Canada: Stop Harper’s cruel crime bill

November 10 2011

The Harper Government wants to create more Criminals.
The total crime rate for serious offences fell by 19% between 2000 and 2010. The crime severity rate has fallen 6% since 1998, which means that Canadians commit fewer violent crimes like murders, attempted murders and serious assaults. There are also fewer brake-ins, car thefts, robberies and drunk driving charges — still Harper wants to spend massive amounts of our money locking up more Canadians.

Crime rates in Canada have been falling steadily for over a decade yet Harper insists on spending our money to lock up our most vulnerable citizens like youth and aboriginals. Spending billions on bad crime laws means that our taxes will rise or valuable social programs like Employment Insurance will be cut. Quebec and Ontario have already said they won’t pay.

Creating mandatory minimum sentences for marijuana smokers and putting kids who make mistakes behind bars is not the way to make Canada a better place. Join the call to show Harper that we’d rather invest in social programs that really help Canadians.

This week, experts are speaking out against the massive crime bill that our Conservative government is rushing through Parliament.1 Even conservative Texans are warning Canada not to follow American’s failed path of mandatory sentences and massive prison expansion.2 Now, we need a massive public outcry to stop the bill, and make Canada safer, not meaner.

Experts agree that the crime bill would make Canada a more dangerous place by filling new prisons with people who should not be there. Instead, experience shows that we should focus on proven strategies to prevent crime, rehabilitate people and reintegrate them into society.1,3 The stakes are huge: if this bill passes we will be spending billions to trap people and create a permanent underclass of Canadians with little hope for a better life.4

The good news is that more and more Canadians are speaking out and public opinion is close to a decisive shift. The Conservatives want to be “Canada’s natural governing party” and they care about public opinion. We need to show the Conservative government that they can either choose a better path, or they will pay a serious political cost for making Canada a meaner and more dangerous place.

Mandatory sentences and prison expansion backfired in the United States, a country with only 5% of the global population and 25% of all the world’s prisoners. Today, state after state is in crisis and is repealing those laws.2

One conservative Texan, Judge John Creuzot of the Dallas County Court, has warned us, saying: You will spend billions and billions and billions on locking people up. And there will come a point in time where the public says, ‘Enough!’ And you’ll wind up letting them out.” 2

We all want to make Canada safer. Yes, there is a role for punishment that is proportionate to the crime and wisely chosen for the circumstance. However, in the vast majority of cases, rehabilitation is better than long jail sentences. Canada âs focus on prevention and rehabilitation has already brought crime rates to historic lows.3,5

Every billion dollars our federal government forces our provinces to spend on new prisons is a billion dollars that could have been spent preventing crimes by supporting programs for at-risk youth, drug and alcohol treatment programs, and strategies for mental health.

The crime bill represents a creeping erosion of Canada’s social fabric. We know that millions of Canadians believe that prevention and restorative justice – approaches that make sure the victim’s needs are met and the community is healed – should be the heart of Canadian justice.

This crime bill would move us in the wrong direction. Who benefits from one-size-fits-all punishments? Who benefits from massive prison expansion? Who benefits from throwing more of Canada’s youth, poor, and mentally ill in prison?

It’s time we speak out together. This petition is an essential first step in a major campaign. Will you join us?

Click here to tell Justice Minister Rob Nicholson and your MP you want a new strategy for Canadian justice:

So far 22,413 strong.

As of Nov 13 2011 22,823 messages sent

http://www.leadnow.ca/keep-canada-safe

You can also sign this Petition over  80,765 strong

As of Nov 13 2011 96,960 have signed

http://www.avaaz.org/en/stop_harpers_cruel_crime_bill/?cl=1378432192&v=11036

Both only take a minute of your life to sign..

Please do pass this on.

