RSS

Tag Archives: incarceration

Life For DWI

Alcoholism is probably the hardest drug addiction to quit. The alcoholic is surrounded by a culture, which not only imbibes, but considers the consumption of alcohol an integral part of many of our social events.

However – there are some folks who take drinking and bad judgement to an extreme.

Needless to say, this guy won’t be drinking a drop of alcohol, for a very, very long time.

Mr Middleton will not have to worry about what to wear for a very long time.

 

Houston man, 56, gets life in prison for 9th DWI conviction

A 56-year-old Houston man has been sentenced to life in prison following his ninth drunken driving conviction since 1980.

Donald Middleton was sentenced Tuesday in Conroe. A Montgomery County judge decided that Middleton was a habitual offender.

Middleton last week pleaded guilty to the latest DWI charge linked to a May 2015 traffic accident. Investigators say Middleton was arrested after he fled on foot after the wreck, ran to a store and begged the clerks not to turn him in.

Prosecutors say Middleton previously served four prison terms for his alcohol-related convictions.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 8, 2016 in Nawwwwww!, News

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Reparations for “War on Drugs”?

The so called “War on Drugs” has devastated certain black communities i America. It has resulted in the highest incarceration rate in the world, and ruined the lives of millions of young people. When every statistical analysis in the last 30 years has shown that whites are 6 times more likely to use, carry, and smuggle drugs – the only way where you can get to a situation here black kids are 6-8 times more likely to be arrested and charged is intentional. And that isn’t even getting into the issue of different sentences for chemically identical “crack” cocaine and powder cocaine leading to significantly longer prison terms for crack, which happens to be predominately the form of cocaine used by the poor and black folks.

Reparations for the Drug War. Seriously.

While the decriminalization and legalization of marijuana are big steps in ending a serious racial injustice, what about those already punished by the inequitable system?

As marijuana legalization expands across the U.S., the war on drugs inches closer to its long-awaited end. Hanging in the balance: those arrested or incarcerated for the drug, casualties of a war that’s been overwhelmingly waged in communities of color.

It’s one that, despite marijuana being legal in more than half the nation, is far from over. According to a report from the Colorado Department of Public Safety and Health, there was a 58 percent increase in marijuana arrests among black adolescents from 2012-2014. Among white adolescents, during the same time frame, arrests dropped eight percent.

While the federal government works to stop lawmakers from impeding on the freedoms of citizens in states where pot is legal, Oakland, California is looking to fix the damage that’s already done.

This week the city—known for uprooting the status quo—introduced a groundbreaking measure that’s been deemed “drug war reparations.”

Known officially as the “Equity Permit Program” it’s an ordinance that allocates half of its dispensary permits to people who’ve served time for marijuana violations in the last ten years, or lived in one of several zones with the highest number of arrests for the drug.

Written by councilwoman Desley Brooks, the equity program—at its core—is shattering the notion that marijuana violators are criminals. Instead, it offers them a front row ticket to a billion dollar industry fueled by the drug that once put them behind bars.

Social justice activists, while enthused by the idea, say the ordinance has problems—some of which, like a lack of financial assistance, may hinder the applicant’s ability to succeed. But its issues aside, the ordinance is nothing short of revolutionary, a piece of legislation which suggests that those struck down by pot should be the first its legalization lifts up. Oakland’s unanimous vote of approval is, if nothing else, a sign that those who’ve suffered from prohibition may soon be getting a green payback…Read The Rest Here

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Conservative Clown US Senator Claims US “Under-Incarcerates”

The key to being elected as a Republican anymore is to say any stupid shit that comes out of your ass. Senator Tom Cotton being one of many prime examples in the US Senate and House.

What we need to do in this country isn’t to deport Illegal aliens…We need to deport stupid. Surely we can find an unpopulated Island in the South Pacific or Indian Ocean missing it’s fools, and in need of some jackasses for wildlife.

