class? Or had raided their frat parties in the middle of the night?
Okay, you might say. But doesn't this high incarceration rate partly account for our really low crime rate? Crime is down. That's a good thing. Totally, that is a good thing. Crime is down. It dropped precipitously in the '90s and through the 2000s. But according to a committee of academics convened by the National Academy of Sciences last year, the relationship between our historically high incarceration rates and our low crime rate is pretty shaky. It turns out that the crime rate goes up and down irrespective of how many young people we send to prison.
We tend to think about justice in a pretty narrow way: good and bad, innocent and guilty. Injustice is about being wrongfully convicted. So if you're convicted of something you did do, you should be punished for it. There are innocent and guilty people, there are victims and there are perpetrators. Maybe we could think a little bit more broadly than that.
Right now, we're asking kids who live in the most disadvantaged neighborhoods, who have the least amount of family resources, who are attending the country's worst schools, who are facing the toughest time in the labor market, who are living in neighborhoods where violence is an everyday problem, we're asking these kids to walk the thinnest possible line -- to basically never do anything wrong.
racism  prison  youth  books_not_bars 
may 2015 by Quercki
Alameda County Jail Population Drops, Supervisors Consider Reducing Sheriff's Budget | East Bay Express
Tomorrow, at its 9:30 a.m. meeting, the board of supervisors will vote on a realignment budget proposal (agenda item 37.1) that would essentially maintain the same spending ratios that have been in place over the last several years. Out of a $34.6 million total budget, county officials have proposed allocating $18.5 million to the sheriff's office and $3.9 million to community services. You can read the full proposal here, and here's a summary of the proposed budget: 

click to enlarge

That proposal, however, is for 2014-15 — the fiscal year that is already more than half way over. And though this 2014-15 proposal maintains the relatively low rate of spending on community-based services, Supervisor Keith Carson has proposed shifting the funding priorities in 2015-16 to meet the 50 percent demands of the Jobs Not Jails coalition.

Carson's proposal, also on the agenda tomorrow (item 16.1), is to designate 50 percent of the 2015-16 budget to "community based organizations that work with the reentry population." If the board approves this proposal now, it will give officials several months to work out the details in advance of the 2015-16 budget, which would begin in July, Carson noted. You can read that full proposal here. 
JobsNotJails  Alameda  county  prison  budget  taxes 
march 2015 by Quercki
California Tells Court It Can't Release Inmates Early Because It Would Lose Cheap Prison Labor | ThinkProgress
The incentives of this wildfire and other labor programs are seemingly in conflict with the goal of reducing U.S. reliance on mass incarceration. But the federal judges overseeing this litigation were nonetheless sensitive to the state’s need for inmate firefighters. That’s why they ordered the state to offer 2-for-1 credits only to those many inmates who weren’t eligible for the wildfire program. This way, inmates who were eligible would still be incentivized to choose fighting wildfires, while those that weren’t could choose other rehabilitative work programs to reduce their sentence.
The Department of Corrections didn’t like this idea, either. It argued that offering 2-for-1 credits to any inmates who perform other prison labor would mean more minimum security inmates would be released earlier, and they wouldn’t have as large of a labor pool. They would still need to fill those jobs by drawing candidates who could otherwise work fighting wildfires, and would be “forced to draw down its fire camp population to fill these vital MSF [Minimum Support Facility] positions.” In other words, they didn’t want to have to hire full-time employees to perform any of the work that inmates are now performing.
The plaintiffs had this to say in response: “Defendants baldly assert that if the labor pool for their garage, garbage, and city park crews is reduced, then ‘CDCR would be forced to draw-down its fire camp population to fill these vital MSF positions.’ That is a red herring; Defendants would not be ‘forced’ to do anything. They could hire public employees to perform tasks like garbage collection, garage work and recycling … ”
In a short order Friday, the federal court seemingly agreed with this argument, ordering California to expand its 2-for-1 credits program.
labor  prison  california  slavery  racism  lawsuit 
november 2014 by Quercki
Forensic science is biased and inaccurate, but juries believe it and convict the innocent.
Behind the myriad technical defects of modern forensics lie two extremely basic scientific problems. The first is a pretty clear case of cognitive bias: A startling number of forensics analysts are told by prosecutors what they think the result of any given test will be. This isn’t mere prosecutorial mischief; analysts often ask for as much information about the case as possible—including the identity of the suspect—claiming it helps them know what to look for. Even the most upright analyst is liable to be subconsciously swayed when she already has a conclusion in mind. Yet few forensics labs follow the typical blind experiment model to eliminate bias. Instead, they reenact a small-scale version of Inception, in which analysts are unconsciously convinced of their conclusion before their experiment even begins.

