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Showing posts from November, 2011

The Shocking Ways the Corporate Prison Industry Games the System

The private prison system has rebounded, growing dramatically, and making big bucks with huge help from the Feds, as large numbers of immigrants are incarcerated.

The United States, with just 5 percent of the world’s population, currently holds 25 percent of the world's prisoners, and for the last 30 years America’s business entrepreneurs have found a lucrative way to cash in on the incarceration surplus: private for-profit prisons. While the implications of an industry that locks human beings in cages for profit is an old story, there is an important part of the history of private prisons that often goes untold.
Just a decade ago, private prisons were a dying industry awash in corruption and mired in lawsuits, particularly Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the nation's largest private prison operator. Today, these companies are booming once again, yet the lawsuits and scandals continue to pile up. Meanwhile, more and more evidence shows that compared to …

Senate Passes Bill Allowing Indefinite Detention of Americans ... Considers Bill Authorizing More Torture

The Senate passed a bill today allowing indefinite detention of American citizens living within the U.S.While some have claimed that this is incorrect, and that American citizens would be exempted from the indefinite detention within U.S. borders authorized by the Act, the Committee chairman who co-sponsored the bill – Carl Levin – stated today in Senate debate that it could apply to American citizens.Levin cited the Supreme Court case of Hamdi which ruled that American citizens can be treated as enemy combatants:“The Supreme Court has recently ruled there is no bar to the United States holding one of its own citizens as an enemy combatant,” said Levin. “This is the Supreme Court speaking.“Under questioning from Rand Paul, co-sponsor John McCain said that Americans suspected of terrorism could be sent to Guantanamo.You can hear the statements from Levin and McCain on today’s broadcast of KFPA’s Letters and Politics.As Raw Story notes:Read on...Looks like the authorities ar…

Public lacked faith in riots police

Lack of confidence in the police response to the initial riots in London led to further disturbances across the country, an independent report has found.The vast majority of people interviewed for a study of the causes of the disorder said they believed the "sole trigger" for disturbances in their areas was the perception that the police "could not contain" the scale of rioting in Tottenham, north London, and then across the capital in August."Lack of confidence in the police response to the initial riots encouraged people to test reactions in other areas," the Riots Communities and Victims Panel found."Most of the riots began with some trouble in retail areas with a critical mass of individuals and groups converging on an area.Read on...This will be bad news for future protesters, as the UK police will no doubt now adopt the Miami model of pain compliance. Tom

Harper’s crime bill poised to pass - and Canadians still don’t know how much it costs

Stephen Harper’s crime legislation that triggered last spring’s election could pass through the Commons this week as it makes it way to becoming the law of the land - and Canadians still don’t know how much it costs. The irony is delicious. Opposition politicians voted to find Prime Minister Harper and his government in contempt of Parliament last March - this was a historic first - for not giving up the full costs of its so-called tough on crime legislation. Now, it is poised to pass the bill and Canadians are still no wiser.
“It is a travesty that the Conservatives have told neither the Canadian people nor the provinces what all this is going to cost - with the slowing economy and big financial pressures all 'round this is even more irresponsible,” Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae told The Globe Monday morning. “Both the jets and the jails put the lie to the Conservative line about being the party of ‘fiscal prudence.’ Ridiculous.” In fact, it was Mr. Rae’s predecess…

Thought Crime in Washington: No Free Speech at Mr. Jefferson’s Library

George Orwell, Philip K. Dick, and Ray Bradbury Would Have Recognized Morris Davis's Problem Here’s the First Amendment, in full: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Those beautiful words, almost haiku-like, are the sparse poetry of the American democratic experiment. The Founders purposely wrote the First Amendment to read broadly, and not like a snippet of tax code, in order to emphasize that it should encompass everything from shouted religious rantings to eloquent political criticism. Go ahead, reread it aloud at this moment when the government seems to be carving out an exception to it large enough to drive a tank through.As the occupiers of Zuccotti Park, like those pepper-sprayed at UC Davis or the Marine veteran shot in Oakla…

Congress to Vote Next Week on EXPLICITLY Creating a Police State

IF YOU THOUGHT POLICE BRUTALITY WAS BAD … WAIT UNTIL YOU SEE WHAT CONGRESS WANTS TO DO NEXT WEEKThe police brutality against peaceful protesters in Berkeley, Davis, Oakland and elsewhere is bad enough.But next week, Congress will vote on explicitly creating a police state.The ACLU’s Washington legislative office explains:The Senate is gearing up for a vote on Monday or Tuesday that goes to the very heart of who we are as Americans. The Senate will be voting on a bill that will direct American military resources not at an enemy shooting at our military in a war zone, but at American citizens and other civilians far from any battlefield — even people in the United States itself. The Senate is going to vote on whether Congress will give this president—and every future president — the power to order the military to pick up and imprison without charge or trial civilians anywhere in the world.Read on....Boy, I hope Harper doesn't read this. Tom

UC Davis Pepper-Spray Video Shows Importance of Civilian Oversight of Police

Video of the Nov. 18 incident tells a different story. It shows a group of Occupy Davis student protesters sitting peacefully with arms interlocked while a UC Davis police officer walks back and forth, dousing them at close range with liberal amounts of pepper spray. There is an awful contemptuousness in his bearing. He could be spraying weeds in his garden or roaches in his kitchen.