Bill  S-10

Sources:

[1] Critics of omnibus bill advocate for criminals,Conservatives charge (Globe and Mail):
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/critics-of-omnibus-bill-advocate-for-criminals-conservatives-charge/article2205213/

[2] Texas conservatives reject Harper’s crime plan – ‘Been there; done that; didn’t work,’ say Texas crime-fighters (CBC):
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2011/10/17/pol-vp-milewski-texas-crime.html

[3] Study: Prevention Fights Crime Better Than Jail (Seattle Times):
http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19960620&slug=2335526

[4] Tough on crime will likely lead to more crime, bigger deficit (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives):
http://www.policyalternatives.ca/newsroom/news-releases/tough-crime-will-likely-lead-more-crime-bigger-deficit-report

[5] Crime rates fall to lowest level since 1973
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2011/07/21/crime-rates.html

[6] Open letter to the Government opposing mandatory sentences from over 550 Canadian experts and public health professionals (Urban Health Research Initiative):
http://uhri.cfenet.ubc.ca/content/view/90

[7] A Meaner Canada : Junk Politics and the Omnibus Crime Bill (Alex Himelfarb)
http://afhimelfarb.wordpress.com/2011/05/29/a-meaner-canada-junk-politics-and-the-omnibus-crime-bill/

[8] What is Wrong With Harper’s Omnibus Crime Bill (Behind the Numbers)
http://www.behindthenumbers.ca/2011/09/20/whats-wrong-with-harpers-omnibus-crime-bill/

[9] Rough Justice in America: Too many laws, too many prisoners – Never in the civilised world have so many been locked up for so little (The Economist):
http://www.economist.com/node/16636027

[10] Salvaging a faulty crime bill (Irvin Waller)
http://www.themarknews.com/articles/6942-salvaging-a-faulty-crime-bill

[11] Incarceration and Crime: A Complex Relationship, (The Sentencing Project)
http://www.sentencingproject.org/doc/publications/inc_iandc_complex.pdf

[12] The cartoon is by Malcolm Mayes, in the Edmonton Journal.

The Harper Government in Canada wants to create Legislation similar to the Drug offenses in the US. Lets hope Canadians do not get coerced into this. Marijuana is not that bad. It has many uses medically and fewer violent crimes if any are committed because of it. Alcohol is far worse as far as crimes.  Those who use Marijuana are non violent.

If a police officer had a choice of going into a room with 20 Marijuana users or 20 drunk people the room with the Marijuana uses would be a much safer room. Drunk people are much more violent and much more dangerous. Marijuana users would be listening to music and eating. They don’t even bother to argue they just enjoy themselves. Drunk people fight and argue and alcohol is addictive where as Marijuana is not.

So I have to say Harper’s bill is wrong on many counts. If anything Marijuana should be legalized and the Government could regulate it and make profits/taxes on it. Open stores to have it sold etc.

It would eliminate grow ops and many other problems now associated with Marijuana.

If individuals grew their own or buy it from a Government store there would be no need for dealers and all the other problems now faced by police at this time.

Then the police could spend their time looking for dangerous criminals.

It would save a lot of money and make a lot of money.

End of a lot of problems.

Check the link below and get some insight as to how Medical Marijuana helps people and it is safer then many Pharmaceuticals.

It will even get rid of a headache.

The lobby groups who want to prevent the legalization of Marijuana are the Pharmaceutical companies. Not because it is dangerous, but because it would cut into their profits.

Medical Marijuana


Legalizing Marijuana  would create a lot of jobs something we all can agree on is needed. Maybe the drinkers would take up smoking Marijuana and make the world a safer place especially for women who are beaten by their drunken spouses.

What’s wrong with Harper’s omnibus crime bill

By Paula Mallea

September 20, 2011

Prime Minister Harper will be launching his tough-on-crime agenda today. Our criminal justice system is by no means perfect, but the omnibus crime bill will send us back to a 19th century punishment model. Here are some reasons why Canadians need to speak out against this legislation.

The former U.S. drug czar (Asa Hutchinson) has encouraged Canada not to make the same mistakes the U.S. made. The two mistakes he cited were mandatory minimum sentences, and insufficient attention to rehabilitative programs.

1. The cost of the Harper crime agenda will be colossal, and a large part of it (some say most) will be borne by the provinces, who are responsible for implementing whatever the feds pass. So provinces and territories (many of them in elections as we speak) will be expected to pay for additional courts, clerks, prisons, Crown Attorneys, judges, sheriffs, court reporters and so on. And the numbers are high-$5 billion over 5 years for the one piece of legislation which was examined by the Parliamentary Budget Officer. The new drug sentences alone will increase numbers of offenders by a huge amount. The Corrections department is one of the few which is receiving huge increases in its budget as we speak.