The second flaw that plagues forensics is even more alarming: For decades, nobody knew how accurate forensic analyses were, or whether they were accurate at all. There’s no central agency that evaluates each test for precision or reliability before approving its use, and most were developed with barely a gesture toward the scientific method and with little input from the scientific community. Nor did the creators of forensics tests publish their methods in peer-reviewed scientific journals. And why should they? Without a government agency overseeing the field, forensic analysts had no incentive to subject their tests to stricter scrutiny. Groups such as the Innocence Project have continually put pressure on the Department of Justice—which almost certainly should have supervised crime labs from the start—to regulate forensics. But until recently, no agency has been willing to wade into the decentralized mess that hundreds of labs across the country had unintentionally created.
prison  bad  science  crime  evidence  CSI 
june 2014 by Quercki
Frontiers | Overview of Substance Use Disorders and Incarceration of African American Males | Forensic Psychiatry
Venkata K. Mukku1, Timothy G. Benson2†, Farzana Alam1, William D. Richie1* and Rahn K. Bailey1
1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Meharry Medical College School of Medicine, Nashville, TN, USA
2Department of Psychiatry, McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA, USA
Incarceration affects the lives of many African American men and often leads to poverty, ill health, violence, and a decreased quality of life. There has been an unprecedented increase in incarceration among African American males since 1970. In 2009, the incarceration rate among black males was 6.7 times that of white males and 2.6 times of Hispanic males. Substance abuse in African American males leads to higher mortality rates, high rates of alcohol-related problems, more likely to be victims of crimes, and HIV/AIDS. African Americans comprised only 14% of the U.S. population but comprised 38% of the jail population. The cost of incarcerating persons involved in substance related crimes has increased considerably over the past two decades in the U.S. A reduction in the incarceration rate for non-violent offences would save an estimated $17 billion per year. Substance use disorder makes the individual more prone to polysubstance use and leads to impulse control problems, selling drugs, and other crimes. The high rate of incarceration in U.S. may adversely affect health care, the economy of the country, and will become a burden on society. Implementation of good mental health care, treatment of addiction during and after incarceration will help to decrease the chances of reoffending. Therapeutic community programs with prison-based and specialized treatment facilities, cognitive behavioral therapy treatment for 91–180 days, and 12-step orientation with staff specialized in substance abuse can be helpful. It is essential for health care professionals to increase public awareness of substance abuse and find ways to decrease the high rates of incarceration.
African-American  prison  research 
june 2014 by Quercki
As Court Fees Rise, The Poor Are Paying The Price : NPR
Who's Too Poor To Pay?

In 1983, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Bearden v. Georgia that people can't be sent to jail simply for being too poor to pay fines and fees. The court said someone could be sentenced only if he or she had the money and had "willfully" refused to pay. But the justices did not define what that meant. The result is that it's often left to judges to make the difficult calculation: Who's too poor to pay. And who can, but didn't.

NPR found sweeping discrepancies across the country over how courts make those decisions. Some judges will tell an offender to give up their phone service, or quit smoking cigarettes and use the money instead to pay court debt.

Some judges and politicians — even ones with reputations for being hard on crime — are starting to question whether the use of fines and fees has gone too far. The new law in Colorado was passed on a near-unanimous vote of Republicans and Democrats.

Courts, too, have taken action to limit the use of fees. Last month, a U.S. district judge stopped the city of Montgomery, Ala., from collecting traffic fines from three defendants who went to jail for failure to pay fines and fees. And over the last two years, judges in Alabama and Georgia have ruled in other cases to limit fines and fees. Earlier this year, the Ohio State Supreme Court warned judges to stop putting people in jail simply because they're too poor to pay a fine.

A History Of Rising Fees

The roots of the growing practice to add more fines and fees can be dated back to the start of America's tough-on-crime policies, beginning with the War on Crime in the 1970s and then the War on Drugs in the 1980s. In 40 years, the number of people behind bars in the U.S. jumped 700 percent. Jails, prisons and courtrooms became overcrowded. And the costs of running them, according to the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, rose from $6 billion for states in 1980 to more than $67 billion a year in 2010.
poverty  poor  prison 
may 2014 by Quercki
Standing Our Ground: Reproductive Justice for Marissa Alexander
According to Barbara Bloom in her testimony before the Little Hoover Commission in 2004, approximately 70 percent of people in women’s prisons are mothers, and the majority of them were the primary caretakers of their children before they were sent to prison. The over-policing and over-criminalization of pregnant women and mothers is becoming a major issue in this country, and the safety of mothers is at stake.

