ACTION PROTESTS AROUND THE WORLD RESPOND TO ASSAULT ON PALESTINE

world-gaza-genocide-pay-attentionphotocredit:palestinerose

Take action: Protests around the world respond to assault on Palestine

Protests are being organized in cities around the world to respond to the ongoing assault on Palestine and the Palestinian people, including the murders of Palestinians (including 16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khdeir, murdered brutally by Israeli settlers), the bombing of Gaza and the killing of over 1800 Palestinians by occupation forces, the mass arrests of over 1900, and the raids, attacks, tear-gassing, invasions and closure that Palestinians are being subjected to. If a rally you know of is not listed, please use this form or email samidoun@samidoun.ca to have it posted!

List your protest here

Upcoming protests (prior protests moved below upcoming events):

Amiens, France
Saturday, August 9
3:00 PM
Gare d’Amiens

Bordeaux, France
Saturday, August 9
3:00 PM
La Victoire
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1441012499519868/

Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain
Saturday, August 9
12:00 PM
Guggenheim

http://samidoun.ca/2014/07/take-action-protests-around-the-world-respond-to-assault-on-palestine/

Cyntoia Brown: a Heart Breaking Tragedy. MISERICORDIA for CYNTHOIA

    I would never, never Name a child a KILLER!

LIFE SENTENCES FOR JUVENILES …(?)

Cyntoia Brown

 

In 2004, Cyntoia Brown was arrested for murder. There was no question that a 43-year-old man is dead and that she killed him. What mystified filmmaker Daniel Birman was just how common violence among youth is, and just how rarely we stop to question our assumptions about it. He wondered in this case what led a girl — who grew up in a reasonable home environment — to this tragic end?Me Facing Life: Cyntoia’s Story explores Cyntoia’s history and her future. Without attempting to excuse her crime as youthful indiscretion nor to vilify her as an example of a generation gone off the rails, Birman simply follows Cyntoia through six years of her life after the crime, and searches for answers to persistent questions.The camera first glimpses Cyntoia the week of her arrest at age 16 and follows her for nearly six years. Along the way, nationally renowned juvenile forensic psychiatrist, Dr. William Bernet from Vanderbilt University, assesses her situation. We meet Ellenette Brown, Cyntoia’s adoptive mother who talks about the young girl’s early years. Georgina Mitchell, Cyntoia’s biological mother, meets her for the first time since she gave her up for adoption 14 years earlier. When we meet Cyntoia’s maternal grandmother, Joan Warren, some patterns begin to come into sharp focus.Cyntoia wrestles with her fate. She is stunningly articulate, and spends the time to put the pieces of this puzzle together with us. Cyntoia’s pre-prison lifestyle was nearly indistinguishable from her mother’s at the same age. History — seemingly predestined by biology and circumstance — repeats itself through each generation in this family.Cyntoia is tried as an adult, and the cameras are there when she is convicted and sentenced to life at the Tennessee Prison for Women. After the verdict, Cyntoia calls her mom to tell her the news.In the end, we catch up with Cyntoia as she is adjusting to prison, and struggling with her identity and hope for her future.

With 80.000 Prisoners in Solitary Confinement, the U.S. Holds More People inSegregation Than Other Countries Have In Their Entire Prison Systems

Root Of Evilblog-stopsoltry-iachr-500x280-v01Solitary Confinement Misused In Pennsylvania Prison: Feds
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/01/feds-say-pa-prison-misuse_n_3372512.html

Check out this great video I am watching over at
http://huff.to/ZmSqQI VIDEO

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A federal civil rights investigation has concluded that a state prison in western Pennsylvania kept inmates with serious mental illness in solitary confinement for months or even years at a time.

The State Correctional Institution at Cresson violated the constitutional rights of inmates with mental illness and intellectual disabilities by keeping them in their cells 22 to 23 hours a day, the U.S. Justice Department said Friday. It said the prison used solitary confinement as a means of warehousing mentally ill inmates because of serious deficiencies in its mental health program.

The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections plans to close Cresson, but the Justice Department said the misuse of solitary confinement could extend to prisons statewide. The department is expanding its probe to include all state prisons.

The administration of first-term GOP Gov. Tom Corbett said it will review the findings and continue to cooperate with the Justice Department probe.

Corbett’s Corrections secretary, John Wetzel, identified mental health as an area needing improvement early in the governor’s tenure, and has been working on improvements, Department of Corrections spokeswoman Susan McNaughton said Friday night.

Cresson’s misuse of solitary caused mental strain, depression, psychosis, self-mutilation and suicide, the investigation found. Cresson also denied the prisoners basic necessities and used excessive force, the federal agency said.

“We found that Cresson often permitted its prisoners with serious mental illness or intellectual disabilities to simply languish, decompensate, and harm themselves in solitary confinement for months or years on end under harsh conditions in violation of the Constitution,” Roy L. Austin Jr., deputy assistant attorney general for civil rights, said in a statement.

The Justice Department said Wetzel and his staff are cooperating fully with the probe and have been receptive to the agency’s concerns.

McNaughton said the staff has been trained in crisis intervention for mentally ill offenders, and that a new policy will place seriously mentally ill inmates in treatment when they first enter the system, among other improvements.

“Systemic improvements do not and cannot occur overnight, but we have a better system today than we did a year ago, and we are confident we will have a better system next year than we do today,” McNaughton said via email.

.

12-year old little girl hangs herself after being ciberbullied by classmates

trauerkerze

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May 24, 2013

12-Year-Old Girl Hangs Herself After Being Cyberbullied By Classmates

See on Scoop.it – up2-21

Gabrielle Molina, 12, hanged herself in her Queens, New York home after being viciously cyber-bullied by her middle school classmates, reports the New York Post.

The pre-teen was found hanging by a belt from a ceiling fan, according to police.

See on newsone.com

MISTAKEs

Mistakes

See on Scoop.it – up2-21 thank You!

When you are on top of the world, everyone wants to be your friend, and everyone wants to ride
the train until you make an error in judgment, or make a mistake, then you find out who your
real friends are. Something that has always stirred my insides, is how quickly people will
rush to judgment of others, without knowing all the facts, or hearing all sides of an argument.

