Vision Without Action Is A Daydream. Action Without Vision A Nightmare.
The National Public Service Council To Abolish Private Prisons made a concerted effort when choosing its name to erase any possibility of ambiguity regarding who we are and our mission statement. It is our unwavering organizational belief that as long as our government permits Private Prisons For Profit to operate as legal businesses, the American Criminal Justice System, in particular, will never have the capacity to develop -in theory or otherwise- a credibility that the people of this great nation can respect and feel morally comfortable with. This is not a complicated matter. In spite of the endless assortment of political debates and the countless number of discussions among independent committees appointed to research and examine the economic pros and cons of privatization, and in spite of all the "other" arguments created by design, to distract, divide, frighten and confuse the citizens of this country and prevent them from using humane common sense, one cannot ignore or pretend not to see the flashing red flag draped around the philosophical question standing at attention in the middle of the room. Arguably, the criminal justice system is not designed to be a "moral compass." However, it cannot ignore or deny the inherent components at the core of its foundation: equality, fairness, and the humane practice of justice. These are more than lofty concepts to be arbitrarily applied when convenience allows. Our justice system must offer unequivocal, resplendent and reliable standards of "right and wrong" ..."just and unjust" because the people cannot respect or pledge an allegiance to a justice system that fails to demonstrate the difference between "right and wrong" in its own application. The inherent and most fundamental responsibility of the criminal justice system cannot be shirked, avoided, taken lightly or "jobbed out." Like it or not, when an institution is the definitive symbol representing authority and judicial proceeding, your function must reflect a fundamental fairness, and above all else, it must be accountable to all of its citizens. If ever there was a reason for second guessing the process or the ability of the United States Government (Federal & State) to perform its duty when addressing the important task of corrections and rehabilitation in the criminal justice system, the cornerstone of that uncertainty sits squarely upon the shoulders that permit private prisons for profit to operate in the United States of America. Clearly, this immoral profit driven system is without parallel in its resemblance to the most heinous institution to ever exist upon American soil. Slavery.
Aristotle wrote, "It is the peculiarity of man, in comparison with the rest of the animal world that he alone possesses a perception of good and evil, of the just and the unjust"
INCARCERATING PEOPLE FOR PROFIT IS IN A WORD WRONG
All law emanates from the people, so that, when the laws thus enacted are not executed, the power returns to the people, and is theirs whenever they may choose to exercise it.
We are mindful that the Supreme Court is the final interpreter of the constitution...we are also mindful that the federal and state correctional facilities originate from government design and, therefore, must be regulated and maintained by the government.
We must restore the principles and the vacated promise of our judicial system. Our government cannot continue to "job-out" its obligation and neglect its duty to the individuals confined in the corrections and rehabilitation facilities throughout this nation, nor can it ignore the will of the people that it was designed to serve and protect.
There is urgent need for the good people of this country to emerge from the shadows of indifference, apathy, cynicism, fear, and those other dark places that we migrate to when we are overwhelmed by frustration and the loss of hope.
My hope is that you will support the NPSCTAPP with a show of solidarity by signing our petition to send one million signatures to congress expressing the will of the people to abolish the private prison for profit industry. Ahma Daeus
"Practicing Humanity Without A License"
Man In The Mirror
Judges Plead Guilty in Scheme to Jail Youths for Profit
For years, youth advocacy groups complained that Judge Ciavarella was unusually harsh. He sent a quarter of his juvenile defendants to detention centers from 2002 to 2006, compared with a state rate of 1 in 10. He also routinely ignored requests for leniency made by prosecutors and probation officers.
“The juvenile system, by design, is intended to be a less punitive system than the adult system, and yet here were scores of children with very minor infractions having their lives ruined,” said Marsha Levick, a lawyer with the Philadelphia-based Juvenile Law Center.
“There was a culture of intimidation surrounding this judge and no one was willing to speak up about the sentences he was handing down.”
In 1981, a group of prisoners brought suit against the Alaska Department of Corrections (AK DOC) regarding conditions of confinement and transport of some inmates Outside in order to constrain institutional overcrowding. In 1983 a partial settlement of the Cleary v. Smith action was reached and a Final Settlement Agreement was agreed to in 1990.
