Archive for punishment

Letting Ex-Felons Vote -- A Racial Thing

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voting booth

What is the purpose of sending those convicted of crimes to jail? Is it punishment? Yes. Is it rehabilitation? Yes. So it's two mints in one as the Certs commercial goes.

And are most felons guilty of violent crimes? Actually, no. Most are incarcerated for non-violent (yet still serious) felonious crimes like embezzlement, tax fraud, mail fraud, auto theft, racketeering, drug possession charges, burglary, counterfeiting, possession of restricted pornographic material, spying, and various drug-related offenses.

Wikipedia:

7.9% of sentenced prisoners in federal prisons on September 30, 2009 were in for violent crimes.

Nearly three quarters of new admissions to state prison were convicted of nonviolent crimes. Perhaps the single greatest force behind the growth of the prison population has been the national "war on drugs." The number of incarcerated drug offenders has increased twelvefold since 1980. In 2000, 22 percent of those in federal and state prisons were convicted on drug charges.

Then why, if so many of these felonies are non-violent, is it that when you become an ex-felon, all of your rights aren't returned to you? According the the ALCU, ten states severely restrict voting from ex-felons (seven require long waiting periods, applying for reinstatement and review; three others - Iowa, Florida and Kentucky - ban it lifetime for these ex-felon offenders -- most of whom are non-violent). I can understand restrictions on getting a gun, but on your vote?

So far in the 40 states that allow for ex-felons to vote there haven't been any issues at the polls. So why not make voter reinstatement upon completion of incarceration national?

We non-felons take voting for granted. But it's majorly important. Look at the crazy people that are getting elected these days. Their choices and legislation affect all of us. Yet if you're an ex-felon, chances are you are obstructed from casting a vote.

With the racial make-up of our prisons today, that appears to be a punishment that affects minorities disproportionately. And the Justice Department, led by AG Eric Holder, wants to fix that. And surprisingly he's meeting resistance on both sides of the political spectrum. Many Republicans are against it because they see the reality that minorities are the overwhelming majority of  the prison population. Minorities, for good reason, tend to vote Democratic. If you unleash hundreds of thousands of potential voters after they do their time, GOP'ers will have a tougher go of it holding their political offices. So the Republican reasoning is understandable: keep minorities away from the vote. It's wrong, but you can see their reasoning: self-preservation.

But for those Democrats on the fence, this is purely a heinous act of villainy. Why should non-violent convicted felons be subjected to lifetime sentences after they're released? It flies in the face of just punishment -- that fitting the crime. C'mon Democrats, you know better. You stand for social justice. Now promote it. Make "inclusion" more than just a catch word.

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Does The Punishment Fit The Crime?

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Clay County Jail

Hold onto your seats. Another kerfuffle of justice in... You got it, Florida. What are they putting in the orange juice out there?

If you live in the Sunshine State and your name is Cody Williams, you're not alone. And if you were born in the same year and attended the same high school, chances are you're not the luckiest guy in the world right now.

According to MailOnline:

The case started when a girl from Clay High School in Green Cove Springs claiming to have had sex with a boy named Cody Williams on or around Halloween in 2012.

The victim - who was under 12 but her age has not been disclosed - told investigators what the boy looked like and where he attended school, reported The Florida Times-Union.

Two months later police arrested Cody Lee Williams of Green Cove Springs.

This Cody Lee Williams:

Cody Raymond Williams 1

So, despite his protestations of innocence, off to jail he went --

The police were so confident they had the right guy, they called the victim, told her the assailant had been arrested and she could rest more easily. They'd taken the sexual offender off the streets.

Unfortunately for Cody Lee Williams, the police didn't do their homework nor their obligation of having a line up or showing the victim a picture of the accused. They just held him and refused to investigate any further. Finally Cody Lee's mother prevailed and they held a line-up. The victim told the police that her assailant wasn't in the line-up. They had the wrong guy.

They wanted Cody Raymond Williams, this guy:

Cody Raymond Williams, 2

See any similarity? I don't, but then again, I'm not a trained, experienced cop who should know these things.