Republican Sen. Tom Cotton couldn't be more wrong: No, the U.S. doesn't have an “under-incarceration problem"

Suck on Stupid Republican Sen. Tom Cotton

Republican Sen. Tom Cotton couldn’t be more wrong: No, the U.S. doesn’t have an “under-incarceration problem”

America holds roughly 5 percent of the world’s population and boasts 25 percent of its prison population. Something like 2.2 million people are currently imprisoned in this country. Our per capita incarceration rate is 750 per 100,000 – only Russia comes close to that at 450 per 100,000. Among African-American males, it’s nearly 4,000 per 100,000.

 This is a national disgrace.

Forty or 50 years ago, the numbers were far lower than this and comparable with much of the industrialized world. But thanks to a racist drug war and the concomitant explosion of the prison-industrial complex, America has become a star-spangled penal colony, a place where an African American male without a high school diploma is more likely to end up in jail than with a job.

Mass incarceration and criminal justice reform has emerged as one of the few fronts on which bipartisan action is possible. Nearly all Democrats are pushing for changes and, lately, prominent Republicans are increasingly open to reforming the system as well. One of the lone exceptions appears to be resident tough guy, Sen. Tom Cotton.

The junior senator from Arkansas who gained national attention last year with his inane letter to Iranian leaders has now taken a curious stand on America’s prison dilemma. Turns out, we’ve really got an “under-incarceration problem.” Despite the numbers and the trends and grotesque reality of a for-profit prison system, Cotton thinks we’ve got it all backwards.

Cotton has been critical of the efforts in Congress to reduce mandatory minimum sentences, but he doubled down in a speech on Thursday at The Hudson Institute:

“Take a look at the facts. First, the claim that too many criminals are being jailed, that there is over-incarceration, ignores an unfortunate fact: for the vast majority of crimes, a perpetrator is never identified or arrested, let alone prosecuted, convicted and jailed. Law enforcement is able to arrest or identify a likely perpetrator for only 19 percent of property crimes and 47 percent of violent crimes. If anything, we have an under-incarceration problem.”

Cotton makes an interesting point about the pathological violence pervading American society (which, naturally, has nothing to do with our mania for guns), but that’s actually a separate issue. If anything, the fact that we’re jailing a quarter of the world’s population in spite of not apprehending the majority of violent offenders is itself a reflection of our obscene sentencing guidelines. We’re incarcerating too many citizens for victimless drug offenses and various non-violent crimes.

But Cotton thinks we’re showing too much empathy for “those caught up in the criminal-justice system.” Indeed, after perfunctorily acknowledging the racist roots of America’s felon-disenfranchisement laws, he dismissed the growing concerns over police brutality: “Let me make something clear: black lives do matter. The lives being lost to violence in America’s cities are predominantly those of young black men, with devastating consequences for their families and their communities. But the police aren’t the culprits. In nearly every case, the blood is on the hands of criminals, drug dealers, and gang members.”

No one denies that drug dealers and gangs are real problems, but that in no way diminishes the reality of a racialized incarceration system or an unjust drug war aimed at black Americans. While Cotton chooses his words carefully, his analysis is devoid of context. Yes, there are high levels of crime in urban areas, but that itself is a product of the drug war and the systematic destruction of these communities. Crime will always be higher in areas in which opportunities are scarce and the only thriving economy is a shadow economy. The focus ought to be the criminal justice system that props up these underground economies and lays waste to the surrounding communities. Much of our violent crime problem has been socially engineered; it’s about policy. Sen. Cotton shows no interest in this history…Read the Rest Here

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

The Prison Industrial Complex in Mississippi

1930’s pictures of black men on the Chain Gang in the South are a icon of how black people were persecuted and forced to work in virtual slavery under Jim Crow.

While the Chin Gang may (or not) be gone, incarceration as a social tool and meas of oppression is not. Mississippi has third highest incarceration rate in the US, placing it solidly ahead of even repressive regimes around the world and communist countries.

Mississippi Jails Are Losing Inmates, And Local Officials Are ‘Devastated’ By The Loss Of Revenue

“If they do not send us our inmates back, we can’t make it,” said one county supervisor.

County officials across Mississippi are warning of job losses and deep deficits as local jails are being deprived of the state inmates needed to keep them afloat. The culprit, say local officials, is state government and private prisons, which are looking to boost their own revenue as sentencing and drug-policy reforms are sending fewer bodies into the correctional system.