2. Virtually all of the crime legislation is directed towards increasing punishment by way of more prison terms for more people and for longer. Virtually nothing in any of the legislation does anything to prevent crime (as the Conservatives claim), help victims (as they claim) or target guns, gangs, drugs and organized crime (as they claim). The Harper government’s stated objectives will not be met by the omnibus crime bill.

3. Other jurisdictions, notably the United States, have rejected the Harper approach. Newt Gingrich is fronting a group called Right on Crime which advocates for less incarceration. Ronald Reagan presided over a huge reduction in incarceration when he was governor of California. Maggie Thatcher refused to allow incarceration rates to rise in Britain. Many states are abolishing mandatory minimum sentences and reducing the proportion of sentences which must be served before release.

4. Canada is moving in the wrong direction, and the results will not be pretty. I predict there will be expanding deficits at all levels, an increase in misery for all parties, including offenders’ families and communities, and victims (who in fact advocate for improvements in preventive and rehabilitative programs). The picture becomes darker when you consider that up to 80 to 90 per cent of offenders in some institutions are addicts (mostly to alcohol), and up to 40 per cent have mental illnesses. A huge proportion are Aborignal people. Many offenders are homeless, illiterate, victims of sexual abuse, and so on. What is significant is that we have the means to deal with all of these conditions-we know how, and the resources required would be a fraction of the budget necessary to incarcerate so many new inmates. Dealing with these issues would not only reduce crime but would also make for a healthier community. Because the Conservatives are so concentrated on the punishment model, there will be no resources (and no inclination) to fund the programs necessary to deal with these fundamental problems.

5. Journalists continually state that the omnibus crime bill is considered necessary by the Harper government because the crime legislation was otherwise “unpassable” or because of “obstructive measures” taken by the opposition. This is demonstrably not true. The opposition never got a chance to oppose most of the crime legislation because it never came to a vote: most of the laws died on the order paper when Mr. Harper prorogued Parliament twice and when he called the 2008 election. Most of the rest of them were never brought forward in a timely manner.

The Conservatives have the majority they need to pass this legislation. The only thing that might give them pause would be a public groundswell against the law. If for no other reason than financial, we should be making our voices heard.

 

Paula Mallea, B.A., M.A., Ll.B, practised criminal law for 15 years in Toronto, Kingston, and Manitoba. She acted mainly as defence counsel, with a part-time stint as prosecutor, and spent hundreds of hours in penitentiaries representing inmates. She is a Research Associate with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. She is the author of The Fear Factor: Stephen Harper’s Tough On Crime Agenda and Lorimer Publishing will be releasing her book on the tough-on-crime agenda this fall.

This article first appeared on Behind the Numbers.

 

Ceasefire in the War on Drugs?

CIA Drug Trafficking over 50 years

Why do you think American troops are Guarding the Poppy Fields in Afghanistan? Afghanistan went from no Heroin to tons of Heroin.

Plus the US got their pipeline.

Afghanistan: Troops Guarding the Poppy Fields

Cost of the war on Drugs in US

Canadians do not want the American system. Check link below to see why.

The Prison Industry in the United States Costs Taxpayers Billions

You also might want to check this out as well.

US wants to Censor the Internet

US Lawmakers Corruption “Busted”

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The Libya American’s never saw on Television

US, NATO and Rebel war crimes in Libya

The Iran you will never see on American Television

Canada: Mohawk Elders looking for mass graves of Children that died in Residential Schools

Deaths in Afghanistan 5.6 million due to war


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Published in: on November 10, 2011 at 5:15 pm  Comments Off on Canada: Stop Harper’s cruel crime bill  
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Israel’s middle class launches mass protest at rising cost of living

Reports of 300,000 on streets across country as pressure for reform grows on Netanyahu

By Catrina Stewart

August 8 2011

Over a quarter of a million Israelis staged the country’s biggest protest in decades over the weekend, calling for far-reaching social reform to ease the financial burden of the increasingly straitened middle class.

Israeli media reported the numbers of protesters at over 300,000, most of them in Tel Aviv, where hundreds of youths have been camped out for nearly four weeks in tents and wigwams in protest at soaring living costs, the original source of frustration.

