Mother Antonia

Having been a part of several disaster recovery efforts and worked in Third world countries, one of the things you learn is to identify the “real deal” from the poseurs…

The incredible story of Mary Clarke, who became Sister Antonia…

Mother Antonia, 86, brought comfort to inmates of a notorious Mexican prison

Mary Clarke grew up in the luxury of Beverly Hills, where movie stars, such as William Powell, Hedy Lamarr and Dinah Shore, were among her neighbors. She spent weekends at a roomy beach house overlooking the Pacific and once had closets filled with mink coats and ball gowns.

She was married two times, raised seven children and managed her father’s office-supply business after his death. In the midst of this busy life, she devoted more and more time to charity, which she considered a crucial part of her Catholic faith.

In 1965, she accompanied a priest on a mission to deliver medicine and other supplies to Tijuana, Mexico. After several other stops, they ended up at the gate of one of the country’s most notorious prisons, a state penitentiary called La Mesa. The warden invited them inside to drop off their donations at the infirmary.

She began to visit the prison more often, attending to the needs of the inmates, guards and police, and the transformation of Mary Clarke Brenner had begun. In 1977, when most of her children were grown, she moved to La Mesa.

Although she had no formal religious training, she sewed her own nun’s habit and slept in a bunk in the women’s wing of the prison. She later lived for years in a 10-by-10-foot cell, with the walls painted pink.

She made it her vocation to attend to the needs of some of the most destitute and dangerous people in Mexico. She brought them medicine, bedding, clothing and food. She invited doctors and dentists from California to provide medical care. She worked with Mexican officials to improve conditions in La Mesa and other prisons.

When she walked through the halls, prisoners kissed her hand, and she kissed theirs. Notorious criminals confessed to her and pledged to change their lives.

In Tijuana and throughout all of Mexico, she was known as “Madre Antonia” — Mother Antonia.

She received the blessings of a Mexican bishop of the Catholic Church, was greeted by Pope John Paul II and was commended by Mexican President Vicente Fox. She went on to found a religious order for older women seeking to help the poor.

Mother Antonia went on to live in the prison for more than 30 years, improving the lives of thousands of prisoners, guards and their families. Mother Antonia was the subject of a 2005 book by Washington Post journalists Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan, “The Prison Angel,” and a later documentary film.

After years of weakening health, she died Oct. 17 at the Tijuana headquarters of the religious order she founded, Sisters of the Eleventh Hour of St. John Eudes. She was 86.

She had heart ailments and myasthenia gravis, a neuromuscular disorder. A daughter, Carol Brenner, confirmed the death.

“Something happened to me when I saw men behind bars,” Mother Antonia told the Los Angeles Times in 1982. “When it was cold, I wondered if the men were warm; when it was raining, if they had shelter . . . You know, when I returned to the prison to live, I felt as if I’d come home.”

Free “Blade”. Wesley Snipes Leaves Prison

Actor Wesley Snipes can now begin the process of putting his acting career back together… A “Blade” sequel?

Repeat after me, Wesley…”1040…1040…1040″.

Actor Wesley Snipes released from prison

 Actor Wesley Snipes has been released from a federal prison where he was serving a three-year sentence after being convicted on tax charges in February 2010.The release to a supervised residential location in New York occurred Tuesday, the Federal Bureau of Prisons told CNN.

Snipes, 50, who starred in the “Blade” action movies and “White Men Can’t Jump,” had been serving time at a federal prison in Pennsylvania. A jury convicted him of willfully failing to file tax returns for 1999, 2000 and 2001. Snipes was acquitted of felony tax fraud and conspiracy charges.

In June 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of his sentence, which he had argued was too harsh for a misdemeanor conviction.

Republican Tom Delay Gets Wrist Slap for Money Laundering

I think, considering the damage Delay did – about 10 years would have been more appropriate for this one. At least, the guy doesn’t get to go to “Club Fed” if he is ever put in jail. And as a reminder of what happened the last time Republicans had a majority in the House…

DeLay Sentenced to 3 Years in Money Laundering Case

Some Cute Orange Ballet Flats for Tom "DeLiar"

Tom DeLay, the former House majority leader, was sentenced to three years in prison on Monday after convictions for money laundering and conspiracy stemming from his role in a scheme to channel corporate contributions to Texas state races in 2002.

