Archive for the ‘Prisons/Jails’ Category

A Holiday Wish – “Your Questions, if Answered Honestly, would Eliminate the Death Penalty”

December 25, 2008

I offer the following during this Christmas Season in the hopes of inciting true love for our fellow man, rationality, and peace!  This is a season when we should think carefully about compassion, love, forgiveness, and justice for all – the victims and the perpetrators. I don’t wish to bring up bad things, but this is a time when the meaning of punishment and redemption have a very big historical context. Perhaps we can find some peace in contemplating the answers to the questions I pose, as well as the phrase which I treasure – United We Stand, Divided We Fall.

Happy Holidays! May the blessings of the season be with you and your families. May the New Year bring you joy, prosperity, and peace!

The title of this post was the response of famed defense attorney Gerry Spence to the following comment I placed on his blog:

What does the death penalty do except act as a method of revenge and fulfill a blood lust? Does publicizing executions promote compassion and justice? Does an execution help cure society of murders or reduce the murder rate? Is a civilized society more civilized by executing its citizens? Does an execution protect society from murder greater than a life sentence without parole? Is an execution reversible when new evidence proves innocence? Do I want to teach my son that the answer to anything is murder? I don’t think so.

There are some emotions that are harmful as well as useless. Revenge is one of them. When I am angry, I try to channel this anger into something productive. Even in murderers, I see something useful. I would like to channel the consequence of their despicable act into something good in society. Yes we must protect society from them and many could never be rehabilitated. BUT – are we forgetting that all human beings, no matter how loathsome have unique qualities and even the ability to contribute to society – even evil from behind prison walls may have value?

Could not the convicted murderer help design programs to address the problems that lead them to murder? Are they incapable of contributing anything to society from even behind secure prison walls? Do people not change? Do people not grow in understanding? Perhaps America is wrong about the death penalty and the rest of the civilized world that abolished it is right.

I hope I see some day the death penalty in the United States goes the way of being drawn and quartered in England. I would like it talked about as a barbaric ancient method of punishment not fit for the civilized world, which promoted violence instead of preventing it. I don’t want anger and revenge misused in this manner any more.

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Re-Integrating >600,000 Ex-Cons per Year and Growing – Give your Suggestions!

December 21, 2008

Please consider a jobs program for organizations to design and implement programs to re-integrate, provide mental health care, provide drug abuse treatment, provide family therapy, and supervise ex-cons and to train and employ ex-cons. > 600,000 convicts are released every year and this is growing due to the failed policy of the last 30 years to be “tough on crime.” What good does it do to squash prisoners like a bug, destroy their families, destroy their health, destroy their future career potential, and fail to provide even an iota of rehabilitation?

Part of our economic problem is that we are destroying and wasting so much human potential. If we employed these people and the prisons guards and employees, as well as reduce the number of prisoners in half with alternative sentencing for non-violent criminals, drug abuse treatment, and mental health care – our workforce that pays taxes and contributes to society will grow at an astonishing rate (including ex-cons, ex – prison employees, and the ex-cons’ families who were living on the dole) and our productivity will increase.

 Please give your creative suggestions about how to achieve this.  Think outside the box! Be innovative!

Letter to Attorney General Designee Eric Holder – Stop Corruption!

December 2, 2008

 

Mr. Holder:
 
Congratulations on your appointment as AG.
 
Due to this appointment, I write to make you aware that there is a large group of individuals who litigate pro se, who are patriots and have been fighting for civil rights and against government corruption for a long time. I am one of them. Please see that the information that I have provided to the FBI and US Attorney over the last five or so years is reviewed and dealt with. Government corruption, retaliation against whistle blowers, torture in state prisons, and blatant, violation of the Bill of Rights by high government officials must stop, and should be priorities for your department.
 
Please occasionally review the evidence laid out on a new blog:  http://illinoiscorruption.blogspot.com/
 
I pray that our/my long nightmare will be over. Please consider the words of Justice Douglas:
 
SUPREME COURT JUSTICE DOUGLAS IN 1970 – “Does the answer to the problem of political trials involve defining the procedure for conducting political trials or does it involve the designing of constitutional methods for putting an end to them? . . . . It will be time enough to resolve those weighty problems when a political trial reaches this Court for review.”
The criminal conduct of the Illinois Attorney General in laundering money for kickbacks in Illinois, denying mental health care to persons on Medicaid, and continuing in her position when she is not qualified, along with the pervasive corruption in Illinois demonstrated by the Daleys should not be tolerated.
 
