Diane Lefer: Judge Gray referred to Senator Jim Webb of Virginia who, in looking at the entire criminal justice system in which we hold the world record for the number of people incarcerated, concluded either we are the most evil people in the world or we are doing something seriously wrong.
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.
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 [...]
Jennifer Graber: While Vick’s effort to turn his life around has won praise from many, it is no surprise that some will remain unconvinced. Since at least the 1820s, Americans have been supremely conflicted about what to do with their lawbreakers. Punish them or redeem them? Or is it a little of both?
Sherwood Ross: Those supporting Manning need to recognize he is an icon for the bizarre, systemic destruction of tens of thousands of other human beings locked away in perpetual silence by their tormentors, often for mere infractions of prison rules, without the review of any judge or jury.
Seth Hoy: private prison corporations, who stand to make hundreds of millions in profits from the detention of immigrants, not only had a hand in drafting Arizona’s controversial immigration enforcement law, SB1070, but contributed millions to the bill’s cosponsors and continue to push the legislation in other states.
Sherwood Ross: Slumlords charge exorbitant rents. “Convenience” stores charge higher prices. Military recruiters have their pick of jobless youth desperate for work. And the for-profit, private prisons increase their head count (and income) as the judicial system hands off the young drug peddlers caught in the legal web. As the Kaiser Family Foundation reported, African-Americans fill 40 percent of the nation’s prison cells. Yet they make up just 13 percent of the nation’s population.
Anthony Asadullah Samad: If California is serious at reducing its prison costs, ex-offenders will have to be re-trained and employers will have to be more tolerant of people trying to get their lives back on track. Is that even possible? One thing about American culture, as it relates to any offender, is that despite we profess to being a forgiving society, or want to redeem the best in those who have made mistakes, the truth of the matter is that it always lets the ex-offender know that they are just that, “ex-offenders.”
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.
he whole world knows that California is as broke as its residents are. Yet, it never ceases to amaze me when it comes to local and state politics how low some politicians will go to get their way. Case in point, California’s Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose new motto should be “when in doubt, threaten to [...]
Troy Anthony Davis – Executing the Innocent I’ve posted several pieces on the tragic case of Troy Anthony Davis. I can’t let this story go. The more I study the law, the more I’m convinced there are times when the administration of the law can be far removed from questions of guilt or innocence. A [...]
Troy Anthony Davis faces execution for the murder of Police Officer Mark MacPhail in Georgia, despite a strong claim of innocence. 7 out of 9 witnesses have recanted or contradicted their testimony, no murder weapon was found and no physical evidence links Davis to the crime. This week the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected [...]
Young men who are re-entering society from prison can’t find work. Recent studies on prisoner re-entry suggest that, in California, nearly 400 prisoners, A DAY, are being released into the community, with 70% to 90% of them being unemployed because only 20% of the state’s employers are willing to hire persons with convictions (no matter how long ago).
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 [...]
Every Friday the LA Progressive features a comment that was particularly noteworthy. This week we are featuring a comment submitted by Judith Traverso in response to Guy Geltner‘s “From After Guantánamo: The Crisis of U.S. Prisons and Lessons from the Medieval Past.” Judith writes: Thank you, Dr. Geltner, for your very interesting article on prisons [...]
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. [...]
ho says there are no slaves in America? The greatest domestic issue facing President-elect Obama is not the bailout of the bankers and insurers but the task of lifting tens of millions of hard-working American wage-slaves out of dire poverty. These are the folks who hold one – and sometimes two or even three – [...]
he United States imprisons almost one in one hundred American adults—a higher number and percentage of its population than any other country. This has been especially devastating for minorities— with one in nine black men ages 20 to 34 behind bars. Many of these people remain in a continual pattern of crime. Are we a [...]