When I look at a blog, or news website, I like to look at the comments being made by individuals,
in regards to a certain subject that piques my interest. I quit looking at many blogs, simply
because much of the information given is worse than a gossip column, and many comments made by
people in regards to blogs, and some news articles are poorly worded, incoherant tirades, that
have no meaning,or bearing. Everytime I look online at some article about some kid, who has been
thrown in jail over some act, I am appalled at the sheer negativity, of a large portion of those
comments being made. Don’t get me wrong, there will be a few positive one’s being made, but most
of them will be bad, and what is troublesome, is many individuals making the comments don’t know
jack about it, and are just making an off-the-cuff remark, without considering anything. Since
I have had the pleasure of reading Damian Echols book “Life after Death” I fully agree with him
in regards to what he has to say about hate mail, and or negative online comments. I quote from
the book “Hate mail comes from people who haven’t actually stopped to learn the facts of my case
and never get past the initial knee-jerk reaction. Most people who spew hatred aren’t very intelligent
or motivated. They tend to be lazy. They never take the time to research a case.” I myself have been
subject to first hand to some of these gossip column tirads, and so have all kids in the court system,
including James Prindle and Blade Reed.

James Prindle received a 22 year prison sentence, for a crime he didn’t commit. Blade Reed received a 30
year sentence, for his crime, was only 14 when sentenced as an adult, and was never in any trouble
before.

To these individuals who spew hatred,or don’t know heads or tails of what they are commenting on, I
say this. You have to experience something for yourself, or you’ll never comprehend it.

If they did, there would be many more second chances, and compassion. Unless your child, best friend,
or someone very close to you experiences it, you will never know what it is like. Your feelings
will never be the same.

Thank You

Australia´s Aboriginal Children – The World´s Highest Suicide Rate

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Australia’s Aboriginal children – The world’s highest suicide rate
6032013

by Gerry Georgatos

I reblogged this article from (THANK YOU):

http://lateralloveaustralia.com/2013/03/06/australias-aboriginal-children-the-worlds-highest-suicide-rate/

February 27th, 2013

Photo – Brian Cassey

2012’s total spend on Aboriginal communities reached $25 billion yet Australia’s Aboriginal youth suicide rates remain high – cruelly disproportionate to the rest of the Australian population.

This horror is played out the world over for Indigenous peoples but Australia’s Aboriginal peoples are at the top of this tragic list.

In 2011 the United Nations State of Indigenous Peoples report found that the World’s Indigenous peoples made up one-third of the world’s poorest peoples.

Some of the reports alarming statistics include, “In the United States, a Native American is 600 times more likely to contract tuberculosis and 62 per cent more likely to commit suicide than the general population. In Australia, an Indigenous child can expect to die 20 years earlier than his non-native compatriot. The life expectancy gap is also 20 years in Nepal, while in Guatemala it is 13 years and in New Zealand it is 11. In parts of Ecuador, indigenous people have 30 times greater risk of throat cancer than the national average. Suicide rates of indigenous peoples, particularly among youth, are considerably higher in many countries, for example, up to 11 times the national average for the Inuit in Canada.”

The Stringer has visited Aboriginal communities throughout north-western Australia –visiting the towns and communities with the worst suicide rates. The despair is evident throughout these communities.

In the Kimberley region – Western Australia’s tourist mecca, the Aboriginal homelessness rate is sky high – and in some of its towns the suicide rates are up to 100 times the national average.

In the Kimberley last year 40 young Aboriginal people took their lives.

Six of Mowanjum’s people took their lives – Mowanjum’s population is just under 300.

The tragedy is endemic throughout Australia – Last year a Northern Territory Select Committee on Youth Suicides tabled its report into youth suicide and found the obvious; that there are significantly higher rates of Aboriginal suicides when compared to the national average.

Between 2001 and 2006, the Northern Territory suicide rate for those aged 15 to 24 was 3.5 times that in the rest of the nation. The report highlighted the young ages at which Aboriginal youth were committing suicide – and the rise of young Aboriginal women suiciding.

“The suicide rate for Indigenous Territorians is particularly disturbing, with 75 per cent of suicides of children from 2007 to 2011 in the Territory being Aboriginal,” stated the report.

“For too many of our youth there is not enough hope to protect them from the impulse to end their lives.”

The suicide rate doubled for youth between ages 10 and 17 – up from 18.8 per cent to 30.1 per cent per 100,000 – in contrast to non-Aboriginal youth suicides which dropped from 4.1 per cent to 2.6 per cent.

The report highlighted the underlying causes to Aboriginal youth suicide as mental illness, substance abuses and sexual abuse trauma but failed to highlight acute poverty and a suite of rights denied to this day to Aboriginal peoples in many of these troubled communities – What is missing in many of these communities are the pathways and access to opportunities and to the benefits of education and hard work which the rest of Australia does have access to. These communities continue to be neglected by State and Federal Government jurisdictions and their agencies – services and layers of community infrastructure have not been grafted into these communities and instead they are dilapidated third-world environments.

The report found the rate of suicide among Aboriginal girls had increased- with girls now up to 40 per cent of suicides of children under 17.

Well known educationalist and researcher, Kabi Kabi Elder and Central Queensland University Bundaberg campus coordinator Cheri Yavu-Kama-Harathunian said she is devastated by the rising disenfranchisement of Aboriginal youth, and the world’s highest suicide rate – of Australia’s Aboriginal children.

“Across my desk came a study that reported ‘the number of completed Indigenous suicides (in the Kimberley) last year exceeded the Australian Defence Force fatalities in Afghanistan.’ I cannot comprehend this statement. It is too much,” said Mrs Yavu-Kamu-Harathunian.

Mrs Yavu-Kamu-Harathunian has a Bachelors in Applied Sciences, Indigenous and Community Health, with a major in mental health and counselling, and a Masters in Criminal Justice.

She asks what motivates our young people to disconnect from themselves and what motivates “our brothers and sisters to disconnect from themselves and then move into that helpless hope of perhaps finding themselves in their sleep of death.”

