Tag: U.S. prison population

‘13th’ and the culture of surplus punishment

Ava DuVernay undertook the documentary “13th” in order to explore and bring attention to the Prison Industrial Complex. The film’s title refers to the 1865 amendment to the U.S. Constitution, in which slavery was abolished “except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.” The story told by “13th” thus goes back to the early chain-gangs of Black prisoners – men arrested for petty offenses under the post-Civil War Black Codes who were then contracted out to perform labor that they had previously performed as privately-owned slaves.

Incarceration, justice and the planet

Prisons inspire little in terms of natural wonder. But prisoners, one could assume, must have little concern for the flowers or for otherwise pressing environmental issues. With all the social quandaries present in their lives – walls of solitude, the loss of basic human rights – pollution, climate change and healthy ecosystems must seem so distantly important: an issue for the free. In actuality, prisoners are on the frontlines of the environmental movement.

Bill Clinton yells at Black Lives Matter protesters, defends violent crime...

Bill Clinton has a history of sometimes suffering from severe foot-in-mouth disease and veering dangerously off message while on the campaign trail for his wife, Hillary. On Thursday, a short video clip of the former president sparring with Black Lives Matter protesters from the stump in Philadelphia once again raised the question of whether Bill is actually helping or hurting Hillary’s campaign.

Filing for federal clemency, sentence reduction and other ‘decarceration’ projects

Most parties now agree that mass incarceration is NOT the solution to crime in America. The reason being its prison population size is NOT determined by the number of CRIMES committed. So if the crime rate is not the dominant factor, what is? UNJUST racial and class policies are the dominant driving forces behind mass incarceration in the U.S. today. We urge federal prisoners to file for relief under the programs offered.

Expand clemency! Freeing 46 is a start but not enough

On July 13, President Barack Obama followed up his March 2015 pardons of 22 federal prisoners by commuting the sentences of 46 federal prisoners who had served time for what has been described by the Washington Post as overly harsh sentencing. On Thursday, July 16, Obama will meet with law enforcement officials and prisoners at El Reno, the first time a sitting president has visited a federal prison.

My struggle for freedom in the midst of Virginia’s Truth-in-Sentencing and...

I am a 38-year-old Black male from the city of Richmond, Virginia, who has been incarcerated for over 20 consecutive years. I am serving a 93-year prison sentence without the possibility of parole for my participation in a robbery that resulted in the shooting deaths of two innocent people. Having exhausted all available post-conviction remedies in the courts, prisoners like me have few avenues to regain our freedom here in the commonwealth of Virginia.

UN Human Rights Committee finds US in violation on 25 counts

Recently, the U.N. Human Rights Committee issued a report excoriating the United States for its human rights violations. It focuses on violations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the country is party. The report mentions 25 human rights issues where the United States is failing. This piece focuses on a few of those issues – Guantanamo, NSA surveillance, accountability for Bush-era human rights violations, drone strikes, racism in the prison system, racial profiling, police violence and criminalization of the homeless.

‘Intolerable’: a call to action to free Lorenzo Johnson

In the words of Lorenzo “Cat” Johnson, his situation is “intolerable.” He speaks for all innocent prisoners. It is estimated that in the United States 100,000 or more factually innocent people are in prison. Many, like Lorenzo, are on “slow death row,” serving life without parole. Action for Lorenzo Johnson’s freedom is part the fight for all the innocent in prison and a challenge to this system of injustice.

Police are more dangerous to the public than criminals

Every American faces brutal, armed psychopaths known as the police. The “law and order” conservatives and the “compassionate” liberals stand silent while police psychopaths brutalize children and grandmothers, murder double amputees in wheelchairs, break into the wrong homes, murder the family dogs and terrify the occupants, pointing their automatic assault weapons in the faces of small children.

Reflections and dialogue with the Global South

The solution must exist within our form of struggle. The resistance currently resonating across Latin America is not just saying “No” to what they do not want, but at the same time constructing what it is they want to see. They say it is no longer enough to be against a system of exploitation and domination, because we have the power to create the alternative.

No Bratton-style policing in Oakland: Unraveling the fraying edges of zero...

Hundreds turned out for Oakland City Council's Public Safety Committee meeting on Jan. 15, 2013, to oppose paying $250,000 to bring “supercop” William Bratton and his "stop and frisk" and other zero tolerance police policies to Oakland. The bid for Bratton’s consult seems to be simply Oakland throwing good money after bad.

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