The victims of this assault have described the pain in searing terms. They speak of burning skin and vomiting, of the inability to breathe, of feeling as if acid had been poured into their faces. Two cops involved with this atrocity and the chief of police have been suspended — with pay. One hopes this is preparatory to a summary dismissal. As we grapple with this vandalism of the First Amendment, we should ask ourselves this: What if there had been no cameras on hand? What if we had only the word of the protesters and their sympathizers that this happened versus the word of authority figures t…

Robocops vs Occupy Wall St: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Tactics

The most aggressive policing originates in methods developed by law enforcement agencies in Miami in response to mass protests in 2003.

Since the Occupy Wall Street movement began in mid-September, protesters and reporters have been learning the hard way how diverse police departments handle large-scale street demonstrations — sometimes with rubber bullets, sometimes, as in Davis, Calif., with pepper spray in the face.While police departments have deployed tear gas in cities including Denver, Seattle and on more than three separate occasions in Oakland, Calif., in response to Occupy street demonstrations, protesters in New York have been met with the sheer force of numbers, pepper spray, kettling nets to hold in crowds, and batons. Dozens have been hospitalized by a variety of crowd control tactics.The tactics vary from city to city, but the most aggressive policing originates in methods developed by law enforcement agencies in Miami in response to large protests a…

Mounties wanted ‘low-key’ probe into G20 activities, documents show

he RCMP recommended an investigation into its G20 activities be kept “low-key,” noting that it played a limited role in the controversial mass arrests and detentions that occurred outside the summit, internal documents show.The force’s G20 conduct is facing renewed public scrutiny following revelations that it spied on Ontario activists for a year and a half before the Toronto summit, but police still failed to stop the smashing rampage that took place in the streets that weekend.In an August, 2010, briefing note to then RCMP commissioner William Elliott, bureaucrats suggested a proactive review of the force’s role in the G20 would be “low-key and measured.”The note, obtained under Access to Information law, said the Commission for Public Complaints against the RCMP had proposed the review. Senior brass would have an opportunity to examine the findings and remove sensitive information, the note said.Read on...Police investigating police. Works every time. Tom

Happy Taserday

Another sad story in the war on the disabled:

The call came on Monday night, and it made mention of a man who had fallen off his bicycle and injured himself in a parking lot. So Officer Turner pulled up to the scene, and found Roger Anthony — a local fixture who people call "Rabbit" because he had big ears — rolling down the street on his bicycle. Turner followed Anthony in his patrol vehicle, sirens blaring, and ordered him to pull over. Anthony didn't respond.

Williams said Turner then saw Anthony take something out his pocket and put it into his mouth. At that time, Turner got out of the car and yelled for Anthony to stop. When Anthony didn't stop, the officer used a stun gun on him, causing him to fall off of his bike.

Read on...

Two Scandals, One Connection: The FBI link between Penn State and UC Davis

Two shocking scandals. Two esteemed universities. Two disgraced university leaders. One stunning connection. Over the last month, we’ve seen Penn State University President Graham Spanier dismissed from his duties and we’ve seen UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi pushed to the brink of resignation. Spanier was jettisoned because of what appears to be a systematic cover-up of assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky’s serial child rape. Katehi has faced calls to resign after the she sent campus police to blast pepper spray in the faces of her peaceably assembled students, an act for which she claims “full responsibility.” The university’s Faculty Association has since voted for her ouster citing a “gross failure of leadership.” The names Spanier and Katehi are now synonymous with the worst abuses of institutional power. But their connection didn’t begin there. In 2010, Spanier chose Katehi to join an elite team of twenty college presidents on what’s called the National Securi…

Weeding Out Corporate Psychopaths

Given the state of the global economy, it might not surprise you to learn that psychopaths may be controlling the world. Not violent criminals, but corporate psychopaths who nonetheless have a genetically inherited biochemical condition that prevents them from feeling normal human empathy.Scientific research is revealing that 21st century financial institutions with a high rate of turnover and expanding global power have become highly attractive to psychopathic individuals to enrich themselves at the expense of others, and the companies they work for.A peer-reviewed theoretical paper titled “The Corporate Psychopaths Theory of the Global Financial Crisis” details how highly placed psychopaths in the banking sector may have nearly brought down the world economy through their own inherent inability to care about the consequences of their actions.The author of this paper, Clive Boddy, previously of Nottingham Trent University, believes this theory would go a long way to explai…

Police remove Occupy tents from St. James Park

Dressed in rain coats rather than riot gear, dozens of Toronto police officers gathered before dawn downtown this morning for the largely non-confrontational eviction of Occupy Toronto protesters from their camp at St. James Park.