Western Australian Aboriginal communities, challenged only by communities in the Northern Territory and Queensland, have the highest suicide rates not only in the nation but in the world. Mowanjum and Derby have the highest Aboriginal youth suicide rates in Australia.

Mowanjum Council chairman, Gary Umbagai despairs at the rising death toll. “There is something dreadfully wrong in our community but what can we do?”

In Mowanjum alone, in January a 20 year old took his life while inebriated, and in March a 44 year old retrenched Aboriginal mine worker hung himself. Weeks later a young girl was found in the bush having taken her life.

In the Kimberley during those 12 months there had been 25 suicides, 21 in and around Derby and Mowanjum. More than the Australian Defence Forces fatalities in Afghanistan during the same period.

Mrs Yavu-Kamu-Harathunian said, “All around this community (Mowanjum) there is so much progress, production, affluence. What is this progress, this production, this affluence stealing from our people?”

“To read about this painful crisis, to recognise the layers of disconnection, the internal anguish, community sorrow, pain, trauma, suffering is like a microcosm of the inherent legacy of pain, torment, and suffering that our people are immersed in.”

“This is a culturally collective crisis, and it impacts upon all of us who say we are First Nations peoples. To think that his tiny little community possibly has the highest rates of suicide not just in Australia but in the world is insanity,” she said.

“I remember a beautiful strong Aboriginal woman from up Bardi Country way, Wendy, I respectfully do not use her surname here, mid 1990s, who developed for the first time in my lifetime, a great understanding of alcohol and its use and abuse amongst our people.”

“I remember her words of warning then, that because of the use of alcohol amongst our people, alcohol users would begin using at a younger and younger age. Her gravest concern way back then was about the rise in suicide,” said Mrs Yavu-Kama-Harathunian.

“We are now picking up the pieces of our loved ones.”

“How many suicides, how many more deaths will it take to open our eyes, and open our ears to the silent screaming that is coming from the hearts, and souls of those who are gone, and of those who grieve and keep screaming ‘Help…’”

In NSW, with Australia’s largest Indigenous population, the youth suicide rate is one in 100,000. In the Northern Territory, the rate is 30 deaths in 100,000. In the Kimberley, with an Indigenous population at 15,000, the rate is at a rate of 1 death in 1,200, over 80 per 100,000.

Stephen Nulgitt is from the community of Mowanjum. He works with Mowanjum’s youth to deliver pride in their cultural identity despite the neglects of mainstream Australia towards them. Mr Nulgitt’s younger brother was one of those six who took their lives last year.

“He was a happy little boy. A beautiful smile.”

That night after another brother’s birthday party Darren was found hanging from a tree.

Such is the despair in Mowanjum that no-one can see who is suffering, who is next to die.

“When you hold a lot of things inside, and you hold things in and you don’t talk to anyone, it just builds up into depression and anger,” said Mr Nulgitt.

The tree Darren hung himself from was cut down.

“My uncle came with a chainsaw and just took it away, because it kept affecting my mother.”

The tragedies are not limited to the victims of suicides – for every suicide there many more suicide attempts and self-harms. In 2011 In nearby Derby there were more than 60 Aboriginal people from the town and nearby communities such as Mowanjum who were admitted into Derby Hospital after trying to hang themselves, who self-harmed and as a result of substance abuses.

Mowanjum’s Community Director Eddie Bear said every loss is felt right throughout the community. “Everybody feels hurt, we all go through it.”

He worries so much about Mowanjum’s youth that when his young grandson goes bush he’ll follow him.

“When he takes off into the scrub, I will follow him and have a talk with him, sit with him there and talk.”

“You got to live life. You are only a young bloke.”

Mowanjum and Derby are typical of many remote communities where many children are not in school – what they see around them is dejection and despair; joblessness and aimlessness among their young adults gives them little incentive to believe in a school education. What they see depicted on television about the affluent communities and cities around Australia is not what they see in their communities.

“Poverty is a big issue.”

Mr Bear often sees the communities youth out of school, including his grandson Angelo.

“I tell Angelo, come here, why are you not in school?”

Mowanjum Community CEO Steve Austin said more needs to be done by the Government.

“Family structures are breaking down and the government agencies are not here to help them.”

“We are doing what we can to employ our people.”

Government support is needed – but that support must include the full suite of funding that would rise communities out of third-word conditions. They do not need piecemeal funding or a Northern Territory Intervention – they certainly do not want Nanny State conditions.

Despite the deaths there is no effective suicide prevention strategy being funded and administered in the Kimberley. Mr Austin said that the West Australian Government last year spent $150 million on the Derby prison – an ‘Aboriginal prison’ – while applications by the organisation for a Youth Coordinator to work with Aboriginal youth have been rejected.

“We get no help,” said Mr Austin.

“It is as if the bureaucrats do not have any idea what we are up against. I wrote to Jenny Macklin (Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs) when we lost the CDEP (Commonwealth Development Employment Program) and we did not even get an acknowledgment letter.”

According to Mr Austin the CDEP cuts were followed by a spike in suicides. Aboriginal people employed fell from 140 to 30. A direct appeal to Mrs Macklin to have the funds restored “fell on deaf ears.”

Coordinator of the Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre (KALACC), Wes Morris, said there had been two key Coronial investigations into suicide, with one in 2008 after 22 deaths at Balgo and the other inquiry in 2011.

Photo – Gerry Georgatos

Balgo endured a youth suicide rate 89 times the State average.

The 2011 Coronial inquest into the string of deaths in Balgo heard that 43 per cent of children in the town missed school during 2010.

Solvent abuse and alcohol abuse were found as contributing stressors and factors and linked to domestic, sexual and public violence. Treatment centres for solvent abuse did not exist in some of these communities. Alcohol bans have been suggested as solutions.

Since 1979, more than 100 Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory have banned or restricted the consumption and proliferation of alcohol in their communities. Despite the alcohol dry communities most of them still continue impoverished and without adequate local job prospects and with low expectation values.

