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Reposted from Criminal InJustice Kos by soothsayer99

Criminal InJustice Kos is a weekly series devoted to exploring the myths of "crime", "criminals", and criminal justice and the intersection of race/ethnicity/class/gender/sexuality/ age/disability in policing and punishment.

Criminal Injustice Kos is committed to furthering action towards reducing inequity in the US criminal justice system.

Last Words
By soothsayer99, CIK Editor

The mission of Criminal InJustice Kos has always been clear -- Analysis and Indictment of the deep structural foundations of criminal justice in racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, ageism, ableism, and towards the goal, ultimately, of Abolition. From the outset, the goal of this series has been to expose this failed system at the intersections, offer alternstives for transformational/restorative justice and opportunities for action.

Thank so you much to all contributors, followers and supporters. Eternal Gratitude for You.

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Reposted from seeta08 by soothsayer99

Cross-posted from Critical Mass Progress:

According to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, Latinos comprise the new majority of those sentenced to federal prison during the first three quarters of 2011. Felony immigration crimes accounted for most of the increase. Latinos comprise about 16 percent of the U.S. population.

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Reposted from Media Watch by dopper0189

Rolling Stone just published an enlightening, albeit disturbing, article detailing the coordinated effort on the part of the Republican Party to roll back voting rights for millions of Americans. With the help of the American Legislative Exchange Council [ALEC], the billionaire Koch brothers, and other rightist allies, the GOP has already succeeded in passing legislation that inhibits and/or prohibits voting by students, seniors, minorities, and the poor.

Brought to you by...
News Corpse
The Internet's Chronicle Of Media Decay.

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Reposted from Empty Vessel by soothsayer99

For those of you who do not know, folks in Arizona love their prisons.  The Governor's chief of staff used to work as a private prison lobbyist.  Last year the republicans tried to privatize death row.  One of the things that people don't realize about SB1070 (the racist immigration law from last year) is that it was supported as much by the prison lobby as anyone...prisoners equals profits.

But yes, they have done it again...the prison/industrial complex has found a new way to get blood from the stone...a new way to profit from the involuntary incarceration of other human beings.

From the New York Times, They are instituting a 25$ fee for all visitors.


Is charging people $25 dollars to visit people in prison...

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Reposted from Laura Clawson by soothsayer99
Tim Murphy at Mother Jones looks into Rick Perry's promotion of prison privatization in Texas. Private prisons have been a growing industry for a while now, and Texas has participated enthusiastically in that trend under Perry, and the governor has taken aim at state agencies providing oversight of prisons:
Earlier, Perry’s office had floated another proposal that seemed designed to please the private-prison industry. It sought to eliminate the independence of the Texas Commission on Jail Standards and fold it, along with two other public-safety commissions, into a single agency.


In 2003, Perry signed a line-item veto eliminating the funding for the Texas Criminal Justice Policy Council, a state agency tasked with providing "objective analysis and assessment of state criminal justice programs and initiatives."

More recently, he's advanced a plan to privatize health care within the prisons:

Perry first floated the health care privatization proposal in his  2011 budget, which noted: "The Governor’s budget recommends canceling  necessary contracts early to explore private sector delivery options, or  instructing the state-supported institution to provide correctional  care according to the constitutional minimum level." Mike Ward of the  Austin American-Statesman reported that Perry adviser Mike Morrissey  held a closed-door meeting in March to discuss the privatization  proposal with potential vendors—but not, pointedly, the state-university-operated facilities that currently run things.

At the same time, he's been raking in huge amounts of campaign cash from private prison executives and lobbyists. No doubt coincidentally, Michael Toomey, Perry's former chief of staff, is currently a lobbyist for Corrections Corporation of America, the largest private prison contractor in the country. Also no doubt coincidentally, Toomey was a lobbyist for Merck at the time Perry tried to require all Texas girls to get an HPV vaccination, manufactured by Merck.

I guess if Perry became president, we'd only have to know who Michael Toomey was working for to know what companies would benefit from new federal regulations or from legislation advanced by the White House.

Reposted from Not Quite Baja, Not Quite Alta by soothsayer99

Just a quick update on a story/diary/article I wrote a week and a half ago about the Arizona city of Goodyear and a prospective prison:

Goodyear officials have agreed to go to court, if necessary, to prevent the construction of a proposed private prison that would house up to 5,000 men.

Citing broken promises in the past over prison size and an expectation of plummeting property values and a tarnished image, the City Council unanimously passed a resolution late Monday to use every means necessary, including legal action, to stop a new prison from being built next to the Arizona State Prison Complex-Perryville.

A raucous crowd of more than 150 people who packed the chambers for a chance to speak cheered the council's decision.

Read more

This is great news for the residents of Goodyear, whose security concerns about the bidder, Geo Group, led to more push back than this industry had seen in this state during this entire process.

Mayor Georgia Lord, who is relatively new on the job after taking over from near-legendary Mayor Jim Cavanaugh who resigned, supplied the headline quote above.

Even though the council has passed this resolution, it is unclear whether the state Department of Corrections, who has ultimate authority over the prison decision, will factor the resolution into its decision process.

But like most Arizonans who have been here a while, you have to leave it to Goodyear Councilman Joe Pizzillo:

"There are communities that want this prison," Councilman Joe Pizzillo said. "I'm hoping the state has sense enough to go where people want them to be versus not want them to be. I'm counting on that, but you know the state."

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Go check out the Arizona Republic article, and the links in the previous diary/article/story for more info.

Reposted from TransAction by Ojibwa

Jovanie Saldana was a prisoner at Riverside Correctional Facility in Philadelphia when she was recently forced to perform oral sex on a correctional officer.  In most books that's considered rape.

