Archive for justice system

What Is The Purpose of Prison, Punishment Or Rehabilitation?

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Prisonw398h248

Why do we send people to prison? One reason is punishment for committing a crime. Another is to rehabilitate those who committed the wrongdoing. What good is locking someone up if they're just going to come out and commit the same or worse crimes? And so, that leads me to this report from ABC News 10 San Diego:

The part that interests me is the rehabilitation part of incarceration. If someone does time and then gets out of the slammer and commits another crime, then their initial stay behind bars was a failure in my eyes. We paid to feed, clothe and house them. Then we send them out to re-commit those crimes or maybe worse, new crimes they learned about while behind bars. In that case, we got nothing in return but more crime. So we didn't do our job.

Now you take Judy Lynn Hayman. She was 23 years old when she escaped from a Midwestern prison 37 years ago. Yesterday she was captured in San Diego where she lived a crime free life for THIRTY-SEVEN YEARS.

Hayman pleaded guilty in June 1976 to a larceny charge in Wayne County, Mich., and was sentenced to serve between 16 months and two years in custody, according to prison officials there.

Ten months later, she escaped from the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility. She remained a fugitive until this week, using various aliases.

Let's consider whatever she did was wrong, non-violent, but wrong. She pleaded guilty and served 10 months time -- perhaps enough for her particular non-violent crime of larceny. Unfortunately, her sentence was for a minimum of 16 months, so her early departure wasn't condoned.

Prison was too barbaric and cruel to her. She felt she was ready to reintegrate into society as a law abiding citizen. She couldn't take it any longer and she took a huge chance and broke out. We may think she was free, but think again.

She lived not only the remainder of her sentence but the ensuing 35 or so years constantly looking over her shoulder, the fear of being discovered and re-apprehended for who she really was, an escaped con. That's a hefty weight to bear. Living in fear can be even more of a punishment than a physical prison.

During that time she gave birth to, raised and supported a son -- he's living crime free so obviously she was a good and strong influence on him and his character or he'd be doing time in a cell like his mom once did.

The point is not whether this woman was right in escaping, but what to do with her now? Should she be charged with unlawful escape and add that onto her prior sentence or should we look at what the purpose was in incarcerating her to start with? She was to be punished, granted. And she did serve 10 months, basically 2/3's of her minimum sentence. But hasn't she proved by her exemplary existence after her escape that she had learned her lesson? Aren't those 30 plus years living in fear worth some credit?

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I hope the Michigan justice system will take into consideration what for and why they sentence people to jail. I'd prefer a woman or man who's rehabilitated be back on the streets than someone who's served their term and reverts to recidivism. Prison isn't a good environment under any circumstances. Yet it does serve a purpose. But sometimes correctional institutions (notice the word correctional and not punishment) don't do their job. Maybe they did with Judy Lynn Hayman. She's proven she's learned the lesson of her bad ways. I'm hoping Michigan can see that and take it into consideration. We'll see.

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It's Yellow. That's Not Rain

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trial

A speedy trial. An effective attorney. These are rights guaranteed us under the sixth amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  It's no less or more powerful than any of the other amendments, but must be abided by with the same vigor as say, the first or second. So why is it that we're turning our backs on this law?

It's called the Sequester. Remember that one around the beginning of the year? We had been warned there would be fallout and instead of dealing with this issue -- as simple as a five minute vote repealing the bill  -- Congress let it ride. They rolled the dice and we came up 'snake-eyes.'

The public defenders office which represents criminal defendants with federal charges is going broke without additional funding and they're "underwater" trying to handle the case loads.

What's the result? More wrongful convictions. More incarcerations. Higher costs to house and retain these oftentimes innocent people who, unlike Wall Street offenders, don't have the money for high-priced private attorneys who make more a day than most of us make a year -- and that's to keep the rich out of jail who may be no less or no more guilty than a poor person. But the affluent can buy freedom.

Now with the sequestration cuts, there will also be a possibility of guilty going free. A delay in the ability to try a case will mean the prosecutors encharged with protecting us against the guilty will have to pick and chose their cases. A guilty person may not face trial because it could take too long.

So who's really bearing the weight of these cuts.  You and me. We're less safe and less protected. And why? Because the rich elected officials, of both parties, couldn't get together and just stop the madness. They had to have a pissing contest and guess who got wet?

David Fountain pissing

Grab a towel, folks, and lets clean up ourselves and those "pissers" on Capitol Hill.  Enough's enough. It's not too late to stop this madness. But it means you have to speak up or learn to enjoy "water sports!"

Wake up! That yellow rain's not stopping on it's own.