State Coroner Alastair Hope ripped into government agencies and the lack of provisions to disadvantaged communities.

http://thestringer.com.au/australias-aboriginal-children-the-worlds-highest-suicide-rate/#.UTbEH6JTC4I

‘Companionship or Death’: Jewish Engagement With the Injustice of Solitary Confinement

Cousin Uri and Savta Etka

Cousin Uri and Savta Etka (Photo credit: Whistling in the Dark)

 

‘Companionship or Death’: Jewish Engagement With the Injustice of Solitary Confinement

Talmud (Ta’anit 23a), “Either companionship or death.”

http://newvoices.org/2013/01/22/a-jewish-approach-to-prisoners/

Op-Ed, Opinion | January 22, 2013 by  

Advocates set up a mock solitary confinement cell during the first ever congressional hearing on the subject of solitary confinement [CC: Dolores Panales]

If community is a foundation of Jewish life, what does Judaism have to say about solitary confinement, the forcible separation of a person from the community? A few months ago I began an internship with Solitary Watch, an investigative news organization dedicated to reporting on solitary confinement. Once I got started, I became interested in learning more about the work the American Jewish community organizes around this issue. 

It turns out there is a lot of work being done, though it started quite recently. Beginning in 2012, T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights (recently renamed from Rabbis for Human Rights-North America), a coalition of 1,800 rabbis, and Uri L’Tzedek, a prominent liberal Modern Orthodox social justice organization, have both made the issue of solitary confinement a prominent part of their advocacy efforts.

Solitary confinement is a form of imprisonment where individuals are subjected to approximately 22-24 hours per day of isolated lockdown in tiny cells. Many Americans mistakenly believe that solitary confinement is used sparingly, only for the most dangerous or threatening prisoners. However, according the American Civil Liberties Union, there are more than 80,000 men, women and children currently in some sort of solitary confinement in United States prisons. Many have a mental illness or cognitive disability, and the majority has been placed there for nonviolent violations of prison rules.

The costs of solitary confinement are much higher than housing inmates in the general prison population. Mississippi recently reduced the number of prisoners it holds in solitary from 1,000 to about 150, and closed down their high-security Supermax unit. According to the ACLU, the reforms are saving Mississippi’s taxpayers approximately $8 million per year.

That economic perspective on solitary confinement is important, but there is a moral perspective to consider as well – and that is where the religious community can add a unique voice to the national conversation.

“We’re looking to provide some moral weight to the solitary confinement conversation by applying Jewish values,” said Shlomo Bolts, a prison consultant from Uri L’Tzedek.

“Sympathy for prisoners is not the most common sentiment amongst the American public. People do not want to be seen as weak or soft on crime,” said Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster, director of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights. “In the Torah however, it clearly says that if someone asks for forgiveness three times and you don’t forgive them, then the onus is on you. In Judaism we believe in repentance and that punishments don’t go on forever.”

While Uri L’Tzedek and T’ruah approach the issue of solitary confinement from a distinctly Jewish perspective, the scope of both groups’ work on the issue extends well beyond the Jewish community.

“We don’t want to make this a Jewish issue. We want to make it an American issue. As Americans we’re allowing for it to happen, we’re paying for it with our tax dollars,” said Kahn-Troster.

“We want to apply the Jewish values we learn to help all people,” said Bolts.

The two groups are part of a growing movement against solitary confinement. A feeling that the status quo is simply untenable is circulating in religious communities and among the politically engaged in general; change, while it may not be imminent, feels inevitable.

“This is an exciting time. We really do see ourselves as being a force to help pass legislation to abolish or reduce solitary confinement,” said Bolts.

In June, Senator Dick Durban (D-IL) led a congressional hearing on solitary confinement, the first in American history. The hearing focused on the human rights issues associated with isolation, the economic implications of solitary confinement and the psychological impact on inmates during and after their imprisonment.

Both T’ruah and Uri L’Tzedek contributed written testimony to the hearings. They also participated in the National Day of Fasting, an interfaith effort to raise awareness of the significance of the congressional hearing.

“Fasting serves as a way to repent and bear witness. For me to be at the congressional hearing, sitting with a group of religious leaders fasting was a very powerful experience,” said Rabbi Kahn-Troster.

Fasting also serves as an act of solidarity with prisoners in solitary confinement, for whom hunger strikes are often the only available form of protest.

“I think about the hunger strikers at Pelican Bay [a California Supermax facility]. They get poor food, and then they refuse to eat it in order to draw attention to their situation. When I fasted it really hit home what these people must be going through,” said Rabbi Kahn-Troster.

T’ruah and Uri L’Tzedek are also working with the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. Founded in 2006 and comprised of more than 300 religious organizations, the campaign organizes protests against different forms of torture employed by the U.S., including those used at sites like Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib.

Turning her organization’s focus toward solitary confinement now “seems like a natural outgrowth of our torture work,” said Rabbi Kahn-Troster.

Uri L’Tzedek and T’ruah now face the task of motivating American Jews to get more involved with the issue. Despite a history of involvement in a wide variety of social justice causes, the American Jewish community has generally avoided issues of prison reform.

“There is this misconception that Jews are somehow not incarcerated, yet Jews go to prison for the same reasons as everyone else,” said Chaplain Gary Friedman, chairman of Jewish Prisoner Services International, an organization that provides advocacy and spiritual services to Jewish prisoners and their families. Friedman estimates there are approximately 12,000-15,000 Jews in American prisons today, including some in solitary confinement.

Uri L’Tzedek’s approach to raising awareness is a mix of traditional advocacy combined with social science research led by the Tag Institute, a British-based think tank drive

‘Companionship or Death’: Jewish Engagement With the Injustice of Solitary Confinement

Op-Ed, Opinion | January 22, 2013 by | 0 Comments

Advocates set up a mock solitary confinement cell during the first ever congressional hearing on the subject of solitary confinement [CC: Dolores Panales]

If community is a foundation of Jewish life, what does Judaism have to say about solitary confinement, the forcible separation of a person from the community? A few months ago I began an internship with Solitary Watch, an investigative news organization dedicated to reporting on solitary confinement. Once I got started, I became interested in learning more about the work the American Jewish community organizes around this issue. 

It turns out there is a lot of work being done, though it started quite recently. Beginning in 2012, T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights (recently renamed from Rabbis for Human Rights-North America), a coalition of 1,800 rabbis, and Uri L’Tzedek, a prominent liberal Modern Orthodox social justice organization, have both made the issue of solitary confinement a prominent part of their advocacy efforts.

