U.S. wakes up to its prison nightmare


curi56:

US incarceration timeline

US incarceration timeline (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    U.S. wakes up to its prison nightmare

Veröffentlicht am 20.08.2013

U.S. wakes up to its prison nightmare
For more What in the World, watch GPS, Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN
By Global Public Square staff
We were struck by a piece of news recently that is good for America, shows that our politicians are learning from their mistakes, and are actually cooperating with each other — on both sides of the aisle. Sounds too good to be true?
For many years, the United States has had a growing problem in its criminal justice system. As Global Public Square has pointed out before, the United States is number one in the world when it comes to incarceration — by far. In 2009, for example, for every 100,000 citizens, 760 Americans were in prison. That was five times the rate of incarceration in Britain, eight times the rate in Germany and South Korea, and 12 times the rate in Japan.
This trend began about 40 years ago. In 1970, state prisons had a combined total of 174,000 inmates. By 2009, they had 1.4 million — an eight-fold increase. And these correctional systems cost a lot of money of course — nearly $80 billion a year, more than the GDP of Croatia or Tunisia.
Well it seems that finally, common sense is prevailing. Attorney General Eric Holder made an important speech this week admitting that our prisons are overcrowded and costly. He specifically called for a reduction in mandatory sentences for low-level drug offenders.
It’s important the attorney general brought up drugs, because the numbers are startling. Federal prisons, the group Holder was referring to, account for about 14 percent of our total inmates. In these prisons, the most serious charge for nearly half of all inmates is a drug offence. Compare that with state prisons, where only 20 percent of the inmates have a drug offence as their most serious charge.
More from CNN: Shame of mandatory minimums
Now, here is what is interesting. The federal prison population has increased every single year since 1980. On the other hand, state prison populations have been declining in recent years, so much so that the overall number of inmates — state plus federal — is actually down in each of the past three years. And here is the best part: the declines encompass 28 states, red AND blue.
Part of these declines are because budgets were simply collapsing. But it could also be because of a growing acknowledgment that the war on drugs has failed. According to the pro-reform Drug Policy Alliance, the United States spends about $50 billion a year on the drug war — adding up to a trillion dollars in the last four decades — but there has been no real change in addiction rates.
Americans are not more prone to drugs or crime than citizens of other countries, so why should we put so many people in prison? Well, the good news is that the numbers are finally too large to ignore. The states are already acting. And Holder’s comments will add momentum to a growing chorus for reform.
The greatest challenge in pushing these numbers further down will be the prison lobby. Believe it or not, many of our prisons are run by private companies that then lobby state legislatures massively for bigger prisons, larger budgets, and of course more prisoners.
According to the non-profit Justice Policy Institute, the two largest private prison companies in America together generate revenues of $3 billion a year — paid by taxpayers, of course. These private prison companies also happen to be major donors to a number of state campaigns, lobbying for more resources.
If our politicians can take on the prison lobbies, there really is hope for America.
http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.c

Originally posted on up2xxi:

See on Scoop.itup2-21

U.S. wakes up to its prison nightmare For more What in the World, watch GPS, Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN By Global Public Square staff We were st…

See on www.youtube.com

View original

Sant´Egidio: City Council of West Hollywood as the join CitiesforLife to abolish the death penalty (Twitter)


Sant’Egidio DC@SantegidioDC                                6h

Honored to address the City Council of West Hollywood as they join @CitiesforLife to abolish the death penalty. pic.twitter.com/e0QapLiNSH

Number of Prisoners Age 55 and Older Rose Sharply Over The Past Decade


The [Justice] Short List 11-1-13

Posted by Richard Ross
StatePrisonAging-2-2

[Highlights from the week’s juvenile justice and justice related articles, videos and more that are worth your time.]

Can Theater Help Solve California’s Prison Overcrowding Crisis?

Allowing prisoners to express themselves is a successful tool in reducing recidivism–significant proof of the power of the arts, in every field of life. What viable argument exists against arts-in-corrections programs when participants get the chance to reflect on their actions and identities? One participant said, “I made a major transition. I got to express my emotions …. I made a real connection with the men here …. It’s made me a better man.”

READ MORE: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tim-robbins/california-prison-overcrowding_b_4176966.html?utm_hp_ref=crime&ir=Crime

Target Bans the Box

Now there is more to love about one of the nation’s largest employers, Target Corporation: they have banned the question of criminal history on preliminary job applications. This allows individuals to prove their qualifications without stigma of their criminal history blinding a potential employer from fairly assessing their skills.

READ MORE: http://takingnote.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/10/29/target-bans-the-box/?hp&rref=opinion&_r=2

State Spending on Prison Health Care is Exploding. Here’s Why.

In recent decades, mandatory minimums have led hundreds of thousands to be sentenced to multiple decades in prison. Our confinement facilities rampantly abuse solitary confinement to further punish the incarcerated, and the needs of America’s prisoners are neglected day in and day out. What do these practices end in? A rapidly rising amount of state expenditures going towards prison healthcare.