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VIDEO-- Rick Perry: “I think our justice system is color blind.” Really now.

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scales of injustice

Rick Perry was on CNN and as usual, made a complete ass of himself:

Rick Perry:

 “I think our justice system is color blind.”

Ummmm... no. See: Death penalty, Texas.

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Think Progress:

Perry’s claim that race plays no role in our justice system simply cannot be squared with the data from his own state. The most distinguishing aspect of Texas’ criminal justice system is its penchant for the death penalty. Over one third of all U.S. executions take place in Rick Perry’s state. Moreover, over 40 percent Texas’ death row inmates are black (121 out of 300 total inmates), despite the fact that only about 12 percent of Texans are African American. So a black Texan is more than three times more likely to be sentenced to die than their representation in Texas as a whole would suggest.

Nor is Texas an anomaly in this regard.

And check out this story at DKos: We don't have to ask "What If Zimmerman had been Black?" We know the Answer. It's like the Zimmerman case with the races reversed.

Color blind my ass.

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Court docs: Enron convict Jeffrey Skilling reaches deal to be released early from prison

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Jeffrey Skilling

Remember former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling (aka inmate #29296-179)? I wish I didn't. He was supposed to spend 24 years in prison for the Enron mess, but under a deal he's reached, that could be cut by ten years, according to court documents. He had 15 years left to serve. But apparently, not any more.

He was convicted in December 2006 for fraud, conspiracy, insider trading and lying to auditors in the largest corporate fraud in history.

CNN:

"The agreement brings certainty and finality to a long painful process," said Skilling lawyer Daniel Petrocelli of O'Melveny & Myers. "Although the recommended sentence for Jeff would still be more than double any other Enron defendant, all of whom have long been out of prison, Jeff would at least have the chance of getting back a meaningful part of his life."

What, his life wasn't meaningful when he committed those many crimes? What about all the people who were affected by his fraudulent acts and lies? Will they get a meaningful part of their lives back? Their jobs? Their life savings?

More than 4,000 Enron employees lost their jobs, and many also lost their life savings, when the Texas-based energy company declared bankruptcy in 2001. Investors lost billions of dollars.

Part of the deal is that Skilling has to drop any further legal challenges to his conviction.

How about dropping off the edge of a cliff instead?

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Military judge restricts more materials in 9/11 trial. UNclassified materials.

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abu13

Just now on MSNBC, Alex Witt said this (I'm coming in mid-sentence, but she was discussing the Zero Dark Thirty controversy): "...Enhanced interrogation techniques-- torture-- some will call it that."

SOME? Or anyone but the Bushies and their stellar, upstanding, patriotic Department of Justice that decided to call it something else in order to duck prosecution of Bush and the Waterboardettes? Torture is torture, and it doesn't work, it's illegal, immoral, and just plain wrong on every level.

Clear?

Witt casually tossed off the "some will call it that" as if it were an afterthought, not fact. "Enhanced interrogation techniques" is a Bushian euphemism for torture. That has been well established. Documented. End of story. It's about time everyone reports about it accurately.

Which brings me to the L.A. Times piece I read today:

The military judge overseeing the trial for alleged Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four others has ruled that lawyers cannot make public even unclassified materials.

The ruling by the judge, Army Col. James L. Pohl, follows an order on Dec. 6 in which he directed that any evidence or discussion about harsh interrogation techniques used against the five men also be kept secret. He issued the ruling despite accusations by human rights groups that the government was trying to hide the fact the men were tortured. [...]

In another development, President Obama this week signed the National Defense Authorization Act, which supports overall military operations but also puts on hold his plan to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay — a pledge he repeated in October during his run for reelection.

Of course, GOP debate audiences cheered waterboarding, which means they were cool with illegally torturing other human beings. So much for the "family values" "pro-life" crowd.

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here; That link includes one specific to only *Fayiz al-Kandari’s story here.

Here are audio and video interviews with Lt. Col. Wingard, one by David Shuster, one by Ana Marie Cox, and more. My guest commentary at BuzzFlash is here.

Lt. Col. Barry Wingard is a military attorney who represents Fayiz Al-Kandari in the Military Commission process and in no way represents the opinions of his home state. When not on active duty, Colonel Wingard is a public defender in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

If you’d like to see ways you can take action, go here and scroll down to the end of the article.

Then read Jane Mayer’s book The Dark Side. You’ll have a much greater understanding of why I post endlessly about this, and why I’m all over the CIA deception issues, too.

More of Fayiz’s story here, at Answers.com.