God bless and may righteousness, fairness, and love of fellow man guide your actions in the coming years.
 
Most sincerely and prayerfully,
 
Dr. Linda Lorincz Shelton 

No Commutation of Sentence for Murderer George Ryan

December 2, 2008

Ryan whines that he’s already paid a price with loss of pension, not seeing his sick wife, and loss of reputation. He belatedly is expressing remorse for the first time, but never mentions the death of the Willis family’s six children that resulted from his actions. He has it better than most convicts who lose much much more including their home, friends, family, reputation, employability, often right to vote in other states, etc. Prisoners often are not allowed even to go to the funerals of loved ones or visit at their deathbeds. I feel sorry for his wife, but Ryan should realize that the consequences to his family are a result of his actions. You don’t release murderers because their family is sick. Ryan is a murderer. He deserved a far longer sentence.

He shouldn’t get special treatment, especially because he told the families with handicapped children through his aide that he would not increase slots for the waiver program to keep severely disabled children at home instead of in nursing homes or institutions because “they should die.” He was ruthless as a Governor despite some good things that he did. Power, influence, control, no matter who it hurt was his goal. He gave very little empathy to others in need. He was out of touch with the people who needed government help most.

Prisoners deserve mercy and rehabilitation, but lets be reasonable. Mercy is not just for the elite, wealthy, and connected. Let the punishment fit the crime! He doesn’t deserve shortening of an already ridiculously short sentence considering his crime. People died because of what he did!  He has NEVER specifically acknowledged this fact and asked for forgiveness for this.

He may have made a good decision to commute death sentences, but in general he was heartless, arrogant, and deserves a far longer sentence. No special treatment for Ryan!

Punishment and Fairness, Comparative Nature of Punishment

November 30, 2008

The whole concept of punishment in America is warped. Historically it amounted to simply time in hell. From a prisoner’s point of view the torture (beatings, rape, psychological abuse, inadequate food, lack of medical care – pain, limb loss, death) was equal if not worse than losing what you left behind. The reality is that those that are poor often lose job, savings, house, all possessions, family (divorces are common), and children even for short sentences. The wealthy have only lost a little time and then come back and resurrect their life using their money.

For a while prisons had some element of rehabilitation. Now there is very little – beautician training for women and furniture building for men. They are run by incompetent, ignorant, patronage workers and profiteers. As our leaders have been so inept that small town America has lost most industry, we built prisons in a lot of small towns to provide jobs. If you build too many prisons, you have to fill them. You have to give excessive sentences, no rehabilitation so prison becomes a revolving door, and abuse the law (police etc.) in arresting the innocent and using prisons as mental health warehouses and warehouses for the addicted.

There are very few of these officials who give a damn, let alone know anything useful. The politicians and policy makers are so far from the factory floor of reality in America that hope for realistic and helpful policies is dim.

The main thing prisoners learn right now is hate for the system, for the police, for the courts, for the guards and officials. Abuse of prisoners leads to this viscious cycle. I’m just really surprised that the body count of officers, lawyers, and judges isn’t higher.

The second thing they learn is how to be better criminals. When you return to society without a job, with stigma, having lost everything – what do you think most do! All of you are naive if you think prison has ANY element of justice.

Justice to me is not just punishment – it is rehabilitation so that society can welcome the prisoner back into society as a productive citizen. There is none of this – been there and I’m innocent!

The answer to me is to limit the number of lawyers in Congress and legislatures to 49% of the total and to appoint two non-lawyers to the U.S. Supreme Court, and every State Supreme Court in the land. Heh! I’m ready for the job!

