Your resource for news, research, opinion and comment in the world of Criminology and Criminal Justice, brought to you by the Criminology Library, Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies, University of Toronto
A major federal investigation into spousal violence says it cost
society at least $7.4 billion for the thousands of incidents that
occurred in just one year.
The Justice Canada study examined a broad range of economic impacts,
from policing and health-care to funerals and lost wages, for every
incident of spousal violence in 2009.
Drawing on a Canada-wide police database, researchers found almost
50,000 cases of spousal violence reported to police that year, more than
80 per cent of them involving female victims. The cases included 65
homicides, 49 of them women.
The study also mined an annual Statistics Canada telephone survey,
which estimated some 336,000 Canadians in 2009 were victims of some form
of violence from their spouse. The definition of spouse included
married, common-law, separated, same-sex and divorced partners.
Americans are paying an ever-increasing price, both in dollars and the loss of personal privacy, to maintain the spy state.
Ever hear of Presidential Policy Directive (PPD) 20? Bet not. The more
you’ve never heard of something, the more worried you should be.
In mid-November , The Washington Post,
the first media outlet to report on the directive, noted that it
“enables the military to act more aggressively to thwart cyberattacks on
the nation’s web of government and private computer networks.”
The Post’s revelation came at the same time that other stories
broke pointing to deepening problems with electronic privacy rights in
America. The most sensational story involved the FBI’s snooping the
private e-mails of two of the nation’s leading security officers, CIA
Director David Petraeus and Gen. John Allen, head of the U.S.
Afghanistan war effort.
More disturbing but expected, the Supreme Court rejected the ACLU’s
challenge to the National Security Agency’s (NSA) use of …
Should five non-violent offenders die behind bars for a crime Americans increasingly believe should not even be a crime?
Right now, five adults await death in prison for non-violent,
marijuana-related crimes. Their names are John Knock, Paul Free, Larry
Duke, William Dekle, and Charles “Fred” Cundiff. They are all more than
60 years old; they have all spent at least 15 years locked up for
selling pot; and they are all what one might call model prisoners,
serving life without parole. As time wrinkles their skin and weakens
their bodies, Michael Kennedy of the Trans High Corporation has filed a legal petition
with the federal government seeking their clemency. Otherwise they will
die behind bars for selling a drug 40% of American adults have admitted
to using, 50% of Americans want legal, and two states have already
legalized for adult use. Since these men were convicted of these crimes
many years ago, public opinion and policy related to marijuana have
shifted greatly. Sh…
As the White House eyes new gun-controls following the Sandy Hook school massacre and firearms dealers are seeing guns sales spike,
a handful of recent investigative reports suggest that the nation’s
state-run system of screening gun buyers for mental illness is mostly a
mirage—except in a dozen states where governors want the system to
Federal prohibits gun sales to anyone who was declared mentally unfit
by a court. In Bill Clinton’s first term, Congress passed a law
requiring states to report these mental health records to the FBI. But
in 1997, the Supreme Court threw out that requirement, saying states
could share whatever information they wanted to—or more likely not share
Fast-forward to 2012, and as the Wall Street Journalreported,
only 12 states account for the majority of mental health records in the
FBI database. Mayors Against Illegal Guns, co-chaired by New York City
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, reported that 19 states have each submitted less than 10…
Abuse ranges from outright rape, groping, invasive pat-downs and peeping
during showers -- to verbal taunts or harassing comments.
llowing male guards to oversee female prisoners is a recipe for
trouble, says former political prisoner Laura Whitehorn. Now a frequent
lecturer on incarceration policies and social justice, Whitehorn
describes a culture in which women are stripped of their power on the
most basic level. "Having male guards sends a message that female
prisoners have no right to defend their bodies," she begins. "Putting
women under men in authority makes the power imbalance as stark as it
can be, and results in long-lasting repercussions post- release."
Abuse, of course, can take many forms, from the flagrant - outright
rape, groping, invasive pat-downs and peeping during showers or while an
inmate is on the toilet - to verbal taunts or harassing comments. And
while advocates for the incarcerated have long tried to draw attention
to these co…
New revelations about police brutality under Thatcher in the seminal 1984 battle against striking union miners.