Since their modest beginnings, the protests have mushroomed into a nationwide movement addressing a whole range of issues that have brought together Israelis from both ends of the political spectrum in a rare show of unity. Personal politics have taken second place to gripes over high taxation, soaring food and petrol costs, the divide between the rich and poor, and shrinking social services.

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They also represent a critical challenge for Israel’s right-wing government, led by Benjamin Netanyahu, a proponent of free-market reform. His fractured coalition has struggled to present concrete solutions to the diverse set of demands, many of which call for the kind of sweeping change that harks back to Israel’s early socialist principles.

In an effort to defuse the protests, Mr Netanyahu yesterday formed a panel of economic experts and cabinet ministers to study ways to bring down the cost of living, which has soared at the expense of stagnant salaries even though Israel’s economy is thriving. While promising “real dialogue”, he warned that “we won’t be able to please everyone”.

But protest organisers seemed reluctant to embrace the government’s measures, wary that it would fail to translate into actual social reform. “I want to be sure… we will not be given the runaround for three months, at the end of which we will not emerge with real solutions,” Itzik Shmuli, a protest leader, told Israel Radio.

On Saturday night, Tel Aviv’s main thoroughfares were thronged with people holding banners with slogans including “We want a welfare state”, and “Israel is dear”. “There has been nothing like this for decades – all these people coming together, taking to the streets, demanding change. It’s a revolution,” Baruch Oren, a 33-year-old protest leader, told Reuters. But not all felt themselves caught in the embrace of the protesters. Amid the hundreds of tents catering to different social causes, only tent No 1948 addresses issues linked to Palestinians and the Israeli Arab community. Critics claim that protest organisers have explicitly avoided turning the protests into a referendum on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for fear it will be seen as leftist and lose support. “Perhaps if I was a Jewish Israeli, I [would] be proud of the July 14 movement. … [But] I am Palestinian,” Abir Kopty, an Israeli Arab activist, wrote on her blog. “I want to speak about historical justice, I want to speak about occupation … and I want to speak about them in the heart of Tel Aviv.”

In the occupied West Bank, too, Palestinians are following the protests with interest, but argue that Israelis are seeking rights that the Palestinians can only dream of. “For us Palestinians, it isn’t a housing crisis we are facing but a housing ban,” Nariman al-Tamimi, a Palestinian woman from Nabi Salih, a village in an Israel-controlled part of the West Bank, told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. Her home is under threat of demolition after the family, unable to secure permits to build, added an unauthorised extension.

Others predicted that protesters would start linking the deterioration of their economic condition with the Jewish West Bank settlements, considered illegal under international law, into which successive Israeli governments have invested huge sums of money in the shape of tax breaks and cheap loans.

“In due course, [the protesters] will reach the conclusion that the money for the major reforms they demand can only come from stopping the settlements and cutting the huge military budget by hundreds of billions – and that is possible only in peace,” wrote Uri Avnery, an Israeli former politician, in a weekly letter.

Q & A:

War on cheese prices turns into a wider class struggle

Q. How did the protests in Israel begin?

A. Organisers say that a Facebook campaign against a rise in cottage cheese prices in June provided the inspiration for collective action. However, the protests actually started when a young woman was evicted from her apartment in central Tel Aviv because she had failed to pay her monthly rent. She erected a tent on the city’s stylish Rothschild Boulevard, prompting hundreds of others struggling with high rents to join her.

Q. What are the demonstrations about?

A. They were initially about the high cost of rented accommodation, which has risen much more quickly than the average Israeli income. The protests now embrace issues ranging from high taxation, the cost of childcare, low salaries for doctors and nurses and calls for improvements to social services, which have shrunk in recent years. Many people have directed their anger at the country’s wealthiest families, who are seen as growing rich at the expense of ordinary Israelis via monopolies that have pushed up the cost of goods.

Q. So who is actually doing the protesting?

A. Broadly speaking, it is Israel’s middle class. They pay high taxes but receive few of the welfare benefits that are extended to the poor.

Q. What is the government doing about the problems?

A. The government has struggled to meet the diverse demands of the protesters. The Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, pushed through a housing reform Bill last week, which protesters said would benefit the rich and damage the environment. The government’s latest step is to set up a Cabinet-level economic task force to look at ways to bring down prices. It has a month to reach its conclusions.