I respectfully find the concept of the “comparative nature of punishment” to be irrelevant. What is punishment? Should it be pure retribution on one extreme or should it be analyzing the danger to society from the offender and the motivation, strengths, weaknesses, and rehabilitation potential of the offender, and then making a plan to transform the offender to a productive citizen, and if need be confining him or restricting his liberty in some way for the protection of society, at the other extreme? There is a little of this in theory in the practice of criminal law today, but none in reality. At least in C[r]ook County Illinois, presentence reports go into a big black hole and emotion and passion of the prosecutor, as well as political corruption determine sentencing.

Comparing unpunished “baseline condition” to “worst, punished condition” as Prof. Kolber suggests only deals with retribution. This is only half of the equation.

I wonder if we are asking the right questions. Is excessive imprisonment and forced poverty and destruction of offenders family, along with the costs this brings to society the answer to crime? I don’t think so, but this is the present system of “justice” in America today.

Let’s rethink “punishment”, think out of the box, start at ground zero and bring reality and rationality back into “justice.” What about mental health care, treating addiction as a disease, restorative justice, community service, education, and removing corruption and politics from the equation? I see a lot of lip service about this in Illinois, talking the talk, but no walking the walk.

From the Blog: Sentencing Law and Policy: A comment –

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Sep 15, 2008 12:52:42 AM

What is the obsession with squashing every convict like a bug? To what end?

This country needs to learn that not everyone needs to go to jail for 20+ years and lose everything they’ve ever known, accomplished, saved or done.

Abuse of Eight-Year old “Murderer” – Are You All NUTS?

November 20, 2008

An eight-year old in St. John’s Arizona has been charged with murdering his father (premeditated!) and another man in his house with a rifle, after he “confessed” to two police interrogators who questioned him with NO ONE else present. (Apache County Sheriff’s Commander, Matrese Avila and St. Johns Police Detective Debbie Neckel) He had recently been taught to hunt. The men’s bodies were found in two separate locations in the house. The prosecutor, Criss Candelaria, is asking to charge the child as an adult! The judge has confined the child to juvenile detention facility, but is letting him out for 48 hrs for Thanksgiving with conditions (no video games? no knives or guns within reach? etc.) The police have him in SHACKLES and handcuffs. The Judge, Michael Roca, is approving this nonsense!!!

The police, the prosecutor, and the judge should be charged with child abuse. The FBI should be called in to take over and investigate this felony violation of civil rights under color of law. This is beyond an outrage and flies far beyond the twilight zone. The child should be immediately released to his mother.

A five year old believes a body is a bag of skin containing blood. A six to seven year old has no concept of death. They are just starting to understand this means the person is not coming back home. They think the person is sleeping.

All of us know that five year olds have no concept of time – “is it time yet!” An eight year old thinks a body is a bag of skin with bones randomly placed in it.

Children this age are good mimics and repeat what they hear adults say and what is said on TV but they don’t know what they are saying or what the words really mean. They mimic TV and the line between fantasy (what they see on TV) and reality is blurry for them. That’s why they believe so much in boogey men under the bed and in closets.

My son was five and I was called by a baby sitter in panic when she told me that he “knew everything about sex” so some one must be abusing him or telling him everything. The sitter often watched soap operas during the day and they show couples in bed in their bedrooms under the blankets with lights out. The word “sex” is used but not explained. I later found out the sitter would tell the kids to go away from the TV and play in a stern voice whenever bedroom scenes came on. She told the kids they shouldn’t watch because there was “sex.” The subconscious message was bedroom scenes were “bad.”

At dinner I had a casual playful conversation with my son and worked in the word “sex” by saying – “someone told me the word sex today – it sounds bad”. My son said that the sitter didn’t want him to say the word because it was “bad”. I asked him what it meant. He said: “Its when you shut off the lights and tickle each other under the covers.” Then he had a big giggle and ate his pie.

To get even with the sitter for scolding him about being naughty my son used what he knew would press her button. Even a two year old learns to manipulate before he understands what he is doing! He told her: “I know what you do with uncle Joe under the covers.” Uncle Joe and Aunt Carol let my son sleep over to play with their dog, when I am out of town or there is a special event like a baseball game my brother and son like to watch together (my son lost his father so interactions with my brother were important). Aunt Carol, the sitter, thought this meant adult sex and had a cow. My son only knew that Auntie thought the activities under the cover were “bad”. He didn’t know what those activities were – so he imagined them – tickles.

I think this is a case similar to the Ryan Harris murder in Chicago where two little boys were charged after false confessions and an atrocious interview and later exonerated when the DNA matched an adult.

I am a pediatrician and the interview was atrocious. If you want to put words in a child’s mouth and manipulate them into confessing to something they didn’t do, all the techniques are illustrated on this video – be nice start out with facts and then move to theoreticals and abstract concepts which you lead on – imply what you want – voila! – you get a confession! Children LOVE to please.

The biggest mistake is that children DO NOT understand the abstract at this age (death, murder, life, love, suffering). Abstract is beyond their grasp. Consequences are beyond their grasp unless they are short term. Premeditation for more than a short time is beyond their grasp and cannot involve the abstract.

The child was learning hunting from his father. Perhaps his father taught him to be humane and put a wounded animal out of its misery because it was “suffering”. The child then was taught to equate “suffering” with the sight of blood. The child could have been equating blood with being wounded and talking about putting the men out of their misery by shooting them, even if the child did not shoot them. Was he talking in the concrete or the abstract; past, present, or future? You can’t take what he said literally!

Words at this age may not connect with actions. They may be used as if in reality but in actuality the child is discribing fantasy, or mixing up past actions with present (shooting a wounded squirral v seeing his dad covered with blood). They don’t communicate precisely. Actions don’t connect with results very well. They are just learning these concepts.

Children are NOT little adults! Shame on everyone who thinks that this interview has ANY inculpatory evidence whatsoever. The child should not be in juvenile jail. He should be home with his mommy.

For the press to perpetuate this myth that the boy shot or murdered his father and the border is obscene. How in tarnations could an eight-year old surprise and overpower two adults in different parts of the house who are familiar with guns, aim perfectly, and kill them? Are you all nuts! The murderer is by now long gone!  It is NOT alright to use a defenseless, naive, sweet eight-year old as a scape goat and headliner! You are all barbaric and then defame his deceased father with baseless allegations of child abuse!

The press should be ashamed. Perhaps they should study Edward R. Murrow and learn about ethics.

 

See also:  http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-na-juveniles21-2008nov21,0,5205156.story

In this case Mr. Doody was a 17 year old in AZ when he was accused of murdering 9 people at a Buddhist temple. The only evidence was his “confession” extracted after he was “de-Mirandized” per the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals due to inappropriate 12 hours of intense interrogation without counsel or family. His conviction was overturned and he was granted a new trial.  Sound familiar?

Political Trials – Still Alive and Well in 21st Century American [In] Justice

November 18, 2008

Protecting Defendants Charged for Political Reasons

SUPREME COURT JUSTICE DOUGLAS IN 1970 – “Does the answer to the problem of political trials involve defining the procedure for conducting political trials or does it involve the designing of constitutional methods for putting an end to them? . . . . It will be time enough to resolve those weighty problems when a political trial reaches this Court for review.”

THE TIME MAY BE NOW!

The State of Illinois through first Attorney General Jim Ryan and now Attorney General Lisa Madigan along with incompetent, ignorant, and/or corrupt officials in Illinois Medicaid including Bill Bradley, Investigator Reibel in the State Police, and Patrick Keenan in the State Police Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, with tacit approval by many other corrupt officials in the State of Illinois, have perpetrated a scheme for ten years to deny mental health services for persons on Medicaid in violation of the Federal Medicaid Code. See my other posts on Medicaid on http://illinoiscorruption.blogspot.com/.

In order to falsely advertise that she is “tough on fraud” so that she can advance her personal political ambitions, Lisa Madigan continues to fraudulently and without legal authorization indict outstanding providers of mental health services to Medicaid patients. Judges Schultz, Fox, Pantle, Alonso, and Egan have participated in these void and illegal prosecutions and done great harm to the citizens of Illinois in their illegal acts of violation the United States Constitution, in aiding and abetting this violation of federal law and civil rights.

I have been one of the persons illegally indicted and defamed, presently awaiting trial over a period of four long years. The harm to me, my patients, and my family is immeasurable and painful. I have persistly legally and appropriately through the legal process of at first representing myself and filing scholarly motions proving that higher court precedence (stare decisis) does NOT PERMIT this kind of persecution for political gain, and that my case is null and void ab initio (from the start).

I have been punished for vigorously advocating for my constitutional rights to redress of grievances and due process (including the right not to be tried for something that is not a crime) for four years with four incarcerations for contempt (two thrown out by the Illinois Appellate Court – pepetrated by Dishonorable Judge Pantle), one presently before Hon. Judge Coar in federal district court on a habeas corpus petition (asking the court to vacate and expunge the conviction on the basis of violation of constitutional rights and voidness – pepetrated by Dishonorable Judge Pantle), and one in limbo – dismissed for want of prosecution, but potentially can reinvigorate the appeal later (perpetrated by Dishonorable Judge Alonso).

I have been beaten, tortured, and medically neglected during these incarcerations and when I protested, a correctional officer, Sgt. Anthony Salemi, came into my cell and committed assault and battery against me. He falsified his records and I was charged and convicted of aggravated battery to an officer for allegedly “ramming him with my wheelchair” causing a skinned shin, and “kicking him in the chest with my RIGHT leg” causing soreness. This was impossible for me to do do to a partial RIGHT hemiparesis and extreme weakness secondary to dehydration caused by mendical neglect. I was sentenced to two years despite no criminal record and was released from Dwight penitentiary after being tortured on March 31, 2008. I was punished and placed in solitary confinement for 6 months because I refused to walk (I was unable to due to my disability) and forced to swim in my diarrhea on a 2 inch mattress with no sheets or clothes for days, except for a roughly quilted velcro smock and blanket, without toilet paper, without water (I was too week to get myself up to the water fountain at the sink or the toilet). The United States Attorney has been informed and so far has done NOTHING! My weight dropped from 171 lbs to 127 lbs and by the time I was released I couldn’t even sit up because of severe dehydration, and electrolyte imbalance. I was immediately taken to an emergency room and treated. The incompetent and barbaric sadists and psychopaths in Dwight’s medical department had insisted I was faking my medical problems.

Due to my protests, all reasonable and responsible and polite, I have been illegally and immoraly denied self-representation by Judges Pantle and now Alonso without legal authority in violation of my constitutional rights. I am being prosecuted for political reasons as a whistle blower. I testified against now convict and ex-Governor George Ryan in a class action suit for illegally denying 73 million dollars in funds for the care of handicapped children. I have won suits against Sheriff Sheahan in C[r]ook County for violating the American with Disabilities Act. I have won suits against the State of Illinois for failing to investigate barbaric and illegal abuse of mental health patients/inmates at Cook County Jail, and I have numerous pro se civil rights, mandamus, and injuctive suits pending in federal and state court against these corrupt officials. I am a target of the corrupt cabal in Illinois and C[r]ook County.

Justice Douglas in Illinois v. Allen, 397 U.S.337 wrote the following in a concurring opinion, which is very much on point. My case is ripe for Hon. Juge Coar to address in this manner in the federal district court. It is a political case! This quote, by Justice Douglas in his opinion, about Penn is fascinating and you everyone should enjoy it!.

HOWEVER IT IS SAD THAT IN THE 21ST CENTURY IN ILLINOIS, CITIZENS WHO ARE DOING NOTHING BUT PROVIDING MUCH NEEDED MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES TO THE NEEDY, WHO HAVE DEVOTED THEIR LIVES TO SERVICE, AND WHO VALUE OUR CONSTITUTION, ARE STILL THE TARGET OF POLITICAL ATTACKS IN A MOST VICIOUS AND BRUTAL MANNER!

THIS IS WHY I ASK FOR THE HELP OF THE PUBLIC TO FUND MY DEFENSE AND TO HELP ME CONTINUE TO HELP OTHERS DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION. See link at the right on this blog if you wish to help.
________________________________________________________________________
QUOTED FROM CONCURRING OPINION BY JUSTICE DOUGLAS IN ILLINOIS V. ALLEN, 397 U.S. 337 (1970):

Our real problems of this type lie not with this case, but with other kinds of trials. First are the political trials. They frequently recur in our history, [Footnote 2/2] and, insofar
as they take place in federal courts, we have broad supervisory powers over them. That is one setting where the question arises whether the accused has rights of confrontation that the law invades at its peril.

In Anglo-American law, great injustices have at times been done to unpopular minorities by judges, as well as by prosecutors. I refer to London in 1670, when William Penn, the gentle Quaker, was tried for causing a riot when all that he did was to preach a sermon on Grace Church Street, his church having been closed under the Conventicle Act:

“Penn. I affirm I have broken no law, nor am I Guilty of the indictment that is laid to my charge, and to the end the bench, the jury, and myself, with these that hear us, may have a more direct understanding of this procedure, I desire you would let me know by what law it is you prosecute me, and upon what law you ground my indictment.”

“Rec. Upon the common law.”

“Penn. Where is that common law?”

“Rec. You must not think that I am able to run up so many years, and over so many adjudged cases, which we call common law, to answer your curiosity.”

“Penn. This answer I am sure is very short of my question, for if it be common, it should not be so hard to produce.”

“Rec. Sir, will you plead to your indictment?”

“Penn. Shall I plead to an Indictment that hath no foundation in law? If it contain that law you say I have broken, why should you decline to produce that law, since it will be impossible for the jury to determine, or agree to bring in their verdict, who have not the law produced by which they should measure the truth of this indictment, and the guilt, or contrary of my fact? ”

“Rec. You are a saucy fellow; speak to the Indictment.”

“Penn. I say, it is my place to speak to matter of law; I am arraigned a prisoner; my liberty, which is next to life itself, is now concerned: you are many mouths and ears against me, and if I must not be allowed to make the best of my case, it is hard, I say again, unless you shew me, and the people, the law you ground your indictment upon, I shall take it for granted your proceedings are merely arbitrary.”

“Rec. The question is whether you are Guilty of this Indictment?”

“Penn. The question is not whether I am Guilty of this Indictment, but whether this Indictment be legal. It is too general and imperfect an answer, to say it is the common law unless we knew both where and what it is. For where there is no law, there is no transgression, and that law which is not in being is so far from being common that it is no law at all.”

“Rec. You are an impertinent fellow, will you teach the court what law is? It is ‘Lex non scripta,’ that which many have studied 30 or 40 years to know, and would you have me to tell you in a moment?”

“Penn. Certainly, if the common law be so hard to be understood, it is far from being very common; but if the lord Coke in his Institutes be of any consideration, he tells us, That Common Law is common right, and that Common Right is the Great Charter-Privileges”

“Rec. Sir, you are a troublesome fellow, and it is not for the honour of the court to suffer you to go on. ”

“Penn. I have asked but one question, and you have not answered me; though the rights and privileges of every Englishman be concerned in it.”

“Rec. If I should suffer you to ask questions till tomorrow morning, you would be never the wiser.”

“Penn. That is according as the answers are.”

“Rec. Sir, we must not stand to hear you talk all night.”

“Penn. I design no affront to the court, but to be heard in my just plea: and I must plainly tell you that, if you will deny me Oyer of that law, which you suggest I have broken, you do at once deny me an acknowledged right, and evidence to the whole world your resolution to sacrifice the privileges of Englishmen to your sinister and arbitrary designs.”

“Rec. Take him away. My lord, if you take not some course with this pestilent fellow to stop his mouth, we shall not be able to do anything tonight.”

“Mayor. Take him away, take him away, turn him into the bale-dock. [Footnote 2/3]”

The Trial of William Penn, 3 How.St.Tr. 951, 958-959.

The panel of judges who tried William Penn were sincere, law-and-order men of their day. Though Penn was acquitted by the jury, he was jailed by the court for his contemptuous conduct. Would we tolerate removal of a defendant from the courtroom during a trial because he was insisting on his constitutional rights, albeit vociferously, no matter how obnoxious his philosophy might have been to the bench that tried him? Would we uphold contempt in that situation?

Problems of political indictments and of political judges raise profound questions going to the heart of the social compact. For that compact is two-sided: majorities undertake to press their grievances within limits of the Constitution and in accord with its procedures; minorities agree to abide by constitutional procedures in resisting those claims.

Does the answer to that problem involve defining the procedure for conducting political trials or does it involve the designing of constitutional methods for putting an end to them? This record is singularly inadequate to answer those questions. It will be time enough to resolve those weighty problems when a political trial reaches this Court for review.
_______________________________________________
[Footnote 2/2]
From Spies v. People, 122 Ill. 1, 12 N.E. 865, involving the Haymarket riot; In re Debs, 158 U. S. 564, involving the Pullman strike; Mooney v. Holohan, 294 U. S. 103, involving the copper strikes of 1917; Commonwealth v. Sacco, 255 Mass. 369, 151 N.E. 839, 259 Mass. 128, 156 N.E. 57, 261 Mass. 12, 158 N.E. 167, involving the Red scare of the 20’s; to Dennis v. United States, 341 U. S. 494, involving an agreement to teach Marxism.

As to the Haymarket riot resulting in the Spies case, see 2 J. Commons and Associates, History of Labour in the United States 386 et seq. (1918); W. Swindler, Court and Constitution in the Twentieth Century, cc. 3 and 4 (1969).

As to the Pullman strike and the Debs case, see L. Pfeffer, This Honorable Court 215-216 (1965); A. Lindsey, The Pullman Strike, cc. XII and XIII (1942); Commons, supra, at 502-508.
As to the Mooney case, see the January 18, 1922, issue of The New Republic; R. Frost, The Mooney Case (1968).

As to the Sacco-Vanzetti case, see Fraenkel, The Sacco-Vanzetti Case; F. Frankfurter, The Case of Sacco and Vanzetti (1927).

As to the repression of teaching involved in the Dennis case, see O. Kirchheimer, Political Justice 132-158 (1961).

[Footnote 2/3]
At Old Bailey, where the William Penn trial was held, the baledock (or baildock) was
“a small room taken from one of the corners of the court, and left open at the top, in which, during the trials, are put some of the malefactors.”

Oxford Eng. Dict.

Prison Industrial Complex Tearing Down Economy and Society

November 16, 2008

One in ten jobs in America are related to the prison industrial complex. We incarcerate 40 times more individuals than any civilized country and the same number of citizens as China which has five times our population.

This is a tremendous burden on our economy. We don’t produce saleable goods or increase the gross national product from our prison industry. Our tax base is eroded when all of these people don’t work. Huge health care costs, not paid for by those using it (the prisoners) increase the public expenses. Welfare and Medicaid expenditures are bloated by the needs of the families of the incarcerated who can no longer support them. Potentially productive workers for new high tech and energy industries are frozen in dead end jobs (correctional officers and employees), when they could be producing saleable goods and services while increasing our country’s productivity. Salvageable workers are thrown to the wind by ignoring and vastly underfunding drug and alcohol abuse treatment and mental health treatment.

Our 40 year experiment concerning being “tough on crime” has failed miserably. Ultimately we will be increasing the crime rate as angry, hostile, untrained prisoners, whose mental illness, addiction, and bad habits are ignored, are released into the population – as we reap the fruits of that which we sow. The ranks of those being released each year are growing exponentially as the steadily increasing numbers incarcerated are released – now about 600,000 persons a year.

I believe until:

  1. we take the profit out of the prison-industrial complex; 
  2.  increase transparency in contracting, juvenile justice, mental health care, training of officers and staff, and policy decisions;
  3. increase training for correctional officers and most importantly for parole officers (who have the toughest and most complex law enforcement job in the country);
  4. take corruption out of the system (particularly in Illinois where all contracts with the State require a 10% kickback or bribe, leading to hiring unqualified patronage workers as officials and officers of the prison system); 
  5. legalize marijuana and control it like tobacco or alcohol to free up law enforcement, prosecutors, and the courts to deal with more substantial crimes;and
  6. most importantly add rehabilitation into the prison system so that the prisoners who are released become productive citizens; as well as
  7. abolish the costly and useless death penalty, 

the system will remain hopeless broken and costly, helping to drive our economy into the ground.

For more information about corruption in the Illinois and Cook County prison/court systems see my blog: 

 http://illinoiscorruption.blogspot.com/


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