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The Bush administration "torture memos" will be 10 years old this week

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It doesn't take a genius to understand that people were tortured during the Bush administration. They can use as many euphemisms as they want-- "enhanced interrogation techniques," the third degree, or even hopscotch for all I care-- but what they did to human beings was clearly torture. BushCo justified it in any number of ways, including writing law that they claimed made it all okay, but it wasn't okay. It was cruel, it was criminal, and it didn't work.

Retired Air Force Col. Morris Davis, former chief prosecutor for the military commissions at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and now on the faculty of the Howard University School of Law, wrote an op-ed for the L.A. Times that he titled "Consign Bush's 'torture memos' to history."

If only those who were responsible would or could be prosecuted:

The Bush administration "torture memos" will be 10 years old this week. As the administration developed its interrogation policies, it concealed various forms of torture under the moniker "enhanced interrogation techniques." It consulted with the Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice on the legality of these techniques, including waterboarding, walling (slamming detainees against walls), forcing detainees into stress positions and subjecting them to sleep deprivation. Ultimately, the OLC provided legal cover for the use of most of these techniques. [...]

[T]he Bush administration embraced it by renaming it enhanced interrogation techniques and claiming that it was necessary for our national security. Upon taking office, President Obama issued an executive order halting the use of torture.

Torture is counterproductive. Professional interrogators — Ali Soufan of the FBI, Matthew Alexander of the Air Force and Glenn Carle of the CIA — have said this clearly. Torture is always illegal [and] is also a moral abomination.  [...]

The Senate Intelligence Committee has undertaken an investigation into the CIA's use of enhanced interrogation techniques allowed by the memos. It is essential that its findings be released to the public so that the American people can know the truth about what was done in their name.

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here; That link includes one specific to only *Fayiz al-Kandari’s story here.

Here are audio and video interviews with Lt. Col. Wingard, one by David Shuster, one by Ana Marie Cox, and more. My guest commentary at BuzzFlash is here.

Lt. Col. Barry Wingard is a military attorney who represents Fayiz Al-Kandari in the Military Commission process and in no way represents the opinions of his home state. When not on active duty, Colonel Wingard is a public defender in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

If you are inclined to help rectify these injustices: Twitterers, use the hashtag #FreeFayiz. We have organized a team to get these stories out. If you are interested in helping Fayiz out, e-mail me at The Political Carnival, address in sidebar to the right; or tweet me at @GottaLaff.

If you’d like to see other ways you can take action, go here and scroll down to the end of the article.

Then read Jane Mayer’s book The Dark Side. You’ll have a much greater understanding of why I post endlessly about this, and why I’m all over the CIA deception issues, too.

More of Fayiz’s story here, at Answers.com.

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Senate investigation: Torture doesn't work

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There goes another right wing talking point. Reuters has an exclusive report of a years-long investigation that found that torture does. Not. Work:

(Reuters) - A nearly three-year-long investigation by Senate Intelligence Committee Democrats is expected to find there is little evidence the harsh "enhanced interrogation techniques" the CIA used on high-value prisoners produced counter-terrorism breakthroughs.

People familiar with the inquiry said committee investigators, who have been poring over records from the administration of President George W. Bush, believe they do not substantiate claims by some Bush supporters that the harsh interrogations led to counter-terrorism coups. [...]

One official said investigators found "no evidence" such enhanced interrogations played "any significant role" in the years-long intelligence operations which led to the discovery and killing of Osama bin Laden last May by U.S. Navy SEALs.

GOP debate audiences cheered waterboarding, which means they were all for the illegal torturing of other human beings for absolutely no reason whatsoever.

Family values, my ass:

______________________________________________

here; That link includes one specific to only *Fayiz al-Kandari’s story here.

Here are audio and video interviews with Lt. Col. Wingard, one by David Shuster, one by Ana Marie Cox, and more. My guest commentary at BuzzFlash is here.

Lt. Col. Barry Wingard is a military attorney who represents Fayiz Al-Kandari in the Military Commission process and in no way represents the opinions of his home state. When not on active duty, Colonel Wingard is a public defender in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

If you are inclined to help rectify these injustices: Twitterers, use the hashtag #FreeFayiz. We have organized a team to get these stories out. If you are interested in helping Fayiz out, e-mail me at The Political Carnival, address in sidebar to the right; or tweet me at @GottaLaff.

If you’d like to see other ways you can take action, go here and scroll down to the end of the article.

Then read Jane Mayer’s book The Dark Side. You’ll have a much greater understanding of why I post endlessly about this, and why I’m all over the CIA deception issues, too.

More of Fayiz’s story here, at Answers.com.

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