Pakistan neuroscientist given 86 years for shooting at US agents | World news Outrage in Karachi after Aafia Siddiqui, a US-trained Pakistani neuroscientist named as one of the FBI's most wanted terrorists, receives an 86-year jail sentence in New York for shooting at the US soldiers keeping her prisoner Link to video: Pakistani neuroscientist's sentence sparks protests Aafia Siddiqui, a US-trained Pakistani neuroscientist who was named as one of the FBI's most wanted terrorists, was today sentenced to 86 years in prison by a New York court, in a case that has prompted outrage in Pakistan. Siddiqui, 38, was convicted of attempted murder this year after shooting at US soldiers and FBI agents in Afghanistan in 2008 as she tried to escape from custody. Siddiqui claimed she had been abducted by US agents and held incommunicado in Afghanistan for five years. The case has drawn appeals from the Pakistani government for her release, and divided legal opinion. Siddiqui's family in Karachi accused the US justice system of bias against Muslims.
Mass Incarceration and Criminal Justice in America A prison is a trap for catching time. Good reporting appears often about the inner life of the American prison, but the catch is that American prison life is mostly undramatic—the reported stories fail to grab us, because, for the most part, nothing happens. One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich is all you need to know about Ivan Denisovich, because the idea that anyone could live for a minute in such circumstances seems impossible; one day in the life of an American prison means much less, because the force of it is that one day typically stretches out for decades. That’s why no one who has been inside a prison, if only for a day, can ever forget the feeling. For most privileged, professional people, the experience of confinement is a mere brush, encountered after a kid’s arrest, say. The scale and the brutality of our prisons are the moral scandal of American life.
The Largest Prison Strike In American History Goes Ignored By US Media Dec 16, 2010 Today marks the end of a seven-day strike where tens of thousands of inmates in Georgia refused to work or leave their cells until their demands had been met. The odd thing is, that until today, no one had ever heard about this strike. Inmates in ten Georgia prisons, Baldwin, Hancock, Hays, Macon, Smith and Telfair State Prisons, to name a few, went on strike last Thursday to protest their treatment and demand their human rights. According to an article by Facing South, Department of Corrections have been nervous about deteriorating conditions in Georgia’s prisons since early 2010. Poor conditions and substandard medical care are also on the inmates’ list of demands. As it goes, prisoners in Georgia are forced to work without pay for their labor—seemingly a violation of the 13th Amendment, which prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude. For months the prisoners had apparently used cell phones to get in touch with inmates from other prisons, organizing a non-violent strike.
Alabama bishops criticize ALEC's immigration law - On the LAKE Front Some churches actually speak in public on what they profess to believe. Campbell Robertson wrote for the New York Times 13 August 2011, Bishops Criticize Tough Alabama Immigration Law CULLMAN, Ala. —On a sofa in the hallway of his office here, Mitchell Williams, the pastor of First United Methodist Church, announced that he was going to break the law. He is not the only church leader making such a declaration these days. and contractors have personally confronted their lawmakers. Are there any churches in Georgia that have the courage of their convictions? How about any churches in Lowndes County brave enough to oppose a CCA private prison in Lowndes County? -jsq PS: Owed to Jane Osborn.
The Way to Stop Prison Rape - The New York Review of Books As three recent studies by the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) show, prisoners are raped with terrible frequency in the United States. We still don’t know exactly how many people are sexually abused behind bars every year, but we do know that the number is much larger than 100,000. And we know that those responsible for this abuse are usually not other inmates, but members of the very corrections staff charged with protecting the people in their custody. The BJS, which is part of the Department of Justice, found statistically significant variation in the incidence of sexual abuse at the hundreds of different facilities it surveyed. Its study of adult prisons, for example, found that 4.5 percent of prisoners nationwide had been sexually abused at their current facilities in the preceding year; but at seven prisons the rate was above 10 percent. Texas’s Estelle Unit had a rate of 15.7 percent, while in six prisons no inmates reported such abuse.
