criminal justice system

New rule. All prison sentences must be expressed not in number of years, but in number of times Brock Turner’s rape sentence. For example, 

  • Desiree Fairooz faces 4 times Brock Turner’s rape sentence for laughing at Jeff Sessions.
  • Possession of marijuana within 1500 feet of a school carries a 8 times Brock Turner’s rape sentence mandatory minimum.

Maybe then people will realize how fucked up our criminal justice system is.

Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGRI)

Less than 1 in 500 defendants enter a plea of NGRI, and over 90% of defendants that do enter this plea are found guilty. When a defendant is found NGRI they are not released back into society. Rather, he or she is sent to a specialised forensic hospital for a designated period of time. Depending on the offence, this can actually be longer than the sentence would have been if the person was found guilty and incarcerated. As with competency, being unable to understand the nature and consequences of the offence is not an easy threshold to reach. The defendant must be unduly impaired. In most cases these individuals are so out of contact with reality that they were not aware that they had committed a crime or that what they were doing was wrong. Those found NGRI, for this reason, usually have extensive histories of mental illness.


Martin Tankleff was convicted of the murders of his parents in 1988, when he was only 17 years old. The evidence against Tankleff was non-existent to begin with, and the police pursued him on the faulty judgement that he had not displayed ‘enough’ emotion at the crime scene, and that he had managed to sleep through the crime.

He eventually confessed to the stabbings, having been told by the police that his father briefly came out of the coma he had fallen into, and named Martin as the perpetrator. This was a lie, but it was enough to convince Tankleff that he may have possibly blacked out and committed the crime without his conscious awareness.

Eventually Tankleff was given retrial, having produced new evidence that indicated the real perpetrator was Jerry Steurman, the business partner of Tankleff’s father - and also a close friend of the lead detective of the case. Having been granted access to DNA evidence Tankleff’s conviction was vacated and all charges against him were dropped. He was released from prison in 2007, having served 17 years in prison.

In 2010, a sixteen-year-old boy was accused of stealing a backpack. He spent three years in Rikers Island, enduring abuse and solitary confinement, yet he was never convicted of a crime and charges were ultimately dropped. 

How did this happen?

Find out when Spike presents “TIME: The Kalief Browder Story,” a six-part documentary event beginning tonight at 10/9c.

Help spread the word on social media using the hashtag #KaliefBrowder and these assets:  

you: Spencer Reid did nothing wrong!!! He’s a pure cinnamon bun!!!

me, an intellectual: Spencer Reid has done many bad, illegal things in his life and is well aware of the fact that Hotch and Emily have been using their political pull with people and just generally abusing their power to keep him from losing his job and status. They do these things, because they are aware that Spencer is a good person at his core, but has fallen off the tracks a few times and instead of punishing him according, he just basically gets away with it. Yes, he was imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit, but then he kept doing more illegal, verging on murderous things in prison. Spencer is a good person with loose morals in a position of power that allows him to do things that the average citizen wouldn’t get away with. The team protects Spencer from repercussions, because they know that it would be impossible for him to rebuild his reputation on his own since the current criminal justice system doesn’t allow for criminally convicted people to recover in society, therefore, they are resigned to a life of crime, even after they are released from prison. They protect Spencer, because they know the criminal justice system is flawed, not because he’s done nothing wrong. Spencer can be a good person and do bad things at the same time, a fact many members of the fandom seem to look over.

#FridayMotivation: On November 6, 2018, let’s come together to vote these assholes out of Washington that cater to lobbyist and party over the interest of their constituents. Together we can start to make America great.

March 1, 2017

Part 1 of “TIME: The Kalief Browder Story.”

This photo was taken in Jay Z’s Roc Nation office on May 11, 2015, less than one month before Browder committed suicided due to the 3 years of physical, emotional, and mental trauma he endured at Rikers Island with no conviction.

Tune in next Wednesday at 10 pm EST for part 2.

‘I Can’t Breathe’ Examines Modern Policing And The Life And Death Of Eric Garner

On July 17, 2014, an unarmed black man named Eric Garner died on Staten Island, N.Y., after police officers threw him to the ground and put him in a choke hold. Garner’s last words, as recorded on a cellphone video, were: “I can’t breathe.” He repeated the phrase 11 times.

Although the coroner’s report listed the cause of Garner’s death as “homicide,” no police officer has been charged in the case. But the video of Garner’s last moments helped bring national attention to the injustice black Americans face at the hands of police.

“That tape had a huge impact on everything,” says journalist Matt Taibbi. “It’s opened the eyes — particularly of white Americans, who may not have believed that this kind of thing goes on.”

In his new book, I Can’t Breathe, Taibbi writes about Garner’s life, the police practices that contributed to his death and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Taibbi, who is white, initially wondered whether he was the right person to tell Garner’s story. But as he dove deeper into the root causes of Garner’s death, he began to feel differently.

“I think it’s important for white reporters, ultimately, to own some of the responsibility for telling these stories, because it’s our story, too, in a kind of terrible way,” Taibbi says. “The reality is that Eric Garner died at the hands of a police force and a criminal justice system that were designed entirely by white people, for the most part.”

Photo: Demonstrators in Miami stand with tape reading, “ I Can’t Breathe,” in 2014. The protest occurred after a grand jury in New York City declined to indict the police officers involved Eric Garner’s death.Joe Raedle/Getty Images

America's cruel way to punish poor debtors: take away their driver's license

The story of license suspensions in the US reveals the extent of the injury states are willing to inflict on low-income people in order to balance their books

Damian Stinnie is one of the millions of people in America who have had their driver’s licenses suspended because of unpaid debt. Despite spending much of his childhood in foster care, Stinnie graduated from high school with a 3.9 grade point average. While seeking work after losing his first low-paying job, he received four traffic violations and racked up $1,000 in fines and costs.

Because he was unable to pay the full amount within 30 days, his license was automatically suspended. As is routine in many states, including Virginia, where Stinnie lived, no one asked him if he could afford to pay. So, like three-quarters of those suspended, Stinnie lost his license essentially because he was poor, not because of the infractions themselves.

At that point, Stinnie joined the millions of Americans who face the dilemma of getting to work, taking a sick child to the hospital, or buying groceries while risking penalties for driving with a suspended license.

Needless to say, many people take the risk because they have no choice; at least 75% of those who have their licenses suspended keep driving. So the debtor may be arrested again for driving without a license, this time to be incarcerated and certainly to be hit with another set of fines and fees.

Across the United States, many jurisdictions use this cruel method to coerce payment from people who owe fines and fees to the state. State and local governments do this in large part to balance their books in the face of dwindling tax revenues, heedless of the fact that…….


anonymous asked:

What is something the average American, with no legal or social clout, can do to help with campaigning against mass incarceration rates, and campaigning for prisoner rights?

Although it’s easy to feel like individually we might not have much clout or that one person’s opinion won’t make much difference, when ordinary people unite around a particular issue, it becomes the most powerful force in the world.  The key is to organize – when you organize people and organize resources, you get power.  It’s what has propelled major policy changes like banning the criminal history question on job and college applications, limiting the use of solitary confinement, and recent commitments to close Rikers Island.  If you are someone with no direct experience with the criminal justice system, the best thing you can do is identify groups and campaigns near you that are led by or centering people who have been locked up themselves (and their families).  Those closest to the problem are usually closest to the solution, but furthest from resources and power.  Follow their lead and join them in marching, advocating, and meeting with public officials.  Invest in them financially if you are able – while social movements often appear organic and spontaneous, it costs money to organize them.  Finally, don’t underestimate the power of social media.  While action in the streets and the offices of public officials is still the most effective way to generate change, there are plenty of ways to support those activities from a distance by participating in social media campaigns.
Mike Pence's Flagrant Waste of Taxpayer Money
The vice president spent more than most Americans make in a year traveling to an NFL game to perform a political stunt.
By Conor Friedersdorf

On Sunday, Vice President Mike Pence made a big show of leaving an NFL game early. He declared himself upset that some players knelt during the singing of the Star Spangled Banner. “I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our flag, or our national anthem,“ he declared, as if attacking those things was the intent of the athletes.

The NFL players knelt in protest because they believe that African Americans are being denied their self-evident rights to life and liberty by a prejudiced criminal-justice system.

“This is not about the military, this is not about the flag, this is not about the anthem,” 49ers Safety Eric Reid later told reporters. “My mother served in the armed forces. Three of my uncles served … I have the utmost respect for the military, for the anthem, for the flag … This is about systemic oppression that has been rampant in this country … I will keep doing what I feel is necessary, to use the platform that I have, to make changes. It’s really disheartening when everything you were raised on, everything I was raised on, was to be the best person I can be, to help people who need help, and the vice president of the United States is trying to confuse the message that we’re trying to put out there. I don’t know what to say about it.”

Pence is not compelled to agree with how players protest. But by fleeing the entire NFL game, he adopted the tactics of a childish, petulant snowflake who reacts to speech he dislikes by misrepresenting it, expressing umbrage, and retreating to a “safe space.”

The major difference?

When an immature teenager makes a show of fleeing from expression that he regards as politically incorrect, he’s typically evading ideas he ought to confront on his own dime. Whereas Pence spent taxpayer money to get to that NFL game. Lots of it.

Hey, all.

Today is Trans Day of Remembrance (TDOR for short), so I wanted to take a few seconds to talk about that.

Today is a memorial for every trans person who has died in the past year due to hate. Whether it was as a victim of a hatecrime, the result of mistreatment by the medical system, the fault of the criminal justice system or law enforcement, or social pressures and self-loathing leading to suicide, today is the day that we’ve set aside to honor our dead. It’s a time for mourning and a time for reflection.

Being trans in society is a radical act. Living your truth as a trans individual, publicly or privately, disrupts the status quo. Not everyone will be able to understand you or your experiences. Living this way is draining. It’s scary. It’s isolating. But, and here’s the important part, you need to keep surviving.

To all of the trans youth out there: find your community. Take care of other trans kids. Protect each other and locate spaces where you can explore your own identities. If you feel safe, talk about your experiences. You’re the next generation. Be proud of your history and don’t be afraid to keep pushing for change.

To all of the trans adults: keep going. There are few things more exhausting than continuing to push against a society that has made clear that it doesn’t want you, but you need to keep pushing for yourselves and for your communities. Mentor younger trans people and help out where you can. Support other trans adults in their efforts to live an honest life. Keep on protesting, keep on writing to your congresspeople, keep on representing in every area of society.

To everyone who is mourning the loss of a loved one today: our thoughts and prayers are with you. Know that you are not alone. Take the time you need to care for yourself and to grieve. And, from the bottom of my heart, I am sorry for your loss. My inbox is open if you ever need someone to talk to.

Today, we mourn for every trans person who didn’t make it this far. Their lives were cut short due to injustice and prejudice. Tomorrow, we go back to fighting for equality and acceptance in the hopes that one day, we won’t have to mourn.

Here’s to TDOR and to every trans life we’ve lost. Here’s to a future where we no longer need a TDOR.

Keep surviving.