A story today on CNN explains one common approach to local economic stimulus. The town of Hardin, Montana borrowed $27 million to build a prison. It opened two years ago but they still don't have anybody to lock up there. So now that the prisoners who have been detained at Guantanamo Bay for the past 7 years are potentially going to be moved to prisons within US territory, the town council of Hardin is lobbying strongly to bring them to Montana.
The debate in the article is around whether it is a good idea to bring these "potential terrorists" into the state. The sides are set between "it will bring jobs" versus "don't bring those people here".
No one seems to be asking if building prisons to stimulate job growth is at all a decent idea in the first place.
Have we become a barbaric nation? Where the mentally ill are left to languish in prisons because we don't provide the treatment they deserve? Where prisoners are put in solitary confinement, which leads to mental illness, because housing prisoners that way is effective? Is effectiveness now the yardstick for everything?
Have we become a nation where human rights are denied the incarcerated and the mentally ill? And we just lock them away and pretend they don't exist?
Americas Program, Center for International Policy (CIP)
Americas Program Policy Report
There is broad agreement that the immigration system is broken. But reaching a political consensus on how to fix the system has in recent years proved impossible. In the absence of a comprehensive immigration reform, the government has adopted a "get-tough" posture on immigration designed to "restore integrity to the immigration system" and "uphold the rule of law."
Immigrants are being arrested, imprisoned, and deported in record numbers. Acknowledging the short-term inability to remove all estimated 11-12 million unauthorized immigrants, the federal government has prioritized the imprisonment and removal of "criminal aliens—legal and unauthorized immigrants who have run afoul of the law." However, in the search for "criminal aliens" and "fugitive aliens," the government has cast an alarmingly wide and tightly woven net.
Capitol Media Services
PHOENIX -- Republican legislative leaders are crafting a plan to farm out operation of three state prisons to private companies as a method of balancing the budget.
Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, said he believes companies would pay the state at least $100 million in up-front cash for the right to operate the prisons. That would help lawmakers deal with an anticipated $3.3 billion deficit this coming year. And Kavanagh, who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, said the annual savings to the state for operating these three facilities could be $40 million.
Facing South...The Institute for Southern Studies
As the economic downturn worsens and states grapple with large budget deficits, many inmates may find themselves paying for their crimes beyond just doing standard jail time.
Due to massive state budget cuts, across the country state prison facilities are beginning to charge inmates in order to garner the funds to maintain detention services. This week The Christian Science Monitor reported that a growing number of jails and sheriffs departments are also charging inmates and raising costs for a number of items -- from snacks to room and board -- a move authorities say is necessary to counter rising costs and budget cutbacks.
As some of you might remember, a few months ago I wrote a post on prison policy which mentioned the short, troubled life and eventual suicide of Sarah Campbell. What I neglected to mention in that post was that whilst her death was a preventable tragedy, the greater outrage for prison reformers was that it was just one of six suicides to occur at Styal prison in the space of 12 months.
Spooked by the amount of self-harm among women prisoners, the government commissioned Baroness Jean Corston to conduct a review and suggest ways that our criminal justice system might be changed to stop creating more casualties.
MIAMI (AP) — Demonstrations at three Florida prisons where more than 40 children were shocked with stun guns have led to the dismissal of three employees and the resignation of two others, the Department of Corrections said.
The incidents took place on April 23, national Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. As part of demonstrations at two prisons, children held hands in a circle, and one was shocked with the stun gun, passing the shock around the circle. At another prison, children were shocked individually.
Fear resides in all living creatures. It´s what keeps us alive down at the watering hole or out on the street.
The fear of crime strikes all who live with its dread, as well as those who are personally victimized. Fear keeps us from doing what we want to do; it causes us to distrust friends and to view strangers with prejudice; and it can trick us into trading freedom for a false sense of security.
Most counties that hire private companies to run their jails find they have the same problems, but less control with the same accountability, a team of three experts told Curry County commissioners on Tuesday.
Manny Romero with the New Mexico Association of Counties shared a “snapshot” of pros and cons with commissioners at a special meeting.
Romero said it has been his experience that most counties that try privatization end up dissatisfied or have significant difficulties and retake control of their jails.
BY: TOM BARRY, CIP AMERICAS PROGRAM REPORT
Immigrants have reenergized the flagging "war on crime." Charges against immigrants are clogging federal courts, and new prisons and detention centers are opening to accommodate immigrants. The Obama administration is asking for more money to expand the dragnet for "criminal aliens" and to crack down on drugs and crime along the border.