At about 6:45 a.m., officers who had earlier ringed the park began to slowly circle the 100 or so tents that remained there, looking for occupants. One lifted a tent flap and said, “Hello? Police.”Officers posted number codes on tents, apparently to aid their later retrieval by their owners, and marked them with fluorescent orange spray paint.As dawn broke, a big blue garbage compactor arrived. Police hoisted rubbish and trashed tents into it.By 8 a.m., the large media tent – one of the few winterized Mongolian yurts in the encampment – was empty.Read on...

Spray Anything: Marketing Crowd Control to Cops


Pepper spray machines, monster Tasers, "pain compliance rounds," and other toys to make occupiers obey.
When Lt. John Pike pepper sprayed Occupy protesters at the University of California-Davis last week, many were outraged at a clearly disproportionate use of force in a nonviolent situation. Peter Moskos, a former Baltimore cop turned academic, wrote that even though he'd been trained to pepper spray noncompliant suspects, actually doing so would be "dumb-ass." In nonviolent situations, police officers should simply step in and haul away protesters, he argued: "[T]rying to make policing too hands-off means people get Tased and maced for noncompliance. It's not right. But this is the way many police are trained. That's a shame." The Atlantic's Alexis Madrigal found Pike's actions unsurprising considering that "[o]ur police forces have enshrined a paradigm of protest policing that turns local cops into paramilita…

The occupy movement can’t be sprayed away

Pepper spray can’t be washed off with water. The intense burning it causes — the stinging, the redness, the swelling, the coughing and gagging and gasping — will only subside with time, usually several hours. It can cause tissue damage and respiratory attacks. A study of its most commonly prescribed remedies found that none of them really work. It has been prohibited in war by the Chemical Weapons Convention, so our enemies don’t have to experience it on the battlefield. If only our citizens were so lucky.Over the past several weeks police have been using pepper spray with alarming frequency in the United States against peaceful protesters. The injured include an 84-year-old woman, a pregnant woman, a priest and an Iraq war veteran. Over the weekend, we had to add to that list a group of college students, gathered nonviolently on the campus of the University of California at Davis.Read on...

True Crime Finance Stories

Who’s to blame for the implosion of Greece—and the global economy?

On May 5, 2010, I open up the Wall Street Journal and I could puke. There was this photo of a man on fire, just a bunch of flames with a leg sticking out. Two others burnt with him on a pretty spring day in Athens.The question is, who did it?If you read the U.S. papers, the answer was obvious. A bunch of olive-spitting, ouzo-guzzling, lazy Greek workers who refused to put in a full day’s work, and retired while they were still teenagers on pensions fit for pasha, had gone on a social services spending spree using borrowed money. Now that the bill came due and the Greeks had to pay with higher taxes and cuts in their big fat welfare state, they ran riot, screaming in the streets, busting windows and burning banks with people inside.Case closed.Read on...

Occupy Wall Street Librarians Address Bloomberg for Destroying Books

Over 4,000 Books, Documents, Were Trashed by NYPD & Dept. of Sanitation in Raid OWS Library Staff Recovers Books and Supplies, Less Than One-Fifth is UsableNEW YORK - November 23 - What: Press conference to address the destruction of the OWS People's Library by Mayor Michael Bloomberg during the 11/15 raid.

*Photo Opportunity* All of the recovered, destroyed books will be at the press conference.

Where: 260 Madison Ave, 20th Floor, between 38th and 39th St

When: Wednesday, November 23, at 12:00 noonWho: Norman Siegel will host and moderate. Speakers: Gideon Oliver of the National Lawyers Guild, Hawa Allan a Fellow at Columbia Law School, and Occupy Wall Street Librarians from the People's Library. Law professors from Columbia, members of the American Library Association, various writers and others have been invited.

Read on....

Shameful. Tom

Police, pain and peppers

Quite a few professional police officers and criminal justice academics are weighing in on this notion of "pain compliance" in the wake of that pepper spray assault at UC Davis.

As awful as these incidents have been, I can't tell you heartened I am by the fact that people are finally speaking up on this subject. Indiscriminate tasering has been going on for years now, it's clearly documented and rarely has anyone questioned the right of the police to inflict pain for mere non-compliance. (The tasering of the mentally ill is a separate subject.) YouTubes have gone viral and the comments to them suggest that many, many people find such violence hilarious and support it fully. I won't even go into the way Hollywood uses it for cheap laughs.

