Category: corporate crime

Oligarchy, American Style – NYTimes.com

By , November 4, 2011 8:51 pm

Inequality is back in the news, largely thanks to Occupy Wall Street, but with an assist from the Congressional Budget Office. And you know what that means: It’s time to roll out the obfuscators!

Anyone who has tracked this issue over time knows what I mean. Whenever growing income disparities threaten to come into focus, a reliable set of defenders tries to bring back the blur. Think tanks put out reports claiming that inequality isn’t really rising, or that it doesn’t matter.

via Oligarchy, American Style – NYTimes.com.

The Hidden History of ALEC and Prison Labor | The Nation

By , August 3, 2011 9:42 pm

The breaded chicken patty your child bites into at school may have been made by a worker earning twenty cents an hour, not in a faraway country, but by a member of an invisible American workforce: prisoners. At the Union Correctional Facility, a maximum security prison in Florida, inmates from a nearby lower-security prison manufacture tons of processed beef, chicken and pork for Prison Rehabilitative Industries and Diversified Enterprises PRIDE, a privately held non-profit corporation that operates the state’s forty-one work programs. In addition to processed food, PRIDE’s website reveals an array of products for sale through contracts with private companies, from eyeglasses to office furniture, to be shipped from a distribution center in Florida to businesses across the US. PRIDE boasts that its work programs are “designed to provide vocational training, to improve prison security, to reduce the cost of state government, and to promote the rehabilitation of the state inmates.”

via The Hidden History of ALEC and Prison Labor | The Nation.

Legal Services for Poor Face Growing Need and Less Funding – ProPublica

By , May 19, 2011 1:29 pm

Providers of civil legal services to the poor are having to furlough their staff, triage their clients, and turn away more people in need as a result of the congressional budget compromise reached last month. Legal services may include defending low-income individuals dealing with predatory lending, domestic violence, landlord-tenant disputes or foreclosure. As weve noted, legal experts have particularly urged to Congress to adequately fund legal services in order to alleviate the crisis of flawed foreclosures.

But far from seeing any budget increases, the umbrella nonprofit group Legal Services Corporation had its funding cut by $15.8 million—about 4 percent of its most recent budget—as a result of last months budget compromise. It was spared a $75 million cut first proposed by House Republicans.

via Legal Services for Poor Face Growing Need and Less Funding – ProPublica.

The Two-Tiered Justice System: An Illustration | Common Dreams

By , April 16, 2011 3:54 pm

Of all the topics on which Ive focused, Ive likely written most about Americas two-tiered justice system — the way in which political and financial elites now enjoy virtually full-scale legal immunity for even the most egregious lawbreaking, while ordinary Americans, especially the poor and racial and ethnic minorities, are subjected to exactly the opposite treatment: the worlds largest prison state and most merciless justice system. That full-scale destruction of the rule of law is also the topic of my forthcoming book. But The New York Times this morning has a long article so perfectly illustrating what I mean by “two-tiered justice system” — and the way in which it obliterates the core covenant of the American Founding: equality before the law — that its impossible for me not to highlight it.

via The Two-Tiered Justice System: An Illustration | Common Dreams.

Its the Inequality, Stupid

By , February 24, 2011 1:19 pm

Eleven charts that explain everything thats wrong with America.

via Its the Inequality, Stupid | Mother Jones.

Wisconsin Power Play

By , February 21, 2011 8:46 pm

Last week, in the face of protest demonstrations against Wisconsin’s new union-busting governor, Scott Walker — demonstrations that continued through the weekend, with huge crowds on Saturday — Representative Paul Ryan made an unintentionally apt comparison: “It’s like Cairo has moved to Madison.”

via Wisconsin Power Play – NYTimes.com.

Anarchist group claims responsibility for Department of Corrections vandalism | Asheville News | Mountain Xpress

By , December 1, 2010 10:55 am

An anonymous group of anarchists has claimed responsibility for a Nov. 24 vandalism of the Department of Corrections building on McDowell Street. Police say the vandals slashed several vehicles’ tires and painted slogans like “Burn Prisons” on the building.“Nov. 24 in the dead of night, we attacked the Department of Corrections DOC: Division of Community Corrections on McDowell St. in Asheville, NC,” an anonymous member of the group writes on the website Anarchist News. “Six DOC vehicles were disabled. Their tires were slashed and their windows destroyed with glass etching fluid. “Burn the Prisons” and a circled A were scrawled across DOC building’s veneer.”

via Anarchist group claims responsibility for Department of Corrections vandalism | Asheville News | Mountain Xpress.

How a Fraud’s Value Affects Prison Time

By , November 9, 2010 7:10 pm

LOS ANGELES—When Bruce Karatz was running KB Home, the giant home builder pulled in billions of dollars a year in revenue. But now, a mere $11 million could help determine whether Mr. Karatz spends more than a half decade in prison.

On Wednesday, the former chief executive is scheduled to be sentenced in federal court here for his April conviction for fraud and making false statements in connection with an options-backdating scandal. Mr. Karatz, who the government alleges tried to make nearly $11 million from backdating, has denied wrongdoing and plans to appeal his conviction.

The U.S. Probation Office, an arm of the courts, has recommended that Judge Otis Wright give Mr. Karatz probation and eight months of home confinement. The U.S. Attorney’s office here wants a 6.5-year prison sentence. In a filing, the prosecutors argue that confining Mr. Karatz in his “24-room Bel-Air mansion,” would suggest “a two-tiered criminal justice system, one for the affluent….and a second for ordinary citizens.”

via How a Fraud’s Value Affects Prison Time – WSJ.com.

Interactive feature: The continuing fiscal crisis in corrections | Vera Institute of Justice

By , October 30, 2010 10:57 am

This page shows corrections appropriations in 44 states for fiscal years 2010 and 2011. You can view those states’ corrections allocations and recent changes in funding sources, including stimulus monies from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

Vera’s Center on Sentencing and Corrections collected this data for the report The Continuing Fiscal Crisis in Corrections: Setting a New Course. Budget appropriations are shown only for the 44 states that participated in a survey Vera conducted in the summer of 2010.

via Interactive feature: The continuing fiscal crisis in corrections | Vera Institute of Justice.

Prison Economics Help Drive Ariz. Immigration Law : NPR

By , October 30, 2010 10:55 am

Last year, two men showed up in Benson, Ariz., a small desert town 60 miles from the Mexico border, offering a deal.

Glenn Nichols, the Benson city manager, remembers the pitch.

“The gentleman that’s the main thrust of this thing has a huge turquoise ring on his finger,” Nichols said. “He’s a great big huge guy and I equated him to a car salesman.”

What he was selling was a prison for women and children who were illegal immigrants.

“They talk [about] how positive this was going to be for the community,” Nichols said, “the amount of money that we would realize from each prisoner on a daily rate.”

But Nichols wasn’t buying. He asked them how would they possibly keep a prison full for years — decades even — with illegal immigrants?

Glenn Nichols, city manager of Benson, Ariz.

Laura Sullivan/NPR

Glenn Nichols, city manager of Benson, Ariz., says two men came to the city last year “talking about building a facility to hold women and children that were illegals.”

“They talked like they didn’t have any doubt they could fill it,” Nichols said.

That’s because prison companies like this one had a plan — a new business model to lock up illegal immigrants. And the plan became Arizona’s immigration law.

via Prison Economics Help Drive Ariz. Immigration Law : NPR.

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