Violent crime has been declining since the early 1990s, but rising fears about foreign terrorism and new immigrant flows have recharged the political pressures to ramp up the flagging "war on crime" since the mid-1990s. Republican-led legislative measures in 1996 that targeted immigrants and terrorists and the post-Sept. 11 measures linking immigration and homeland security issues have combined to put immigrants in the center of the battle against crime in America.
There is a need to stamp out prisoner abuse and murders inside the U.S.A. as well as outside and avoid having detainees within America's borders live and die like the individuals in the VIDEO at the link below while their families are denied records and accountability. More videos are available throughout this article. (Beware - graphic violence, nudity, and death):
The abuse and deaths of prisoners inside America get little or no investigation, and like the tortured offshore detainees, there is usually no effort to hold prisons and jails responsible for inmates' treatment. Even detainees who are arrested for misdemeanor offenses frequently wind up on websites like the one at the link below. Larry Neal's family was informed that he is no. 26 on the prisoner genocide website, but his position may change as more American prisoners are murdered, usually without recourse: http://www.geocities.com/prisonmurder/ (Click on each dead prisoner's photograph for his/her story.)
I have been a state employee for 22 years and have watched the legislative process on a daily basis for several years now. I thought I had seen everything in politics until this legislative session.
I will be affected by the recent pay cut for state employees passed by the Legislature. Although I am concerned about my family making ends meet, I am more upset about what took priority over the hard-working people of Florida.
I find it unconscionable that during these tough times of cutting the pay of state workers and the budgets of state agencies providing safety, security, education and healthcare to Floridians that this Legislature would give a corporate bailout to one group -- the private-prison industry.
With what was called a cost-of-living increase in a Senate hearing, billion-dollar private-prison companies will share a windfall of $9 million while programs for our elderly and children were cut.
At a time when every sector of Florida's economy is struggling to do more with less or even stay afloat, this process just gave away $9 million to corporate giants for one reason: corporate greed.
I call on Gov. Crist to veto this bad legislation.
JAMES T. BAIARDI, Miami
Congress took an important step last year when it passed the Second Chance Act to help former inmates return to their communities. If properly financed and carried out, the act could cut recidivism, and ruinous prison costs for the states, by helping them develop programs to provide job placement, drug treatment, mental health care and other services that former prisoners need to build viable, crime-free lives.
by Chris Megerian/The Star-Ledger
State Parole Board officials say it's the first of its kind in the nation.
"We have to take full credit for this one," said Director of Community Programs Lenny Ward. "This is a New Jersey initiative."
The idea is to take technical parole violators -- people who haven't committed a new crime but may have failed a drug test or missed a meeting -- and house them for 15 to 30 days at secure facilities run by a private company, Community Education Centers, in Newark or Trenton.
Officials hope the program, which can house 45 parole violators at a time, will help the state avoid $14 million in incarceration costs in the coming budget year.
While the nation flounders economically a for-profit prison firm, The GEO Group Inc, rakes in millions from the US Government detaining undocumented immigrants and other federal inmates amid increasing charges of negligence, civil rights violations, abuse and even death: Allen L Roland
The Stanford Progressive
The United States has attained the notable distinction of imprisoning a larger percentage of its population than any other country in history. The reasons to immediately reverse such a trajectory must address the tremendous waste such a system causes. The prison system not only drains money, but it also drains unfulfilled potential. Granted, many in prison were not productive members of society to begin with. However is it truly beyond us to take in the dregs of society and churn out contributing citizens? The future of our country as a racially equal, healthy, and ethical society relies on us doing exactly that.
SUWANNEE COUNTY - The steel doors, microwave sensors, electrified fencing and razor wire that cocoon Florida's newest $184million prison are meant to hold the state's worst violators.
"If he comes here, he's the worst of the worst. He's assaulted inmates, tried to escape, assaulted staff," says Jim Witt, warden of Suwannee Correctional Institution, still under construction about 70miles east of the capital city.
"If the Department of Corrections is a hospital, this is intensive care."
But the state can't afford to open its doors on schedule in August, and a plan by lawmakers to give the state-of-the-art facility to private prison contractors was scrapped at the eleventh hour.