Indeed, the most common arguments I hear on this topic is "if an officer tells you to do something, you don't ask questions, you do it" and "the cops first obligation is to protect his own safety a…

Quebec minister tries again to sway Tories on crime bill

Quebec Justice Minister Jean-Marc Fournier is back in Ottawa Tuesday morning in a last-ditch attempt to convince the Conservatives to amend their controversial anti-crime bill. With just two days to go before the House of Commons justice committee completes a clause-by-clause review of the bill, Mr. Fournier will meet with his federal counterpart, Rob Nicholson, to once again make his case for changes to the legislation.
The province is most concerned about the bill’s proposal to toughen penalties for young offenders, which Mr. Fournier fears would diminish the justice system’s focus on rehabilitation. He also wants Ottawa to allow the provinces to bow out of a measure to allow young offenders’ names to be published. A spokesman said Mr. Fournier is visiting at Mr. Nicholson’s invitation so the two could discuss the amendments in person.
Read on...

How police infiltrated groups planning G20 protests

In early 2009, two strangers started mingling with the activist communities of Kitchener-Waterloo and Guelph. The first was a man. Those who crossed paths with him say he ingratiated himself by chauffeuring people to protests in his white van and buying them pitchers of beer at the bar after. The second, a woman, told people she had fled an abusive relationship, acquaintances say.
Both were undercover police officers infiltrating organizations planning protests against the Toronto G20 summit in June, 2010. They were part of the Joint Intelligence Group, an RCMP-led squad with officers seconded from the Ontario Provincial Police and other forces, whose task was to gather information on threats to the summit. The probe, which lasted a year and a half, would fail to prevent the smashed windows, burning squad cars and 1,100 arrests for which the summit would become known. But it did end with 17 people accused of conspiracy to commit mischief. For at least some of them, Tuesda…

G20 conspiracy plea deal would see 11 walk free; three from Kitchener and Guelph face jail

TORONTO — The 17 alleged co-conspirators accused of plotting the G20 mayhem have struck a plea bargain with prosecutors that would see 11 defendants walk free and the other six face jail terms of less than two years, according to the Toronto Star.But the six pleading guilty under the deal — including three from Kitchener and Guelph — would not be pleading to conspiracy, the crime with which they were initially charged. Instead, they would be pleading to the lesser crime of counselling to commit an indictable offence.Recommended sentences under the plea deal are between six and 20 months.The position now being taken by the Crown is “drastically different” from how the 17 were portrayed at bail hearings, said lawyer Howard Morton, whose client, Joanna Adamiak, will see her charges dropped as part of the deal. “This was nothing more than an attempt to create a public image that these people are terrorists,” Morton said of the prosecution’s portrayal of the 17 activists and s…

Charges laid against a Guelph activist over G20 blogging

KITCHENER — Julian Ichim is going to have another day in court.The local activist, who helped lead the Occupy Guelph movement and various other recent protests in Guelph, has been charged with three counts of disobeying a court order and is scheduled to appear in a Toronto courtroom on Dec. 13. The charges were laid in relation to a post on a blog he started this month. Prior to being charged was warned by the OPP he would face charges if he didn’t excise a name in a post about an undercover officer who worked on the G20 case.Ichim said he’s looking forward to the trial and won’t amend his blog.“I actually thanked them for charging me,” he said. “The cops’ mouths just dropped.”Read on...

The 'School to Prison Pipeline': Education Under Arrest

Metal detectors. Teams of drug-sniffing dogs. Armed guards and riot police. Forbiddingly high walls topped with barbed wire.Such descriptions befit a prison or perhaps a high-security checkpoint in a war zone. But in the U.S., these scenes of surveillance and control are most visible in public schools, where in some areas, education is becoming increasingly synonymous with incarceration. The United Nations, along with various human rights bodies and international courts, have recognised that "free education is the cornerstone of success and social development for young people".

The landmark Brown v. Board of Education court ruling, which officially desegregated U.S. schools in 1954, stated, "It is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if (he/she is) denied the opportunity of an education."Yet hundreds of thousands of children in the U.S. are being systematically stripped of their right to education and transferred from the sc…

The war at home

Shock Bullet TASER XREPAnother day another taser death:

The mother of Jonathan White, 29, called police yesterday, because she needed help calming her son down. Although she had always been able to manage his schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, yesterday she called police because she could not stop her son from yelling, throwing things and ripping his clothes off, according to KTLA.

When police arrived, they too had trouble subduing him. White didn't attack officers but he was resisting them. They pepper-sprayed him and twice tased him, police said.

"It's possible that (the Taser) didn't complete a circuit," said San Bernardino police Lt. Gwen Waters.

Read on...