Source

I GUESS YOU GET WHAT YOU VOTE FOR.

A VOTE FOR WAR IS A VOTE FOR THE ROAD THAT LEADS TO POVERTY.

Will anything change? Of course not, the rich will get richer and the poor will get very much poorer. After all someone must pay for all the war toys. Just like the USA the poor there pay for all the wars and the poor are the ones who also pay with their lives. The poor are nothing more then cannon fodder.

This is an older report, but the cost to those who live in Israel is staggering. No wonder they are poor.

P.S. They spend even more now.

Foreign Arms Supplies To Israel/Gaza

Israel get weapons from everyone and their dog.

Also I don’t know if anyone has noticed but every time the the US starts a new war the price of Oil/Gas goes up way up which drives up the cost of everything else.  Now isn’t that special?

Published in: on August 8, 2011 at 3:53 am  Comments Off on Israel’s middle class launches mass protest at rising cost of living  
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Poorer Canadians less likely to survive cancer

August 2, 2010

Cancer patients from poor communities have lower survival rates than those from more affluent neighbourhoods, a new Canadian study has found.

What’s more, the research team discovered that the explanation for similar disparities in U.S. research — that patients from poorer areas are more likely to be diagnosed when their cancer is at a later stage — did not hold true.

The researchers, led by Dr. Christopher Booth at the Cancer Research Institute at Queen’s University in Ontario, found that poorer patients had a greater chance of dying prematurely from their disease even though cancer stage at the time of diagnosis was similar across socioeconomic groups.

“Contrary to what has been reported in studies from the U.S., we have found that stage of cancer at time of diagnosis does not account for any substantial component of the difference in survival across social groups,” Booth said in a statement.

The findings, though only gleaned from Ontario data, suggest other factors play a role in survival, including the unique biology of each patient’s disease, the presence of other illnesses, access to treatment and overall quality of care.

The study was published Monday in Cancer, the journal of the American Cancer Society.

For the study, the research team compared median household income data from the 2001 Canadian census with diagnosis information from the Ontario Cancer Registry. The team analyzed all cases of breast, colon, rectal, non-small cell lung, cervical and laryngeal cancer diagnosed in the province between 2003 and 2007.

Their findings include:

  • The chance a woman from a poor community will be alive five years after a breast cancer diagnosis is 77 per cent, compared to 84 per cent for a wealthy woman.
  • Fifty-two per cent of patients with colorectal cancer from poor neighbourhoods are still alive five years after diagnosis, compared to 60 per cent of patients from wealthy communities.

The team said the fact that stage of disease at the time of diagnosis was similar across socioeconomic groups may be explained by universal health coverage in Ontario, “which may facilitate access to primary care physicians and/or cancer screening,” Booth said.

However, the disparity in survival rates, while they seem small, “are important and meaningful differences,” he told The Canadian Press.

“If we had a form of chemotherapy or cancer treatment that led to an improvement or difference in five-year survival of seven, eight, nine per cent — the order of magnitude we’re seeing with these differences — it would be a blockbuster home run as far as cancer treatment advances,” Booth said.

The team said further research is needed to identify the specific factors that are leading to the disparities in survival, which will then allow experts to devise strategies to reduce those disparities. Source

Poverty means less food, more stress and worry.

You can have the best medical treatment in the world but if you don’t have proper food you will be less likely to recover from many illnesses not just cancer.

People living in poverty are under a great deal more stress as well. Their day to day lives are filled with things like can I afford rent, heat and hydro. They have less of an ability to get to treatments, (Cost is always a factor which adds to their stress and anxiety).

So do they buy groceries are go for treatments? Well what would you do?

People living in poverty are also more prone to illnesses as they are under stress and do not have proper food to start with.

One doesn’t have to be a genius to figure out what the problems are.

Even the stupidest person should be able to figure that one out.

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Fox News moves up to the front row in the White House briefing room

Fourteen Examples of Systemic Racism in the U.S. Criminal Justice System

By Bill Quigley

July 27, 2010

The biggest crime in the U.S. criminal justice system is that it is a race-based institution where African-Americans are directly targeted and punished in a much more aggressive way than white people.