In the late 1990s, as the overcrowded Mississippi prison system buckled under the weight of mass incarceration, the state asked local governments to build local correctional institutions to house state prisoners. It was billed as a win-win: The Mississippi Department of Correction would foot the bill for each prisoner, and the counties would get good jobs guarding them. The state guaranteed that the local jails would never be less than 80 percent occupied, and the locals would get a 3 percent boost in compensation each year.

After a few years, say local officials, the state offered a new deal: Instead of the 3 percent bump, they would give the locals more and more prisoners, thus boosting total revenue. Today, the state pays $29.74 per day per prisoner to the regional facilities, a deal that worked for everybody as long as the buildings were stuffed full with bodies.

Scott Strickland, president of the Stone County Board of Supervisors, said reforms at the state and local levels have shrunk the prison population. “Federal laws took some part in that — allowing prisoners to serve only a certain percentage of their term,” he said. “Also, they’ve reduced prison sentences for certain drug-related offenses.”

As the wave of mass incarceration begins to recede, the Mississippi controversy has local and state officials talking openly about how harmful locking up fewer people up will be for the economy, confirming the suspicions of those who have argued that mass incarceration is not merely a strategy directed at crime prevention. “Under the administrations of Reagan and Clinton, incarceration, a social tool used for punishment, also became a major job creator,” Antonio Moore, a producer of the documentary “Crack in the System,” wrote recently.

“I don’t think it necessarily started out this way, but the inmate population has become the backbone of some of these counties that are involved,” said Mississippi Corrections Commissioner Marshall Fisher as the controversy heated up.

The prisoners have value beyond the per diem, county officials add, when they can be put to work. State prisoners do garbage pickup, lawn maintenance and other manual labor that taxpayers would otherwise have to pay for. Convict labor has made it easier for local governments to absorb never-ending cuts in state funding, as tea party legislators and governors slash budgets in the name of conservative government.

The state knows it, and now demands that local jails house state convicts who perform labor for free, George County Supervisor Henry Cochran told The Huffington Post. The counties take the deal. “You’re either gonna go up on everybody’s garbage bill, or you’ve gotta house those inmates,” Cochran said. “You’re using that inmate labor, so [taxpayers are] getting a little good out of that inmate for their tax dollars. You either gotta hire a bunch of employees or keep that inmate. It’s like making a deal with the devil.”

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 15, 2016 in The New Jim Crow

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Painting Injustice in Louisiana

This one starts with the case of Mac Phipps, jailed in a state, Louisiana,  that incarcerates more of it’s citizens than any country in the world since Pol Pot’s Cambodia.

Her Son Is In Prison, And She Paints The Faces Of A Broken Justice System

The brushstrokes in Sheila Phipps‘ paintings tell the story of a broken criminal justice system in Louisiana — a state notorious for having the highest incarceration rate in the world.

It’s a mission that Phipps, a visual artist who’s been painting since the 1980s, took up after her son, McKinley “Mac” Phipps, a former No Limit hip-hop artist, wassentenced to 30 years in prison for a 2000 nightclub shooting.

“My son was wrongfully convicted in 2001 and is now serving time for a crime he didn’t commit,” Sheila Phipps said.

The visual artist said that in the beginning she could barely face the pain of her son spending such a large portion of his life behind bars. To cope, she went to her art room, took a brush in hand, and in a series of meticulous strokes captured the element missing from her life — her son — on canvas.

“I was frustrated, and it helped me deal with the stress of everything,” Phipps told The Huffington Post.

When Phipps finished the painting of her son, she initially viewed it as a personal accomplishment. After all, it was intended to be therapeutic — a brief escape from the harsh reality of the situation. However, an emptiness remained. It prompted her to capture not only her son’s story but also those of other inmates in Louisiana who are in similar situations.

“I knew my son was not the only one who was a victim of the criminal justice system,” she said. “So I started to research other cases where individuals were convicted with questionable evidence or received excessive sentences.”

Phipps said her son ultimately became the inspiration behind her series of portraits of incarcerated men. Although she never intended her personal expression for public view, she gradually began showing her paintings as they emerged, gathering them in a series titled “Injustice Xhibition.”