Cody Lee Williams case was expunged, however he had already been in jail a total of 35 days. And the correct Cody Williams has since been arrested and charged with the crime. He'lll face court on a sexual assault charge on March 3. But what about the cops who were complicit in the wrongful jailing and inept police work?

An internal investigation found that Hawkins [and three others] failed to properly identify a suspect, failed to properly document information obtained in the investigation, made inaccurate statements in reports and failed to properly document actions taken in an investigation.

This resulted in 35 days of incarceration of a young, impressionable child of 17.  So what's the punishment for the cops?

You'll be surprised to hear that they are being given formal disciplinary letters which will remain in the permanent employment records and they must receive counselling. Oh, and they're awaiting news on possible ten day suspensions. Ten days with pay? Why not 35 without pay, like the victim of their actions caused?

Oh, that's right, it's Florida. Certainly not just a vacation destination -- but the vacation spot from justice.

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GOP'er Signs Bill Then Calls It A Turd

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turd

Hokay... now let's do a quick catch up, then boil it all down. But first, I want to go on record as saying I'm not really into name calling, it brings out the bullying in people. But when they name call themselves, then I don't have as much of a problem. Add to that a Republican name-calling his own actions and behavior as 'sh*t,' and though it's not quite champagne, I do get a kick out of it.

via HUFFPO:

A New Hampshire Republican seems to be feeling regret after backing a bill to expand the use of mental health courts, lamenting on Facebook that his "name is attached to this turd."

According William Tucker, writer for the blog miscellany: blue, Rep. Kyle Tasker (R-Nottingham) is one of the sponsors of HB 1442, which would allow circuit and superior courts to establish mental health courts. Those courts could lead to treatment for mentally ill, nonviolent offenders rather than incarceration.

Now this house bill in N.H. that Tasker put his name onto sounds like a very fair and compassionate action. After all, mental illness is just that, an illness. It's involuntary and those afflicted don't have the same faculties or abilities to assess and analyze their actions the same was as "sane" folks.

So what's wrong with this bill and Tasker putting his name on it? Logic for one:

But on a Facebook post from Feb. 2 and 3, Tasker commented that "[t]he idea that being crazy is a shield against the full force of the justice system is laughable."

"Crazy people need to face consequences equal or greater than everyone else," Tasker wrote.

"The idea that being crazy is a shield against the full force of the justice system is laughable," he continued. "Texas doesn’t have any problem executing the mentally ill."

"Damn it this is why you need the full language before you sign off on bills like this...now my name is attached to this turd," Tasker said in a separate comment.

A screen grab of his Facebook entry:

KYLE-TASKER-570

So crazy people (Tasker's term, not mine) need equal or GREATER punishment than everyone else? Are you crapping me? One of the great things about our system of justice, flawed as it may be, is that we distinguish between limited or impaired capacity of perpetrators of crimes. Judges and juries must know whether the accused is capable of understanding that they are breaking the law.

Take children for instance. We alter justice for them because of their age and ability to understand right from wrong. Take pornography. If the participants are 18 or older, it's determined they have the ability to understand the consequences of their actions and it's legal. If they are under that age, it's a felony for anyone to have possession of this content.

Now move onto murder even in adults. If a person is not capable of knowing right from wrong, they're not generally punished the same way as a non-crazy person. A defense available is diminished capacities or temporary insanity.  (Personally I think most people who commit murder are temporarily insane but that's another story).

So what's Tasker thinking here? It's certainly outside the norms of jurisprudence. He wants to heap additional burdens on the impaired?

Wait -- he does cite precedent: Texas. They execute the mentally challenged. Caution to Rep. Tasker -- don't visit Texas. You  might get executed because you won't have your diminished mental capacities defense taken into consideration.

Maybe Tasker is a turd. But because of his own words, I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt and say he's one of the crazy people who deserve special consideration. He's seemingly afflicted with diminished capacities. So his self-proclaimed guilt for backing this bill will be taken into consideration. But this court mandates that he seek and receive mental health care/treatment until such time as he proves to the court that he's capable of sane decision making. Until then, Mr. Tasker, you will , just like your reference to this bill, be referred to as a turd. Smile. You've earned it.