ACLU Sues Oakland Police Department to Stop Violence Against Protesters

The Oakland Police Department (OPD) was sued in federal court yesterday by the ACLU of Northern California and the National Lawyers Guild for trampling (repeatedly!) on the constitutional rights of Occupy Oakland demonstrators. The lawsuit asks for an immediate relief from the court to stop police violence against political protesters, because the OPD has shown that it will continue to violate protesters’ rights unless a court intervenes (again).The case is before U.S. District Court Judge Richard Seeborg, who immediately issued an order requiring the city to respond by 5 p.m. today. The case is only one day old, but OPD already has to start explaining to the Court why it used excessive force against protesters.One of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit is Scott Campbell, a videographer who was shot with a lead ball-filled bag (dubbed "bean bags" — a complete misnomer given the pain and injury they can inflict) while filming police presence during Occupy Oakla…

Quebec wants Tories to reconsider tough youth sentences

Quebec Justice Minister Jean-Marc Fournier has proposed amendments to the Harper government’s crime bill that would soften penalties for young offenders. In a letter to his federal counterpart, Rob Nicholson, that he also sent to all provincial justice ministers, Mr. Fournier urged Ottawa to abandon the provisions for tougher sentences for young offenders proposed in Bill C-10.
If the Harper government is sincere about protecting the public, it needs to examine the long-term consequences of lengthy prison terms for youth crimes, Mr. Fournier said. The letter is the latest salvo in Quebec’s battle against the legislation. Earlier this month, the province said it would refuse to pay for higher prison costs flowing from the bill.
Read on...

Guelph activist awaits arrest over blog post

GUELPH — Just three days after starting a blog, Julian Ichim is being asked by Ontario Provincial Police to change one of his posts.“Why are they looking at my blog anyways?” he said, sounding genuinely surprised by the reaction it’s been getting.Ichim is a local activist. He was a central participant in the recent Occupy Guelph protest and ran unsuccessfully this fall as an independent candidate in the provincial election in the Guelph riding. He was as also once suspected to be a co-conspirator in the protest violence that took place in Toronto during the G20 summit in 2010. G-20 charges laid against him were dropped last fall, to his apparent dismay.“I was angry in November (2010) when my charges got dropped,” he said. “I never got to say my side of the story.”Read on...Regular Crimbrary readers will recognize Julian from his adventures at G20. What is kind of surprising in this story is that the OPP paid an agent to be Julian's best friend for over a year and not one c…

Not Guilty by Reason of Neuroscience

Some people’s brains may doom them to a life of crime.
From the book Who’s in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain, by Michael S. Gazzaniga. Copyright © 2011 by Michael S. Gazzaniga. Reprinted by permission of Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. On Feb. 19, 1997, a house painter called 911 in Tampa, Fla. He had returned unannounced to a client’s house and through a window saw what appeared to be a naked man throttling a naked woman. When the police arrived, they learned the man hadn’t just strangled Roxanne Hayes; he had stabbed the mother-of-three multiple times, killing her. The murderer’s name was Lawrence Singleton; he was 69 years old, and he was notorious in California, where 19 years before, he had raped a 15-year-old hitchhiker, Mary Vincent; hacked off her forearms; and left her in a canyon to die. Two vacationers came across her the next morning, walking naked toward the interstate, the stumps of her severed arms raised to prevent further blood l…

The Police State Makes Its Move: Retaining One's Humanity in the Face of Tyranny

Hundreds of NYC riot police forcibly evicted Occupy Wall Street from Zuccotti Park early on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2011.

For days now, we have endured demonstrably false propaganda that the fallen soldiers of U.S. wars sacrificed their lives for "our freedoms." Yet, as that noxious nonsense still lingers in the air, militarized police have invaded OWS sites in numerous cities, including Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan, and, in the boilerplate description of the witless courtesans of the corporate media, with the mission to "evict the occupiers".

U.S soldiers died protecting what and who again? These actions should make this much clear: The U.S. military and the police exist to protect the 1%. At this point, the ideal of freedom will be carried by those willing to resist cops and soldiers. There have been many who have struggled and often died for freedom--but scant few were clad in uniforms issued by governments. Freedom rises despite cops and soldiers not be…

Mandatory reading on mandatory minimum sentences

As Canada embraces mandatory minimum sentences for a multitude of offences, including growing as few as six marijuana plants (six months in prison), the United States Sentencing Commission has turned against that country's obligatory penalties. “Excessively severe,” the commission says. It prefers sentencing guidelines that would allow judges some leeway.

It’s a message Canada should take to heart. Partly because of the frequent use of mandatory minimums, the size of the U.S. prison population has exploded. A mind-boggling one in every four people behind bars in the world is incarcerated in the United States. In 1985, there were 700,000 in jail; today, 2.3 million. This is bad on many counts, but the one that has captured the attention of leading U.S. conservatives is cost. In Canada, the federal prison population rose by 1,000 to 14,500, in just 18 months, partly as a result of new mandatory minimums, a federal report found in August. At an average cost of $110,000 …