Saying the US criminal system is racist may be politically controversial in some circles. But the facts are overwhelming. No real debate about that. Below I set out numerous examples of these facts.

The question is – are these facts the mistakes of an otherwise good system, or are they evidence that the racist criminal justice system is working exactly as intended? Is the US criminal justice system operated to marginalize and control millions of African Americans?

Information on race is available for each step of the criminal justice system – from the use of drugs, police stops, arrests, getting out on bail, legal representation, jury selection, trial, sentencing, prison, parole and freedom. Look what these facts show.

One. The US has seen a surge in arrests and putting people in jail over the last four decades. Most of the reason is the war on drugs. Yet whites and blacks engage in drug offenses, possession and sales, at roughly comparable rates – according to a report on race and drug enforcement published by Human Rights Watch in May 2008. While African Americans comprise 13% of the US population and 14% of monthly drug users they are 37% of the people arrested for drug offenses – according to 2009 Congressional testimony by Marc Mauer of The Sentencing Project.

Two. The police stop blacks and Latinos at rates that are much higher than whites. In New York City, where people of color make up about half of the population, 80% of the NYPD stops were of blacks and Latinos. When whites were stopped, only 8% were frisked. When blacks and Latinos are stopped 85% were frisked according to information provided by the NYPD. The same is true most other places as well. In a California study, the ACLU found blacks are three times more likely to be stopped than whites.

Three. Since 1970, drug arrests have skyrocketed rising from 320,000 to close to 1.6 million according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics of the U.S. Department of Justice.

African Americans are arrested for drug offenses at rates 2 to 11 times higher than the rate for whites – according to a May 2009 report on disparity in drug arrests by Human Rights Watch.

Four. Once arrested, blacks are more likely to remain in prison awaiting trial than whites. For example, the New York state division of criminal justice did a 1995 review of disparities in processing felony arrests and found that in some parts of New York blacks are 33% more likely to be detained awaiting felony trials than whites facing felony trials.

Five. Once arrested, 80% of the people in the criminal justice system get a public defender for their lawyer. Race plays a big role here as well. Stop in any urban courtroom and look a the color of the people who are waiting for public defenders. Despite often heroic efforts by public defenders the system gives them much more work and much less money than the prosecution. The American Bar Association, not a radical bunch, reviewed the US public defender system in 2004 and concluded “All too often, defendants plead guilty, even if they are innocent, without really understanding their legal rights or what is occurring…The fundamental right to a lawyer that America assumes applies to everyone accused of criminal conduct effectively does not exist in practice for countless people across the US.”

Six. African Americans are frequently illegally excluded from criminal jury service according to a June 2010 study released by the Equal Justice Initiative. For example in Houston County, Alabama, 8 out of 10 African Americans qualified for jury service have been struck by prosecutors from serving on death penalty cases.

Seven. Trials are rare. Only 3 to 5 percent of criminal cases go to trial – the rest are plea bargained. Most African Americans defendants never get a trial. Most plea bargains consist of promise of a longer sentence if a person exercises their constitutional right to trial. As a result, people caught up in the system, as the American Bar Association points out, plead guilty even when innocent. Why? As one young man told me recently, “Who wouldn’t rather do three years for a crime they didn’t commit than risk twenty-five years for a crime they didn’t do?”

Eight. The U.S. Sentencing Commission reported in March 2010 that in the federal system black offenders receive sentences that are 10% longer than white offenders for the same crimes. Marc Mauer of the Sentencing Project reports African Americans are 21% more likely to receive mandatory minimum sentences than white defendants and 20% more like to be sentenced to prison than white drug defendants.

Nine. The longer the sentence, the more likely it is that non-white people will be the ones getting it. A July 2009 report by the Sentencing Project found that two-thirds of the people in the US with life sentences are non-white. In New York, it is 83%.

Ten. As a result, African Americans, who are 13% of the population and 14% of drug users, are not only 37% of the people arrested for drugs but 56% of the people in state prisons for drug offenses. Marc Mauer May 2009 Congressional Testimony for The Sentencing Project.

