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Showing posts from October, 2011

Gun Ownership Soars To 18 Year High: 47% Of Americans Admit To Owning A Gun

Americans may be fleeing from stocks in droves, but they sure aren't shy about rotating the resulting meager liquidation proceeds into weaponry. According to Gallup, "Forty-seven percent of American adults currently report that they have a gun in their home or elsewhere on their property. This is up from 41% a year ago and is the highest Gallup has recorded since 1993, albeit marginally above the 44% and 45% highs seen during that period." Considering the social situation "out there", and the fact that the world is one badly phrased or translated headline away from a complete HFT-facilitated market collapse, this is hardly all that suprising.

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John Lott is winning.

Racial Profiling on an “Industrial Scale”: FBI Using Census Data to Map and Police Communities By Race

The ACLU uncovers an FBI program that pairs Census data with "crude stereotypes" to map ethnic communities.

New documents obtained by the ACLU show that the FBI has for years been using Census data to “map” ethnic and religious groups suspected of being likely to commit certain types of crimes.Much is still not known about the apparent large-scale effort in racial profiling, partly because the documents the ACLU obtained through public records requests are heavily redacted.The FBI maintains that the mapping program is designed to “better understand the communities that are potential victims of the threats,” but the ACLU says it is plainly unconstitutional.Read on...

Police Turn Oakland Into War Zone

Incredible footage emerged from downtown Oakland last night - not of basic law enforcement efforts to maintain public "health and safety" as the police have been claiming - but of a war zone in which police shot tear gas, bean bags, wooden dowels, flash grenades, and rubber bullets at protesters.Rather than using the weaponry once in a final effort to subdue the crowd, officers reportedly used them over and over again in what @OccupyOakland describes as a "relentless" assault on the thousands of activists gathered near City Hall."The city remains committed to respecting free speech as well as maintaining the city's responsibility to protect public health and safety," Oakland police said in a statement Tuesday. The "safety" concerns are the usual complaints levelled at the Occupy movements: sanitation issues, improper food storage, graffiti, litter, and vandalism, although OPD added accusations of fighting, assaults, and "thre…

Canadian cities at a loss on how to end Occupy protests

They have muddied parks, overtaken public squares and clashed with police. But while Canada’s Occupy protesters may be wearing out their welcome, nobody has figured out how to get rid of them.Although the encampments are violating bylaws, damaging public land, and in some cases, prompting public health concerns, confrontation-shy municipalities are finding themselves increasingly powerless, or at least unwilling, to remove them.Alberta’s two largest cities have arguably taken the hardest line against occupiers — although both have failed to negotiate an end to the protests. Toronto protesters have angered neighbours of the downtown park they are camping in, prompting the church next to the site to plead with the protesters to “respect the members of the community who live and work in the area.”Read on...

Incarceration—It’s Catching

By Michelle Alexander“A Plague of Prisons: The Epidemiology of Mass Incarceration in America”
A book by Ernest Drucker
“The Collapse of American Criminal Justice”
A book by William J. Stuntz

“He caught a case,” said Maurice, a black teenager whom I’d been tutoring for a while, as part of a program to address the needs of “at risk” youth.“You say that like he caught a cold or something. What happened?” I asked.“Don’t know. He just caught a case. He’s down at the jail. I’m telling you it’s easier to catch a case around here than to catch a cold.”I remember thinking: You don’t just catch a case. Or maybe you do.Ernest Drucker, an internationally recognized public health scholar, professor and physician, contends that mass incarceration ought to be understood as a contagious disease, an epidemic of gargantuan proportions. With voluminous data and meticulous analysis, he persuasively demonstrates in his provocative new book, “A Plague of Prisons,” that the unprecedented surge in inc…

Famed detective Jim Smyth’s interrogation techniques derail murder case

Jim Smyth, the star Ontario Provincial Police interrogator who famously pried a confession from sex killer Russell Williams, has a reputation that demands a screenplay.As a top Canadian practitioner of the modern art of police interrogation, it is his job to bring forensic psychology to life, using conviviality and guile to convince murderers to skip trial and go straight to jail.Major successes include his work on the interrogation of Michael Briere, who confessed to killing 10-year-old Holly Jones in Toronto in 2003, and his profiling in the case of Tori Stafford, 9, which led him to discover the girl’s remains by following a hunch to a rural field.But now Detective-Sergeant Smyth’s sly charm and relentless pursuit of confessions have derailed a major prosecution, leading a judge to rule a suspected murderer’s admission of guilt was involuntary and possibly false, and therefore inadmissible. With no other evidence against him, Cory Armishaw, 26, was cleared of second-deg…

