Resisting Gender Violence and the Prison Industrial Complex

By , November 14, 2010 9:03 pm
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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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Students Lack Basic Research Skills, Study Finds

By , November 13, 2010 5:26 pm

Ms. Head said the findings show that college students approach research as a hunt for the right answer instead of a process of evaluating different arguments and coming up with their own interpretation.

“Not being aware of the diverse resources that exist or the different ways knowledge is created and shared is dangerous,” she said. “College is a time to find information and learn about multiple arguments, and exploring gets sacrificed if you conduct research in this way.”

via Students Lack Basic Research Skills, Study Finds – Wired Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

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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.

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Cutting prison budget could be challenging if inmate population keeps growing

By , November 9, 2010 7:09 pm

Faced with a possible $20 billion budget gap, Texas legislative leaders had hoped to discuss closing some state prisons to save money. However, those prisons that for months have had empty bunks are slowly filling back up.

And while officials are split about the reasons, most agree that if the trend continues, it could make decisions about slashing state spending even more difficult when the Legislature convenes in January.

Full prisons cant be closed without releasing convicts, a politically unthinkable solution. That leaves treatment and rehabilitation programs — two areas where Texas has expanded its funding and has been successful in recent years at reducing its prison population — as the likely targets for cuts that by some estimates could reach 15 percent of current spending.

via Cutting prison budget could be challenging if inmate population keeps growing.

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Between the Bars

By , November 6, 2010 1:53 pm

Between the Bars is a weblog platform for prisoners, through which the 1% of America which is behind bars can tell their stories. Since prisoners are routinely denied access to the Internet, we enable them to blog by scanning letters. We aim to provide a positive outlet for creativity, a tool to assist in the maintenance of social safety nets, an opportunity to forge connections between prisoners and non-prisoners, and a means to promote non-criminal identities and personal expression. We hope to improve prisoner’s lives, and help to reduce recidivism.

via BetweenTheBars.org : Welcome.

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Criminal justice trends: key legislative changes in sentencing policy, 2001-2010 | Vera Institute of Justice

By , October 31, 2010 8:32 am
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Since 2001, many state legislatures have changed their criminal sentencing policies, increasingly emphasizing approaches that are “smart on crime.” The three main areas of legislative reform involve redefining and reclassifying criminal offenses, strengthening alternatives to incarceration, and reducing prison terms. This report is a reference for legislators, their staff, and other policy makers who may be considering or implementing similar changes in sentencing statutes and policies.

via Criminal justice trends: key legislative changes in sentencing policy, 2001-2010 | Vera Institute of Justice.

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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.

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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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YouTube – Franklin Zimring: The decline in crime New York City

By , October 30, 2010 10:51 am

YouTube – Franklin Zimring: The decline in crime New York City.

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Ten Lessons from the Criminalization of Dissent

By , October 15, 2010 10:20 am

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In the aftermath of the 2000 Republican National Convention, I was charged with multiple felonies and accused of assaulting several police officers, including then Philadelphia Police Chief John Timoney. I approached my case with the attitude that the only way to stop the attempts to criminalize me – and dissent in general – was to organize more effectively than the forces of the state that wanted to shove me into prison. Largely due to successful organizing strategies and community solidarity, I was acquitted after three-and-a-half years. Today, we face similar challenges and must adopt similar strategies in fighting those who wish to put our comrades behind bars and criminalize our visions.

Right now, the state is sending a message to radical environmentalists [as well as radicals and anarchists in general - MW] around the country. It is using its power in an attempt to dismantle our networks and neutralize our militancy. How will we use our power and resources to oppose this force? How are we going to frame our message? What alliances will we build to support our imprisoned comrades?

We can’t let intimidation and fear outweigh our commitment to solidarity. We need to challenge the armchair “radicals” who rationalize the conviction of our comrades as an inevitable result of state repression. Our success in achieving social and environmental victories – in this situation and all others – depends upon the ability of passionate activists to gain the support of ordinary people.

via Ten Lessons from the Criminalization of Dissent | People Of Color Organize!.

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