Eleven. The US Bureau of Justice Statistics concludes that the chance of a black male born in 2001 of going to jail is 32% or 1 in three. Latino males have a 17% chance and white males have a 6% chance. Thus black boys are five times and Latino boys nearly three times as likely as white boys to go to jail.

Twelve. So, while African American juvenile youth is but 16% of the population, they are 28% of juvenile arrests, 37% of the youth in juvenile jails and 58% of the youth sent to adult prisons. 2009 Criminal Justice Primer, The Sentencing Project.

Thirteen. Remember that the US leads the world in putting our own people into jail and prison. The New York Times reported in 2008 that the US has five percent of the world’s population but a quarter of the world’s prisoners, over 2.3 million people behind bars, dwarfing other nations. The US rate of incarceration is five to eight times higher than other highly developed countries and black males are the largest percentage of inmates according to ABC News.

Fourteen. Even when released from prison, race continues to dominate. A study by Professor Devah Pager of the University of Wisconsin found that 17% of white job applicants with criminal records received call backs from employers while only 5% of black job applicants with criminal records received call backs. Race is so prominent in that study that whites with criminal records actually received better treatment than blacks without criminal records!

So, what conclusions do these facts lead to? The criminal justice system, from start to finish, is seriously racist.

Professor Michelle Alexander concludes that it is no coincidence that the criminal justice system ramped up its processing of African Americans just as the Jim Crow laws enforced since the age of slavery ended. Her book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness sees these facts as evidence of the new way the US has decided to control African Americans – a racialized system of social control. The stigma of criminality functions in much the same way as Jim Crow – creating legal boundaries between them and us, allowing legal discrimination against them, removing the right to vote from millions, and essentially warehousing a disposable population of unwanted people. She calls it a new caste system.

Poor whites and people of other ethnicity are also subjected to this system of social control. Because if poor whites or others get out of line, they will be given the worst possible treatment, they will be treated just like poor blacks.

Other critics like Professor Dylan Rodriguez see the criminal justice system as a key part of what he calls the domestic war on the marginalized. Because of globalization, he argues in his book Forced Passages, there is an excess of people in the US and elsewhere. “These people”, whether they are in Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib or US jails and prisons, are not productive, are not needed, are not wanted and are not really entitled to the same human rights as the productive ones. They must be controlled and dominated for the safety of the productive. They must be intimidated into accepting their inferiority or they must be removed from the society of the productive.

This domestic war relies on the same technology that the US uses internationally. More and more we see the militarization of this country’s police. Likewise, the goals of the US justice system are the same as the US war on terror – domination and control by capture, immobilization, punishment and liquidation.

What to do?

Martin Luther King Jr., said we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. A radical approach to the US criminal justice system means we must go to the root of the problem. Not reform. Not better beds in better prisons. We are not called to only trim the leaves or prune the branches, but rip up this unjust system by its roots.

We are all entitled to safety. That is a human right everyone has a right to expect. But do we really think that continuing with a deeply racist system leading the world in incarcerating our children is making us safer?

It is time for every person interested in justice and safety to join in and dismantle this racist system. Should the US decriminalize drugs like marijuana? Should prisons be abolished? Should we expand the use of restorative justice? Can we create fair educational, medical and employment systems? All these questions and many more have to be seriously explored. Join a group like INCITE, Critical Resistance, the Center for Community Alternatives, Thousand Kites, or the California Prison Moratorium and work on it. As Professor Alexander says “Nothing short of a major social movement can dismantle this new caste system.”

Bill Quigley is Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights and a law professor at Loyola University New Orleans. Source

Racism and maybe a lot of greed. One has to wonder how many others are like these people. I bet there are many more they just haven’t been caught as of yet is all. There are a lot of for profit prisons in the US.

Ex-US judge pleads guilty to child prison scam

Conahan received bribes from a for-profit juvenile detention centre after closing a county-run facility

July 23 2010

Former Pennsylvania judge Michael Conahan has pleaded guilty to a racketeering conspiracy charge for helping put juvenile defendants behind bars in exchange for bribes.

He is accused along with former judge Mark Ciavarella of taking $2.8m (£1.8m) from a profit-making detention centres. Mr Ciavarella denies wrongdoing.

The two pleaded guilty last year but a federal judge tossed out part of the plea agreement for being too lenient.

