Category Archives: Incarceration

California May Have To Export 4,000 Inmates If Feds Don’t Postpone Population Cap

CBS Los Angeles

SACRAMENTO (AP) — California will have no choice but to move 4,000 more inmates to private prisons in other states if federal judges refuse to postpone a court-ordered population cap, state Corrections Secretary Jeffrey Beard said Wednesday.

The state faces an April 18 deadline to reduce overcrowding in its 33 adult prisons. The judges have found reducing overcrowding to be the key step in improving inmate medical and mental health care, but Gov. Jerry Brown is seeking a three-year delay.

Beard said such a delay would give the state time to build cells for nearly 3,500 additional inmates. That would bring the state close to meeting the federal population cap while avoiding the need to send more inmates elsewhere.

It also would give time for rehabilitation programs to work, he said. Those programs are designed to reduce the number of convicts who commit new crimes after their release and then…

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Why should thousands of prisoners die behind bars for nonviolent crimes?

Why should thousands of prisoners die behind bars for nonviolent crimes?

“But this past summer, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals issued its decision: ‘The state asserts that because of the defendant’s particular multiple offender status, the law mandates a minimum sentence of life in prison without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence. We agree.’

Dennis Winters was incredulous when he heard the news about his brother. “’What? This makes no sense,” he told IND Monthly. “I don’t understand what these people are trying to do. He’s not a violent person. He’s fragile. He wouldn’t hurt anybody, except maybe for himself. I just don’t get how they’re going to give him life for some Gobstopper candy.’”

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Racism, Mass Incarceration, and the United States “Justice” System

The Progressive Cynic

© Josh Sager – October 2013

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Picture by CNV

The United States has the dubious distinction of being the country which imprisons a larger percentage of our population than any other country on earth. Out of every 100,000 Americans, 716 are currently in jail—to put this into perspective, here are imprisonment statistics for several countries that have regularly been demonized for their repressive governments:

  • Cuba: 510 inmates per 100,000 citizens
  • Russia: 475 inmates per 100,000 citizens
  • Iran: 284 inmates per 100,000 citizens
  • Zimbabwe: 129 inmates per 100,000 citizens

The United States is not a small country by any means, thus our high incarceration rates translate to truly staggering numbers of people in jail. According to the most recent estimates, nearly 2.2 million Americans are currently serving time in the federal, state and local prison systems—in addition to those who are serving time, approximately 5.8 million Americans are on probation, on…

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Transnational Anti-Imperialism and Middle East Women’s Studies

Transnational Anti-Imperialism and Middle East Women’s Studies

“While teaching courses in US Women of Color Feminisms and American Studies on the one hand and Middle East Women’s Studies on the other, I have run up against the limitations of area-studies divisions that continue to predominate within Middle East Women’s Studies—such as the framing of American Studies (including US Women of Color and Native American Feminist Studies) and Middle East Studies (including Middle East Women’s Studies) as separate fields and the United States and the Middle East as geographically bounded regions. Such divisions obstruct the possibilities for engagement with important questions such as whether and to what extent racist/classist/heterosexist US prison structures have anything to do with the US war on terror. In fact, a particular strand of feminist scholarship that I will refer to here as Anti-Imperialist Transnational Feminist Studies (AITFS) has been asking such questions for decades, and these questions are now more imperative to Middle East Women’s Studies than ever before.”

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How to really end mass incarceration

How to really end mass incarceration

“But this is no time to rest. Those who seek a fairer criminal justice system, unclouded by racial bias, must at a minimum demand that the government eliminate mandatory minimum sentences, which tie judges’ hands; rescind three-strikes laws, which often make no distinction between, say, armed assault and auto theft; amend “truth in sentencing” statutes, which prohibit early release for good behavior; and recalibrate drug policies, starting with decriminalization of marijuana possession and investment in substance-abuse prevention and treatment. Federal aid to state and local agencies, like the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant and the Community Oriented Policing Services, must prioritize diversion and rehabilitation over arrest and incarceration.”

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How “Real” Is “Orange Is The New Black”? Comparing The Show To The Memoir To The Numbers

How “Real” Is “Orange Is The New Black”? Comparing The Show To The Memoir To The Numbers

“The privatized prison system benefits prison-building corporations, the companies who facilitate the expensive phone services and the manufacturers of commissary goods — but it also greatly benefits companies who “employ” prisoners to boost their bottom line. UNICOR, for example, “employs” more than 3,000 prisoners starting at 23 cents an hour manufacturing electronic equipment, most of which is for the Department of Defense. UNICOR made over $900 million in revenue last year. In Danbury, Kerman writes, the FCI inmates worked in a UNICOR warehouse making military radio components for a dollar an hour. In Danbury, inmates needed a GED to earn over 14 cents an hour, and a GED program was offered within the prison.

The facilitation and purpose of “work assignments” varies widely from institution to institution — some claim work assignments will give you valuable skills for the real world, others aim to keep the institution going on the cheap, most serve to simply keep inmates busy during the day, and many are essentially a legal form of slave labor.

The show and the memoir are consistent with their portrayal of the work program at Danbury, from the toxic mold preventing Piper from doing the education program to her eventual assignment of electrical.

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Invisible women: The consequences of forgetting Sybrina Fulton

Invisible women: The consequences of forgetting Sybrina Fulton

“We talk often of the criminalization of black boys, and point to the school-to-prison pipeline as an example, but fail to mention the ways it affects black girls, as Monique W. Morris laid out in her report for African American Policy Forum in March of this year. According to Morris: ‘Black women and girls continue to be over-represented among those who are in contact with the criminal and juvenile justice systems. Black girls continue to experience some of the highest rates of residential detention. Black girls represent the fastest-growing segment of the juvenile justice population, and they have experienced the most dramatic rise in middle school suspension rates in recent years.’ Yet, the problem continues to be framed as a nearly exclusive to black men and boys.”

 
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[Video] Brilliant Daily Show interview of Dawn Porter!

Watch this! Dawn Porter on her documentary on the Constitution and the problems of the American legal system.

With 2.3 million people incarcerated in the US, “80% of people charged cannot afford lawyers. 90-95% plead guilty.” “If 95% of people are pleading guilty, it means only 5% are going to trial.”

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqOCJZR9dQY&w=560&h=315%5D
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I Was Almost a Victim of the Student-to-Prison-Pipeline

I Was Almost a Victim of the Student-to-Prison-Pipeline

“How are students to trust schools have student safety or education in their best interest when schools are facilitating student criminalization? How are students supposed to feel safe when their schools resemble a prison?”

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