From women dealing with substance abuse issues, to women living with HIV and AIDS, to women who are abused, incarceration rates among some of the most marginalized communities are increasing and even more harmful legislation is being enacted, causing more women to lose their freedom and thus lose their parental rights.

Incarcerated mothers are leaving behind children to be cared for by family members who are forced to deal with the emotional and financial strains from the addition to their lives, or these now parentless children are left to be raised by the state. But as the report Children of Incarcerated Parents, prepared by the Council on Crime and Justice, notes, children who have imprisoned parents are more likely to end up in the juvenile justice system and prison themselves, which furthers the dismantling of families across the country.

Unlike many of the women who are serving time, Alexander was given a second chance. Last November, due to national attention resulting from statewide protests to repeal the “stand your ground” law, Alexander was released on bond and granted a retrial.​
prison  violence  reproductive_freedom  children  Marissa_Alexander 
april 2014 by Quercki
Inside the Kafkaesque World of the US’s 'Little Guantánamos' | VICE United States
Prisoners describe the communication management units, or CMUs, as “Little Guantánamos.” In 2006, the Bureau of Prisons created two of these units to isolate and segregate specific prisoners, the majority of them convicted of crimes related to terrorism. The bureau secretly opened these units without informing the public and without allowing anyone an opportunity to comment on their creation, as required by law. By September 2009, about 70 percent of the CMU prisoners were Muslim, more than 1,000 to 1,200 percent more than the federal prison average of Muslim inmates.

In the CMUs, prisoners are subject to much stricter rules than in general population. They are limited to two 15-minute telephone calls per week, both scheduled and monitored. Visits are rarely permitted, and when family members are allowed to visit, they are banned from physical contact, limited to phone conversations between a plexiglass window. This differs from the general population, where prisoners can spend time with their visitors in the same room. To further the isolation, some of the CMU prisoners are held in solitary confinement, with only one hour out of their cells each day.
prison  muslim  Guantanamo 
march 2014 by Quercki
A Letter From Ray Jasper, Who Is About to Be Executed
Imagine you're a young white guy facing capital murder charges where you can receive the death penalty... the victim in the case is a black man... when you go to trial and step into the courtroom... the judge is a black man... the two State prosecutors seeking the death penalty on you... are also black men... you couldn't afford an attorney, so the Judge appointed you two defense lawyers who are also black men... you look in the jury box... there's 8 more black people and 4 hispanics... the only white person in the courtroom is you... How would you feel facing the death penalty? Do you believe you'll receive justice?

As outside of the box as that scene is, those were the exact circumstances of my trial. I was the only black person in the courtroom.

Again, I'm not playing the race card, but empathy is putting the shoe on the other foot.
prison  crime  race  murder  class 
march 2014 by Quercki
Daily Kos: The Return of the 19th Century
Return of Debtor Prisons

  The Supreme Court has made it clear in three different rulings that debtor prisons are unconstitutional. You can't throw someone in prison for not being able to pay a fine because that would mean treating the rich and the poor differently under the law.
   Yet state and local courts routinely ignore this constitutional right.

  Yet judges routinely jail people to make them pay fines even when they have no money to pay. As Ethan Bronner reported last week in The Times, minor offenders who cannot pay a fine or fee often find themselves in jail cells.
   And felony offenders who have completed their prison sentences are often sent back to jail when they cannot pay fees and fines they owe because they could not earn money while locked up.
 The federal government and many states abolished debtor prisons in the 1830's, but more than a third of U.S. states allow courts to throw poor people in jail for failure to pay even minor fines. These 15 states also have the highest incarcerations rates.
prison  privatization  Rachel_Maddow 
october 2013 by Quercki
The bill’s common name is “The California Liberty Preservation Act.” California’s legislation takes things a step further than other states, which have implemented nullification legislation with regard to the NDAA.