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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?

judy-hayman-jpg

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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Video- The Daily Show: Heavy Settle

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So simple, but so ignored.

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Sheriff Arpaio Is At It Again - Inhumane Treatment Of Prisoners

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Eighth Amendment

HuffPo reports:

Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio has planned a particularly economical meal for the roughly 7,500 to 10,000 inmates in his jail system this Thanksgiving.

The meal comes in at a cost of just 56 cents per inmate, and its main entrée will be 24-cent vegetarian turkey soy casserole. Arpaio tweeted the Thanksgiving menu Wednesday morning.

“Hope the inmates give thanks for this special meal being served in the jails tomorrow," Arpaio's tweet said.

(Tweet from @RealSheriffJoe on Twitter)

Thanksgiving menu is all set! Hope the inmates give thanks for this special meal being served in the jails tomorrow.

Now, I'm not sure that the cost of the meal is the issue. I'm not even going to address the vegetarian aspect of this slop. What I do take umbrage to is that Arpaio would actually have the audacity to boast that the inmates should give thanks for this cruel treatment.

These people are convicts for a reason. So they have to make restitution as the courts have seen fit. But ridicule and undernourishment aren't part of the deal.

We have an Eighth Amendment to the Constitution: "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" which also appears in Article Five of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations General Assembly.

Maybe someone should read this to the mad Sheriff:

Arpaio touts his accomplishments in providing inmates with “the cheapest meals in the U.S.” by feeding inmates “only twice daily, to cut the labor costs of meal delivery." Arpaio has “even stopped serving them salt and pepper” to save taxpayer money, according to the bio.

Twice a day? Normal is three. And no salt or pepper? Really, now, Joe? And what's with forcing vegetarianism on the entire population?

If the story ended there, it would be bad enough. But this is Mean Joe Arpaio -- the toughest sheriff in the west.

He also announced in March a plan to charge inmates $1 for their meals, according to ABC15. "Everybody else has to pay for their food, why should [inmates] get freebies?" Arpaio said.

He's going to charge a dollar for a meal that cost, by his own estimation, roughly half of that. And that's for a special holiday meal. The regular slop must cost even less. Who's taking home the profits... Sheriff Joe?

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Rep.Tom Brower Replaces Charles Bronson In New Death Wish Project

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Charles BronsonCharles Bronson - Death Wish

Okay, talk me down.

Seems like Congressmen all over the place are on a law breaking spree. A few days ago it was Florida Congressman Trey Radel. Now it's Hawaii's Paul Kersey. And if he isn't apprehended soon, we may need to call McGarrett and hear him say, "Book 'em, Dano, murder one."

A U.S. House of Representative member of Hawaii has become Charles Bronson's vigilante character Paul Kersey, from Death Wish. His name is Tom Brower and there should be an APB put out on him. He needs to be stopped, apprehended and arrested for criminal assault, stalking and destruction of private property. He's armed himself with a lethal weapon, a sledgehammer and he's targeting the homeless. This is not a joke. He's armed and dangerous.

He must be arrested immediately before he commits murder. You know those awful viral cellphone videos that some wilding teens make on their cellphones t hen post on the Internet? Those horrific attacks where they randomly attack, kick and beat some homeless person until they're unconscious? Well guess which member of Congress has been doing this? And he's been caught on tape! (See Below)

His mission is to attack homeless victims by threatening them wielding his deadly weapon. If they elude him, he destroys their possessions and  the privately owned shopping carts that homeless use to transport their personal belongings. He's taking the law into his own hands. These shopping carts he's destroying are not his. They're privately owned or leased by individual stores. He has no right to do that. This deranged man justifies it as getting back at the homeless.

Getting back at them? For what?

This armed lunatic is causing innocent, homeless people to fear for their life as he stalks them and their belongings, leaving a wake of destruction of private property. These people may be homeless but they're not without rights. This congressman is taking justice into his own hands, the consummate definition of a vigilante. He's a criminal and he's picking on the weak and vulnerable. Does he think these people chose to be homeless? This isn't just a matter that this guy shouldn't be re-elected. It's a matter of the police doing their jobs and taking a dangerous criminal off the streets.

Disgust you enough? Watch him at work:

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