Mr. DeLay, once one of the most powerful and polemical Republican congressmen in the state’s history, was ushered out of Travis County Court after the sentencing and was taken by sheriff’s deputies to the county jail, where he was expected to post a $10,000 bond and be released pending an appeal.

After listening to Mr. DeLay say he felt he had done nothing wrong, Judge Pat Priest sentenced him to three years in prison for the conspiracy count and 10 years’ probation for the money laundering count. The judge rejected arguments from Mr. DeLay that the trial had been a politically motivated vendetta mounted by an overzealous Democratic District Attorney.

“Before there were Republicans and Democrats, there was America, and what America is about is the rule of law,” the judge said just before pronouncing the sentence.

In November, a jury convicted Mr. DeLay of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering in an unusual trial. It was the first time the money-laundering law had been used in Texas against a politician who had circumvented the state ban on corporate money.

The evidence at the trial showed that Mr. DeLay and two associates illegally channeled $190,000 in corporate donations in 2002 to several Republcian candidates for the state legislature, using the Republican National Committee as a conduit. Texas bans corporations from giving directly to political campaigns.

The donations were seen as critical in the Republican takeover of the state legislature that year. Once they had control, Texas Republcian leaders pushed through a controversial congressional redistricting plan — engineered by Mr. DeLay — that sent more Texas Republicans to Congress in 2004 and helped to consolidate his power in Washington.

Before his sentencing, Mr. DeLay said he was perplexed about how the criminal code could be applied to what he did. The practice of swapping corporate contributions given to state committees for individual contributions given to national parties was commonplace in 2002, he said. “I never intended to break the law — I have always played by the rules,” he told the judge.

“I cannot be remorseful for something I didn’t think I did,” he said. Continue reading

“The Blade” Heads to Club Fed

This definitely won’t be the movie version of prison for Wesley Snipes. Snipes, convicted of income tax evasion on the more than $40 million he made on his films, will be taking an enforced vacation at Club Fed…

One of the Federal “resorts” for white collar criminals.

Snipes will find activities, low pay in Pa. prison

When actor Wesley Snipes enters prison Thursday, he’ll leave behind his wife, young children and celebrity neighbors in the wealthy Florida enclave made infamous by next-door neighbor Tiger Woods.

The prison camp in Lewis Run in northwestern Pennsylvania pales by comparison, but is still worlds away from the harsh prison fortresses depicted in the Snipes films “Undisputed” and “Brooklyn’s Finest.”

Federal Correctional Institution McKean, a minimum-security camp, doesn’t have fences around its perimeter. The 300 nonviolent inmates live in barracks that feature two-man rooms, daily showers and double-feature movie showings Friday through Sunday. Alas, no NC-17, R or X ratings allowed, which knocks out much of Snipes’ action-heavy repertoire.

The most jarring aspect of the celebrity’s stay might be the five daily head counts, three during the overnight hours. And Snipes, who earned a reported $13 million for the “Blade: Trinity” sequel, will have to adjust to earning just pennies an hour handling kitchen, laundry or other campus chores. And, he can spend just $290 a month at the prison commissary.

Alas, Blade – since you are not a politician, you will not be receiving the coveted Illuminati Noir “Orange Jumpsuit Award” instead of an  Oscar this year…

The New Jim Crow – Prisons as the New Slavery

Same as the old slavery, except there’s no cotton involved…

The prison industrial complex profits from high numbers of convictions and long prison sentences. Privatizing the jail system has led to widespread abuse – and the United States incarcerating a larger portion of their population than Communist countries ever did.

The prison industry in the United States: big business or a new form of slavery?

