Author Spotlight: Diane Lefer

Diane visiting friend Duc Ta in prison.

Dick Price: Aside from writing nine published books, Diane Lefer has picked potatoes, typed autopsy reports, surveyed parolees and drug addicts about their sex lives, and taught creative writing to gang-bangers.

Plea Bargains in the Criminal McJustice System

Philadelphia D.A. Lynne Abraham

In Philadelphia, it is time for a new district attorney. The current D.A. Lynne Abraham is retiring, and none too soon – after 18 years in the position, she has been called “America’s deadliest D.A.” for her exceptionally voracious appetite in seeking the death penalty. Without question, most of the people sentenced to death were […]

Prisoners’ Rights: An Oxymoron?

prison

More than 100 people of all races and all ages traveled to Watts from several California counties on Saturday May 30, sharing a single desire: Bring our loved ones homes. They weren’t talking about family members serving in Afghanistan or Iraq. These are the families torn apart when someone is sent to prison with an […]

Inside Joe Arpaio: Arizona Deputy Calls Him a Disgrace to the Department

sheriff_arpaio

“It ain’t right,” the man with the soft, desert cowboy drawl says slowly into the phone. “These folks are human beings and he treats ‘em like swine. Well, actually, Joe treats everyone who ain’t white and rich like swine.” ”Here in Maricopa County, he thinks it’s a crime to be poor or have brown skin […]

Color of Law: U.S. Drug Policy Has Gone to Pot

marijuana-joint

In a recent online town hall meeting at the White House, President Obama was asked by the online audience whether he thought legalizing marijuana would create jobs and help the economy. It was the most popular question asked at the meeting.

Solitary Confinement in U.S. Prisons Making Thousands Psychotic

handcuffs

The United States today is housing tens of thousands of inmates in long-term solitary confinement, a form of numbing mental torture that drives about one-third of them psychotic, induces irrational anger in 90%, and ups the likelihood they will commit violent crimes upon release. “It’s an awful thing, solitary,” U.S. Senator John McCain once wrote […]

Close Down Guantanamo? What About Our Own Hellholes?

Senator Jim Web (D-Virgina) with wife Hong Le Webb

As Tom Paine once opined on this subject: “When it shall be said in any country in the world, ‘My poor are happy; neither ignorance nor distress is to be found among them; my jails are empty of prisoners, my streets of beggars; the aged are not in want, the taxes are not oppressive’— when these things can be said then may that country boast of its constitution and its government.” Folks, we gotta ways to go.

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 […]

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