10 reasons to oppose Bill C-10

Bill C-10 is titled The Safe Streets and Communities Act — an ironic name, considering that Canada already has some of the safest streets and communities in the world and a declining crime rate. This bill will do nothing to improve that state of affairs but, through its overreach and overreaction to imaginary problems, Bill C-10 could easily make it worse. It could eventually create the very problems it’s supposed to solve.Bill C-10 will require new prisons; mandate incarceration for minor, non-violent offences; justify poor treatment of inmates and make their reintegration into society more difficult. Texas and California, among other jurisdictions, have already started down this road before changing course, realizing it cost too much and made their justice system worse. Canada is poised to repeat their mistake.The Canadian Bar Association, representing over 37,000 lawyers across the country, has identified 10 reasons why the passage of Bill C-10 will be a mistake and a…

Ford expects Occupy protesters to leave ‘soon’

Mayor Rob Ford says protesters in the month-old Occupy Toronto camp in St. James Park will be handed notices to vacate and they’ll be gone — peacefully, he expects — “soon.”Speaking to reporters Monday, Ford repeated comments he made last week that protesters in the makeshift camp will be asked to leave. Pressed for a time frame, the mayor said: “It’s going to happen soon. I can’t give you an exact date. . . . We’ll hand out the notices and ask these people to leave. “It’s been a peaceful protest. I’m sure they’ll leave peacefully. . . . It’s going to happen soon.”Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday recently took up the protesters’ invitation to visit the camp, which sprang up Oct. 15 as part of the international Occupy movement protesting the growing income gap and other socio-economic ills.Read on...

NYPD Attack on OWS and the End of the First Amendment

Not only did the police, at the orders of a billionaire mayor Michael Bloomberg abruptly move on the protesters, they are alleged to have deliberately kept the press away, which is clearly unconstitutional if true. The US constitution prohibits Congress from restricting the right of citizens to assemble peacefully and to petition for redress of grievances. For a history of the relevant US Supreme Court cases, see this link.The government is also forbidden to interfere with the workings of the free press, so that the NYPD’s attempt to keep reporters away from the scene of their unprovoked attack on the demonstrators compounds the unconstitutionality of it all.Read on...

Militarising the police from Oakland to NYC

If the infrastructure of a police state is created, it's only a matter of time before those aggressive powers are used.

In Oakland, police shot rubber bullets at peaceful prot
What happens when a government builds a massive, unaccountable police apparatus to thwart infiltration by a foreign menace, only to see the society it's supposed to protect take to the streets for entirely different reasons? It looks as though we may be about to find out. The Occupy protests have been mostly peaceful, with a few fairly dramatic exceptions. But the sight of a huge police presence in riot gear is always startling, and tactics that have been honed in Europe (such as "kettling") against anarchist actions have not been as common in the United States as elsewhere. More standard forms of crowd control, such as the aggressive use of pepper spray and "rubber" bullets have so far been the outer limits of the police use of force. But it is hardly the outer limits of the…

U of G report suggests Ontario’s Safe Streets Act is only criminalizing homeless citizens

Homeless citizens victimized A homeless person panhandles for money during an extreme cold weather alert for the City of Toronto last Dec. 13.

GUELPH — A report by the University of Guelph and York University suggested Ontario’s Safe Streets Act is contributing significantly to the “criminalization of homelessness” and should be repealed.The study, based on information gained through the Freedom of Information Act, found that the number of tickets issued to homeless people in Toronto for panhandling and related activities increased by more than 2000 per cent between 2000 and 2010.This was despite a decline from 29 per cent to 3 per cent in the number of street youth who cited panhandling and squeegeeing as their main source of income over a similar period.Read on...A copy of the report can be read here. Tom

Vancouver’s plan for Stanley Cup 2011 was ‘a recipe for disaster’

The lead police investigator for the 2011 Stanley Cup riots says the City of Vancouver’s decision to allow throngs of young people to congregate and drink in the downtown core was a “recipe for disaster.” The Vancouver Police Department has previously said some of its recommendations in the lead-up to the June, 2011 Stanley Cup finals were ignored, but police have not criticized the city so directly before now.
Sergeant Dale Weidman with the Vancouver Police Department, speaking to an Ottawa security and intelligence conference Wednesday, prefaced his statement by noting he has to “keep some of my comments to myself because I still have to bring home a paycheque.” But, he said, it was bad planning to let a volatile mix of factors come together in the streets surrounding the Cup final at Vancouver’s Rogers Arena.
Read on...

Pat O'Malley - The Politics of Mass Preventive Justice

Pat O'Malley is a frequent visitor to the Centre. Tom

Martin Friedland - The Canadian Criminal Code: Past, Present, and Future?