Solitary confinement is a form of imprisonment where individuals are subjected to approximately 22-24 hours per day of isolated lockdown in tiny cells. Many Americans mistakenly believe that solitary confinement is used sparingly, only for the most dangerous or threatening prisoners. However, according the American Civil Liberties Union, there are more than 80,000 men, women and children currently in some sort of solitary confinement in United States prisons. Many have a mental illness or cognitive disability, and the majority has been placed there for nonviolent violations of prison rules.

The costs of solitary confinement are much higher than housing inmates in the general prison population. Mississippi recently reduced the number of prisoners it holds in solitary from 1,000 to about 150, and closed down their high-security Supermax unit. According to the ACLU, the reforms are saving Mississippi’s taxpayers approximately $8 million per year.

That economic perspective on solitary confinement is important, but there is a moral perspective to consider as well – and that is where the religious community can add a unique voice to the national conversation.

“We’re looking to provide some moral weight to the solitary confinement conversation by applying Jewish values,” said Shlomo Bolts, a prison consultant from Uri L’Tzedek.

“Sympathy for prisoners is not the most common sentiment amongst the American public. People do not want to be seen as weak or soft on crime,” said Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster, director of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights. “In the Torah however, it clearly says that if someone asks for forgiveness three times and you don’t forgive them, then the onus is on you. In Judaism we believe in repentance and that punishments don’t go on forever.”

While Uri L’Tzedek and T’ruah approach the issue of solitary confinement from a distinctly Jewish perspective, the scope of both groups’ work on the issue extends well beyond the Jewish community.

“We don’t want to make this a Jewish issue. We want to make it an American issue. As Americans we’re allowing for it to happen, we’re paying for it with our tax dollars,” said Kahn-Troster.

“We want to apply the Jewish values we learn to help all people,” said Bolts.

The two groups are part of a growing movement against solitary confinement. A feeling that the status quo is simply untenable is circulating in religious communities and among the politically engaged in general; change, while it may not be imminent, feels inevitable.

“This is an exciting time. We really do see ourselves as being a force to help pass legislation to abolish or reduce solitary confinement,” said Bolts.

In June, Senator Dick Durban (D-IL) led a congressional hearing on solitary confinement, the first in American history. The hearing focused on the human rights issues associated with isolation, the economic implications of solitary confinement and the psychological impact on inmates during and after their imprisonment.

Both T’ruah and Uri L’Tzedek contributed written testimony to the hearings. They also participated in the National Day of Fasting, an interfaith effort to raise awareness of the significance of the congressional hearing.

“Fasting serves as a way to repent and bear witness. For me to be at the congressional hearing, sitting with a group of religious leaders fasting was a very powerful experience,” said Rabbi Kahn-Troster.

Fasting also serves as an act of solidarity with prisoners in solitary confinement, for whom hunger strikes are often the only available form of protest.

“I think about the hunger strikers at Pelican Bay [a California Supermax facility]. They get poor food, and then they refuse to eat it in order to draw attention to their situation. When I fasted it really hit home what these people must be going through,” said Rabbi Kahn-Troster.

T’ruah and Uri L’Tzedek are also working with the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. Founded in 2006 and comprised of more than 300 religious organizations, the campaign organizes protests against different forms of torture employed by the U.S., including those used at sites like Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib.

Turning her organization’s focus toward solitary confinement now “seems like a natural outgrowth of our torture work,” said Rabbi Kahn-Troster.

Uri L’Tzedek and T’ruah now face the task of motivating American Jews to get more involved with the issue. Despite a history of involvement in a wide variety of social justice causes, the American Jewish community has generally avoided issues of prison reform.

“There is this misconception that Jews are somehow not incarcerated, yet Jews go to prison for the same reasons as everyone else,” said Chaplain Gary Friedman, chairman of Jewish Prisoner Services International, an organization that provides advocacy and spiritual services to Jewish prisoners and their families. Friedman estimates there are approximately 12,000-15,000 Jews in American prisons today, including some in solitary confinement.

Uri L’Tzedek’s approach to raising awareness is a mix of traditional advocacy combined with social science research led by the Tag Institute, a British-based think tank driven by Jewish social values. Among other things, Tag’s research seeks to generatIf community is a foundation of Jewish life, what does Judaism have to say about solitary confinement, the forcible separation of a person from the community? A few months ago I began an internship with Solitary Watch, an investigative news organization dedicated to reporting on solitary confinement. Once I got started, I became interested in learning more about the work the American Jewish community organizes around this issue.

It turns out there is a lot of work being done, though it started quite recently. Beginning in 2012, T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights (recently renamed from Rabbis for Human Rights-North America), a coalition of 1,800 rabbis, and Uri L’Tzedek, a prominent liberal Modern Orthodox social justice organization, have both made the issue of solitary confinement a prominent part of their advocacy efforts.

Solitary confinement is a form of imprisonment where individuals are subjected to approximately 22-24 hours per day of isolated lockdown in tiny cells. Many Americans mistakenly believe that solitary confinement is used sparingly, only for the most dangerous or threatening prisoners. However, according the American Civil Liberties Union, there are more than 80,000 men, women and children currently in some sort of solitary confinement in United States prisons. Many have a mental illness or cognitive disability, and the majority has been placed there for nonviolent violations of prison rules.

The costs of solitary confinement are much higher than housing inmates in the general prison population. Mississippi recently reduced the number of prisoners it holds in solitary from 1,000 to about 150, and closed down their high-security Supermax unit. According to the ACLU, the reforms are saving Mississippi’s taxpayers approximately $8 million per year.

That economic perspective on solitary confinement is important, but there is a moral perspective to consider as well – and that is where the religious community can add a unique voice to the national conversation.

“We’re looking to provide some moral weight to the solitary confinement conversation by applying Jewish values,” said Shlomo Bolts, a prison consultant from Uri L’Tzedek.

