Daily Archives: December 27, 2011
“The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons,” wrote Dostoyevsky. If what he says is true – and I believe it is – then America, which boasts the largest prison population in the world, is perhaps the most uncivilized country there is. Who better to speak to the reality of prison life than someone who is living the experience?
The past 12 months were very intense on the African continent. Some important elections stirred up a whole lot of interests. Shared zones of influence are being renegotiated between the old powers of the world, the Western powers, and the new power, China.
Rwandan political prisoner Victoire Ingabire is spending her second Christmas in Rwanda’s maximum security prison. Her ongoing trial, on charges of terrorism and genocide ideology, has implications not only for Rwanda, but also for the entire Great Lakes Region of Africa – most of all, for the Democratic Republic of Congo.
A young man who was accused of the theft of an iPhone was acquitted, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi announced. “This case shows how easy it is for an innocent person to find themselves charged with a crime. Studies have shown that mistaken identification is the greatest cause of wrongful convictions,” Adachi said.
In July, when over 12,000 California inmates of all creeds and colors united for the first time for the historic peaceful Pelican Bay Prison Hunger Strike, an “ordinary” woman, Kendra Castaneda, 29, began her transformation into the key national human rights defender she is today, overcoming one adversity after another in advocating for tortured prisoners.