London, Ont., police remove Occupy tents from city park

Police in London, Ont., moved into a city park early Wednesday to remove structures after a deadline passed for protesters to do so themselves.Several hundred people remained in Victoria Park after a 6 p.m. ET deadline passed for Occupy London protesters to remove their tents.Mayor Joe Fontana had issued the deadline earlier Tuesday, some 2½ weeks after protesters first began setting up tents in the park.Read on...Whey the sudden coordinated effort to remove occupiers in so many different cities. Is the one percent getting nervous? Tom

Occupy Oakland videographer shot by police with rubber bullet, for no apparent reason

A video clip is raising new questions about whether police used excessive force against Occupy Oakland participants during the fracas after last week's general strike.The video by Scott Campbell, 30, of Oakland, shows a line of riot-gear-clad officers at Frank Ogawa Plaza's north end, near the foot of San Pablo Avenue. Campbell said the video was made shortly before 1 a.m.Thursday, around the time that police moved in after other protesters broke into and defaced a nearby building and erected and set fire to barricades in the street.Campbell, holding the camera, moves slowly to his right, filming the line; Campbell is heard twice asking, "Is this OK?""When I was approaching the line, an officer told me to stop and step back, so I stepped back 5 or 10 feet and started filming, and I asked if that was OK," he explained Monday.Read on...Follow the link and check out the video. Tom

Are Campus Police Like Regular Cops?

How much power do they really have?
Two high-ranking officials at Pennsylvania State University—including the senior vice president in charge of the school's campus police force—face charges for perjury in a widespread sex-abuse scandal. A Penn State assistant coach has been accused of molesting eight underage boys since the late-1990s, and the Penn State police seem to have been aware of the allegations for more than a decade. Are campus security officers like regular cops, or do special rules apply? It depends on the school. Most large colleges and universities set up full-fledged police departments on school grounds. These sworn officers have the same authority as any other members of the police—they carry weapons, make arrests, and enforce local, state, and federal laws. Smaller schools can contract out their security services to private firms, which supply the same sort of uniformed guards you might see at your local mall. Private security guards may be licensed to c…

Medical Marijuana Patients, Supporters To Rally in Sacramento Against DOJ Attacks

Lively, peaceful protest called for Noon on Wednesday, Nov 9th at Sacramento federal building
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - November 7 - Americans for Safe Access (ASA) and a coalition of advocacy and labor groups are staging a demonstration at Noon on Wednesday, November 9th to protest federal government's escalated attack on California's medical marijuana laws. A lively rally of medical marijuana patients and supporters is set to occur in front of the Sacramento federal building and will feature state legislators, advocates, labor, and dispensary operators impacted by the recent Justice Department (DOJ) crackdown in California.What: Protest against DOJ attacks on California's medical marijuana laws
When: Noon on Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Where: Sacramento federal building, 501 I Street

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Doesn't the DOJ have anything better to do? Tom

Dump The Unneeded Crime Laws, Stephen Harper

Prime Minister Stephen Harper must dump ideology and practise smart government.

Well of course Ontario and Quebec don’t want to pay for Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s anti-crime legislation. That’s because it doesn’t make sense.Some estimates have the new laws costing as much as $2.5 billion over five years. Who wants to pay that when crime rates, largely due to aging demographics, are declining markedly? Who wants to pay for unnecessary legislation when government deficits are at high levels and health care is consuming huge amounts of money, again largely due to aging demographics?Read on...That's a weird photograph. Tom

G20 jail photos raise ‘alarm bells’ for police chair

Photos depicting the cramped conditions inside the G20 temporary jail raise “alarm bells,” police services board chair Alok Mukherjee said Wednesday.The Toronto Star has published the first images to emerge from inside the now-notorious prisoner processing centre during the June 2010 summit. The makeshift jail, housed in an unused film studio on Eastern Ave., held 885 of the 1,118 people arrested over the course of the G20 weekend.The photograph was taken from video footage capturing the detention of Michael Puddy, then 31, who was cleared of his G20 charges in August. He and 27 other inmates can be seen inside a 3-by-6-metre cell with their hands bound by zip-ties.“I think there are a number of issues that the images raise, particularly around the treatment of Mr. Puddy and the others,” Mukherjee said. “It rings alarm bells.”Read on...
Alarm bells are only going off now for Alok Mukherjee. Comforting. Tom

Inside a G20 cell: Video image shows conditions in detention centre

For the first time, the Toronto Star can reveal images showing inmates held inside the now notorious temporary G20 detention centre on Eastern Ave.Housed in an unused film studio, the temporary jail held 885 people during the June 26-27, 2010, weekend when world leaders convened downtown and police officers rounded up more than 1,100 people in the largest mass arrest in Canadian history.Those detained here say they were subjected to inhumane conditions: overcrowded cells, bathrooms with no doors, strip-searches, little access to water, food or legal counsel. The media was given a tour of the jail, but only after the cells were empty and about to be dismantled.This image was taken from video footage of the temporary jail, where more than 100 security cameras recorded the 51 bullpens. The video was obtained by the Star after it was entered as evidence in the trial of Michael Puddy, a bricklayer from London, Ont.Read on...Follow the above link to the video. Tom

Tony Doob and Mariana Valverde - Making More Crime

Crimbrary will be posting more video from this conference of the next several days. Will also post to the Centres Facebook page. Tom