Among British ex-miners, the infamous June 18, 1984 battle between
striking coal miners and police at the Orgreave coking plant in South
Yorkshire, is still bitterly invoked as a symbol of then-Prime Minister
Margaret Thatcher’s campaign against union miners, whom she famously
called “the enemy within.” The yearlong strike ultimately marked the
beginning of the decline of Britain’s nationalized coal industry, and
the economic and social deterioration of coalfield communities.
Almost three decades later, a BBC documentary
has directed new attention to the 1984 “battle of Orgreave” and to
police behavior throughout the strike. Released in October, the
documentary presents new evidence indicating that the South Yorkshire
police conspired to crush the strike through fabricated arrest reports
and systematic brutality.
There has been a severe breakdown in the process for appointing federal
judges. At the start of the Reagan years, it took, on average, a month
for candidates for appellate and trial courts to go from nomination to
confirmation. In the first Obama term, it has taken, on average, more
than seven months.
Seventy-seven judgeships, 9 percent of the federal bench (not counting the Supreme Court), are vacant;
19 more seats are expected to open up soon. The lack of judges is more
acute if one considers the growing caseload. The Judicial Conference,
the courts’ policy-making body, has recommended expanding the bench by
88 additional judgeships.
President Obama must make fully staffing the federal courts an important
part of his second-term agenda — starting with the immediate Senate
confirmation of the 18 nominees approved by the Senate Judiciary
Committee. Read on... This is an editorial from the NY Times. Tom
In his novel King of the Jews, Leslie Epstein sets his story
in the wartime ghetto of Lodz, Poland, where the Gestapo ruled through
an appointed council of Jewish elders. Epstein, researching the book,
tracked down the gallows humor of the time. In one such joke, told by a
character in the novel, two Jews are facing a firing squad. The
commandant asks if they would like blindfolds. One of the condemned
whispers to the other, “Don’t make trouble.”
“Don’t make trouble” could have been the credo of the first year of
the Obama Administration. The White House calculated that if the
president just extended the hand of conciliation to the Republicans, the
opposition would reciprocate and together they would change the tone in
Washington. This was the policy on everything from the stimulus to
health reform to judicial nominations. It didn’t work out so well.
Now, spurred by the tailwind of a re-election victory and the
realization that public opinion is on his side, President Ob…
the erosion of Americans' civil liberties depends on high levels of
public apathy, some of the most dangerous privacy breaches take place
incrementally and under the radar; if it invites comparisons to Blade Runner
or Orwell, then someone in the PR department didn't do their job.
Meanwhile, some of the biggest threats to privacy, like insecure online
data or iPhone GPS tracking, are physically unobtrusive and therefore
easily ignored. And it'll be at least a year or two until the sky is overrun by spy drones.
So when a method of surveillance literally resembles a prop or plot
point in a sci-fi movie, it helps to reveal just how widespread and
sophisticated commercial and government monitoring has become. Here are
five recent developments that seem almost unreal in their dystopian
1. Buses and street cars that can hear what you say .
As the U.S. system of mass incarceration takes an ever-greater toll on
budgets and communities, more social scientists of all ideological
leanings are calling for lesser prison sentences and alternatives to prisons.
An extensive New York Times report on this phenomenon tells the story
of Stephanie George, who is serving a sentence of life without parole
for her alleged nominal role in a drug deal. It was a sentence
Reagan-appointed Judge Roger Vinson didn’t even want to dispense, but
his hands were tied by mandatory sentencing schemes. Aside from making
the U.S. the number one jailer in the world, here are some of the other shocking facts about the nature and impact of U.S. mass incarceration featured in the report:
Of the 2.3 million people incarcerated in the U.S., 500,000 are locked up for drug offenses – ten times more than there were in 1980. Researchers have found that these lock-ups have no concurrent effect on the illicit drug supply, as demand remains the same and rep…
Interesting piece in Buzzfeed
about the Republicans starting to wake up to the fact that they need to
start appearing on other news outlets – real news outlets – than just
The thing is, going before real journalists can be hazardous to your
health. Not often. But it’s certainly more risky than having Hannity
brown-nose you for ten minutes.