Are the 305 million people living in the United States the most evil in the world? Is this the reason why the U.S., with 5 percent of the world’s population, has 25 percent of the world’s prisoners and an incarceration rate five times as high as the rest of the world?
Or is it a matter of a criminal justice system that has gone dramatically wrong, swamping the prison system with drug offenders?
That rhetorical question, asked on the floor of the U.S. Senate by Virginia Senator Jim Webb, fits into what looks like an accelerating shift in public sentiment on the way that a long parade of administrations has been dealing with illegal drugs.
Corrections Corporation of America’s earnings were down slightly in the first quarter of 2009 compared to the same period a year ago, but its optimistic outlook sent the private prison operator’s stock up 19 percent Thursday.
The Nashville-based company (NYSE:CXW) reported income of $34.6 million, or 29 cents per share, in the quarter ended March 31, compared to $35 million, or 28 cents per share, in the year-ago period.
Revenue came in at $404.2 million for the quarter, up 6.5 percent from the previous year's quarter.
Amongst the interesting statistics in the Texas Senate Criminal Justice Committee's interim report on private prisons (PDF), was the shocking statistic that TDCJ-contracted private prisons have a 90% annual staff turnover rate. The report also presented numbers on differences in guard pay between public and private facilities.
"The wages and benefits paid to employees of private contractors are generally lower than that paid to employees of state-operated facilities... Correctional officer salaries in the private prisons vary among facilities, with the highest peaking at slightly more than $24,000 annually."
Jailed Moms Earn Time To Bond With Their Kids
BOSTON LEGAL'S "GUARDIANS AND GATEKEEPERS"
CHECK OUT THE CR10 VIDEO
Ahma Daeus' Favorite Quotes
- "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable" JOHN F. KENNEDY
- "We must be the change we want to see in the world".........GANDHI
- "We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies".... M.L. KING JR.
- "Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty, the obedient must be slaves"
- "The law will never make a man free; it is men who have got to make the law free"..... HENRY DAVID THOREAU
- "The only real prison is fear, and the only real freedom is freedom from fear" ................AUNG SAN SUU KYI
- "When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, it becomes less & less important whether I am afraid"................... AUDRE LORDE
- "The function of freedom Is to free someone else".............TONI MORRISON
Links We Recommend
- Ella Baker
- Van Jones
- Just Seeds
- Sister Song
- Prison Talk
- Justice Now
- U.S. Congress
- Injustice Line
- Lee Gaylord
- Prison Activist
- Simple Justice
- Thousand Kites
- The Situationist
- Dissident Voice
- Why I Hate CCA
- All Of Us Or None
- Prison Legal News
- Critical Resistance
- Grits For Breakfast
- Women And Prison
- Books Through bars
- Women Behind Bars
- United States Senate
- Justice Reinvestment
- Convict Criminology
- Texas Prison Bid'ness
- Prison Policy Institute
- Grass Roots Leadership
- Prisoners With Children
- The Innocence Project
- The Sentencing Project
- People Against Injustice
- The November Coalition
- Slavery By Another Name
- Prison Moratorium Project
- Penal Reform International
- Write Your Representative
- The Justice Policy Institute
- Private Corrections Institute
- Peoples Law Office (Chicago)
- Prison Law Office (California)
- The Real Price of Prisons Site
- The Media Awareness Project
- Citizens Against Recidivism, Inc
- Criminal justice Policy Coalition
- The Real Cost Of Prisons Project
- The Private Corrections Institute
- Death Penalty Information Center
- The Council On Crime And Justice
- Abolish Prisons Social Justice Wiki
- Human Rights Watch Prison Project
- Yeshua's Second Chance Foundation
- iAbolish "American Antislavery Group"
- The Public Eye (Political Research Assoc.)
- Legal Services for Prisoners with Children
- Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition
- The Center On Juvenile And Criminal Justice
- The Coalition For Higher Education Act Reform
- FACTS: Families To Amend California's Three Strikes
- Architects/Designers/Planners For Social Responsibility
- Rights for Imprisoned People with Psychiatric Disabilities
- The Project On Law & Mind Sciences - Harvard Law School
- Informational Resources On The Second Chance Act of 2005
- California Crime Victims for Alternatives to the Death Penalty