“Sympathy for prisoners is not the most common sentiment amongst the American public. People do not want to be seen as weak or soft on crime,” said Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster, director of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights. “In the Torah however, it clearly says that if someone asks for forgiveness three times and you don’t forgive them, then the onus is on you. In Judaism we believe in repentance and that punishments don’t go on forever.”

While Uri L’Tzedek and T’ruah approach the issue of solitary confinement from a distinctly Jewish perspective, the scope of both groups’ work on the issue extends well beyond the Jewish community.

“We don’t want to make this a Jewish issue. We want to make it an American issue. As Americans we’re allowing for it to happen, we’re paying for it with our tax dollars,” said Kahn-Troster.

“We want to apply the Jewish values we learn to help all people,” said Bolts.

The two groups are part of a growing movement against solitary confinement. A feeling that the status quo is simply untenable is circulating in religious communities and among the politically engaged in general; change, while it may not be imminent, feels inevitable.

“This is an exciting time. We really do see ourselves as being a force to help pass legislation to abolish or reduce solitary confinement,” said Bolts.

In June, Senator Dick Durban (D-IL) led a congressional hearing on solitary confinement, the first in American history. The hearing focused on the human rights issues associated with isolation, the economic implications of solitary confinement and the psychological impact on inmates during and after their imprisonment.

Both T’ruah and Uri L’Tzedek contributed written testimony to the hearings. They also participated in the National Day of Fasting, an interfaith effort to raise awareness of the significance of the congressional hearing.

“Fasting serves as a way to repent and bear witness. For me to be at the congressional hearing, sitting with a group of religious leaders fasting was a very powerful experience,” said Rabbi Kahn-Troster.

Fasting also serves as an act of solidarity with prisoners in solitary confinement, for whom hunger strikes are often the only available form of protest.

“I think about the hunger strikers at Pelican Bay [a California Supermax facility]. They get poor food, and then they refuse to eat it in order to draw attention to their situation. When I fasted it really hit home what these people must be going through,” said Rabbi Kahn-Troster.

T’ruah and Uri L’Tzedek are also working with the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. Founded in 2006 and comprised of more than 300 religious organizations, the campaign organizes protests against different forms of torture employed by the U.S., including those used at sites like Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib.

Turning her organization’s focus toward solitary confinement now “seems like a natural outgrowth of our torture work,” said Rabbi Kahn-Troster.

Uri L’Tzedek and T’ruah now face the task of motivating American Jews to get more involved with the issue. Despite a history of involvement in a wide variety of social justice causes, the American Jewish community has generally avoided issues of prison reform.

“There is this misconception that Jews are somehow not incarcerated, yet Jews go to prison for the same reasons as everyone else,” said Chaplain Gary Friedman, chairman of Jewish Prisoner Services International, an organization that provides advocacy and spiritual services to Jewish prisoners and their families. Friedman estimates there are approximately 12,000-15,000 Jews in American prisons today, including some in solitary confinement.

Uri L’Tzedek’s approach to raising awareness is a mix of traditional advocacy combined with social science research led by the Tag Institute, a British-based think tank driven by Jewish social values. Among other things, Tag’s research seeks to generate quantitative survey data on the Jewish community’s perceptions of prisons and punitive punishment –and to find the most effective ways of organizing Jewish communities to advocate for humane alternatives to solitary confinement.

Meanwhile, T’ruah is mobilizing its network of 1,800 rabbis to raise the consciousness of members of their respective communities on the issue – and hopefully to inspire some activism about solitary confinement within their communities

As solitary confinement becomes an increasingly mainstream human rights issue, the work of the Jewish community is likely to grow and inspire further activism.

As it says in the TIf community is a foundation of Jewish life, what does Judaism have to say about solitary confinement, the forcible separation of a person from the community? A few months ago I began an internship with Solitary Watch, an investigative news organization dedicated to reporting on solitary confinement. Once I got started, I became interested in learning more about the work the American Jewish community organizes around this issue.

It turns out there is a lot of work being done, though it started quite recently. Beginning in 2012, T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights (recently renamed from Rabbis for Human Rights-North America), a coalition of 1,800 rabbis, and Uri L’Tzedek, a prominent liberal Modern Orthodox social justice organization, have both made the issue of solitary confinement a prominent part of their advocacy efforts.

Solitary confinement is a form of imprisonment where individuals are subjected to approximately 22-24 hours per day of isolated lockdown in tiny cells. Many Americans mistakenly believe that solitary confinement is used sparingly, only for the most dangerous or threatening prisoners. However, according the American Civil Liberties Union, there are more than 80,000 men, women and children currently in some sort of solitary confinement in United States prisons. Many have a mental illness or cognitive disability, and the majority has been placed there for nonviolent violations of prison rules.

The costs of solitary confinement are much higher than housing inmates in the general prison population. Mississippi recently reduced the number of prisoners it holds in solitary from 1,000 to about 150, and closed down their high-security Supermax unit. According to the ACLU, the reforms are saving Mississippi’s taxpayers approximately $8 million per year.

That economic perspective on solitary confinement is important, but there is a moral perspective to consider as well – and that is where the religious community can add a unique voice to the national conversation.

“We’re looking to provide some moral weight to the solitary confinement conversation by applying Jewish values,” said Shlomo Bolts, a prison consultant from Uri L’Tzedek.

“Sympathy for prisoners is not the most common sentiment amongst the American public. People do not want to be seen as weak or soft on crime,” said Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster, director of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights. “In the Torah however, it clearly says that if someone asks for forgiveness three times and you don’t forgive them, then the onus is on you. In Judaism we believe in repentance and that punishments don’t go on forever.”

While Uri L’Tzedek and T’ruah approach the issue of solitary confinement from a distinctly Jewish perspective, the scope of both groups’ work on the issue extends well beyond the Jewish community.

“We don’t want to make this a Jewish issue. We want to make it an American issue. As Americans we’re allowing for it to happen, we’re paying for it with our tax dollars,” said Kahn-Troster.

“We want to apply the Jewish values we learn to help all people,” said Bolts.

The two groups are part of a growing movement against solitary confinement. A feeling that the status quo is simply untenable is circulating in religious communities and among the politically engaged in general; change, while it may not be imminent, feels inevitable.