The exhibit features seven incarcerated men: McKinley “Mac” Phipps Jr., Warren Scott III, Jerome “Skee” Smith, Earl Truvia, Stanley Stirgus, Rogers LaCaze Sr., and Jamil Joyner. …Read More Here

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 31, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Why Obama Needs to Nominate a Liberal Judge

Obama hopefully has gotten to the stage to cut the crap about making peace with Republican bigots. The New Jim Crow was subsidized and supported by the 5-4 conservative court.

As to Scalia’s Lawn Ornament…

The Human Toll of Antonin Scalia’s Time on the Court

Blacks, Latinos, and poor whites suffered because of his draconian approach to criminal punishment.

In the days since Antonin Scalia’s death, he has been duly recognized as one of the most impactful justices in the Supreme Court’s history. A critical part of his troubling legacy has long been staring us in the face, although it finally started receiving the public scrutiny it deserves in recent years. As draconian punishments became the norm over the last three decades, the Supreme Court largely rubber-stamped these practices. Justice Scalia played a key role in this process, as his hardline stances on criminal punishment significantly contributed to mass incarceration, numerous executions, and systemic racial discrimination. Scalia was an outspoken supporter of harsh punishments and wanted the court to take an even more hands-off attitude toward so-called “tough on crime” laws.

Not long after he made it onto the court in 1986, Scalia’s influence on these issues began to be felt. In McCleskey v. Kemp, one of the first cases he heard, anti-death penalty advocates brought compelling evidence of pervasive racial discrimination in Georgia’s administration of capital punishment. A sophisticated statistical study demonstrated that sentencing was tied to the race of the victim and offender. All other factors being equal, blacks who killed whites were the likeliest to receive a death sentence. Justice Scalia was unfazed. During oral arguments, he derisivelyasked: “What if you do a statistical study that shows beyond question that people who are naturally shifty-eyed are to a disproportionate extent convicted in criminal cases, does that make the criminal process unlawful?”

John Charles Boger, who represented the black death-row prisoner in McCleskey, responded by pointing to the obvious: “This is not some sort of statistical fluke or aberration. We have a century-old pattern in the state of Georgia of animosity [toward black-Americans].” Scalia and four other justices nonetheless chose to analyze discrimination out of its social context, including in cases from Southern states with a lengthy history of slavery, segregation, and lynchings.

Scalia was in the majority as the court held that statistical proof of systemic discrimination in the death penalty is irrelevant. A defendant must instead prove intentional discrimination in his own case, an almost impossible standard without considering systemic patterns. Many experts consider McCleskey among the worst Supreme Court decisions of all-time. It largely closed the door to statistical evidence as a means of challenging systemic discrimination in criminal punishment.

Scalia would also play a significant role as the Supreme Court licensed ruthless sentences leading America to world record incarceration levels. He wrote the operative part of the influential Harmelin decision, a 1991 plurality opinion holding that the Eighth Amendment ban on “cruel and unusual punishments” does not require that a prison sentence be “proportional” to the crime. The court thus upheld a life-sentence for cocaine possession.

Scalia again was in the majority in Lockyer v. Andrade, a 2003 case upholding a 50-year-to-life sentence under California’s three-strikes-law for a man who shoplifted videotapes worth $153 because he had prior convictions for petty theft, burglary, and transporting marijuana. Erwin Chemerinsky, who zealously represented the prisoner,was in tears as the media asked him about his reaction to the court’s inhumane decision.

McCleskey, Harmelin, and Lockyer were all 5–4 decisions that could have been decided otherwise if Scalia had thought differently. Naturally, he was not a swing vote but a sure one for harsh justice.

While the justices might not have been able to stop mass incarceration singlehandedly, they definitely could have limited it. Indeed, the court’s belated decision in Brown v. Plata, has contributed to reducing California’s incarceration rate. In this 2011 case, the court ordered California to reduce its dramatically overcrowded prison population because “depriv[ing] prisoners of basic sustenance, including adequate medical care, is incompatible with the concept of human dignity.” In a vehement dissent, Scalia charged that this was “a judicial travesty” and that the majority was “wildly” overstepping its authority.

