This judge had exactly the right reaction to the shameful way nonviolent prisoners are treated in US jails

A woman was denied pants or tampons after being arrested for not completing a diversion course that was part of her sentencing from a shoplifting charge. But see how the judge reacts when she finds out that the prisoner’s humiliating treatment is apparently routine.

Gifs: Raw Leak


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.

People say all the time, ‘Well, I don’t understand how people could have tolerated slavery?’ 'How could they have made peace with that?’ 'How could people have gone to a lynching and participated in that?’ 'That’s so crazy, if I was living in that time I would never have tolerated anything like that.’ And the truth is we are living in this time, and we are tolerating it.
—  Bryan Stevenson, 13th on Netflix
'Straight up bullshit': inmates paid $1 to clear homeless camps they once lived in
In Portland, a supposed beacon of progressive politics, the practice of using prisoner work crews is painted as a win-win – but that’s not how some see it
By Thacher Schmid

In many places in the US, the fraught job of clearing out a homeless encampment is given to professionals. In San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York, for example, the job often falls to city employees in public works or sanitation departments, who might get paid upwards of $16 an hour.

But in Portland, which prides itself on being a paragon of progressive politics, inmates at the county jail get $1 a day – enough to buy a Butterfinger at the commissary – to do the work.

Some of the inmates sifting through or dismantling homeless dwellings were previously homeless themselves, making for a bizarre merry-go-round. The job can make it feel as if their worlds are colliding.

Jeff Nelson was homeless for 13 years and on an inmate work crew for six months. He remembers dealing with a well-tended tent in Portland’s Hollywood neighborhood – like one he might have lived in himself.

“You looked in there, and the bed was all made, and family pictures, and that was someone’s home,” he said. “And they made us take that down, and throw it in the fucking trash. And it’s like, what are you doing?”

He added: “It’s just straight up bullshit, but that’s the way the system rolls, and we have no choice [but] to roll with the system.”

(Continue Reading)

There is a lot of conversation about ending mass incarceration, but almost all of it is focused on changing how we respond to non-violent and low-level crimes. The problem is that more than half of people in state prison are incarcerated for violent crimes, so we will only end mass incarceration if we deal with the question of violence.  

This Issue Time conversation will deal with the question of violence, and will discuss whether mass incarceration actually makes us safer and what else could make us safe instead.


Danielle Sered envisioned, launched, and directs Common Justice. She leads the project’s efforts, locally rooted in Brooklyn but national in scope, to develop and advance practical and groundbreaking solutions to violence that advance racial equity, meet the needs of those harmed, and do not rely on incarceration.

Fatimah Loren Muhammad is the Director of Equal Justice USA’s Trauma Advocacy Initiative, which, in its pilot stage hosts weekly, half-day collaborative workshops bringing over 250 members of the Newark Police Department together with African American community leaders and public health practitioners to discuss issues of race, trauma, violence, policing, and mass incarceration. She is a Senior Fellow at Humanity in Action and a recipient the Leeway Foundation 2010 Social Transformation Award. 

Ryan King is a senior fellow in the Justice Policy Center at the Urban Institute, where he works on sentencing and corrections issues with a focus on mass incarceration. His objective is to produce high-quality empirical research on the impact of sentencing and corrections policies at the state and federal level; and to work with policymakers, practitioners, and community advocates to identify strategies that assist in the pursuit of a fair, effective, and rational criminal justice system.

Glenn E. Martin, is the President and Founder of JustLeadershipUSA (JLUSA), an organization dedicated to cutting the U.S. correctional population in half by 2030.

Our panelists will begin answering your questions on Monday April 17th.


The American criminal “justice” system is a fucking joke. They’re not even tryna hide it anymore. 30 fucking years for weed??? If he was white they probably woulda offered to help him open up a marijuana shop in Colorado or something. LMAO police and judges need to trade their badges in for slave patrol emblems. Just go on Fox News and publicly admit you hate black people and be done with it.

zim-has-a-squeedlyspooch  asked:

Do you think maybe instead of ther prison system we have now, we could focus on rehabilitation programs? It's been proven they reduce recidivism, why is it that they aren't being funded?

Our criminal justice system is broken; it fails to keep communities safe, perpetuates a racial caste system, and costs taxpayers billions of dollars. Fear-mongering and the false, but persistent belief that punishment will somehow right the wrong for survivors and prevent future suffering keeps this broken system funded.

But people are fed up and fighting for change.

Crime survivors, the formerly incarcerated, faith leaders, local community residents, and criminal justice reform advocates, including EJUSA, are fighting for a new system that invests in true community safety and health, grounded in proven strategies that work to prevent harm, promote racial equity, address the trauma of survivors, provide true healing and accountability, as well as reduce recidivism.

We will be successful when we all collectively get involved in calling for this new system to be funded at the level required for every community to be safe. It will take all of us working together to call for a system that works.

sage--green  asked:

Which sources can I use to confirm racial bias in the criminal justice system without being immediately shot down?

For me, it all begins with this staggering statistic: 1 in 3 black men born in 2001 will spend some time in prison in their lives. 1 in 3. Let that sink in. I’ve worked in this space for closing in on 20 years, much of it addressing race and outcomes in the criminal justice system. And, to my mind, no statistic breaks down racial bias to its essence more effectively.

And, you don’t need to search far and wide for that number. It is from a federal source – the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Sometimes the simplest statistics tell the story best. To me, that 1 in 3 number talks powerfully of institutional failure coupled with racial bias.

People of color are disadvantaged at every step of the criminal justice system – from decisions in how and where to police, through prosecutorial charging, into sentencing, and finally in prisons. Racial disparity in imprisonment is likely the most common statistic you will encounter that makes this point. Those numbers result from a system that pursues justice unequally in a manner biased against people of color.

As for a great source, I’d point you to my friends at The Sentencing Project, who have been working on this issue for decades. I happen to think this is a terrific source. And, one note: Latinos are a growing part of our population, but states are woeful in what data they collect on the impact of CJ policies in Latino communities. This must be addressed.