Human rights organizations, as well as political and social ones, are condemning what they are calling a new form of inhumane exploitation in the United States, where they say a prison population of up to 2 million – mostly Black and Hispanic – are working for various industries for a pittance. For the tycoons who have invested in the prison industry, it has been like finding a pot of gold. They don’t have to worry about strikes or paying unemployment insurance, vacations or comp time. All of their workers are full-time, and never arrive late or are absent because of family problems; moreover, if they don’t like the pay of 25 cents an hour and refuse to work, they are locked up in isolation cells.

There are approximately 2 million inmates in state, federal and private prisons throughout the country. According to California Prison Focus, “no other society in human history has imprisoned so many of its own citizens.” The figures show that the United States has locked up more people than any other country: a half million more than China, which has a population five times greater than the U.S. Statistics reveal that the United States holds 25% of the world’s prison population, but only 5% of the world’s people. From less than 300,000 inmates in 1972, the jail population grew to 2 million by the year 2000. In 1990 it was one million. Ten years ago there were only five private prisons in the country, with a population of 2,000 inmates; now, there are 100, with 62,000 inmates. It is expected that by the coming decade, the number will hit 360,000, according to reports.

What has happened over the last 10 years? Why are there so many prisoners?

“The private contracting of prisoners for work fosters incentives to lock people up. Prisons depend on this income. Corporate stockholders who make money off prisoners’ work lobby for longer sentences, in order to expand their workforce. The system feeds itself,” says a study by the Progressive Labor Party, which accuses the prison industry of being “an imitation of Nazi Germany with respect to forced slave labor and concentration camps.”

The prison industry complex is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States and its investors are on Wall Street. “This multimillion-dollar industry has its own trade exhibitions, conventions, websites, and mail-order/Internet catalogs. It also has direct advertising campaigns, architecture companies, construction companies, investment houses on Wall Street, plumbing supply companies, food supply companies, armed security, and padded cells in a large variety of colors.”

According to the Left Business Observer, the federal prison industry produces 100% of all military helmets, ammunition belts, bullet-proof vests, ID tags, shirts, pants, tents, bags, and canteens. Along with war supplies, prison workers supply 98% of the entire market for equipment assembly services; 93% of paints and paintbrushes; 92% of stove assembly; 46% of body armor; 36% of home appliances; 30% of headphones/microphones/speakers; and 21% of office furniture. Airplane parts, medical supplies, and much more: prisoners are even raising seeing-eye dogs for blind people.

CRIME GOES DOWN, JAIL POPULATION GOES UP

According to reports by human rights organizations, these are the factors that increase the profit potential for those who invest in the prison industry complex:

. Jailing persons convicted of non-violent crimes, and long prison sentences for possession of microscopic quantities of illegal drugs. Federal law stipulates five years’ imprisonment without possibility of parole for possession of 5 grams of crack or 3.5 ounces of heroin, and 10 years for possession of less than 2 ounces of rock-cocaine or crack. A sentence of 5 years for cocaine powder requires possession of 500 grams – 100 times more than the quantity of rock cocaine for the same sentence. Most of those who use cocaine powder are white, middle-class or rich people, while mostly Blacks and Latinos use rock cocaine. In Texas, a person may be sentenced for up to two years’ imprisonment for possessing 4 ounces of marijuana. Here in New York, the 1973 Nelson Rockefeller anti-drug law provides for a mandatory prison sentence of 15 years to life for possession of 4 ounces of any illegal drug.

. The passage in 13 states of the “three strikes” laws (life in prison after being convicted of three felonies), made it necessary to build 20 new federal prisons. One of the most disturbing cases resulting from this measure was that of a prisoner who for stealing a car and two bicycles received three 25-year sentences.

. Longer sentences.

. The passage of laws that require minimum sentencing, without regard for circumstances.

. A large expansion of work by prisoners creating profits that motivate the incarceration of more people for longer periods of time.

. More punishment of prisoners, so as to lengthen their sentences.