“This is an exciting time. We really do see ourselves as being a force to help pass legislation to abolish or reduce solitary confinement,” said Bolts.

In June, Senator Dick Durban (D-IL) led a congressional hearing on solitary confinement, the first in American history. The hearing focused on the human rights issues associated with isolation, the economic implications of solitary confinement and the psychological impact on inmates during and after their imprisonment.

Both T’ruah and Uri L’Tzedek contributed written testimony to the hearings. They also participated in the National Day of Fasting, an interfaith effort to raise awareness of the significance of the congressional hearing.

“Fasting serves as a way to repent and bear witness. For me to be at the congressional hearing, sitting with a group of religious leaders fasting was a very powerful experience,” said Rabbi Kahn-Troster.

Fasting also serves as an act of solidarity with prisoners in solitary confinement, for whom hunger strikes are often the only available form of protest.

“I think about the hunger strikers at Pelican Bay [a California Supermax facility]. They get poor food, and then they refuse to eat it in order to draw attention to their situation. When I fasted it really hit home what these people must be going through,” said Rabbi Kahn-Troster.

T’ruah and Uri L’Tzedek are also working with the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. Founded in 2006 and comprised of more than 300 religious organizations, the campaign organizes protests against different forms of torture employed by the U.S., including those used at sites like Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib.

Turning her organization’s focus toward solitary confinement now “seems like a natural outgrowth of our torture work,” said Rabbi Kahn-Troster.

Uri L’Tzedek and T’ruah now face the task of motivating American Jews to get more involved with the issue. Despite a history of involvement in a wide variety of social justice causes, the American Jewish community has generally avoided issues of prison reform.

“There is this misconception that Jews are somehow not incarcerated, yet Jews go to prison for the same reasons as everyone else,” said Chaplain Gary Friedman, chairman of Jewish Prisoner Services International, an organization that provides advocacy and spiritual services to Jewish prisoners and their families. Friedman estimates there are approximately 12,000-15,000 Jews in American prisons today, including some in solitary confinement.

Uri L’Tzedek’s approach to raising awareness is a mix of traditional advocacy combined with social science research led by the Tag Institute, a British-based think tank driven by Jewish social values. Among other things, Tag’s research seeks to generate quantitative survey data on the Jewish community’s perceptions of prisons and punitive punishment –and to find the most effective ways of organizing Jewish communities to advocate for humane alternatives to solitary confinement.

Meanwhttp://newvoices.org/2013/01/22/a-jewish-approach-to-prisoners/hhttp://newvoices.org/2013/01/22/a-jewish-approach-to-prisoners/ile, T’ruah is mobilizing its network of 1,800 rabbis to raise the consciousness of members of their respective communities on the issue – and hopefully to inspire some activism about solitary confinement within their communities

As solitary confinement becomes an increasingly mainstream human rights issue, the work of the Jewish community is likely to grow and inspire further activism.

As it says in the Talmud (Ta’anit 23a), “Either companionship or death.”

e quantitative survey data on the Jewish community’s perceptions of prisons and punitive punishment –and to find the most effective ways of organizing Jewish communities to advocate for humane alternatives to solitary confinement.

Meanwhile, T’ruah is mobilizing its network of 1,800 rabbis to raise the consciousness of members of their respective communities on the issue – and hopefully to inspire some activism about solitary confinement within their communities

As solitary confinement becomes an increasingly mainstream human rights issue, the work of the Jewish community is likely to grow and inspire further activism.

As it says in the Talmud (Ta’anit 23a), “Either companionship or death.”

n by Jewish social values. Among other things, Tag’s research seeks to generate quantitative survey data on the Jewish community’s perceptions of prisons and punitive punishment –and to find the most effective ways of organizing Jewish communities to advocate for humane alternatives to solitary confinement.

Meanwhile, T’ruah is mobilizing its network of 1,800 rabbis to raise the consciousness of members of their respective communities on the issue – and hopefully to inspire some activism about solitary confinement within their communities

As solitary confinement becomes an increasingly mainstream human rights issue, the work of the Jewish community is likely to grow and inspire further activism.

As it says in the Talmud (Ta’anit 23a), “Either companionship or death.”

marie

Solidarity With Marie In North Carolina

January 28, 2013
 

marie_mason

From Croatan Earth First!

A banner posted to the fence at the disputed CVS building that was squatted/occupied last year as a campaign of resisting corporate development; at the corner of Weaver St. and Greensboro St in Carrboro, NC on  Sunday January 27th.
This banner was posted the day after a local eco-prisoner letter writing night in celebration of Marie Mason’s birthday.

From her support page:

“January 26, 2012, is Marie Mason’s 51st birthday, which she is celebrating locked in a special control unit in the federal prison in Carswell, Texas. Marie is three years into her almost twenty-two year sentence.

Following a December call-out, events for Marie’s birthday have been held in countries around the world. They include Wellington, New Zealand; Haifa, Israel; Nijmegen, Netherlands; Vancouver, Canada; and Oakland, Baltimore, Chapel Hill, Bloomington, Minneapolis, New York City, Philadelphia, and Troy, New York in the United States. Supporters have sent birthday cards, held yoga classes, had afternoon tea, shown movies, and had cake to celebrate with her and let her know that she is neither alone nor forgotten.

If you were not able to attend one of these events, please send her a card and brighten her day. She loves to get mail from supporters, although she is limited in how many people she can write back. Please include a return address on the envelope, do not affix anything such as glitter or glue to your letters or cards, and be aware that letters which are not entirely in English may be significantly delayed in reaching her.

Marie Mason #04672-061
FMC Carswell
Federal Medical Center                                            MEDICAL CENTER
P.O. Box 27137
Fort Worth, TX 76127

for more info on supporting Marie go to www.supportmariemason.org

260 School Children Killed in Chicago in 3 Years — Where Are the Tears for Them? | Alternet

260 School Children Killed in Chicago in 3 Years — Where Are the Tears for Them? | Alternet.

comments_image

260 School Children Killed in Chicago in 3 Years — Where Are the Tears for Them?

Like President Obama and many others across the country, I too wiped away tears as I watched the horrifying news coverage of the tragic shootings in Newton, Conn. I immediately called my children who were still in school. I sat watching the television trying to fathom how I would respond if I got a call that a shooting had occurred at my children’s school. This brought on more tears. But for the parents of 20 children and six other families in Newton, it wasn’t an exercise; it was an excruciating reality. 