Similarly, he fiercely dissented in other rare cases where the court decided to check ruthless punishments. If it had been up to Scalia, it would still be constitutional to execute mentally retarded people or teenagers, not to mention sentence teenagers to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for homicide or any other crime.

This aspect of his legacy has been overshadowed by the common misconception that “at least Scalia was quite fair to criminal defendants.” To his credit, he concluded in several procedural cases that juries, not judges, must decide if all facts leading to harsher punishment are proved beyond reasonable doubt. In various other cases, he found that police searches went too far. But these are exceptions. He regularly took an extremely narrow view of due process, such as when he argued that the Constitution does not create “a right to demand judicial consideration of newly discovered evidence of innocence.” Scalia further suggested that executing an innocent person would not be unconstitutional per se. More than 1,300 prisonerswere executed while Scalia was on the Supreme Court though he was persuaded that his colleagues created unjust procedural hurdles to executions by baselessly expanding the rights of death row prisoners.

Had Scalia had his way, far more people would have been executed during his tenure and the court would have adopted an even more accommodating approach to mass incarceration. In his view, merciless punishments were just deserts for “evildoers.” Hescoffed when fellow justices advanced a more nuanced view of criminal behavior or occasionally suggested that draconian punishments were dehumanizing. He was certain that the court already cared too much about people who faced the death penalty or endless prison sentences. Justices who disagreed with him were judicial activists who refused to defer to elected branches of government. Of course, Scalia did not do so himself in multiple cases. Tellingly, he voted to strike down campaign finance legislation in Citizens United. He likewise voted twice, unsuccessfully, in favor of eviscerating the democratically enacted Affordable Care Act…More Here

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Death by Incarceration – Why Are Black Women Arrested For Minor Violations Dying in Jail?

Somehow a 16 year old 100lb black girl is more threat to the system than a white 40 year old mass murderer…

16 Year Old Gynna McMillen

Why Are Black Girls and Women Dying in Police Custody?

Gynna McMillen was brought into the Lincoln Village Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, on January 10, 2016, after police were called to her mother’s house about a “domestic incident.” The next morning she was found unresponsive in a cell. What happened to her? Why is she dead after less than 24 hours in the detention facility? These are questions being asked by Gynna’s family and others concerned about the deaths of Black people in police custody.

Slowly, investigators are releasing information, and what we know so far is horrifying. Gynna McMillen, a 16-year-old Black girl, died in a detention center where staff used martial arts to restrain her when she refused to remove her sweatshirt. Gynna McMillen died while isolated in a cell. Gynna McMillen died alone: No one followed the protocol to check on her every 15 minutes.

Black children have always faced disproportionately brutal treatment in jail. “Opportunities Lost: Racial Disparities in Juvenile Justice in Kentucky and Identified Needs for Systems Change,” a 2009 issue brief written and published by Kentucky Youth Advocates, details disproportionate contact with children of color at every level of the juvenile legal system, from complaints against youth to arrest and detainment. Despite representing only 9.5 percent of the Kentucky youth population, African-American youth are more than twice as likely as white youth to have complaints filed against them, four times more likely to be detained during any point in court processing and more than four times as likely to have their cases referred to adult courts.

In 2013, the rate of African-American youth detained in juvenile detention, correctional and/or residential facilities was 495 per 100,000, the highest of any racial or ethnic group, according to National Kids Count data. For African-American girls specifically, the rate was 78 per 100,000, according to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

While the arrest rate has declined for boys in the juvenile legal system, it has not fallen as sharply for girls. African-American girls represent 33.2 percent of girls who are detained, although they are only 14 percent of the population. Many incarcerated girls have experienced one or more traumas, including abuse, poverty, mental illness and being funneled through child welfare systems. Instead of receiving the help they need, girls are routed into the juvenile legal system because of their victimization. Sometimes, their response to trauma is itself criminalized. As Monique Morris wrote in America’s Wire, African-American girls are often criminalized for qualities associated with survival, such as being loud and defiant….Read The Rest Here

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 9, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

Tags: , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: