Portantino Proposes Alternative to Early Release Prison Reform Efforts

Assemblyman Anthony Portantino

Anthony Portantino: Assemblymember Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) has introduced legislation that shifts the prison reform debate from an early release and sentencing reform emphasis to stopping the revolving door at California’s prisons.

Brisenia Flores: The Little Girl That You Don’t Know

brisenia flores

Jessie Daniels: Brisenia Flores was a 9-year-old girl murdered in Arizona by anti-immigrant vigilantes, yet her death – unlike that of the 9-year old killed last week in Arizona – is getting almost no attention in the U.S. mainstream media.

Throwaway Children

17-year-old suspect in custody at Gardena High School (LA Times)

Sikivu Hutchinson: Brilliant youth of color are automatically condemned to second class citizenship and social pathology. The real epidemic of violence lies in this false indictment.

Of Course the Assassination Attempt Was Political

arizona shooting

David Greenberg: Much has been made in the last few days of the power of symbols (bull’s-eyes, cross-hairs), martial rhetoric, the hyperbole of words like tyranny. But the most important symbols in all of this are politicians themselves.

A Message to Trafficking Victims That Their Lives Matter

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Rachel Lloyd: Sara Kruzan was 16 years old when she was charged with killing her 31-year-old pimp, a man who had been grooming her since she was 11 years old and trafficking her since she was 13.

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Overcrowding at Center of Landmark Prison Rights Case

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Carol Strickman: The best way to ensure that people successfully reenter society is to provide resources to support them upon release. Prisoners who have maintained family ties and have housing and employment opportunities awaiting them will do better than those who don’t.

Retired Supreme Court Justice: Capital Punishment ‘Shot Through with Racism’

justice stevens

Jessie Daniels: This bold move against racism and the death penalty by a retired Supreme Court Justice is good news for those concerned with the injustice of capital punishment.

Victims’ Rights in California: On Paper, in Practice

Suzanne Neuhaus and Phillip Argento

Diane Lefer: The restorative justice model is able to keep the compassionate focus on those who have suffered most from violent crime–the victims, while still addressing the factors that drive crime and recidivism and without denying the humanity of the imprisoned.

Will Tedi Snyder Die in Prison?

Diane Lefer: Though the Supreme Court ruled on May 17 in Graham v. Florida that juveniles must not be sentenced to life without parole for any crime short of homicide, California continues to impose sentences so extreme they are the effective equivalent of life without the possibility of parole.

Crime in the California State Assembly

Diane Lefer: We are all shamed, but it’s time to call out the people who belong on the roll call of shame, the Assembly members who so fear being called soft on crime that they couldn’t bring themselves to do the right and rational thing.

Data Shows ICE Fails to Focus on Serious Crime

arizona immigrants

Michele Waslin: 79% of the people deported through Secure Communities are non-criminals or were picked up for lower level offenses, such as traffic offenses.

Fast 4 Freedom

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Diane Lefer: AB900 was a huge victory for the prison-industrial complex. “People are making a profit out of putting people in cages,” said Geri Silva.

To LA’s New Probation Chief: Condolences on Your Appointment

Los Angeles Probation Chief Donald Blevins and wife Laura.

Diane Lefer: why would anyone take on the challenge of cleaning up a department long known for abusing rather than helping the kids in its custody, losing track of money and ID badges, punishing whistleblowers and protecting wrongdoers?

Juveniles Sentenced to Life Without Parole

Juveniles Sentenced to Life Without Parole? Yes, it happens in the United States. Bryan Stevenson, Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative discusses children in the justice system

Hate Crimes Legislation’s Torturous Path

matthew sheparad memorial

Carl Matthes: As you may remember, 21 year-old Matthew was pistol-whipped, bludgeoned and lashed to a fence post, just off an isolated rural road, during one of Wyoming’s cold, lonely October nights. He was left for dead by his killers. Eighteen hours later Matthew was discovered still alive, but in a coma. “I mistook him for a scarecrow,” said 18 year-old Aaron Kreifels. Five days later he died. In 1998 America, Matthew was just one of 33 anti-gay murders.

First Solve Prison Crisis, Then Fix California’s Budget

Gary Gilmore

Dick Price: To get a handle on the damage California’s current approach to incarceration is having on its citizens, consider this: In a recent 23-year period, California erected 23 prisons—one a year, each costing roughly $100 million dollars annually to operate, with both Democratic and Republican governors occupying the statehouse—at the same time that it added just one campus to its vaunted university system, UC Merced.

African-Americans Have Seven Times Greater Chance of Imprisonment

Marc Mauer, the Prison Project

Sherwood Ross: It is far more likely that in the late twentieth century, in contrast to earlier time, patterns of discrimination reflect unconscious biases rather than blatant attempts to oppress African Americans.

Stop Wasting Money on Executions

ramona-ripston

Capital Punishment is Too Expensive California remains on track to spend over $1 billion on the death penalty in the next five years, in the midst of the worst financial crisis in nearly a century. Incredibly, even as state officials announce that they must fill a deficit of $21.3 billion this year, and contemplate drastic [...]

Color of Law: Please Don’t Feed the Prison Monster

justice-maze

At its worst, America’s criminal justice system represents the place where racism, greed and corruption intersect. At its best, it is inherently flawed, unjust, and unreliable, and little better than its worst. The engine that drives this injustice system is known as the prison industrial complex. It is the theater in which the nation’s foremost [...]

Prison Expansion Pushed Forward While Massive Cuts to Education Proposed

Prison Budget Expands, Education Budget Cut While the Governor and legislature propose massive cuts to education and 2,000 public works projects are on hold, a bill to propel a $12 billion prison construction project was sent to Governor Schwarzeneggar. This bill is designed to fix problems with AB900, the largest prison construction plan in history. [...]

Common Sense vs. Intelligence

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by H. Lewis Smith – In a three-way conversation between Tavis Smiley, Dr. Michael Dyson, and Dr. Cornel West on the justification of blacks using the n-word, the following ideas were exchanged during the discourse:

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