BW Online | September 11, 2000 | "Private Prisons Don't Work" Social Issues: Prisons "Private Prisons Don't Work" For-profit facilities face a barrage of criticism--and overbuilding has cut into profits and hurt stock prices In the spring of 1999 in western Tennessee, a convicted murderer serving a 220-year sentence scaled the wall of the privately run Mason Correctional Facility in broad daylight. He eluded search teams for six days. The episode is just one of many escapes, murders, and other mishaps that have plagued the private prison industry since it burst on the scene in 1983. But today, the industry is in a rut, and its prospects have been severely trimmed. Certainly not as well as some had hoped. Worse, lurid tales of jailbreaks at privately run facilities have done little to instill confidence in companies such as Prison Realty Inc. Faced with uncertainty, some states are backing off. Just as demand is slacking, investors are finding that private prison companies have done a less than spectacular job of guarding the bottom line.
More Black Men Now in Prison System Than Were Enslaved March 31, 2011 | Like this article? Join our email list: Stay up to date with the latest headlines via email. This article first appeared on LA Progressive. “More African American men are in prison or jail, on probation or parole than were enslaved in 1850, before the Civil War began,” Michelle Alexander told a standing room only house at the Pasadena Main Library this past Wednesday, the first of many jarring points she made in a riveting presentation. Alexander, currently a law professor at Ohio State, had been brought in to discuss her year-old bestseller, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness . Growing crime rates over the past 30 years don’t explain the skyrocketing numbers of black — and increasingly brown — men caught in America’s prison system, according to Alexander, who clerked for Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun after attending Stanford Law. “What do we expect them to do?” So it’s like America’s current war addiction.
Journalists Unite to Drop the I-Word Covering Immigration Post 9-11: A webinar on the rise of the i-word in public discourseLISTEN IN HERE We’re very excited about the latest endorser of the Drop the I-Word Campaign is UNITY: Journalists of Color, Inc., a strategic alliance advocating news coverage about people of color, and aggressively challenging its organizations at all levels to reflect the nation’s diversity. UNITY, represents more than 10,000 journalists of color and is comprised of three national associations: Asian American Journalists Association, National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and the Native American Journalists Association. To kick off our partnership, UNITY co-sponsored a Drop the I-Word webinar last week for ethnic and community press also co-sponsored by our friends at New America Media, the country’s first and largest national collaboration and advocate of 2000 ethnic news organizations. You can listen to the informative briefing here
Inmates use technology to organize state prison protest At least four Georgia prisons were locked down Monday for the fifth-straight day as inmates continue a work-stoppage in protest of conditions. Department of Corrections spokeswoman Peggy Chapman said there had been no “major incidents or issues” reported at any of the four prisons that continue to be locked down, nor at any of the state's other 26 facilities. Inmate advocates and relatives say, however, that heat and hot water have been turned off at some prisons and that there have been some physical confrontations between prisoners and guards. Corrections officials said the prisons on lockdown are Hays State Prison in Trion, Macon State Prison in Oglethorpe, Telfair State Prison in Helena and Smith State Prison in Glennville. However, advocates said inmates, at times, have shut down all activity at Augusta, Baldwin, Calhoun, Hancock, Hays, Macon, Rogers, Smith, Telfair, Valdosta and Ware state prisons. Chapman, the DOC spokeswoman, said there had been no such confrontations.
Banking on Bondage: Private Prisons and Mass Incarceration, Profit and Loss November 2, 2011 Executive Summary The imprisonment of human beings at record levels is both a moral failure and an economic one — especially at a time when more and more Americans are struggling to make ends meet and when state governments confront enormous fiscal crises. This report finds, however, that mass incarceration provides a gigantic windfall for one special interest group — the private prison industry — even as current incarceration levels harm the country as a whole. The Spoils of Mass Incarceration The United States imprisons more people — both per capita and in absolute terms — than any other nation in the world, including Russia, China, and Iran. Leading private prison companies essentially admit that their business model depends on high rates of incarceration. As incarceration rates skyrocket, the private prison industry expands at exponential rates, holding ever more people in its prisons and jails, and generating massive profits.
School superintendent to Governor: Please make my school a prison | Dangerously Irrelevant A school superintendent in Michigan has written a public letter to the editor asking Governor Rick Snyder if his school can become a prison instead. The full text is below. What do you think? Dear Governor Snyder, In these tough economic times, schools are hurting. And yes, everyone in Michigan is hurting right now financially, but why aren’t we protecting schools? One solution I believe we must do is take a look at our corrections system in Michigan. Consider the life of a Michigan prisoner. This is why I’m proposing to make my school a prison. Please provide for my students in my school district the same way we provide for a prisoner. Respectfully submitted, Nathan Bootz, Superintendent, Ithaca Public Schools Image credit: Bars