Texas prosecutor to serve 10 days for innocent man´s 25-year imprisonment


Texas prosecutor to serve 10 days for innocent man‘s 25-year imprisonment

Ken Anderson, former prosecutor and state judge, won the 1987 conviction of Michael Morton for murder despite evidence
   Associated Press in Georgetown
Anderson accepted the plea deal in the same Williamson County courthouse where he later spent 11 years as a state judge. He resigned in September. Photo: AP

A former Texas prosecutor who won a conviction that sent an innocent man to prison for nearly 25 years agreed Friday to serve 10 days in jail and complete 500 hours of community service.

Ken Anderson also agreed to be disbarred and was fined $500 as part of a sweeping deal that was expected to end all criminal and civil cases against the embattled ex-district attorney, who presided over a tough-on-crime Texas county for 30 years.

Anderson faced up to 10 years in prison if convicted of tampering with evidence in the 1987 murder trial of Michael Morton, who wrongly spent nearly 25 years in prison…..

Read more, please: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/08/texas-prosecutor-ken-anderson-michael-morton-trial

US judge approves force-feeding California inmates

English: A suffragette on a hunger strike bein...
English: A suffragette on a hunger strike being forcibly fed with a nasal tube (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

US judge approves force-feeding California inmates
— Aug. 19 8:20 PM EDT

California Prisons Hunger Strike

SACRAMENTO, Calif.Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

Only some lines:

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A federal judge approved a request from California and federal officials on Monday to force-feed inmates if necessary as a statewide prison hunger strike entered its seventh week.

Officials say they fear for the welfare of nearly 70 inmates who have refused all prison-issued meals since the strike began July 8 over the holding of gang leaders and other violent inmates in solitary confinement that can last for decades….

Four prisons have the units: Pelican Bay in Crescent City, Corcoran, California Correctional Institution in Tehachapi and California State Prison-Sacramento. ….

The highest-ranking gang leaders are held in what is known as the “short corridor” at Pelican Bay. Four leaders of rival white supremacist, black and enemy Latino gangs have formed an alliance to promote the hunger strike in a bid to force an end to the isolation units….


“Suicide of California Hunger Strike …”


New post on Solitary Watch
Suicide of California Hunger Strike Participant Draws National Attention to a Broken System
by Sal Rodriguez

Billy Michael Sell, 32

Over the weekend, news came out that a hunger strike participant at California State Prison, Corcoran had committed suicide. Billy Michael Sell, 32, killed himself on July 22nd, two weeks after the launch of an on-going statewide hunger strike against long-term solitary confinement and related prison conditions. While the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) initially made a point of claiming that Sell was not on hunger strike at the time of his death, it confirmed last afternoon that Sell had been on strike from July 8th until July 21st while in the Security Housing Unit (SHU).The Kings County Coroner confirmed on Monday that Sell died as a result of hanging while in solitary confinement. Sell, unlike most California hunger strikers, was in the SHU since December 2007 for murdering his cellmate. Approximately 3,000 of the 4,500 men held in the SHU are there for alleged gang affiliation, and the remaining 1,500 are generally there for set terms for disciplinary infractions.

Courtesy Prisoner Express – http://www.prisonerexpress.org / Gary Fine, Assistant Director, Durland Alternatives Library, Cornell University
Artwork by Billy Sell. Courtesy Prisoner Express – http://www.prisonerexpress.org / Gary Fine, Assistant Director, Durland Alternatives Library, Cornell University
Sell, nicknamed “Guero” by those who knew him, had been incarcerated since 1999 on a life-sentence for attempted murder. Regardless of what one thinks about the conduct of people in prison, the suicide of prisoners and the desperation that has prompted three statewide California prison hunger strikes is indicative of a system in crisis. California remains under federal court supervision to ensure that California reduces its overcrowded prison system, delivers Constitutionally acceptable health services, and protects those diagnosed as mentally ill.In his review of the 34 suicides in CDCR facilities in 2011, Dr. Patterson found that:

24 of 34 (70.6%) committed suicide in single-cell status
20 of 34 (61.8%) had a history of suicidal behavior
30 of 34 (88.2 %) had a history of mental health treatment
9 of 34 (26.5%) committed suicide in Administrative Segregation
2 of 34 (5.9%) committed suicide in the Security Housing Unit
1 of 34 (2.9%) committed suicide on death row
5 of 34 (14.7%) suicides were discovered after the process of rigor mortis had begun, indicating 2-3 hours had passed before the individuals were discovered
25 of 34 (73.5%) cases showed significant indications of inadequate assessment, treatment, or intervention
Things were more or less the same in his review of the first 15 suicides in 2012:

9 of 15 (60%) committed suicide in single-cell status
9 of 34 (60%) had a history of suicidal behavior
11 of 15 (73.3 %) had a history of past mental health treatment
6 of 15 (40%) committed suicide in Administrative Segregation
1 of 15 (6.6%) committed suicide in the Security Housing Unit
3 of 15 (20%) suicides were discovered after the process of rigor mortis had begun, indicating 2-3 hours had passed before the individuals were discovered
13 of 15 (86.6%) cases showed significant indications of inadequate assessment, treatment, or intervention

Armando Cruz
Armando Cruz
As is clear from this data, the suicides in California prisons disproportionately occur in segregation units, and particularly with inmates in solitary confinement. Solitary Watch has previously reported on suicides in solitary confinement units. In 2011, prisoners Armando Cruz and Alex Machado committed suicide in California State Prison, Sacramento’s Psychiatric Services Unit and Pelican Bay State Prison’s Administrative Segregation Unit, respectively. Both had spent years in segregation units, both had a history of self-harm and threatening to commit suicide. Cruz had entered the prison system at the age of 17 with a heavily documented history of psychosis, and his hallucinations are documented to have become worse while being placed in and out of segregation units. Machado was known as an intelligent jailhouse lawyer with no history of psychological problems until being placed in segregation at Pelican Bay following his validation as an associate of the Mexican Mafia prison gang. Machado would attempt suicide and exhibit bizarre behavior and paranoia in the months before committing suicide.

Armando Morales
Armando Morales
In August 2012, Armando Morales committed suicide in Corcoran’s SHU. Morales, a Watts, California native, had spent years in the SHU. Morales, according to individuals on his cell block, reported that he committed suicide amidst pressure to debrief (or, “snitch”) on fellow prisoners.

Meanwhile, over 561 prisoners in nine prisons were on hunger strike as of yesterday. According to CDCR, 322 have been on hunger strike the entire three weeks. CDCR has previously said that hunger strikers who have accepted drinks such as Kool-Aid were not going to be considered on hunger strike, so the 561 figure may reflect individuals who have accepted Kool-Aid but then rejected anything else since and are now once again considered on hunger strike. According to CDCR policy, an individual is only counted on hunger strike after refusing nine consecutive meals. Solitary Watch has also received reports that individuals at Pelican Bay who had ended their participation have stated that they may resume striking should guards move hunger strike participants to Ad Seg.

With the death of Sell, and the hunger strike now over three weeks, there has been a growing spotlight on California, with Hollywood stars even announcing their support for reforms. With thousands in solitary confinement and the prison system driving dozens a year to suicide, increasing attention at least raises the possibility of meaningful policy review and reforms.



Suicide Rates Soar Among Middle-Aged US Adults

Suicide rate in Hungary (1950-2010)
Suicide rate in Hungary (1950-2010) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Chart showing he circumstances for su...
English: Chart showing he circumstances for suicide in 16 states in the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Posted by talesfromthelou on June 1, 2013

PressTVSuicide rates soar among middle-aged US adults.

PressTV –

Saturday Jun 01, 2013

A new report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has revealed that the suicide rate among middle-aged Americans has increased during recent decade.

The suicide rate among adults 35-64 in both white people and American Indians jumped from nearly 14 per 100,000 people in 1999 to almost 18 in 2010, the CDC reported.

The researchers also indicated that middle-aged people accounted for some 57% of suicides in the United States.

Suicides by American Indians increased 65% from more than 11 per 100,000 to almost 19 in the decade while the rate among white people rose 40%, from 16 per 100,000 to 22.

Other studies had earlier shown that the risk of suicide was substantially larger for unmarried than for married people.

The CDC experts also stressed that there was little change in the rate among middle-aged African American, Hispanics and most other racial and ethnic groups.

They also noted that the rates in younger and older people held steady.

Though the causes behind suicide trend among middle-aged have not been investigated, “one factor may be cultural differences in willingness to seek help during tough times”, one of the authors of the CDC report Thomas Simon explained.


Related articles
◾Why Are Suicide Rates Rising For Middle-Aged Adults? (wnyc.org)
◾Suicides soar among US middle-aged (bbc.co.uk)
◾US suicide rate rose sharply among middle-aged (kansascity.com)

“GIVE US your tired, your poor, your hungry, huddled masses…and we´ll make sure they stay that way!”


Comment: Marlene Martin
Let them eat…nothing at all

Marlene Martin looks at a new addition to what’s been called the New Jim Crow.

May 30, 2013

GIVE US your tired, your poor, your hungry, huddled masses…and we’ll make sure they stay that way.

That’s the message that members of Congress–Republicans and Democrats alike–are sending with their proposals to cut funding and add new restrictions for the Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP–better known as the food stamp program.

The program, whose benefits make the difference between eating and not eating for many of the poor and working poor, has suffered many spending cuts in the era of austerity. This year’s proposals for cuts–totaling more than $20 billion over 10 years in the House version, with 2 million people dropped from the program–are no different in that respect.

But Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana added insult to injury by introducing an amendment that would bar anyone convicted of a violent or sexual crime from receiving food stamps–for life. Vitter’s amendment faced not one objection from any Republican nor any Democrat. The Obama White House also indicated it would support the restriction.

The federal government already bans for life anyone convicted of a drug felony under a law passed in 1996. But the law was so damaging that 16 states and the District of Columbia exercised their right to opt out of the ban, and 24 have a modified restriction–only 10 states fully comply with the original version.

Vitter stooped to an ugly low in claiming that his legislation was meant to exclude “murderers, rapists and pedophiles.” But the ban would apply even to youth offenders and to those who have already served long sentences, regardless of any evidence of rehabilitation. Blacks and Latinos are already far more likely to be sent to prison, so they will be far more likely to suffer under such a law.

This is mean-spirited policy meant to further marginalize people coming out of prison. Mark Clements, who was tortured by Chicago police into a confession that was used to convict him of murder, and who spent 28 years wrongly incarcerated, said the amendment:

is just going to hurt people who are already hurting, and their families, too. People need help when they get out of prison. A few dollars in your pocket to get some food in the cabinets–that’s important. People just don’t know how hard it is for ex-offenders to get jobs in this economy. And now this little bit of help will be taken away? This is just wrong-headed.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

PEOPLE RELEASED from incarceration already face enormous obstacles trying to reenter society. As author Michelle Alexander wrote in her book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, the stigma of the “prison label” carries a lifelong burden with it:

In many respects, release from prison does not represent the beginning of freedom, but instead a cruel new phase of stigmatization and control. Myriad laws, rules and regulations discriminate against ex-offenders and effectively prevent their meaningful re-integration into the mainstream economy and society.

Millions of people are already enduring unemployment in this country, but if you’re an ex-offender, it’s that much more difficult to find work in an already difficult economy. As Robert Greenstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities wrote:

It’s also possible that the amendment could contribute to recidivism. Ex-offenders often have difficulty finding jobs that pay decent wages. The amendment could pose dilemmas for ex-offenders who are trying to go straight, but can neither find jobs nor, as a result of the amendment, obtain enough food to feed their children and families.

In 2012, the average monthly benefit for people in the SNAP program is $133.41–a critical amount for people living in poverty or close to it. Not only would certain ex-offenders be denied this lifeline, but their children and family members would face reductions, too–and this at a time with food insecurity on the rise.

Christine Thomas, a California prison activist who has worked in a public defender’s office in California for over 25 years, sees broader social inequalities behind this measure:

When the Wall Street banksters take this country for the crime of our lifetime, they have the victims paying the restitution, while we give them bonuses and watch them laugh all the way to their offshore investments, vacation homes and never-ending luxuries. When poor people are accused of a crime, they’re going to be denied food for the rest of their life. And no one will stand up for them–Republicans and Democrats alike–and say that this is immoral.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

BANS APPLIED to former felons bar them from public housing and other government programs–and the consequences are very damaging.

For example, a study by Yale University researchers who looked at the ban on former drug offenders receiving food stamps found that those affected “are at greater risk of engaging in dangerous sexual risk behaviors in order to obtain food” according to a report in the Yale News. The study found that “released drug offenders, particularly women and mothers, are turning to prostitution and other behaviors that put them at risk for HIV and other negative outcomes in order to obtain food.”

The subjects for the Yale study included former prisoners in Texas, which has a lifetime ban on food assistance for drug offenders, as well as in California and Connecticut, which have partial bans. According to the Yale News, the study found that:

— 91 percent reported themselves as “food insecure.”

— 37 percent did not eat for an entire day in the past month, which is food insecurity in its most severe form; they were more likely to use heroin, cocaine, or alcohol before sex, and were more likely to exchange sex for money than those who had at least one meal each day.

— 61 percent did not receive food assistance benefits, and those who did reported receiving insufficient benefits.

— 38 percent of women living with children did not eat for a day in the past month.

— 25 percent of women living with children reported their children not eating for a day in the past month.

A few months ago, the New York Times called for lifting the bans on denying to people convicted of felony drug offenses. “It is already clear that the bans are counterproductive and that it is time for states that have not completely lifted them to do so,” the Times wrote.

Instead of listening to this plea for decency, David Vitter proposed to expand the ban–and Democrats and Republicans alike went along in another example of cruel and unusual punishment coming from Washington.

Bertolt Brecht: “Es gibt viele Arten zu toeten….”

Bertolt Brecht „The victory of the reason can ...
Bertolt Brecht „The victory of the reason can only win the sensibles” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

„Es gibt viele Arten zu töten. Man kann einem ein Messer in den Bauch stechen, einem das Brot entziehen, einen von einer Krankheit nicht heilen, einen in eine schlechte Wohnung stecken, einen durch Arbeit zu Tode schinden, einen zum Suizid treiben, einen in den Krieg führen usw. Nur weniges davon ist in unserem Staat verboten.“
Bertolt Brecht

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



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