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Archive for the ‘Prison Industrial Complex’ Category

Education vs Incarceration: Our Boys Need Mentors

In Consider This, Culture, Prison Industrial Complex on 06/06/2012 at 12:27

Urban Prep in Philadelphia

When one really thinks about the epidemic facing America with regards to the growth industry otherwise known as the Privatised Prison Industrial Complex it is important to pay very close attention to the numbers associated with that growth.  Often it’s more important to think about the who, what, when and why than just to say “they” deserve to be there because “they” broke the law.

If you’re wondering who the “they” are, the “they” are young men who are either Black or Brown Americans who often are needlessly incarcerated because of a number of factors.  The following Infographic shows how funding for education versus incarceration plays a major factor toward ending the possibilities of such futures for young Black and Brown men.

When giving consideration to these numbers it’s important to also think about the importance of mentoring in Black and Brown communities and the positive affects men mentoring can have on these young men.  As a father of four, two of which are boys, constant consideration goes into the education and day-to-day welfare of not only my boys but other young boys.  A path is set by third grade based on certain standardised test scores to determine how many beds should be accounted for in state jails and prisons.

Not to mention the second largest public education system in America is the Juvenile Education System.  It’s a system that is rarely talking about openly in American society but it should be.  The juvenile system is no place for young boys.  Boys want to see men in their lives whether those men are their natural fathers or not.

Positive reinforcement is a must because these numbers are depressing and inexcusable in what is considered to be the richest nation in the world.  I don’t purport to have all the answers but certainly it was worth my time to blog about this issue and bring it to the attention of those who will read and share this information with others.

I leave you with this, MENTOR A BOY TODAY!!!  They need your presence more than you can imagine.  And if you’re already mentoring, I applaud your efforts.  We’ve got work to do people.

Plantations, Prisons and Profits

In Consider This, Culture, Prison Industrial Complex on 29/05/2012 at 10:35

Debtors Prisoners and their overseer

Louisiana is the world’s prison capital. The state imprisons more of its people, per head, than any of its U.S. counterparts. First among Americans means first in the world. Louisiana’s incarceration rate is nearly triple Iran’s, seven times China’s and 10 times Germany’s.”

That paragraph opens a devastating eight-part series published this month by The Times-Picayune of New Orleans about how the state’s largely private prison system profits from high incarceration rates and tough sentencing, and how many with the power to curtail the system actually have a financial incentive to perpetuate it.

The picture that emerges is one of convicts as chattel and a legal system essentially based on human commodification.

First, some facts from the series:

• One in 86 Louisiana adults is in the prison system, which is nearly double the national average.

• More than 50 percent of Louisiana’s inmates are in local prisons, which is more than any other state. The next highest state is Kentucky at 33 percent. The national average is 5 percent.

• Louisiana leads the nation in the percentage of its prisoners serving life without parole.

• Louisiana spends less on local inmates than any other state.

• Nearly two-thirds of Louisiana’s prisoners are nonviolent offenders. The national average is less than half.

In the early 1990s, the state was under a federal court order to reduce overcrowding, but instead of releasing prisoners or loosening sentencing guidelines, the state incentivized the building of private prisons. But, in what the newspaper called “a uniquely Louisiana twist,” most of the prison entrepreneurs were actually rural sheriffs. They saw a way to make a profit and did.

It also was a chance to employ local people, especially failed farmers forced into bankruptcy court by a severe drop in the crop prices.

But in order for the local prisons to remain profitable, the beds, which one prison operator in the series distastefully refers to as “honey holes,” must remain full. That means that on almost a daily basis, local prison officials are on the phones bartering for prisoners with overcrowded jails in the big cities.  (cont … New York Times)

When justice just ain’t right: The Pandora’s Box of being falsely accused of rape

In Culture, Prison Industrial Complex on 26/05/2012 at 12:13

There’s nothing like using Facebook to say “I’m sorry for sending you to prison after falsely accusing you of kidnap and rape.”

That’s what happened to Brian Banks, after his accuser friended him on Facebook hoping that he could “let bygones be bygones” on a false rape and kidnapping conviction back in 2002.

After reading this story, I was infuriated.  I was angry for Mr. Banks, who was in tears in the courtroom, reflecting on only God-knows-what happened to him after being sent to prison at a young age.

He was a football star on his way to play college sports at the highest level when the non-incident took place. Wanetta Gibson (the accuser) ruined Brian’s life, and the system aided and abetted her in a quest to destroy this young man’s future.

Every perpetrator of this crime against justice deserves to be punished, starting with Banks’ accuser.  There is word that Wanetta is going to be asked to repay the $1.5 million she was paid by the school district for what she claimed to have happened to her, but her repayment should go far beyond money:

She should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and deserves a prison sentence no less severe than the time that was going to be given to Mr. Banks when the state chose to believe that he was a rapist.

The second party to pay for what happened to Mr. Banks should be the attorney, judge, and prosecutors who coerced him into taking a plea deal.  Mr. Banks was told that if he continued to hold on to his “illusion” of innocence and actually fight for his right to a fair trial, he could face up to 41 years.

This kind of threat is similar to what was done during the Salem Witch Trials and the Spanish Inquisition, where anyone who proclaimed their innocence was tortured until they admitted guilt.

This kind of coercive and unjust bargaining should be disallowed in the justice system altogether.

Finally, Mr. Banks deserves to be financially compensated.

No amount of money can make up for what he lost, but about $10 million dollars should help ease the pain at least a little bit.  There was no physical evidence whatsoever that Banks committed this rape, so there was no justification for any judge or prosecutor to consider sending him to prison. In that regard, those involved in the decision to destroy this young man’s life should be sent to the very same prison that they were willing to send an innocent human being. (cont … News One)

In juvenile crime, race may affect sentence

In Consider This, Culture, Prison Industrial Complex on 25/05/2012 at 11:44

“The findings showed that people without racial animus or bias are affected by race as much as those with bias,” says psychologist Carol Dweck. (Credit: Sarah Franco/Flickr)

STANFORD (US) — If people imagine a juvenile offender to be black, they are more willing to hand down harsher sentences to all juvenile offenders, a new study reports.

As the Supreme Court considers whether to further limit sentences given to juveniles, psychologists say an offender’s race shifts support for severe punishment.

“These results highlight the fragility of protections for juveniles when race is in play,” says Aneeta Rattan, postdoctoral research scholar in psychology at Stanford University and lead author of the study, which appears this week in the journalPloS One.

Historically, the courts have protected juveniles from the most severe sentences. It has been recognized that children are different from adults—they don’t use adult reasoning and don’t have impulse control to the same degree. The Supreme Court has barred the death penalty for juveniles and, in 2010, said life without parole for non-homicide crimes violated the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

(source Change.org)

Currently the court is considering two cases regarding juveniles involved in murders who were sentenced to life without parole and are weighing whether they will further limit harsh sentences for young people.

The new research was inspired, in part, by the cases most recently before the high court, says Jennifer Eberhardt, senior author of the study.

“The statistics out there indicate that there are racial disparities in sentencing juveniles who have committed severe crimes,” says Eberhardt, associate professor of psychology. “That led us to wonder, to what extent does race play a role in how people think about juvenile status?”

The study involved a nationally representative sample of 735 white Americans. Only white participants were used because whites are statistically overrepresented on juries, in the legal field and in the judiciary. (cont … Futurity.org)