Category: prison industrial complex

Nations Jails Struggle With Mentally Ill Prisoners : NPR

By , September 6, 2011 3:31 pm

More Americans receive mental health treatment in prisons and jails than in hospitals or treatment centers. In fact, the three largest inpatient psychiatric facilities in the country are jails: Los Angeles County Jail, Rikers Island Jail in New York City and Cook County Jail in Illinois.

“We have a criminal justice system which has a very clear purpose: You get arrested. We want justice. We try you, and justice hopefully prevails. It was never built to handle people that were very, very ill, at least with mental illness,” Judge Steve Leifman tells Laura Sullivan, guest host of weekends on All Things Considered.

via Nations Jails Struggle With Mentally Ill Prisoners : NPR.

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.

Prison Rebellions as a Window to the New World: Every Crook Can Govern

By , July 24, 2011 7:17 am

As we write this, thousands of inmates across California–spearheaded by an organized bloc in the Pelican Bay secure housing unit (SHU)–are refusing meals and risking their bodies and lives in the struggle to reform the atrocious conditions prevalent across the state penitentiary system. But this struggle is about more than reforming incarceration and improving conditions: the hunger strike speaks to the struggle for revolutionary change across society as a whole an offers a preliminary glimpse of the new world gestating in the hellish bowels of the old.

Read full article at:

George Ciccariello-Maher and Jeff St. Andrews: Every Crook Can Govern.

Time to end drug ‘war’ – Leonard Pitts Jr. – MiamiHerald.com

By , June 16, 2011 6:02 pm

Frankly, Mr. President, you should take this one personally. As you must know, the War on Drugs has been, in effect, a war on black men. Though whites are the nation’s biggest users and dealers of illicit drugs, blacks are the ones most likely to be jailed for drug crimes and to suffer the disruption of families and communities that comes with it.You have done little to address these and other racial inequities of the criminal injustice system.

via Time to end drug ‘war’ – Leonard Pitts Jr. – MiamiHerald.com.

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.

Getting It Wrong: Convicting the Innocent

By , April 13, 2011 6:29 pm

When he recently signed legislation abolishing the death penalty in Illinois, Gov. Pat Quinn noted a “grave danger” that the innocent could be executed. This past March, the U.S. Supreme Court decided, in Skinner v. Switzer, to expand the right to access DNA testing that could potentially prove a defendants innocence. Last week the New York Times published a firsthand account by John Thompson, an innocent man who came within hours of his own execution. Two weeks ago, the U.S. Supreme Court threw out a $14 million jury award compensating him for the years he spent in prison. Public opinion surrounding the death penalty has been shaped, in recent years, by the possibility of innocents being executed. And DNA exonerations continue to regularly occur, although with little rigorous assessment of what went wrong.

via Who confesses to a crime they didnt commit: Frank Sterling and mistaken confessions. 1 – By Brandon L. Garrett – Slate Magazine.

Farewell to Modernity in the New Age of Surveillance

By , January 30, 2011 9:16 pm

Terrorism was connected to a variety of ideologies and served a variety of purposes. Every now and then, bombs exploded in the world, hostages were taken and airplanes hijacked. Every now and then, innocent people were dying somewhere. It always caused terror and made it hard for those responsible for security to sleep at night, forcing them to develop ever-newer techniques and ways of protection against terrorism. It caused worry, and, moreover, forced the introduction of ever-increasing limitations of freedom in the name of improving security. Gradually, terrorism changed our mentality. Step by step, we have become accustomed to limitations of freedom undertaken for the sake of improving security. After the assassination attempt in St. Peter’s Square, where the bullets of the Turkish hired gun hit the pope, the pope moved from an open car to a bulletproof display carriage – the popemobile – and we soon considered the strange vehicle to be normal. Years later, nobody remembered that it used to be otherwise, that the pope had driven in an open car and shaken the hands of random people, and that those who managed to push through to the front of the crowds could get close enough to touch his cassock. In the same way, we got used to personal control at the airports.

via Farewell to Modernity in the New Age of Surveillance.

How Does the Biggest Prison Strike in American History Go Unnoticed? | TheLoop21.com

By , December 23, 2010 7:36 pm

In September of 1971, more than a thousand prisoners at the Attica Correctional Facility in Attica , NY revolted in what eventually became one of the most famous prison standoffs in American history.  Before the insurrection was bloodily quelled on orders of then New York State Governor Nelson Rockefeller, the prisoners demanded animprovement to the conditions that they were forced to live.  In the midst of the Black Power Movement, Attica became a lasting symbol for demands for human and civil rights, even among the incarcerated.

In the spirit of Attica, nearly 40 years later, prisoners at six prisons in Georgia, organized a non-violent labor strike to demand better conditions for themselves. Specifically the inmates demanded a living wage for their work, educational opportunities, decent health care, an end to cruel and unusual punishment, decent living conditions, nutritional meals, opportunities for self-improvement rehabilitation, access to their families and just parole decisions.

via How Does the Biggest Prison Strike in American History Go Unnoticed? | TheLoop21.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.

Resisting Gender Violence and the Prison Industrial Complex

By , November 14, 2010 9:03 pm
Timeline of total number of inmates in U.S. pr...
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Victoria Law is a longtime prison activist and the author of the 2009 book, Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women (PM Press). Law’s essay “Sick of the Abuse: Feminist Responses to Sexual Assault, Battering, and Self Defense,” is featured in the new book, entitled The Hidden 1970s: Histories of Radicalism, edited by Dan Berger.

In this interview, Law discusses her new article, which provides a history of radical feminist resistance to the criminalization of women who have defended themselves from gender violence. Furthermore, Law presents a prison abolitionist critique of how the mainstream women’s movement has embraced the US criminal justice system as a solution for combating violence against women.

Previously interviewed by Angola 3 News about the torture of women in US prisons, Law is now on the road with the Community and Resistance Tour.

via Resisting Gender Violence and the Prison Industrial Complex | Dissident Voice.

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