The argument some conservatives are giving is that they’re only preaching to the choir when they go on Fox. Yes, but.
It’s a complicated question as to when its useful to go on a show
that might as you tough questions. For the left, there really isn’t an
alternative kind of show. Only lately MSNBC has been trying to fill
Fox’s shoes – and MSNBC does it with fewer lies and less party loyalty.
But before then it was either go on CNN and the other networks, and
face tough questions, or go on Fox and be treated like a subhuman.
A high-level executive at the nation’s second-largest private prison corporation
testified under oath that it would not be wrong to give false testimony
to a federal agency, such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement,
according to a video recently posted on YouTube.
The testimony came in a case alleging that GEO Group Senior Vice
President of Project Development Thomas Wierdsma threatened to use his
position at GEO to have his then daughter-in-law’s immigration status investigated by ICE if she spoke out about domestic abuse.
ATTORNEY: You would agree it would be wrong to give false testimony against somebody, correct?
WIERDSMA: Um [long pause]. Yes.
ATTORNEY: Similarly, would it be wrong to give false testimony to a federal agency?
WIERDSMA: No, not at all. Happens all the time.
An investigation by
the Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram has found that a
disturbingly high percentage of individuals shot by police suffer from
mental health problems. There are no federal statistics on police
shootings of mentally ill people, but according to the investigation published this week ,
“a review of available reports indicates that at least half of the
estimated 375 to 500 people shot and killed by police each year in this
country have mental health problems.”
The newspapers analyzed in detail the incidents of police deploying
deadly force in Maine — a state with a comparatively low crime rate —
since 2000. The report noted:
42 percent of people shot by police since 2000 — and 58
percent of those who died from their injuries — had mental health
problems, according to reports from the Maine Attorney General’s Office.
In many cases, the officers knew that the subjects were disturbed, and
they were dead in a matter of moments Read on...
As if the world really needs another
reality show, a new one about five women who have had abortions is set
to debut next month on the Christian Internet television network
KnockTV. “Surrender the Secret” will follow the “five women on their
journey together to ... healing and self-forgiveness,” according to
pro-life website Live Action News.
“There’s a new trend among abortion
proponents—convince the world that abortion is not shameful. Convince
post-abortive women that any guilt they may feel is unfounded. Convince
post-abortive women who have kept their abortion a secret that they
should shout about it from the rooftops with pride,” says Live Action
News’ Nancy Flanders.
“Post-abortive women do need to talk about their choice. However, they
don’t need to be and shouldn’t pretend to be proud of it.”
Because obviously the best place for these
women to go through the healing process is on an online reality show
that is publicly shaming them for their life choices.
Thanks to the war on drugs, the war on terror and general public apathy
about civil liberties, police can stomp all over your rights.
Talk to someone who has never dealt with the cops about police
behaving badly, and he or she will inevitably say, “But they
can't do that! Can they?” The question of what the cops can or can't do
is natural enough for someone who never deals with cops, especially if
their inexperience is due to class and/or race privilege. But a public
defender would describe that question as naïve. In short, the cops can
do almost anything they want, and often the most maddening tactics are
actually completely legal.
There are many reasons for this, but three historical developments
stand out: the war on drugs provided the template for social control
based on race; 9/11 gave federal and local officials the opportunity to
ensnare Muslims (and activists) in the ever-increasing surveillance and
incarceration state; and a lack of concern from the public…
In an important decision for the legal treatment of abused women,
Ontario’s top court has found that stalking and verbal threats can be
just as severe as physical attacks.
The province’s Court of Appeal
upheld a sentence of 5 1/2 years in the case of a man who subjected a
woman he had recently met to a barrage of harassing phone calls and
letters, including two sent while he was in jail awaiting trial.