HISTORY OF PRISON LABOR IN THE UNITED STATES

Prison labor has its roots in slavery. After the 1861-1865 Civil War, a system of “hiring out prisoners” was introduced in order to continue the slavery tradition. Freed slaves were charged with not carrying out their sharecropping commitments (cultivating someone else’s land in exchange for part of the harvest) or petty thievery – which were almost never proven – and were then “hired out” for cotton picking, working in mines and building railroads. From 1870 until 1910 in the state of Georgia, 88% of hired-out convicts were Black. In Alabama, 93% of “hired-out” miners were Black. In Mississippi, a huge prison farm similar to the old slave plantations replaced the system of hiring out convicts. The notorious Parchman plantation existed until 1972… (more)

Prisons for the Poor

Republicans are getting stranger by the minute. The poor are criminals…Geez.

Isn’t this what the English did to populate Georgia…

And Australia?

20 Year to Life... For Welfare.

NY Republican Candidate: Prison Dorms For Welfare Recipients

Republican candidate for governor Carl Paladino said he would transform some New York prisons into dormitories for welfare recipients, where they would work in state-sponsored jobs, get employment training and take lessons in “personal hygiene.”

Paladino, a wealthy Buffalo real estate developer popular with many tea party activists, is competing for the Republican nomination with former U.S. Rep. Rick Lazio. The primary is Sept. 14.

Paladino first described the idea in June at a meeting of The Journal News of White Plains and spoke about it again this week with The Associated Press.

Throughout his campaign, Paladino has criticized New York’s rich menu of social service benefits, which he says encourages illegal immigrants and needy people to live in the state. He has promised a 20 percent reduction in the state budget and a 10 percent income tax cut if elected.

Asked at the meeting how he would achieve those savings, Paladino laid out several plans that included converting underused state prisons into centers that would house welfare recipients. There, they would do work for the state – “military service, in some cases park service, in other cases public works service,” he said – while prison guards would be retrained to work as counselors.

“Instead of handing out the welfare checks, we’ll teach people how to earn their check. We’ll teach them personal hygiene … the personal things they don’t get when they come from dysfunctional homes,” Paladino said.

New York, like other states, receives a federal block grant to provide cash and other forms of welfare to very low-income residents. Federal law already requires welfare recipients to do some form of work to receive benefits.

New York’s welfare rolls have grown slightly during the recession, while food stamp eligibility has almost doubled, according to the state.

Prison Goes Green – Inmates Respond Positively

This is not Joe Arpaio’s tent Prison in Arizona. These guys aren’t any better or worse than those being held in prisons across the country. Being outside and working with plants, seeing the result of your efforts is a balm to the soul. That balm has translated to excitement, and a passion on the part of prisoners in Washington State.

What several prisons in the State of Washington have done is to create green programs for the inmates to participate in and to contribute through their labors. The results are encouraging, with prisoners actively seeking to join in…

Prisoners turn over a new leaf with eye on environment

The organic vegetables travel a short distance from the well-tended garden to the table where they are eaten.

Waste is carefully picked through and recycled, saving thousands of dollars.

The close-cropped lawns are maintained by push mowers to cut down on carbon emissions and gas expenses.

This is not some new designer eco-hotel where the rich and environmentally conscious can be pampered free of guilt.

It’s a prison.

At the Stafford Creek Corrections Center, a few yards from the garden where strawberries and cucumbers grow looms a tower where guards watch inmates, high-powered rifles at the ready. A jungle of razor wire surrounds the facility.

When ecologist and professor Nalini Nadkarni first pitched the idea of Washington prisons going green she didn’t know how her proposed partners — convicted criminals — would respond. Continue reading

Internment Camps – A Good Place for Tea Baggers?

OK – so regular readers of my blog have susssed out that I don’t much care for conservatives… Especially the brand of conservatives who base their conservatism and belief system on racism. Which certainly isn’t every conservative – but it is too damn many of them. And I certainly advocated the trials of members of the Bushit Administration responsible for lying the country into the Iraq War, and should those trials result in conviction for treason – a swift and sure execution by the rope or the gun as prescribed by law.

Prisons - Good Places for Tea Baggers According to RK Byers

But this Opinion piece over at NewsOne caught my eye as being (more than a little) bit over the top.