Her complaint triggered an investigation…of her.  Oh, sure, the officer she complained about was transferred to another prison, but the investigation of Jovanie went forward.  Investigators listening in on a phone conversation with her mother heard the mother scold Jovanie about not revealing the truth about her gender.

You see, Jovanie was born male…and apparently, now that this story has come out, everyone knows that she still has her penis.

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Reposted from Native American Netroots by Ojibwa

Some Indians are in jails and prisons. It is in this setting that we see the continuation of government-backed programs for the assimilation of Indian people into Christianity and the denial of the validity of Indian spiritual beliefs and activities. While prisons pay for chaplains (mostly Christian) to serve the spiritual needs of prisoners and encourage prisoners to engage in religious activities, Indian prisoners seeking to follow Indian spiritual ways find many roadblocks placed in their way. The issues about Indians’ spiritual rights in prison often center on one or more of the concerns discussed below.

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Reposted from dirkster42 by soothsayer99

The National Religious Campaign Against Torture is holding a rally at the State Capitol against solitary confinement.

Join us in Sacramento on August 23
NRCAT supporters will join several other advocacy organizations for a rally and public witness prior to the California Public Safety Committee's hearing on conditions in the SHU (Solitary Housing Units) in Pelican Bay and other California prisons.  In addition, NRCAT supporters will be delivering the recent NRCAT statement, signed by more than 600 California residents, prior to the rally.  NRCAT supporters plan to attend the Public Safety Committee hearing at 1:30, currently scheduled for Room 126 in the Capitol.  We invite you to join us for any or all of these events:

10:45 AM Meet together near the north steps of the Capitol (look for the NRCAT banners), and as a group we will deliver signatures.
11:30 AM Rally near the north steps of the Capitol.  Look for the NRCAT banners.  NRCAT will have signs available.  Several other advocacy groups are also expected to be in attendance.
1:30 PM Public Safety Committee hearing, currently scheduled in Room 126.  The hearing is open to the public, space permitting.

RSVP here.


I live in Nor Cal

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Reposted from ColorOfChange by soothsayer99 recently launched a campaign demanding that Illinois State officials immediately agree to overturn the convictions of men who were arrested as teens and forced to confess to murders they did not commit.

Recent DNA testing has proven the innocence of 10 Black men, some who have been imprisoned for nearly 20 years. Despite the overwhelming evidence, which has even linked the crimes to the real killers, the state of Illinois refuses to recognize their innocence.  Can you join us and help stop forced confessions that lead to wrongful convictions of youth? It just takes a moment:

This kind of practice should have no place in law enforcement. However, every day, police treat Black youth as criminals denying them their right to due process and basic dignity. The consequences of these practices are life-threatening.  Correcting this gross injustice in Cook County would send a message to law enforcement officials everywhere that they can’t get away with forcing false confessions. Coercive interrogation practices compromise the entire public's safety and must come to an end.

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Reposted from Meteor Blades by soothsayer99

Because of deeply personal issues I am taking a leave of absence from Daily Kos. Other than to say my reasons are not related to my health, I am not willing to discuss the matter in public. My return is doubtful.

After eight years here, I have met many, many activists who I am proud to call my friends. And many others whose organizing efforts and writing and thinking skills I highly respect.  I wish I could say thanks individually to all of you — my colleagues on the Front Page, diarists, commenters and silent lurkers who have sent me emails over the years. But that long list would inevitably leave some out, and I don't want to do that. So I will make my thanks to one person only, Markos.

He has done more to create the left political blogosphere than anyone. Starting with a single computer and a handful of commenters, he created a platform unlike any other. Soon there were many imitators. Unlike so many of the thin-skinned operators elsewhere, he gave free rein to discussions, governing the conversation with only a few rules, even when that conversation included ferocious insults to him and his efforts. Scores, then hundreds, then thousands, then tens of thousands of people showed up, all of them with their own motives, their own political viewpoints, their own agendas, but most of them with a fierce desire to turn American politics around.

That platform continues to offer an outstanding opportunity for activists to organize against the overseers who have imposed a class war on the majority of Americans and back it up by exacerbating racism, sexism and heterosexism. It is all the more important now that this war has been ratcheted up and strengthened by the Supreme Court, and the curtain has been pulled back on the true nature of the overseers and those whose strings they pull in both political parties.

Daily Kos also provides a place to support each other's individual struggles of a non-political nature: dealing with job loss, with disability, with grief and even with our own mortality.

It offers a place to raise money for causes like the famine-struck Horn of Africa or the earthquake victims of Haiti. It allows a means to keep tabs on on-going world events — Fukushima, Katrina, the Gulf Oil spill, the Middle East political awakening, climate change, the criminal justice system. A place to present big ideas to shape our future.

Often, the place can just be fun.

Of course, Daily Kos is not a platform that has eliminated human nature. Pettiness, personal grudges, jockeying for power and attention, preening and pretending that only the other guy's shit stinks make daily appearances here. All too frequently, respected individuals are viciously attacked because their attackers can't read or simply to score points with their pals. Labels are attached on the flimsiest of excuses or none at all. Some say that the in-fighting is worse than it's ever been. If only they were running things here, if only this group or that group were banned en masse, the site could get much more accomplished, they imply or say directly.

In fact, much more would be accomplished if just half the energy that goes into this internal battling went into the real activism that we see recounted or proposed in diaries every day. Some of the viciousness would probably be undermined if the "Preview" comment button were replaced by one saying "THINK!"

Markos has provided the platform and he deserves everyone's deepest thanks for it. He certainly has mine. It's up to the participants here to make the best use of it in carrying out the fight against those who see the working classes of America as nothing more than fodder to make themselves ever richer.

My life has taken a turn that means I can no longer be one of those participants, here, or in the greater world.

Farewell to you all.

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