Graduation Day: When Foster Care Works

when foster care works

Tom Hall: Every day in Los Angeles, parents and foster parents and social workers and teachers strive so that Anton and Joseph and Marlon and Eric and Laquisha and Ronette can have lives beyond the bigotry, beyond the fear, beyond poverty.

California’s Death Penalty: 366 Days Down, 68 More to Go

jeanne woodford prison

Jeanne Woodford: Support for Prop 34 continues to grow because people understand that California’s death penalty is broken beyond repair. California has only executed 1% of those sentenced to death in 34 years.

ACLU Next: Death Penalty on the Ballot — May 21

aclu event

Guest Speakers: Jeanne Woodford (former San Quentin warden) and Obie Anthony (exonerated after being wrongfully convicted of murder) Monday, 21 May

Should We Crash the Prison System by Demanding Trials?

day-in-court-wide

Bruce Reilly: If everyone refused a plea bargain and went to trial, the system would crash. This maneuver is not new. I could have never organized these men to refuse plea bargains and go to trial for several reasons.

Is California Reducing Prison Overcrowding Without Fixing Its Cause?

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Sharon Kyle: In a relatively short period of time, our nation has incarcerated enough people to create the second largest city in the United States. Releasing a few tens of thousand prisoners for overcrowding won’t change much or will it?

Racial Justice in the Criminal Justice System

Black Man

Sharon Kyle: While most Americans are cognizant of the disproportionate representation of Black and Brown men in our prisons, fewer are aware of criminal justice system’s selective enforcement of laws and selective use of penalties which often results in racially biased outcomes.

Top 10 Stories of 2011

The ten most read articles by LA Progressive’s readers in 2011 reflect both the breadth of our coverage and also several special focuses.

Resisting Gender Violence Without Cops or Prisons

sista sista

Victoria Law builds upon her earlier prison abolitionist critique by discussing practical alternatives for effectively confronting gender violence without using the prison system.

California Prison Typify the Incarceration Society

prison-overcrowding

Sherwood Ross: If you want a glimpse into the soul of a nation, visit one of its prisons. California is no exception. It’s typical.

Prisons or Higher Education, Which Do We Fund?

Incarceration timeline

Sharon Kyle: Either large segments of the American population suddenly decided to engage in criminal activity or there were changes in sentencing law and prison policy that dramatically increased America’s prison population. Whatever the reason, states are spending more on prisons and less on higher education.

More Black Men in Prison Than Were Enslaved II

prison

Prison Based Gerrymandering Vote ecently we ran a piece written by Dick Price entitled, “More Black Men Now in Prison System Than Were Enslaved“. Tens of thousands read it. Many left comments. The popularity of his article and the comments posted lead to this follow-up. The article Dick wrote was a recap of a talk […]

More Black Men Are in Prison Today Than Enslaved in 1850

Black Man Exercise

Dick Price: “More African American men are in prison or jail, on probation or parole than were enslaved in 1850, before the Civil War began,” Michelle Alexander told a standing room only house at the Pasadena Main Library this past Wednesday

The Other Down Low: Sagging

Gardena Councilman Steve Bradford and Carson Councilman Mike Gipson

Jasmyne Cannick: Don’t expect an end to sagging by Black men in or out of prison coming anytime soon. Heavily influenced by mass media, what started off as a signal for other prisoners that one was gay, is now a part of pop culture.

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.

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.

Lame Duck Governor Fabricates Hoped-For Legacy

Sheila Kuehl: From the beginning, Arnold Schwarzenegger has exhibited a woeful ignorance about the role of a Governor and the role of governance.

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

Tourists Urged to Boycott Morocco

Marrakesh

Sherwood Ross: Morocco has shown its disrespect for international law by illegally occupying the western Sahara and also by forging a pact with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency to receive kidnapped terror suspects upon whom Morocco’s secret police inflict grotesque tortures. If Rabat will accept a prisoner kidnapped from another country without a prior legal hearing, how safe are you going to be?

How to Get Your Own News

Social-media

Sharon Kyle: In a book entitled, Just How Stupid Are We?, author Rick Shenkman asks, “Are America’s voters prepared to shoulder the responsibility of running the most powerful nation on earth? Do a majority know enough?” These questions are not new but the current economic crisis brings to the fore the urgency of an answer.

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.

Schwarzenegger’s Prison Plan Ignores Racial History

Michelle Alexander: The skyrocketing incarceration rates of the past three decades have not affected all segments of California’s population equally. African Americans and Latinos have been hardest hit, thanks largely to the war on drugs — a war that has targeted people of color for drug crimes, even though studies show they are no more likely to use or sell illegal drugs than whites.

Black Robes, Black Shirts

Ravensbruck slave labor

Joseph Palermo: With the latest Supreme Court ruling by the “fabulous five,” Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, a single corporation will be able to disfranchise a million citizens. What’s to stop these conglomerates from implanting their servants at every level of municipal, state, and federal government?

Overcrowded Prisons in California

Prisoner

Damaged for life and very hard pressed are the people who have paid their debt to society. They unfortunately get the verdict that keeps on punishing. They are also very unlikely to get married, often living alone in a life of quiet desperation.

Prisons: Two Opposing Views

prison-alcoholic

Suppose, hypothetically, you had to be in the same room for a couple of hours with a politician who can’t use the word “liberal” without combining it with character-assassination-style insults or a guy who stole a pair of socks worth $2.50. With whom would you feel safer?

Wake Up California Assembly! Who Are You Punishing with This Prison Budget?

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If we can’t make sensible reforms to save money in our corrections’ system, then more children will lose their health care, more teachers will be laid off, and more health and safety programs will be cut. Inevitably, we will have more people stealing more pizza and headed off to the only government program left: prison.

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 […]

Media, Revolution, and the Legacy of the Black Panther Party: An Interview with Kiilu Nyasha

Kiilu Nyasha

Kiilu Nyasha is a San Francisco-based journalist and former member of the Black Panther Party (BPP). Kiilu hosts a weekly TV program, “Freedom Is A Constant Struggle,” on SF Live (Comcast 76 and AT&T 99), which can be viewed live at www.accessf.org every Friday at 7:30 pm (PST), and rebroadcast Saturdays at 3:30 p.m., and […]

After Guantánamo: The Crisis of U.S. Prisons and Lessons from the Medieval Past

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The incoming Administration is to be lauded for its intention to dismantle the Guantánamo Bay prison, whose very existence, let alone the activities reportedly carried out within it, undermine the U.S.’s claim of promoting democracy and human rights. But if prisoners’ rights are evidently so important, and if we seem to agree that we are […]