The bill specifically states:
It is the policy of this state to refuse to provide material support for or to participate in any way with the implementation within this state of any federal law that purports to authorize indefinite detention of a person within California. (emphasis added)

This meaning the legislation takes aim at not only the NDAA provision, but any federal law, which seeks to disregard one’s constitutional rights.
Bill_of_Rights  prison  Habeaus_Corpus 
october 2013 by Quercki
American Experience | Eyes on the Prize | Music | PBS
Singing helped the Freedom Riders in the face of great danger. Following one impromptu songwriter on the bus, the Freedom Riders sang as they entered Jackson, Mississippi:

I'm taking a ride on the Greyhound bus line,
I'm a riding the front seat to Jackson this time.
Hallelujah, I'm a-travelin',
Hallelujah, ain't it fine?
Hallelujah, I'm a-travelin'
Down Freedom's main line.

In Jackson, the Freedom Riders were arrested and jailed. Rider James Farmer: "The prison officials wanted us to stop singing, because they were afraid our spirit would become contagious and the other prisoners would become Freedom Riders as a result of our singing." The guards threatened to take away the mattresses -- their only luxury in a steel cell -- if they continued to sing.

As Farmer recalled, one Freedom Rider called for the guards. "He said, 'Come get my mattress. I'll keep my soul.' And everybody started singing, Ain't gonna let nobody turn me round, turn me round, turn me round...

"They came in and took the mattresses away and people sang as they had never sung before. We thought we were winning the battle; they were on the run."

For more on music and the movement, read comments by Bernice Johnson Reagon.

Music courtesy of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, folkways.
singing  freedom  prison  Occupy_Wall_Street  civil_rights 
july 2013 by Quercki
False Witness | Feature | Oakland, Berkeley & Bay Area News & Arts Coverage
Many civil rights lawyers and social scientists would like to make double-blind sequential lineups mandatory in California. However, inertia is a powerful force and many police agencies don't want to overhaul their long-standing practices based on lab studies that haven't been extensively tested in the real world.

Proponents of double-blind sequential lineups, however, often point to Santa Clara County's experience as proof that the procedure works. In 2002, all police agencies in the county implemented double-blind sequential lineups, and they have reported positive results ever since. "We are very pleased with the protocol, and I think our police chiefs are as well," said District Attorney Jeffrey Rosen. "This reform has worked well in the big departments and the small departments, in the urban departments and in the rural departments .... Everyone should want to do this because it is the best way to do things." 
justice  prison  false_accusation 
july 2013 by Quercki
State Department Shutters Office Working to Close Guantánamo -
FORT MEADE, Md. — The State Department on Monday reassigned Daniel Fried, the special envoy for closing the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and will not replace him, according to an internal personnel announcement. Mr. Fried’s office is being closed, and his former responsibilities will be “assumed” by the office of the department’s legal adviser, the notice said.

Times Topic: Guantánamo Bay Naval Base (Cuba)
The announcement that no senior official in President Obama’s second term will succeed Mr. Fried in working primarily on diplomatic issues pertaining to repatriating or resettling detainees appeared to signal that the administration does not currently see the closing of the prison as a realistic priority, despite repeated statements that it still intends to do so.

Mr. Fried will become the department’s coordinator for sanctions policy and will work on issues including Iran and Syria.

The announcement came as Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four other Guantánamo Bay detainees facing death penalty charges before a military tribunal over the Sept. 11 attacks made their first public appearance since October on Monday, sitting quietly in a high-security courtroom at the naval base in Cuba as pretrial hearings resumed. A closed-circuit feed of the proceedings was shown at Fort Meade.