Patrick James Doherty argued that, because he did not assault his
victim, he should receive a lesser sentence. The court rejected his
The victim “suffered mentally and physically as a
result of the appellant’s harassment. She lost weight, lost sleep and
was anxious and worried about what he may do to her,” wrote Justice
Dennis O’Connor of the court’s unanimous decision. “The impact on her
was magnified each time he ignored her pleas to stop, the police
warnings and the court orders.”
It all began in November of last
year when Agnieszka Mikulska posted a classifie…
True, the number of homicides in Canada increased
this year over last. True, fatal stabbings increased sharply. True, the
figures arrive amid a divisive national policy debate over Prime
Minister Stephen Harper’s tough-on-crime agenda.
But, according to the experts, what is the real conclusion to be drawn from the latest Statistics Canada figures on homicides?
Essentially: Take a deep breath. “You can’t infer anything from
today’s numbers,” said Simon Fraser University criminologist Neil Boyd.
“An increase of 7 per cent is of no real consequence.”
broad trends from one year’s stats is equivalent to holding up a cold
winter’s day as proof that climate change is a fraud, criminologists
say. When experts look for criminal patterns in Statscan numbers, they
work with periods of no less than 10 years.
Though violence lingers, we commemorate those acting to stop it
During supper one October evening while listening to
the news on the radio, I suddenly put down my fork and gripped my
10-year-old son's arm. We listened intently to the broadcast. A Taliban
gunman had shot 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai in the head while she was sitting with her classmates on a bus in Mingora, Pakistan. The Guardian reported
that a Taliban spokesman characterized Malala's advocacy work for
girls' education as an "obscenity" that had to be stopped. Malala and
her family had been targeted because of the blog
she had written for the BBC while she was in seventh grade chronicling
the effects of Taliban repression in her region, including the burning
of girls' schools.
"Why did they shoot her?" my son asked me,
aghast. I attempted to explain the attitudes of religious extremists,
their desire to maintain social, political and economic control and
power by excludin…
On Tuesday, the government of Canada’s fifth-most populous province,
Manitoba introduced what it calls a “strong anti-bullying action plan.”
It is to include various new resources for parents and teachers and
eventually, after public consultations, “strong legislation that would
further support students, broaden reporting of bullying and respect
In the current anti-bullying climate, where stern legislative fixes
are the order of the day, this almost counts as foot-dragging. In
Canada’s most populous province, Ontario, students are now threatened
with expulsion for any behaviour they intend to, or ought to know is
likely to, cause “harm, fear or distress to another individual,
including physical, psychological, social or academic harm, harm to the
individual’s reputation or … property” — or even just for “creating a
negative environment at a school for another individual.”
As of Aug. 15, the Education Act in Canada’s second-most populous
province, Quebec, def…
A picture is worth a thousand words, as the cliché goes. But are a thousand words enough to tell the whole story?
Not in the case of the viral photograph
that recently emerged from the streets of Manhattan. The image has now
become a familiar one: a New York City police officer kneels beside a
barefoot homeless man in Times Square and offers him a new pair of
The officer, Larry DePrimo, did not
know an Arizona tourist had captured the moment with her cellphone. The
photo was uploaded on Facebook
and rocketed around the web, garnering 1.6 million views in 24 hours
and riveting the media: The officer bought the boots with his own money!
The shoe store employee was so touched he gave a discount! The cop
keeps the receipt in his vest as a reminder of those who are less
As of late Wednesday, the photo had been shared 47,716 times,
boosting subscribers to the department's 5-month-old page by 7,000, to
95,000, officials said.
"I had two pairs of wool winter socks and combat boots, and I was
cold," DePrimo, 25, said Wednesday, recalling the night of Nov. 14, when
he encountered an unidentified, shoeless man on the sidewalk on Seventh
Avenue near 44th Street.
DePrimo offered to get him socks and shoes.
"I never had a pair of shoes," the man replied, according to DePrimo,
who's assigned to the Sixth Precinct and has been on the force nearly
A Russian court ruled on Thursday that video footage of the Pussy
Riot punk group protesting against President Vladimir Putin in a church
was “extremist” and should be removed from websites.