50 years ago, this is exactly what the ancestors of todays Tea Baggers wanted to do to black folks, for having the temerity to “make trouble” in agitating for their Civil Rights. Indeed I remember wild eyed accounts during the 60′s that the old internment camps used in WWII to incarcerate the Japanese were being spruced up, for a new minority group!

As much as some, currently resident on the right might have wished that to happen – it didn’t.

So I don’t agree with RK on this one. The Tea Baggers have a right to demonstrate, march, holler, and make complete racist asses of themselves here in this US of A. They pick up a gun or a bomb – different story. They use the Public Airwaves to incite insurrection or assassination – they should be prosecuted and thrown in jail like any other terrorist.

But Joe Hummer-six-pack running around in the streets waving his American Flag, and racist signs? Or Joe-Bob Glock running around in the woods trying to pretend he’s 20 again, instead of 50 with a beer belly?

No. That is not America, even in a most cynical view – it is something far far worse.

OPINION: Tea Party Members Should Be Rounded Up & Jailed

Get this straight: if you’re living in America right now, you’re a descendant of a criminal, a kidnapping victim, or a bum—possibly all three.

There are no descendants of royalty in America. Royalty doesn’t leave home.

When the British initially emptied its prisons of it’s Tony Montanas and it’s Jezebels and sent them all floating over here, the situation was looked at as a win-win. Continue reading

The New Jim Crow – Racial Disparities in Sentencing Rise

Racial Disparities in Sentencing Rise After Guidelines Loosened

Washington – Black and Hispanic men are more likely to receive longer prison sentences than their white counterparts since the Supreme Court loosened federal sentencing rules, a government study has concluded.

The study by the U.S. Sentencing Commission reignited a long-running debate about whether federal judges need to be held to mandatory guidelines in order to stamp out what might appear to be inherent biases and dramatically disparate sentences.

The report analyzed sentences meted out since the January 2005 U.S. v. Booker decision gave federal judges much more sentencing discretion.

For years, legal experts have argued over the disparity in sentencing between black and white men. The commission found that the difference peaked in 1999 with blacks receiving 14 percent longer sentences. By 2002, however, the commission found no statistical difference. Continue reading

Judge Greg Mathis – The Prison-Slavery System

Now – this is the most unprofessional interview I’ve ever seen (this makes Faux News Cable look like a responsible news source), with the interviewer spouting off on her beliefs instead of asking the interviewee, in this case Judge Mathis, what he thinks – but it is worth a listen because Judge Mathis makes some startling observations about the prison-industrial complex.

Now – once you get past the hyperventilated presentation and interview, Judge Mathis has something important to say.

In another development impacting the Prison-Industrial complex, the Census is changing counting methods -

New census prisoner policy could benefit American cities

By David A. Love

America’s prison population could play an important role in the country’s redistricting battles, and help reshape America’s electoral map.

A new federal policy will change the way in which prisoners are counted in the 2010 Census. Census officials plan to make prisoner data available earlier than in past years. Prisoners were always counted in the national tally, but the federal government provided prisoner data to states after they completed their redistricting. Now, states will have access to that information prior to redistricting.

This move is important because now, the states will now have the option of counting prisoners based on their home districts–typically urban areas–rather than the rural districts where many of them are imprisoned. Districts with prisons have received more federal dollars because they were able to use their inmate headcount to boost their population. Meanwhile, urban areas have experienced a drop in federal funds, and a loss of representation in Congress, because their populations have declined. After all, the cities have involuntarily donated many of their young men, and increasingly women, to fill up these rural penitentiaries. Continue reading

Who Wants the Terrorist With The Skinny Legs?

About a minute into this Neutered comes on to explain that the “Terrorists” being held at Gitmo are a mortal danger to America…Because if they were put in prisons here, they would infect the other prisoners with the dread…Terrorist flu.Which apparently is ten time more deadly than, and twice as toxic as the conservative swine flu.

A Montana Town has stepped up, volunteering to take the prisoners -

BILLINGS, Montana — President Barack Obama has 240 terror suspects he has said will be moved out of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, within a year. The city of Hardin has a brand-new empty jail.

Continue reading

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