Gun control, homicide rates not linked: study

Criminal record checks, 28-day waiting periods, the long-gun registry: none has done anything to stem Canadian firearm homicide rates, according to a new study by an emergency-medicine academic.“No significant beneficial associations between firearms legislation and homicide or spousal homicide rates were found,” reads the abstract on the study, written by Caillin Langmann, a resident in the division of emergency medicine at McMaster University, and himself a vocal foe of gun-control measures who has argued instead for enhanced social programs to combat the causes of gun violence.To be published in an upcoming issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of Interpersonal Violence, the study took Statistics Canada data on Canadian firearm homicides and compared them to three key pieces of Canadian firearms legislation.The three pieces of legislation were the 1995 long-gun registry, a 1977 bill that imposed a requirement for criminal records checks and a 1991 bill that imposed mandator…

Harper bill to kill long-gun registry could come this week

OTTAWA — The Harper government is poised to introduce contentious legislation as early as Thursday to abolish the long-gun registry.The legislation is bound to once again spark sharp political debate over whether the registry is a much-needed tool for police to keep Canadian communities safe, or whether it has become a costly intrusion into the lives of law-abiding gun-owners.Moreover, the bill will likely illustrate the urban-rural divide in Canada, and possibly even cause divisions among members of the opposition party caucuses over which stance their party should take.The government quietly signalled its intention on Tuesday evening by placing on the House of Commons notice paper a bill that Justice Minister Rob Nicholson will soon introduce.The bill will amend the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act and also “make a consequential amendment” to another law, according to the notice paper.Read on....Harper probably wishes he could keep the registry and continue blaming the …

UK riots analysis reveals gangs did not play pivotal role

Riots in Tottenham, north London. The official figures show that those arrested were poorly educated and came from deprived areas. Photograph: Lewis Whyld/PA

Official figures show those arrested came from deprived backgrounds, striking a blow to theory that tackling gang culture is key to preventing repeat of disturbances

Gangs did not play a pivotal role in the August riots, according to the latest official analysis of those arrested during the disturbances.Official figures show that 13% of those arrested in the riots have been identified as gang members, rising to 19% in London, but even where police identified gang members being present most forces believe they did not play a pivotal role.The finding by senior Whitehall officials is a blow to the principal response to the riots being pushed strongly by the work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith – that tackling gang culture is key to preventing any repeat of the disturbances.The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and Home Off…

Occupy Guelph

Tom and Toby Finlay standing in solidarity with 'Occupy Guelph' in downtown Guelph on Sunday, October 23, 2011.

Tough on crime, short on facts

The biggest problem for opponents of Bill C-10, the federal government's omnibus tough-oncrime bill, is that criminals and prisoners have no political constituency. The sort of people who will get swept up in the mandatory minimum sentences contained in the bill are dismissed by most voters as street thugs, pedophiles and gang members.Eugene Oscapella, a veteran legal-reform advocate, knows this. And so he is careful to make his pitch in terms that respectable, middle-class Canadians - the sort of people with kids in high school or college - will appreciate."I teach a criminology course at the University of Ottawa," he told a crowd at downtown Toronto's Church of the Redeemer on Tuesday night. "Eighty percent of my students [would be] criminals under [Bill C-10]. About 10-20% of them would be liable for a mandatory minimum sentence of two years for simply passing a tablet of ecstasy at a party."Read on...

How Can We Rouse Police and Other Protectors of the Corporatocracy -- "Guards" of the Status Quo -- to Join the OWS Rebellion ?

Police, teachers, the corporate press, mental health professionals -- the guards of the system -- are given small rewards to pacify and control the population.

In and police, teachers and ministers, administrators and social workers, technicians and production workers, doctors, lawyers. . . . They become the guards of the system, buffers between the upper and lower classes. If they stop obeying, the system falls.”—Howard Zinn, from “The Coming Revolt of the Guards,” A People’s History of the United States,
For those of us who have demonstrated and marched in the Occupy movement, it is obvious that the police and the corporate press serve as guards—buffers between the vast majority of the American people and the ruling “corporatocracy” (the partnership of giant corporations, the wealthy elite, and their collaborating politicians). In addition to the police and the corporate press, there are millions of other guards employed by the corporatocracy to keep people obedient and ma…

Why Are Police Attacking Peaceful Protesters? How OWS Has Exposed the Militarization of US Law Enforcement

As the number of OWS arrests nears 1,000, instances of police brutality continue to pile up. Now all of America is seeing the result of police militarization.

Long Range Acoustic Device used by Pittsburgh police in Pittsburgh during the G-20 Summit

As the number of Occupy Wall Street arrests nears 1,000, instances of police brutality continue to pile up. Felix Rivera-Pitre was punched in the face in New York during a march through the city’s financial district; Ryan Hadar was dragged out of the street by his thumbs at Occupy San Francisco; and at Occupy Boston, members of Veterans for Peace were shoved to the ground and dragged away for chanting and peacefully occupying a local park.

These efforts to intimidate the protesters are symptoms of three decades of policies that have militarized civilian law enforcement. Sgt. Shamar Thomas, a U.S. marine at the Occupy Wall Street protests, was so appalled by the behavior of the NYPD that he loudly confronted a group of 30 officers, shoutin…

LIVE: NYC Stands Down as Thousands Crowd Zuccotti - March on Wall Street | LiveBlog + LiveStream

3:45 am - Barricades have been set up around Zuccotti as a core group huddles in the rain, prepared to lock arms with the many thousands preparing to arrive and form several rings around the perimeter. They are prepared for the NYPD to move in and clear the area. They are waiting to peacefully defend their right to assemble. For the right to air their grievances against an economic system propped up by a corrupt leadership which, for too long, has ignored them with deafening silence.This post – the LiveBlog and the comment thread – will stand as one of many testimonies to what is about to transpire. Let us mark this moment together and stand in solidarity with those in Zuccotti by witnessing it as a community. The LiveBlog will scroll from the bottom, with the most recent
entries located at the end of this post.
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Florida GOP Rep. Wants To Bring Back Electrocution And Firing Squads: ‘I’m So Tired Of Being Humane’

Considering the case of Florida death row inmate Manuel Valle in August, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the state’s use of its lethal injection drug is constitutional and lifted his temporary stay of execution. The 61-year-old Cuban was executed in September after 33 years on death row for killing a police officer. Florida state Rep. Brad Drake (R) is angry that Valle’s execution took so long. So angry, in fact, that he introduced a bill yesterday to eliminate lethal injection as a execution method altogether in favor of electrocution or the firing squad. “I’m sick and tired of this sensitivity movement for criminals,” Drake declared. Drake got this ingenious idea to bring back electrocution and firing squads from an equally ingenious place: a Waffle House. Overhearing a constituent call for such methods, Drake said he decided to file the bill. After all, “if it were up to me we would just throw them off the Sunshine Skyway bridge,” he said: In a Waffle House in DeFuniak …

Domestic violence costs Canadians $6.9 billion a year: Study

VANCOUVER — The aftermath of abusive relationships is costing Canadians an estimated $6.9 billion a year, according to new research out of the University of British Columbia.The study, published in a recent issue of Canadian Public Policy, found that women who have ended relationships involving "intimate partner violence" continue to face persistent health issues, legal troubles and economic burdens, totalling $13,162 annually per woman — a cost spread across private and public domains.The assumption has always been that when a woman leaves an abusive relationship "things ought to get better," said the lead researcher, UBC nursing Prof. Colleen Varcoe. "But we didn't know that."It turns out that many consequences continue to plague abused women well after their relationships are over, disrupting their own lives, but also straining public coffers.Read on...

Meanwhile in the states..........Facing Cuts, a City Repeals Its Domestic Violence L…

U.S. 'supercop' Bratton rejects closing social media during riots

U.S. "supercop" Bill Bratton, visiting Britain to advise the government in the aftermath of riots earlier this year, said on Tuesday he was against the idea of shutting down social media services during times of civil unrest.Police and politicians said rioters and looters had coordinated their actions and used services such as Blackberry Messenger and Twitter to incite trouble during the large-scale disorder which swept Britain in August.Prime Minister David Cameron said at the time Britain might consider disrupting online social networking during any future trouble, and senior figures from Twitter and Research in Motion, which owns Blackberry, were summoned by politicians last month to discuss the issue.However Bratton, former police chief in New York, Los Angeles and Boston, where he oversaw dramatic falls in street crimes gaining him the "supercop" moniker, cautioned against such a move, saying it would badly impact on "good people."Read …


As a result of recent policy changes and pressures brought on by the fiscal crisis, state lawmakers are closing prisons after 40 years of record prison expansion. Declining prison populations in a number of states have resulted in excess prison capacity. During 2010, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported the first decline in the overall state prison population since 1977 and found 24 states had reduced prison populations during 2009.

In 2011 at least thirteen states have closed prison institutions or are contemplating doing so,
potentially reducing prison capacity by over 15,500 beds. Since 2002, Michigan has led the
nation in this regard. The state has closed 21 facilities, including prison camps, as a result of
sentencing and parole reforms. Overall, the state has reduced capacity by over 12,000 beds for a total cost savings of $339 million.1 Other states, including New Jersey and Kansas, have also closed prisons in recent years amid changes in sentencing policy and paro…

Occupy Movements Spotlight Disappearing Rights

Early this morning, police raided the makeshift camp of Occupy Boston and arrested anywhere between fifty and 100 people for the crime of sleeping in the wrong place at the wrong time.Officials claimed the reason behind the mass arrests is because the Rose Kennedy Greenway, the second home of Occupy Boston, sits across from Congress Street where expensive improvements in renovation have just been made.Police asked the protesters to keep the movement isolated to Dewey Square, their original location, but the request proved impossible since the square couldn’t hold all the activists.Police assume the protesters will mangle or graffiti these luxurious renovations across the way sometime in the future. No damages have occurred yet, but the clairvoyant folks in the Boston Police Department have a bad feeling about all of this.The Rose Kennedy Greenway’s Executive Director Nancy Brennan, meanwhile, expressed her support for the activists. Brennan’s organization, which maintains pu…

Boston Police go for the Jugular

From Democracy Watchdog Action Network a photo of the Boston Police Department using excessive force to intimidate non-violent protestors in last night's raid in which 141 Occupy Boston protestors were arrested:

If the man were not a police officer this would be assault and battery. Instead the poor woman being assaulted has likely been charged with resisting arrest for getting her throat in the way of the officer's hand. From the Boston Globe:Police said the arrest of 141 in the early morning hours {Tuesday, October 11] was the largest mass detention in recent memory, and it heightened tensions between protesters and city officials trying to walk a narrow line. [...] Occupy Boston said in a statement that police had “brutally attacked’’ protesters. “Today’s reprehensible attack by the Boston Police Department represents a sad and disturbing shift away from dialogue and towards violent repression,’’ the group said on its website. Philip Anderson, a spokesman fo…

"The Death Penalty Has No Dissuasive Effect"

GENEVA - Capital punishment continues to exist because in some countries people are barraged with propaganda depicting it as a curb on crime, which it is not, said Federico Mayor Zaragoza, chair of an international commission against the death penalty that inaugurated its new headquarters in Geneva Monday.

Mayor Zaragoza, director general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) from 1987 to 1999, said that is the case of right-wing Guatemalan presidential candidate Otto Pérez Molina, a retired general favoured to win the Nov. 6 runoff who has pledged to restore the death penalty to clamp down on rampant violent crime.

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Georgia Considers Replacing Firefighters With Free Prison Laborers

Forcing prison inmates to work as unpaid laborers is not a new practice, but GOP-controlled states are increasing taking the idea to extremes as they face budget shortfalls and refuse to raise taxes. Under Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) anti-collective bargaining law, at least one Wisconsin county replaced some union workers with prison labor. Inmates are not paid for their work, but may receive time off of their sentences.

Now Camden County in Georgia is considering tasking prisoners to take on one of the most dangerous jobs there is: fighting fires. Using prisoners as firefighters is a cost-cutting measure that’s expected to save the county a bundle:A select group of inmates may be exchanging their prison jumpsuits for firefighting gear in Camden County.The inmates-to-firefighters program is one of several money-saving options the Board of County Commissioners is looking into to stop residents’ fire insurance costs from more than doubling. [...] The inmate firefighter program would…

A tale of two cities

In New York, Mayor Bloomberg is sending in the police to mace and bludgeon protesters and journalists alike:

MYFOXNY.COM - While covering the Occupy Wall Street protests on Wednesday night, Fox 5 photographer Roy Isen was hit in the eyes by mace from a police officer and Fox 5 reporter Dick Brennan was hit by an officer's baton.

The protests on Wall Street continued to grow all day. The rallies and their participants are showing no signs of slowing down.

In the evening, crowds surged past barriers and NYPD officers moved in to contain the protesters. By many accounts, mayhem broke out.

Officers, many wearing white shorts indicating supervisor rank, swatted protesters with batons and sprayed them with mace, video from the scene showed.

Meanwhile in Los Angeles, mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is officially backing the protests, handing out rain ponchos to the protesters:

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Wonder how Rob Ford is going to treat the "Occupy Toronto" crowd. tom

The Real Reason Why Police Cage Peaceful Protestors

With Occupy Wall Street protesters kettled on the Brooklyn Bridge this weekend, we look at how kettling was used on protesters during the London riots earlier this year.

Editor's note: On Saturday, the Occupy Wall St. movement marched on the Brooklyn bridge in New York. Police officers cut the demonstrators off from the exits, entrapping them on the bridge, in the rain, before carting off as many as 700 to jail. In the story below, British journalist Dan Hancox writes about how corralling peaceful protestors, or "kettling," was used by Britain's conservative government to steamroll resistance to their drastic austerity agenda. As the Occupy Wall St. movement spreads to cities all over America, we may see much more of this type of policing of public space to quell protests.

Across the western world, the public is losing a battle for territory. In the UK, publically owned health care, housing, welfare and education are being cut, broken up and sold of…

Juvenile Justice in the U.S.: Facts for Policymakers

Just over two million youth under the age of 18 were arrested in 2008. Of these two million, about 95 percent had not been accused of violent crimes, such as murder, rape, or aggravated assault. In 2010, of the nearly 100,000 youth under the age of 18 who were serving time in a juvenile residential placement facility, 26 percent had been convicted of property crimes only, such as burglary, arson, or theft. For nonviolent youth involved in the juvenilejustice system, incarceration in traditional residential placement facilities often does more harm than good. These large residential facilities are ineffective at providing the services and rehabilitation these youth need, and this lack of capacity contributes to high recidivism rates (rearrest within one year of release). Reliance on these residential placement facilities is an inefficient use of taxpayer money, not only with regard to the funds needed to keep youth in these facilities, but also the future lower wages and lost productiv…

Impact of Family-Inclusive Case Management on Reentry Outcomes: Interim Report on the Safer Return Demonstration Evaluation

AbstractThis interim report details the first two years of the Urban Institute’s evaluation of the family-inclusive case management component of the Safer Return Demonstration—a reentry program based in Chicago’s Garfield Park neighborhood. The report presents the logic of the case management model and summarizes family members and formerly incarcerated persons experiences and perceptions, based on interviews and focus groups. In general, family members were highly supportive of returning prisoners and, despite a typically disadvantaged socioeconomic status, provided substantial material support to their returning family members, particularly housing. The implications of these findings for the Demonstration and reentry planning are discussed.Read on...

Y2 Final Report: Evaluation of the Los Angeles Gang Reduction and Youth Development

AbstractIn April 2009 the Urban Institute (Washington, D.C), in partnership with Harder+Company (Los Angeles, CA), was contracted by the Office of the Mayor of Los Angeles to conduct a multi-year evaluation of the Mayor’s Gang Reduction and Youth Development Program (GRYD). This is the second report of the evaluation. It builds upon the process and preliminary outcome findings reported in 2010, and extends them through April, 2011. The main report contains detailed analyses of the self-reported changes in the attitudes and delinquent/criminal behaviors of a sample of 902at risk youth enrolled in programs focused on preventing gang-joining, compared to a sample of 248 youth who were referred to the program but were not enrolled.Read on...

Evaluating the Use of Public Surveillance Cameras for Crime Control and Prevention - A Summary


A growing number of cities are using surveillance cameras to reduce crime, but little research exists to determine whether they’re worth the cost. With jurisdictions across the country tightening their belts, public safety resources are scarce—and policymakers need to know which potential investments are likely to bear fruit. This research brief summarizes the Urban Institute’s series documenting three cities use of public surveillance cameras and how they impacted crime in their neighborhoods.

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See this also:
Surveillance Cameras Cost-Effective Tools for Cutting Crime, 3-Year Study Concludes

Cops taser kid in the face, in London Ontario