November 26, 2013
There’s a growing national consensus that, as Attorney General Eric Holder stated in August, “too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long, and for no truly good law enforcement reason.” Despite the heavy toll that mass incarceration exacts every day and in countless ways on many American communities the topic attracts remarkably little consistent coverage in the mainstream media.
November 20, 2013
Solitary confinement can eat away at someone’s mind, making mental illness worse and leaving many people depressed, suicidal, hopeless or hallucinating. It’s no place for individuals with mental illness. In 1995, a federal court in California agreed. After a trial exposing the appalling conditions at Pelican Bay, a federal judge ordered all mentally ill prisoners out of the prison’s security housing unit (SHU) in a case called Madrid v. Gomez.
November 17, 2013
Since some 30,000 California prisoners launched a hunger strike July 8 against the practice of long-term solitary confinement and other abuses, participants have faced punitive retaliation and censorship of newspapers and other media that backed their fight. Abuses continued after prisoners suspended the strike Sept. 5.
May 18, 2013
The U.S. State Department recently released its Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012, posing as the world judge of human rights again. As in previous years, the reports are full of carping and irresponsible remarks on the human rights situation in more than 190 countries and regions including China. However, the U.S. turned a blind eye to its own woeful human rights situation and never said a word about it.
April 9, 2013
There are more than 80,000 people in solitary confinement in the United States. Last week, the widespread misuse and abuse of solitary confinement in jails and prisons across the country drew international condemnation when the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights criticized the United States following weeks of hearings on human rights practices across the Americas region.
March 15, 2013
Scalia has made it clear why this case is before the Court – it’s about race and white “race entitlement.” The Voting Rights Act was passed because no group is going to “apportion themselves out of power.” If the Court rules in favor of Shelby County in the face of its racist record, it will be doing nothing more than validating white power and racism.
January 5, 2013
A Dec. 4, 2012, ACLU letter to SF Mayor Ed Lee urged rejecting any SFPD proposal “to deploy tasers or other conductive energy devices”. The letter emphasizes that costly tasers would generate heavy legal fees from officer overuse and abuse, posing serious injury and death risks, especially to SFPD’s targeted populations: people in public mental health crisis and people of color.
December 13, 2012
Yesterday I wrote about the ACLU’s efforts to ensure that the U.S. government is properly engaged at a U.N. meeting in Buenos Aires on uniform rules for the treatment of prisoners. Now that the meeting is underway, it appears that the U.S. delegation is playing a constructive role – but we’ve still got work to do.
November 20, 2012
At its Wednesday, Nov. 14, meeting from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Department of Public Health, 101 Grove St., Room 300, the San Francisco Mental Health Board will welcome public comment before voting on a resolution against putting tasers in SFPD Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) officers’ hands.
September 26, 2012
On Tuesday, Sept. 25, San Mateo’s Board of Supervisors voted to approve $44.2 million in the 2012-2013 budget, ramming through a plan to build a new jail over strong and growing concerns from community members. With the jail approved in the budget, residents committed to defeating the jail tax that will be on the November ballot.
August 30, 2012
Update: Gov. Brown signed AB 1270 Aug. 31, restoring the conditions that existed before 1996, when corrections officials cut down on reporters’ ability to report on prisons and prisoners. “With passage of AB 1270, legislators have voted for transparent and accountable reporting of the state’s 32 prisons and the more than 130,000 prisoners locked inside their walls.”
April 4, 2012
In 2006, African Americans were arrested in San Francisco for drug offenses at five times the rate of African Americans statewide and at 16 times the rate of other races in the City. Testify at the hearing, marking the 40th anniversary of the War on Drugs, Thursday, April 12, 5:30 p.m., in Room 250, SF City Hall.
June 28, 2011
The American Civil Liberties Union hailed the passage of a bill in the Louisiana legislature making it easier for elderly prisoners to get a parole hearing as an important step towards reducing the state’s unnecessarily high prison population.
February 21, 2011
Your community needs you at the Police Commission hearing on Tasers: this Wednesday, Feb. 23, 5:30 p.m., in Room 400, City Hall. A study found that in the first year of Taser usage, sudden deaths in custody go up 550 percent and officer shootings more than double. The United Nations and Amnesty International consider Tasers to be torture devices, and the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Lawyers Guild, and the NAACP oppose their use. It is certain that Taser usage does not lead to fewer shootings.
January 25, 2011
Across the country organizations and individuals are standing together to protest the United States government’s attempt to silence and criminalize anti-war and international solidarity activists in solidarity with them. Legendary lawyer Lynne Stewart, who is already in prison, and an activist who has been subpoenaed by the grand jury tell why they resist.
June 4, 2009
An all-white Berrien County jury had convicted Rev. Pinkney, the founder of Benton Harbor’s Black Autonomy Network of Community Organizers (BANCO) and an associate pastor of Hopewell Baptist Church, in March 2007 on allegations of voter fraud. He won release from prison on bond in December 2008 only after the Michigan chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) took an interest in his case and helped with his defense.
April 9, 2009
On Tuesday, April 14, in Las Vegas (by video) and in Carson City (live) the Nevada Board of Prison Commissioners will meet to allow the public to put on record its complaints against the Nevada prison system and make suggestions for improvement. Prisoners are asking other prisoners to urge their supporters, friends and loved ones to attend.
December 11, 2008
A Court of Appeals granted the ACLU’s motion for bond on behalf of Rev. Edward Pinkney, who is serving a 3-10 year sentence for harshly criticizing a judge.