Mr. Mohammed, with a red-dyed beard and a turban, wore a camouflage jacket over white garb. All five detainees spoke briefly in telling the judge, Col. James Pohl of the Army, that they understood their right not to attend future days of the hearing. Only one detainee, Walid bin Attash, spoke further, complaining through an interpreter that the defendants were not motivated to attend because “the prosecution does not want us to hear or understand or say anything.”
Guantanamo  constitution  9/11  prison  Bill_of_Rights 
january 2013 by Quercki
The Cost of the State’s Division of Juvenile Facilities: Is there incentive for California Counties to serve youth locally?
The Cost of the State’s Division of Juvenile Facilities:
Is there incentive for California Counties to serve youth locally?
The following report is part three of the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice’s (CJCJ) Juvenile Justice
Realignment Series. On February 28, 2011 Governor Jerry Brown revised his proposal for the elimination of the
Division of Juvenile Facilities (DJF).1 The $242 million allocation to California’s 58 counties remains intact
under the new proposal; however, it provides an option for counties to contract with the State for bed space.
Under this proposal, counties would be required to contract with the State on a yearly basis and pay the true cost
of over $200,000 per annum to house a youth at the State’s youth correctional facilities. Currently, California
counties pay a significantly smaller monthly fee to the State to house their juvenile justice involved youth. This
report demonstrates the radical disparity between State and local cost for use of the DJF to house juvenile
While it costs $224,712 per ward, per year to house youth in the DJF, counties contribute on a sliding scale
while the rest is paid for by California taxpayers.2 The scale is determined by offense category; Category 1
being the most severe offenses (e.g. murder, kidnapping) and Category 6 being the least severe offenses (e.g.
concealable firearms, possession of explosives).3
children  prison  Oakland  Alameda  statistics 
november 2012 by Quercki
Alameda County CASA
Alameda County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) recruits, trains and supports volunteers – people like you and me – to speak and act as advocates for the best interest of abused, neglected and abandoned children and youth in the juvenile courts.
Oakland  Alameda  prison  children  solutions 
november 2012 by Quercki
NDAA: The Biggest Election Issue No One's Talking About |
What Is the NDAA?
The primary role of the NDAA is to provide for the Defense Department's budget, which this year amounts to a cozy $662 billion. However, the NDAA also contains counterterrorism provisions in sections 1021 and 1022 that allow the federal government to imprison any person "who was part of or substantially supported al-Qaida, the Taliban or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners" until "the end of the hostilities."
Did that clear it up for you? No? See, that's part of the problem. The NDAA is so poorly defined that it becomes a bit of an inkblot test for its possible effect. But the thing is, when it comes to basic, constitutionally protected, fundamental freedoms, we typically don't take an "Ahh, y'know what I mean" approach. What we do know is, pursuant to the NDAA, American citizens on American soil can be jailed indefinitely without the right to legal counsel if suspected of being a terrorist. And as Senator Rand Paul has pointed out, there are already all sorts of things on the books that can make you a suspect, such as missing fingers or having more than a week's worth of food in your house.
NDAA  prison  Bill_of_Rights 
october 2012 by Quercki
Getting Paid 93 Cents a Day in America? Corporations Bring Back the 19th Century | Civil Liberties | AlterNet
The Corrections Corporation of America and G4S (formerly Wackenhut), the two largest prison corporations, sell inmate labor at subminimum wages to Fortune 500 corporations like Chevron, Bank of America, AT&T, and IBM.
prison  slavery  racism  corporations 
april 2012 by Quercki
Georgia To Use Cheap Prison Labor To Harvest Crops For Second Year In A Row | Addicting Info
When Georgia Republicans passed an anti-immigration law last year, Hispanic farm workers fled the state in droves, leaving farmers with no one left to pick the crops. Republicans said that they were creating new jobs for Americans by clearing out undocumented workers, but as it turns out, the law also scared many legal workers away as well and Americans aren’t crazy about working in the fields all day picking crops for little money. As a result, crops rotted, costing farm owners millions of dollars. Georgia Republicans then had an idea. Replace the field workers with dirt cheap prison labor.

According to 11 Alive News in Georgia, the state “is using transitional prison inmates to work in south Georgia’s Vidalia onion industry this spring. The program is an update of a failed program introduced in 2011, in which the state sent probationers into vegetable fields to help ease a labor shortage that followed the passage of a tough new immigration law. Growers complained that probationers were unreliable and slow compared to migrant workers who have historically worked in vegetable fields.”

Since the law passed in 2011, growers have complained about worker shortages and as a result of that shortage, crops have rotted. Rotting crops have caused strain on the food supply, causing some prices to rise. So while Republicans wage their race war against Hispanics, crucial fruits and vegetables are left to rot in the fields instead of being used to feed families who need them. And their idea to use prison labor is also a bad move. Republicans across the South are considering similar moves to replace union workers so that businesses can use cheap labor to make products and thus steal jobs held by Americans who earn good wages. Prison labor is a way for big business to find cheap labor here in the United States, and since the prison population is disproportionately African-American, it would basically be a return to slavery. And as the demand for cheap prison labor rises, Republicans will be pressured to keep the prison population high. That means more people will be sent to prison unnecessarily. It also means more Americans will lose their jobs. Why pay someone a fair living wage when businesses can pay pennies to a prisoner to do the same work? This is what we can expect if Republicans continue to be elected to office.
immigration  workers  prison  slavery  farm  food 
april 2012 by Quercki
Prisons Rethink Isolation, Saving Money, Lives and Sanity -
Kept in solitary confinement for up to 23 hours each day, allowed out only in shackles and escorted by guards, they were restless and angry — made more so by the excrement-smeared walls, the insects, the filthy food trays and the mentally ill inmates who screamed in the night, conditions that a judge had already ruled unacceptable.