READ MORE: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2013/10/30/state-spending-on-prison-health-care-is-exploding-heres-why/

Illinois Prisoners Stage Hunger Strike for Books

Many people think that if they were behind bars, at the very least they’d be able to stay mentally stimulated by catching up on their reading. At the very least. Unfortunately, this is not the case at Illinois’ Woodford County Jail, where books have been banned from entering the facility for the last 6 weeks. An outraged public is taking to their smartphone and iPads, showing their protest with a hashtag: #right2read.

READ MORE: http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/the-stream/the-stream-officialblog/2013/10/29/illinois-prisonersstagehungerstrikeforbooks

In Texas Prisons, 14 People Have Died After Being Forced to Endure 120 Degree Heat: Woman sues Tex.Dep. …


In Texas Prisons, 14 People Have Died After Being Forced to Endure 120 Degree Heath

Woman sues Texas Department of Criminal Justice for inhumane prison temperatures.

October 18, 2013  |
please, read article here:

Fourteen people have died of heat stroke in Texas prisons since 2007, needless deaths the state could prevent with a few air-conditioners, a grieving mother claims in court.

Shackled & Chained: Mass Incarceration in Capitalist America


curi56:

English: Emmeline Pankhurst in prison dress

English: Emmeline Pankhurst in prison dress (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://

youtu.be/70VwUpb0HHI

 

This episode we were joined by activist and author, Eugene Puryear, to discuss his new book, “Shackled and Chained: Mass Incarceration in Capitalist America”. This book is a thorough examination of mass incarceration, its causes and consequences. Eugene Puryear examines the evolution of mass incarceration as a product of U.S. monopoly capitalism as well as bipartisan political allegiance to the system’s needs. In addition to detailing its historical origins, Puryear provides a detailed examination of the oppressive reality that reigns inside America’s prison system. This book is a must read for anyone interested in the “how” and “why” of mass incarceration as well as for those seeking a factual account of what it is truly like “inside.”

Seen here: http://socialawareness2013.wordpress.com/

Originally posted on Social Action:

This episode we were joined by activist and author, Eugene Puryear, to discuss his new book, “Shackled and Chained: Mass Incarceration in Capitalist America”. This book is a thorough examination of mass incarceration, its causes and consequences. Eugene Puryear examines the evolution of mass incarceration as a product of U.S. monopoly capitalism as well as bipartisan political allegiance to the system’s needs. In addition to detailing its historical origins, Puryear provides a detailed examination of the oppressive reality that reigns inside America’s prison system. This book is a must read for anyone interested in the “how” and “why” of mass incarceration as well as for those seeking a factual account of what it is truly like “inside.”

View original

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.

CURB: Raid the Budget for prison expansion? No Way?


Raid the Budget for prison expansion? No Way!

 

 

 

 

Rumors are swirling that Governor Brown is going to try to raid the state’s fragile budget surplus to fund hundreds of millions of dollars in prison expansion.

This is the worst possible scenario not just for prison reform in California – but for our schools, our roads, our hospitals, and our social services.  We absolutely cannot let this happen.

The only way to beat this is to get way out in front of it – if we do our job right, the proposal will never even see the light of day. So please tell your Assemblymember and State Senator now to pledge to vote against any new money for prison expansion, period.

Please, read more:

YOUNG KIDS HARD TIME


English: Parents walking town at night to help...

English: Parents walking town at night to help young kids from getting in trouble Svenska: Nattvandrare i Göteborg. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ze2Z9AQUf4jRhHDH6qhPNTl72eJkfbmt4t8yenImKBXEejxNn4ZJNZ2ss5Ku7Cxt
August 3, 2013

Young Kids, Hard Time

See on Scoop.it – up2-21

The YIA cellblock is home to 53 kids who are rarely permitted to leave the unit, due to the daSee on Scoop.itup2-21ngers posed by the adult prisoners j… (Kids livin’ in adult prison…

See on www.watchdocumentary.org

See on Scoop.itup2-21

 

Lives in the balance


Finnish prison guard

Finnish prison guard (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

June 7, 2013

Lives in the Balance While America�s Prison Profiteers Rake in Massive Profits

See on Scoop.it – up2-21

The massive growth in the prison population in the United States over the past four decades has been accompanied by the privatization of America’s prisons.

See on www.truth-out.org

William Van Poyck: A great Chance for him! Please, sign the Petition!


Will you please help save William Van Poyck? On the heels of new legislation in Florida to speed up executions, the governor has signed his death warrant. Billy was convicted under Florida’s felony-murder rule. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Bill’s lawyer wants to flood the Governor’s office with letters. He will send a form letter and can be modified by the individual. Is there anything you can do to help?

“It is both tragic and ironic that the state that sends the highest number of wrongfully convicted people to death row is considering speeding up executions,” said Mark Elliott, of the group Innocent on Death Row. “Speeding up executions virtually guarantees that innocent people will be executed.”.

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/628/191/633/save-billys-life/?cid=FB_TAF