Conahan faces up to 20 years in jail.

US District Judge Edwin Kosik rejected the 87-month jail term set out last year in Conahan’s agreement. Under that deal, the former judge would have been able to back out if he was dissatisfied with his sentence.

Judge Kosik has accepted Conahan’s current plea agreement with prosecutors, which has no such get-out clause.

Cash for kids

Prosecutors in a federal court in Scranton, Pennsylvania, said Conahan had closed a county-owned juvenile detention centre in 2002, just before signing an agreement to use a for-profit centre.

Prosecutors say Mr Ciavarella, a former juvenile court judge, then allegedly worked with Mr Conahan to ensure a constant flow of detainees.

The two men were originally charged in early 2009 with accepting money from the builder and owner of a for-profit detention centre that housed county juveniles in exchange for giving children longer, harsher sentences.

A spokeswoman for the non-profit Juvenile Law Center alleges that Mr Ciavarella gave excessively harsh sentences to 1,000-2,000 juveniles between 2003 and 2006.

Some of the children were shackled, denied lawyers, and pulled from their homes for offences which included stealing change from cars and failure to appear as witnesses.

The indictment was part of a larger probe into corruption in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, which has so far implicated more than 20 others. Source

Two US judges charged with taking more than $2m (£1.4m) in kickbacks from a privately-run detention centre have pleaded guilty to fraud.

February 13 2009

Prosecutors say Judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan took the money in return for giving young offenders long sentences to serve in the centre.

The deal allowed PA Child Care LLC and a sister company to receive extra government funds, they say.

The judges in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, have both been suspended.

They have pleaded guilty to honest services fraud and tax fraud.

The plea agreements provide for prison sentences of more than seven years.

Mr Conahan had shut down a county detention centre in 2002 and signed a deal with PA Child Care LLC to send offenders to its new centre, prosecutors say.

They said Mr Ciavarella sent youths to the detention centre while taking money in return, though the judge has specifically denied sending youths to jail for cash, the Associated Press news agency reports.

‘Disgraced’

Campaigners have complained that Mr Ciavarella gave out overly harsh sentences for minor offenses.

A spokeswoman for the non-profit Juvenile Law Center said 1,000-2,000 juveniles who came before the judge between 2003 and 2006 received excessively harsh sentences.

Many of the children were first-time offenders and had no lawyers to defend them.

The judge sent a quarter of his juvenile defendants to detention centres from 2003 to 2006, compared with a state average of one in 10, the AP reported.

“Your statement that I have disgraced my judgeship is true,” Mr Ciavarella wrote in a letter to the court, Reuters news agency reports.

“My actions have destroyed everything I worked to accomplish and I have only myself to blame.”

Mr Conahan made no comment. Source

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Toronto working poor need pay hike: Study

November 18, 2008 

TORONTO – In Canada’s most expensive urban area, Ontario’s minimum wage falls far short of what families need for a decent standard of living, says the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

The study, A Living Wage for Toronto, estimates two working parents raising two young children would need to earn $16.60 an hour each, with both parents working full-time and year-round, to be able to live adequately within the Greater Toronto Area.

“There’s a big difference between having enough to survive – and Ontario’s minimum wage doesn’t even do that – and having enough to participate in the life of the community” says study co-author Hugh Mackenzie, CCPA research associate. “The living wage is the income threshold a family has to cross to avoid being marginalized.”

The study takes into account the major costs facing families raising children in the GTA, and estimates how high their wage should be in order to have a decent standard of life.

“We held focus groups with families in the GTA to confirm our estimates reflected the reality of everyday living,” says co-author Jim Stanford, CCPA research associate. “We discovered that while it covers the basics, our living wage number is still quite modest.

“So many GTA families struggle to pay the rent and put food on the table. They’re working hard, making a major contribution to our economy. It’s only fair that the work they do lifts them out of poverty, and allows them to lead a healthy, full life.”

The study is released in advance of this weekend’s Good Jobs Summit, being organized by the Toronto & York Region Labour Council to improve the quality of jobs in Toronto.

Download the Report/Study:

Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Source

Poverty in Canada is Very Real and Rising

Published in: on November 20, 2008 at 2:17 am  Comments Off on Toronto working poor need pay hike: Study  
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