So it was not really surprising when violence erupted in 2007: an inmate stabbed to death with a homemade spear that May; in June, a suicide; in July, another stabbing; in August, a prisoner killed by a member of a rival gang.

What was surprising was what happened next. Instead of tightening restrictions further, prison officials loosened them.

They allowed most inmates out of their cells for hours each day. They built a basketball court and a group dining area. They put rehabilitation programs in place and let prisoners work their way to greater privileges.

In response, the inmates became better behaved. Violence went down. The number of prisoners in isolation dropped to about 300 from more than 1,000. So many inmates were moved into the general population of other prisons that Unit 32 was closed in 2010, saving the state more than $5 million.
prison  torture  violence  solutions  Bradley_Manning 
march 2012 by Quercki
Why Mass Incarceration Really is the New Jim Crow
I spent this past New Year's Eve lying on the floor of a New England police station. Just hours before, I was enjoying sushi with my best friend Jamal; excitedly discussing his possible political appointment and promising career.

On our way home, we were pulled over for driving 37 mph in a 25 mph zone. Jamal was directed to perform a sobriety test although he was clearly not drunk and had explained that a back injury and current spasms would affect his performance. I got out of the car to speak with Jamal, but an officer whipped out his Taser and screamed at me to get back inside. While I argued with him, Jamal declined a breathalyzer test because he didn't believe there was cause for an arrest. Apparently, declining the breathalyzer results in a mandatory arrest, incarceration, and a one year driver's license suspension, but cops aren't required to notify drivers of these consequences. Jamal was handcuffed and thrown into the back of the police car.

Inimai Chettiar is an Advocacy & Policy counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union, where she serves as a national legislative counsel working to end mass incarceration in states across the country. She has published extensive scholarship on using economic analysis to advance progressive legal reform. She received a B.A. from Georgetown University and a J.D. from the University of Chicago School of Law.
Happy New Year: My best friend was now a statistic, part of the 1 in 3 Black men who have been behind bars in this country. During the 12 hours I waited at the jail for Jamal's arraignment, I thought about how he felt locked in a cell the size of my Manhattan bathroom and about the 2.3 million people in similar cells across the country at that very moment.

At the arraignment, I was not surprised that every driver pulled over the night before was black or brown. A recent Department of Justice study found "an alarming racial disparity" in police treatment of motorists of color. Black Americans are twice as likely to be arrested during a traffic stop and nearly four times as likely to experience the threat or use of force. Cops regularly pull over black men for minor traffic infractions and then arrest them, while they let white drivers drive on. What made Jamal more likely to be pulled over and arrested than other Americans was his misfortune at being a Black man driving at night in a rich white suburb.

This system of racial profiling and using prison as a one-size-fits-all solution is one of the reasons Black communities are and will remain economically worse off than the rest of the America. More Black men are imprisoned by this country than were ever enslaved. It's bad enough that the Great Recession has affected Black men more than every other demographic, but our ever expanding prison complex is further decimating the already bleak economic future of Black America.

Jamal will suffer the repercussions of this arrest for his entire life. Without a license, he had to quit his job. After employment applications asked for arrest records, his political appointment is now in danger, a job offer from state government was suspended, and several companies cancelled interviews.

This is the legacy we leave behind for our children. Mass incarceration has systemically created an underclass of Black (and increasingly brown) citizens with fewer rights and more bitter futures than the rest of America; it really is the new Jim Crow.
racism  prison 
february 2012 by Quercki
700 gather outside San Quentin for Occupy protest
(02-20) 15:42 PST San Quentin -- As many as 700 peaceful Occupy demonstrators gathered outside San Quentin State Prison this afternoon as part of a nationwide effort to call for prison reform.

"It's been an amazing day," said Crystal Bybee, a spokeswoman for the local Occupy 4 Prisoners group. "We've had hundreds of people out here reading messages from prisoners and speaking out about issues that are important to us."

Among the reforms protest organizers are calling for are elimination of solitary confinement, a ban on the death penalty and an end to California's "three-strikes" law. The protest was one of about 15 taking place at prisons across the country today.