I then watched and listened to our President, and like parents around the world, the shooting had affected him emotionally as well. Twenty children gunned down. He struggled to hold back tears. 

It was then that my phone buzzed. I quickly grabbed it to see if it was one of my children calling back. But it wasn’t. It was a colleague in Chicago. I had emailed her the day before asking for research into one of the mentoring programs in the city’s schools for youth with the highest risk of being shot. 

She provided me with the information I was seeking. Then she included a P.S.: “What a devastating horrible day in CT. But frankly I wish people cared this much when it was children on the south and west sides of Chicago.”

I was snapped back into reality with the email. The tragedy in Newtown was truly horrific. But there is similar carnage carried out every day in the streets of America’s cities, especially in the President’s hometown of Chicago, where I work in Oakland, in Philadelphia, and many other cities across the nation. 

In 2010, nearly 700 Chicago school children were shot and 66 of them died. Last year, Mayor Rahm Emanuel attended a memorial for 260 school children who had been killed in just the previous three years. On several occasions in the past year, tens of people have been shot in a single weekend on the streets of the city. The worst three-day stretch saw 10 killed and 37 wounded in gun fire. But Google the term “Chicago weekend shootings” and the results are far too many deadly weekends to count. 

Oakland, Calif. has seen a huge increase in shootings. Last year, three small children were murdered in shootings. The youngest victim hadn’t yet turned 2. Oakland has become the first city in the country to have its police force taken over by a federal court. Because of a lack of resources, the city has one of the lowest police to resident ratios in the country. 

Gun violence in America is a pandemic, but there is no round-the-clock news coverage. No national address from the President with tears. No pledge for urgent change. 

Why? Is it because the children who die on the streets of America’s cities are black and brown? Is it because they are poor? What makes the victims of everyday inner-city gun violence expendable? 

Like the horrendous shooting in Newton, easy access to guns and the challenges of mental illness contribute to the violence on America’s streets. Like the calls for change in guns laws that have been heard following this massacre, so too do we need tighter gun control because of the death and destruction that touches the hearts of mourning mothers in American cities every day. 

Speaking at a prayer vigil in Newton, Obama said, “Can we honestly say that we’re doing enough to keep our children, all of them, safe from harm? The answer is no, we’re not doing enough. And we’ll have to change.”

Mr. President, this is so very true. But it is not only these one-day mass shootings that cause us to cry out for the need to change, but also the daily gun violence that plagues our cities. 

“We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true,” Obama said. “No single law, no set of laws, can eliminate evil or prevent every act, but that can’t be an excuse for inaction. Surely, we can do better than this.” 

We can do better in Chicago, in Oakland, in Philadelphia, and in every city in America. 

(David Muhammad is the former Chief Probation Officer of Alameda County in California and the former Deputy Commissioner of Probation in New York City. He now consults with philanthropic foundations on juvenile justice issues)

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Map Of Hope - Strassenhunde in Gefahr

Aktuelle Nachrichten - Informationen, Hintergründe, Fakten, Hilfsmöglichkeiten und Protestmöglichkeiten

HumansinShadow.wordpress.com

Humans in Shadow, Hidden from Public`s Eyesight

humansinshadow

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

TIME

Breaking News, Analysis, Politics, Blogs, News Photos, Video, Tech Reviews

annaschmitt10

A great WordPress.com site

My Blog Inprisonedwomen.wordpress.com

Women in Prisons are often Women in Shadow

Palestine Rose

I wish you Peace and Joy

Clinicalnews.org

Medical Science not Medical Industry

My Blog Straydogsworldwide

Straydogs - Dogs with no Rights - We help them!

SherayxWeblog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Chemtrails: The Exotic Weapon

Climate Change to Fear Most

ChildreninShadow.wordpress.com

"For two years I didn´t see the sun", a little boy in solitary cell said. Let the sun shine to all children - no solitary confinement any longer!

Schwein gehabt?

Pigs` Hidden Life In CAFOs - Hidden From Public´s Eyes: Here You´ll Learn more about these smart animals pigs are!

CBS San Francisco

News, Sports, Weather, Traffic and the Best of SF

2012: What's the 'real' truth?

To find out, I hold a finger in the breeze.

All Horses Go To Heaven

4 out of 5 dentists recommend this WordPress.com site

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Serbian Animals Voice (SAV)

a voice for the voiceless

Map Of Hope - Strassenhunde in Gefahr

Aktuelle Nachrichten - Informationen, Hintergründe, Fakten, Hilfsmöglichkeiten und Protestmöglichkeiten

HumansinShadow.wordpress.com

Humans in Shadow, Hidden from Public`s Eyesight

humansinshadow

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

TIME

Breaking News, Analysis, Politics, Blogs, News Photos, Video, Tech Reviews

annaschmitt10

A great WordPress.com site

My Blog Inprisonedwomen.wordpress.com

Women in Prisons are often Women in Shadow

Palestine Rose

I wish you Peace and Joy

Clinicalnews.org

Medical Science not Medical Industry

My Blog Straydogsworldwide

Straydogs - Dogs with no Rights - We help them!

SherayxWeblog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Chemtrails: The Exotic Weapon

Climate Change to Fear Most

ChildreninShadow.wordpress.com

"For two years I didn´t see the sun", a little boy in solitary cell said. Let the sun shine to all children - no solitary confinement any longer!

Schwein gehabt?

Pigs` Hidden Life In CAFOs - Hidden From Public´s Eyes: Here You´ll Learn more about these smart animals pigs are!

CBS San Francisco

News, Sports, Weather, Traffic and the Best of SF

2012: What's the 'real' truth?

To find out, I hold a finger in the breeze.

All Horses Go To Heaven

4 out of 5 dentists recommend this WordPress.com site

The Daily Boston Adventure

Entertaining tid bits from these, the waning days of Babylon

Serbian Animals Voice (SAV)

a voice for the voiceless

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