Penal Trends: Strange Weather or Climate Change?

barbed wire

Jonathan Simon: Are recent changes in prison-growth patterns, judicial decisions, and electoral results variations within the norm, or evidence of a more profound change that could mark the end of our 40-year experiment with mass incarceration?

Sheila Kuehl on Prop 36: Three Strikes

california prison

rop 36 reduces the prison sentences for those who committed a non-violent, non-serious felony as their third strike. The new sentence would be twice the usual sentence for the crime they committed as a third strike.

California Progressives Take the Offensive

yes on 30

Randy Shaw: While progressives will be forced to invest major resources in defeating Prop 32, the other major ballot initiatives all put conservatives on the defensive and would further progressive change.

Winograd Wins Debate!

Nick Antocelli: Marcy Winograd was the clear and concise progressive who closed with great passion demonstrating the obvious differences in this campaign to succeed former congresswoman Jane Harman.

The Hypocrisy of Being Earnest

Tom Hall: Of course the whole lying about being divorced, and cheating on his wife and child positions him to be the latest Republican spokesmodel for family values.

Fast 4 Freedom

curb

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.

Tough on Crime Rhetoric Fails at the Polls

Kamala Harris, Joyce Dudley, Steve Cooley, Jill Ravitch, Paul Zellerbach (clockwise from left)

Natasha Minsker: For years, presenting oneself as a hammer battering crime was a requirement. This time around, a hard-line stance alone without a plan for effective and budget-conscious enforcement is the new electoral kiss of death. Californians are weary of budget cuts to valued social services and cautious about wasteful spending on ineffective or lower priority criminal justice policies, like the $1 billion over the next five years that will be poured into death penalty spending.

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.

Is Jerry Brown Really the Only Democrat Left Standing?

Any trace of the Jerry Brown who sounded like Dennis Kucinich when he ran for President is gone. At this weekend’s California Democratic Party E-Board meeting, Brown got into an argument with Party Chair John Burton about single-payer health care. Brown insisted single payer “will not happen” – even though the state legislature passed it twice, only to have Arnold Schwarzenegger veto it. The only thing stopping single payer in California from happening is a Republican Governor – yet the only Democratic candidate left in the race has insisted that it will not happen.

California’s Three Strikes Law

This is the story of Sue, one among millions who have been impacted by California’s Three Strikes Law. This is the story of a Mom who used tough love when her son was a troubled youth and now regrets it. This video is part 2 in a series written, directed, and produced by film maker [...]

Lady Justice

Norman Williams, center, with Mark Melahn, left, and Jesse Goodman, who worked on his case while in law school. Williams was sentenced to 25 years to life after his third-strike conviction, which was for stealing a car jack and tools from a tow truck. Through the efforts of Stanford's Criminal Defense Clinic, his sentence was reduced to 10 years. He had already served more than that so was freed. (Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Times)

Statues of Lady Justice frequently portray her wearing a blindfold, signifying impartiality and objectivity. But careful readers of the Los Angeles Times on May 13 have good reason to believe that the Lady is peeking — at least in California — and it is entirely possible that her vision is distorted in favor of “white [...]

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. [...]

“Election Night, DO NOT CONCEDE: An Open Letter Signed By Gore Vidal & Others To Senator Obama & The Democratic Leadership”

“Eight years is too much” is how Barack Obama explained why we must win the coming election and begin to restore America. But, even if we receive the most votes, will we win the election? DO NOT CONCEDE! Both of the last two elections were conceded by the Democratic presidential candidate. The 2004 election was [...]

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