Tag Archives: prison

Building the Carceral State – John Dilulio and the “Superpredators” Myth

The violent 1990’s spurred the development of a number of racial myths, from the mythical “Wilding” of NYC Youth resulting in the conviction and incarceration of 5 innocent black teens, to a Social scientist by the name of John Diiulio sensationally predicting the emergence of young sociopathic “superpredators” who would flood the streets with blood.

Like most myths – none of that ever happened. And it’s cling on to the American white psyche had more to do with racism than reality.

White racist conservatives scaring white people…Again.

12th Century “Wilding”

John Diilulio’s “Superpredator” Fear-Mongering Changed the US Criminal Legal System and Locked Away a Generation of Black Youth

Reginald Dwayne Betts – an “escapee” from the American Prison Complex

This is a story about the ginned-up “superpredator” scare of the 1990s, the imprisonment of tens of thousands of black youth, and the survival of Reginald Dwayne Betts.

In the early 1990s, John Dilulio, a Princeton political scientist, coined the term “superpredator” to call attention to “stone-cold predators,” “kids that have absolutely no respect for human life and no sense of the future.” DiIulio and co-authors described these young people as “fatherless, Godless, and jobless” and as “radically impulsive, brutally remorseless youngsters, including ever more teenage boys, who murder, assault, rob, burglarize, deal deadly drugs, join gun-toting gangs, and create serious [linked] disorders.” Criminologist James A. Fox warned of a juvenile “crime wave storm” and an impending “bloodbath” of teen violence.

Reginald Dwayne Betts was one of the teens caught up in the wave of imprisonment that resulted from these myths. Now, after a long, and sometimes tortuous journey that included eight and a half years in prison, he is now a poet, teacher and law student. He was born months before Ronald Reagan won the White House, and came of age during the Reagan/George H.W. Bush/Bill Clinton administrations, when crack cocaine saturated inner-city streets, fear reigned supreme, the criminalization of young black people became the order of the day, and “lock ’em up and throw away the key” was the criminal legal system’s mantra.

Last year, The New York Times’ “Retro Report” pointed out that the “superpredator jeremiads … proved to be nonsense. They were based on a notion that there would be hordes upon hordes of depraved teenagers resorting to unspeakable brutality, not tethered by conscience … Chaos was upon us, DiIulio proclaimed back then in scholarly articles and television interviews. The demographics, he said, were inexorable. Politicians from both major parties, though more so on the right, picked up the cry. Many news organizations pounced on these sensational predictions and ran with them like a punt returner finding daylight.”

Reality didn’t match the dire superpredator predictions: “Instead of exploding, violence by children sharply declines. Murders committed by those ages 10 to 17 fell by roughly two-thirds from 1994 to 2011, according to statistics kept by the Justice Department’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Mugged by reality, a chastened Mr. DiIulio has offered a mea culpa. ‘Demography,’ he says, ‘is not fate.’ The trouble with his superpredator forecast, he told Retro Report, is that ‘once it was out there, there was no reeling it in.'”

Dilulio’s career, however, took off; he was suddenly viewed as an expert on issues of criminal justice. His reputation was enhanced, he was often quoted by hardliners in both political parties, and, onerous new laws were passed, including state laws allowing 13 and 14 year-olds to be tried as adults. Thousands of juveniles were sent to prison, some for life.

Dilulio later became the first director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives under President George W. Bush. He is currently the Frederic Fox Leadership Professor of Politics, Religion, and Civil Society and Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania.

What did wash over the land was the fear and loathing of black youth; the building of more prisons; the incarceration of a generation of black, poor and minority youth; and the rise of the prison industrial complex.

John Dilulio the right wing racist who helped drive the Prison Complex

Dwayne Betts survived prison and solitary confinement. He has written a memoir, A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival, and Coming of Age in Prison, and two books of poetry, including the recently published Bastards of the Reagan Era. His work has been described as “fierce, lyrical and unsparing.” Betts is a 2010 Soros Justice Fellow, 2011 Radcliffe Fellow, and 2012 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellow, and in 2012, President Obama appointed him to the coordinating council of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. He is now attending Yale Law School.

Nevertheless, Betts remembers the pain of prison well. Betts is a 2010 Soros Justice Fellow, 2011 Radcliffe Fellow, and 2012 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellow, and in 2012, President Obama appointed him to the coordinating council of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Last year, he wrote an essay titled “I Was 16 and in Solitary Before I Ever Even Went to Trial.” In a recent interview, “On Point’s” Tom Ashbrook asked: “Are you scarred for life by eight years in prison?” and Betts answered: “The bigger question is what do you do with the trauma you inherit?” The interview includes a quote from Dostoyevsky’s The House of the Dead: “The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.” Ashbrook noted Betts’ incisive response in his book, Bastards of the Reagan Era: “Had he [Dostoyevsky] said you judge by our crimes, this van runs off the rails and back into the Atlantic from whence we came. But see he didn’t say that. And so what does all this say about America?”