San Quentin was placed on lockdown in anticipation of the protest, with prisoners being kept in their cells. On-ramps and off-ramps from Interstate 580 at East Francisco Boulevard were closed during the protest.

The demonstration, outside the prison's East Gate, ran from about noon to about 3:30 p.m. A spokesman for the Marin County Sheriff's Office described the protest as peaceful.

John Wildermuth is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer.
Occupy_Wall_Street  prison  2012 
february 2012 by Quercki
Quotes 24: native villiage dot org
"Before our white brothers came to civilize us we had no jails. Therefore we had no criminals. You can't have criminals without a jail. We had no locks or keys, and so we had no thieves. If a man was so poor that he had no horse, tipi or blanket, someone gave him these things. We were too uncivilized to set much value on personal belongings. We wanted to have things only in order to give them away. We had no money, and therefore a man's worth could not be measured by it. We had no written law, no attorneys or politicians, therefore we couldn't cheat. We really were in a bad way before the white man came, and I don't know how we manage to get along without the basic things which, we are told, are absolutely necessary to make a civilized society. But now visible progress is everywhere - we have jails all over the place and men in neck-ties who lie and cheat." Lame Deer - Ikce Wicasa
Native_American  prison  crime 
february 2012 by Quercki
n+1: Raise the Crime Rate
The US prison system doesn’t need reform—it needs to be abolished. Like slavery in the 19th century, and civil rights in the 20th century, prison abolition in the 21st century can only be accomplished by a popular movement as radical and uncompromising as the movement that set up the prison regime in the first place.

We can start by reevaluating our priorities. There’s no use saying that progressive goals aren’t in competition with one another. They very surely are, and criminals have lost that competition again and again, with tragic results. For decades, politicians from Nelson Rockefeller to Bill Clinton to Barack Obama have sold out criminals in order to win concessions on health care, abortion, gay rights, early education, progressive taxation, and any number of other worthy objectives. Prison abolitionists must now perform the reverse procedure—we must be ready to sacrifice the traditional progressive agenda on the altar of criminal justice. Morality, like politics, starts at the edge of Ockham’s razor: the bad can no longer be allowed to obscure the evil.
february 2012 by Quercki
8 Stories Buried By the Corporate Media That You Need to Know About | | AlterNet
1) Our Planet Saw the Largest Increase in Carbon Emissions Since the Industrial Revolution
2) Widespread Trafficking Of Iraqi Women And Girls Thanks To The Iraq War
3) More Iraq Veterans Committed Suicide Last Year Than Active-Duty Troops Died In Combat
4) Drone Strikes Kill Innocent Civilians, Not Just 'Militants'
5) Record Number Of US Kids Face Hunger and Homelessness
6) Prisoners Are People Too
7) US Deports 46,000 Parents, Kids Left Behind In Foster Care
8) FBI Teaches Agents That Muslims Are Violent Radicals
climatechange  trafficking  war  suicide  PTSD  homelessness  poverty  children  prison  immigration  homelandsecurity  FBI 
january 2012 by Quercki
Coming Soon: The Indefinite Detention of American Citizens
As Greenwald points out, this idea - that an American who commits treason can be detained without due process - is in direct defiance of Article III, Section III of the Constitution, which reads:

"No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court."
homelandsecurity  terrorism  constitution  prison  torture 
december 2011 by Quercki
Closure Of Guantanamo Detention Facilities | The White House
January 2009 The detention facilities at Guantánamo for individuals covered by this order shall be closed as soon as practicable, and no later than 1 year from the date of this order. If any individuals covered by this order remain in detention at Guantánamo at the time of closure of those detention facilities, they shall be returned to their home country, released, transferred to a third country, or transferred to another United States detention facility in a manner consistent with law and the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States.
Guantanamo  civil_rights  Constitution  amendments  prison  torture 
november 2011 by Quercki
(11) Joshua Witter's Photos
Ex-Mortgage CEO Sentenced to Prison for $3B Fraud. 40 months.
Homeless man gets 15 years for stealing $100.
equality  prison  racism  facebook 
october 2011 by Quercki
Prison Rape and the Government by David Kaiser and Lovisa Stannow | The New York Review of Books
These are a few of the reasons why prisoners fear reporting rape.
Fear of being written up and possibly losing good time.
Fear of retaliation.
Fear of feeling that no one will believe them.
Fear of feeling that no one really cares.
For all these reasons, a large majority of inmates who have been sexually abused by staff or by other inmates never report it.1 And corrections officials, with some brave exceptions, have historically taken advantage of this reluctance to downplay or even deny the problem. According to a recent report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), a branch of the Department of Justice, there were only 7,444 official allegations of sexual abuse in detention in 2008, and of those, only 931 were substantiated. These are absurdly low figures. But perhaps more shocking is that even when authorities confirmed that corrections staff had sexually abused inmates in their care, only 42 percent of those officers had their cases referred to prosecution; only 23 percent were arrested, and only 3 percent charged, indicted, or convicted. Fifteen percent were actually allowed to keep their jobs.
rape  prison  statistics 
march 2011 by Quercki
Exonerations in the U.S. 1989-2003
This is a report on a study of exonerations in the United States from 1989 through 2003. We discuss all exonerations that we have been able to locate that occurred in that fifteen-year period, and that resulted from investigations into the particular cases of the exonerated individuals. Overall, we found 328 exonerations, 316 men and 12 women;2 145 of them were cleared by DNA evidence, 183 by other means. With a handful of exceptions, they had been in prison for years. More than half had served terms of 10 years or more; 80% had been imprisoned for at least 5 years. As a group, they had spent more than 3400 years in prison for crimes for which they should never have been convicted – an average of more than ten years each.3
As we use the term, “exoneration” is an official act declaring a defendant not guilty of a crime for which he or she had previously been convicted. The exonerations we have studied occurred in four ways: (1) In 42 cases governors (or other appropriate executive officers) issued pardons based on evidence of the defendants’ innocence. (2) In 254 cases criminal charges were dismissed by courts after new evidence of innocence emerged, such as DNA. (3) In 28 cases the defendants were acquitted at a retrial on the basis of evidence that they had no role in the crimes for which they were originallyconvicted.4 (4)In4cases,statesposthumouslyacknowledgedtheinnocenceofdefendants
rape  murder  witch  satanic_abuse  pedophilia  prison 
february 2011 by Quercki
Obama's Liberty Problem: Why Indefinite Detention by Executive Order Should Scare the Hell Out of People | | AlterNet
So to use the analogy from Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, this is really a story about how a very small slice of people have received the golden ticket in their chocolate bars, which has catapulted them into a world of great riches. While this is taking place and it is quite distinctively American, we argue that it is closely linked to policy and politics that have very negative consequences for the broad middle class.
Guantanamo  prison  freedom  Habeaus_Corpus  Obama 
december 2010 by Quercki
Sexual Abuse of Female Inmates in Oklahoma : The Curvature
First, there’s the obvious issue of the abuse itself. There’s sexual violence being perpetrated by jailers, and sadly and outrageously, it’s hardly a freak occurrence. There’s, specifically, sexual violence being committed against women with disabilities, who are sitting at the intersection of at least two extreme vulnerabilities to such violence (as PWD and inmates). There’s harassment, blackmail and death threats. And lastly, there’s the denial of needed medical treatment.

Secondly, we’ve got the set of conditions that makes this kind of abuse possible: extreme power coupled with no accountability. These jailers more or less control inmates’ every move. They have a huge amount of access to inmates in isolated spaces. And those overseeing them apparently don’t care about whether or not they abuse that power with horrific acts of violence.
rape  prison 
july 2009 by Quercki
Womanist Musings
Rape In Prison Should Not Be Part Of The Punishment
prison  rape 
june 2009 by Quercki
You can look pretty long and hard at conservatives and you won’t find much that fulfills these requirements for avoiding eternal damnation. The hungry, the sick, the ill clothed, the alien, the prisoner. There is no way to square conservatives actions on nutrition programs, universal healthcare, immigration and certainly not on prison policy. Conservatives consistently talk about and treat “the least of these”, no less than the people who Jesus claims as “members of my family”, of being part of his very being, as if they were human dross.

They never tire of condemning other people to eternal damnation citing “Jesus Christ” as their authority. But in this one passage we’ve got absolute proof that they are lying. Eternal damnation, you’d think that if they really believed that their policies would avoid that possibility. And notice, not a single mention of abortion, gay sex, contraception of wealth redistribution as mortal sin.
christianity  healthcare  imigration  prison  prop8 
november 2008 by Quercki
Supreme Court decision re Habeaus Corpus for Guantanamo prisoners. complete text.
Habeaus_Corpus  supreme_court  prison  civil_rights 
june 2008 by Quercki

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