The greying of the prison population

Penitentiaries were never meant to be nursing homes or long-term-care facilities, but Canada’s corrections ombudsman says more prisoners are moving about with walkers and wheelchairs as the population behind bars grows older. A report released Tuesday by Howard Sapers, the Correctional Investigator, looks at the problems faced by elderly convicts, saying the segment of the incarcerated population that is over the age of 50 increased by 50 per cent in the past decade.
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Quebec balks at Ottawa’s law-and-order agenda

Quebec has opened up a second front in the fight against Ottawa’s law-and-order agenda, refusing to pay for higher prison costs flowing from a federal omnibus anti-crime bill and blasting the legislation as counter-productive. The Quebec government is also in a dispute with Ottawa over its decision to kill the long-gun registry, suggesting it will go to court to get the information it contains on gun ownership in the province and set up its own database.
Quebec and the rest of the country have long differed on the balance between punitive justice and rehabilitation, but the latest developments could threaten the recent warming of relations between Premier Jean Charest and Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Bill C-10 would impose mandatory minimum sentences for some drug offences and toughen the youth justice system, among other things.
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Judges, Masters, Diviners: Slaves’ Experience of Criminal Justice in Colonial Suriname

This article, which was the title of Natalie Davis' Edwards Lecture at the Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies, has now been published by the Law and Society Review. It is part of a special issue on Law Slavery and Justice. (Volume 29, issue 4, 2011).

Natalie Zemon Davis is Henry Charles Lea Professor of History Emerita from Princeton University and Adjunct Professor of History at the University of Toronto <>. Among her many publications are The Return of Martin
Guerre (Harvard University Press, 1983), Fiction in the Archives: Pardon Tales and their Tellers in Sixteenth-Century France (Stanford University Press, 1987), The Gift in Sixteenth-Century France (University of Wisconsin Press, 2000), Slaves on Screen: Film and Historical Vision (Vintage Canada and Harvard University Press, 2000), and Trickster Travels: A Sixteenth-Century Muslim Between Worlds (Hill and Wang, 2006). This article was originally presented in a shorter version as the 20…

Federal Sentencing Reporter

The Federal Sentencing Reporter was launched more than two decades ago by legal experts and scholars Daniel J. Freed and Marc L. Miller, in collaboration with the Vera Institute of Justice. It is the only academic journal in the United States that focuses on sentencing law, policy, and reform.

Vera and the Federal Sentencing Reporter share an approach to policy change that relies on information, analytical examination, and innovation. Rare among scholarly journals, the Federal Sentencing Reporter focuses—in its authorship and readership—on academics as well as practitioners. In its pages, conversations take place among judges, lawyers, policy makers, and scholars. The publication is an intellectual resource that people in the field turn to for solutions and that academics rely on to propose, learn about, and discuss new ideas. Each issue offers in-depth analysis on a wide range of topics related to sentencing policies and practices.The Federal Sentencing Reporter is publish…

D.C. Superior Court Rules Sidewalks Trump Free Speech Rights

WASHINGTON - October 31 - The D.C. Superior Court ruled last Friday that possible pedestrian inconvenience was more important than the US Constitution or stopping wars.Arrested during a White House demonstration on March 19, 18 defendants, including 8 members of Veterans For Peace, were found guilty by Judge Canan, Friday, of “failure to obey” and “blocking/incommoding” and fined $150.The defendants argued for their 1st Amendment right to petition their government for redress of grievances.They called on the US Government to obey the domestic and international law and to stop its crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. The government argued that protecting Constitutional rights and ending war crimes were less important than assuring that a potential pedestrian would not be delayed by a few seconds passing in front of the White House.Read on...

Tory gun bill delists sniper rifles, semi-automatics

OTTAWA—The powerful Ruger Mini-14 semi-automatic rifle used in the 1989 Montreal massacre and this summer’s Norway bloodbath.Sniper rifles that can pierce light armour from a distance of up to 1.5 kilometres. Or one that can drop a target two kilometres away.They are all weapons that will soon be declassified under the Conservatives’ bill to kill the long-gun registry and freed from binding controls that now see them listed with the RCMP-run database.They fall under the class of “non-restricted” weapons and they are about to become unregistered. Restricted or prohibited firearms such automatic assault rifles, sawed-off shotguns or handguns are not affected by the bill and would remain under current controls.But under Bill C-19, the law would no longer require a licensed gun owner to hold a registration certificate for “non-restricted” weapons.Read on...

Vancouver police find 60 to blame for Stanley Cup riot

After a four-months-and-counting investigation that involved scores of officers and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, the Vancouver police finally got around to recommending charges in connection with the 2011 Stanley Cup riot.Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu said Monday that a total of 163 charges are being recommended by police against 60 suspected rioters. And the news came with the promise of hundreds more to come.The announcement follows what the police chief vowed is the most extensive criminal probe ever launched by his department. More than 5,000 hours of digital imagery were viewed by 50 forensic analysts representing 40 law-enforcement agencies from across North America and the United Kingdom.Read on...