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Posted by on November 17, 2015 in The New Jim Crow


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Inmate Music Video Leads to Years of Solitary Confinement

These prison officials are waaaaaay overboard. Yeah – the guys deserve punishment for smuggling in an illegal electronic device…But years?

They need to lock up some of these “corrections officials” for a few years in Solitary.

These Inmates Got Years In Solitary Confinement For Making A Music Video

Seven South Carolina inmates received a combined total of nearly 20 years in solitary confinement after a rap video they created behind bars made its way to

Seven inmates in a South Carolina prison were punished with a combined total of nearly 20 years of solitary confinement — for making a rap music video and posting it on WorldStar.

The investigation into the rap video and the punishment were revealed in public records obtained by Dave Maass, an investigative researcher at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Last year, the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) launched an investigation after the group of inmates released a rap video that made its way to WorldStarHipHop.

Records show five of the inmates received 180 days in “disciplinary detention,” while two others received punishments of 270 and 360 days, for “creating or assisting with a social media site.”

But additional punishments for “security threat group” (gang-related) materials, and possessing a contraband cell phone added up to a combined 7150 days, or 19.75 years, in solitary confinement for the inmates.

The inmates also lost years-worth of canteen, phone, and visitation privileges, as well as good time accrued.

The disciplinary records note that “video from was used as evidence.”

“When the video went viral the first time, viewers caught a fleeting glimpse of the creative energy that exists behind bars,” Maass told BuzzFeed News. “Now that we know how dearly each inmate paid for their participation, the video takes on all new significance. People in this country are still sacrificing their freedom and well-being for expression.”

The South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) came under fire earlier this year after the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit digital rights group,obtained public records showing that corrections officials punished inmates with dozens of years in solitary confinement for using Facebook and other social media.

  • For example, Tyheem Henry received 13,680 days, or more than 37 years, in disciplinary detention in October 2013 — as well as more than 74 years’ worth of telephone, visitation, and canteen privileges — for 38 posts on Facebook.

Space constraints often lead to those punishments being suspended or lessened, though. According the EFF, the average was time served in solitary for the inmates it reviewed was 512 days.

In February, the SCDC announced it was changing its policy for solitary confinement, making 60 days the maximum punishment in solitary confinement for an infraction. It also stopped making each post on social media an individual infraction.

However, Stephanie Givens, a spokesperson for the SCDC, said the inmates’ punishments were reviewed and found to be appropriate.

“Their placement is not just tied to that rap video,” Stephanie Givens, a spokesperson for the SCDC, told BuzzFeed News. “It’s the fact that they are gang members and a continued threat to safety.”

The seven inmates are serving time for a variety of serious crimes, such as armed robbery, burglary, and voluntary manslaughter.

David Fathi, the director of the ACLU’s National Prison Project, said the punishment of the seven inmates raised First Amendment questions….The Rest Here

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Posted by on October 22, 2015 in American Genocide, BlackLivesMatter


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Jordan Davis’ Murderer Sentenced to Life Without Parole

At last!


Michael Dunn sentenced to life without parole for killing of Florida teenager

The man convicted of shooting dead a Florida teenager in a dispute over loud rap music has been given the maximum possible sentence of life in prison without parole plus 90 years.

Michael Dunn’s sentence was handed down after Lucia McBath, mother of 17-year-old Jordan Davis, broke down in the courtroom on Friday, telling her son’s killer through tears that she forgave him.

Dunn, who was convicted of murder earlier this month, sat impassively as McBath spoke of the devastation she felt at losing her only child in the November 2012 shooting at a Jacksonville gas station.

“For years to come I will be forced to celebrate my son’s birthday without his presence. As I quietly watch my friends’ boys grow into young men, I will forever be reminded of what might’ve been for my Jordan,” she said.

“I choose to forgive you Mr Dunn for taking my son’s life. I choose to release the seeds of bitterness and anger and honour my son’s love. I choose to walk in the freedom of knowing God’s justice has been served. I pray that God has mercy on your soul.”

Judge Russell Healey sentenced software engineer Dunn, 47, to maximum prison terms on all counts: life without parole for the first-degree murder of Davis, three consecutive 30-year sentences for the attempted second-degree murder of the teenager’s friends, who were in the car with him, and an additional 15 years for shooting into a moving vehicle.

“Mr Dunn, your life is effectively over,” Healey said. “This tragedy should and could have been prevented.”

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Posted by on October 17, 2014 in Domestic terrorism


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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.”

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Posted by on October 20, 2013 in The Post-Racial Life


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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.

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Posted by on April 7, 2013 in Great American Rip-Off


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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. Read the rest of this entry »


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“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…

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Posted by on December 9, 2010 in Giant Negros, The Post-Racial Life


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