The demonstration last February offended many Russian Orthodox
Christians. But Putin has been criticized by U.S. and European leaders
over what they saw as disproportionate jail sentences imposed on three
Pussy Riot members. Their trial was also seen by Putin’s critics as part
of a clampdown on dissent.
For more than 36 hours
in New York City, no-one was shot, stabbed, or otherwise killed. The
crime freeze began after 22:25 on Sunday, when a man was shot in the
head, and continued until another man was shot at 11:20 on Tuesday.
Though the break in violent crime marked the first time in
recent memory such an event had occurred, the figure doesn't surprise
"I'm surprised it's just the first day this has happened,"
says Alfred Blumstein, a professor of public policy at Carnegie Mellon
University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Considering, says Blumstein, that there were only 472
homicides in New York last year, with this year on track for even fewer,
the odds of a violent-crime free day are favourable.
By now you've all heard the story that a middle-aged white man, Michael
Dunn, visiting Jacksonville, Florida, for his son's wedding, shot "at least 8 shots"
at four African American teenagers in an SUV while waiting outside a
convenience store. Dunn killed 17 year old Jordan Davis, allegedly,
because he claimed he was in fear for his life after he initiated a
dispute with the teens over the loud music they were playing. There
were no weapons in the vehicle into which he fired "at least 8 shots"
from his gun, bullets that ultimately claimed the life of Jordan. In
other words the kids he fired "at least 8 shots" at from his handgun
were unarmed. Mr. Dunn was the only one carrying.
has given an interview in which she claims her father is not like
George Zimmerman in any respect. According to her, Dunn is not a
racist, is a good man and loving father and is heartbroken at the death
of of young Jordan. He's no…
The Supreme Court is wrong to let Idaho have no insanity defense.
Months of treatment was required before Jared Lee Loughner, who
killed six people outside an Arizona grocery store, could understand the
charges against him
Courtesy Pima County Sheriff Forensic Unit.
Earlier this month, Jared Loughner was sentenced to life in prison at a sober proceeding
in which survivors of his terrible shooting spree in Arizona, and their
families, recognized the role his schizophrenia played in his crimes.
They talked about their understandable hurt and anger, and they also
recognized that Loughner didn’t get the mental health care he needed.
(Mark Kelly, the husband of former Rep. Gabby Giffords, whom Loughner
shot in the head, usefully highlighted the expiration a decade ago of
the federal law that banned the sale of the rapid-fire ammunition clips
In Meridian, Miss., it is school officials – not police – who
determine who should be arrested. Schools seeking to discipline students
call the police, and police policy is to arrest all children referred
to the agency, according to a Department of Justice lawsuit. The result is a perverse system that
funnels children as young as ten who merely misbehave in class into
juvenile detention centers without basic constitutional procedures. The
lawsuit, which follows unsuccessful attempts to negotiate with the
county, challenges the constitutionality of punishing children “so
arbitrarily and severely as to shock the conscience” and alleging that
the city’s police department acts as a de facto “taxi service” in
shuttling students from school to juvenile detention centers. Colorlines
Once those children are in the juvenile justice system, they are denied basic constitutional rights. They
are handcuffed and incarcerated for days without any hearing and
Welcome to Slate's new crime blog, which
we’ve imaginatively titled “Crime.” Consider it your cheerful,
insatiably curious guide to everything illegal. I'll be examining the
wide world of crime, punishment, and recidivism on a daily basis,
writing about the most murderous gatmen and the most devious yeggs.
Why a crime blog? Mercy, everyone loves crime. More to the point,
though, there's a dearth of smart, non-sensationalistic crime coverage
on the Internet these days. I plan to write about horrible things in a
What are my qualifications? Well, I was burglarized last year, which
was unsettling. (As it turns out, I have nothing of value to steal,
which was even mo…
Arresting and putting low-level juvenile offenders into the
criminal-justice system pulls many kids deeper into trouble rather than
turning them around.
Marijuana — it’s one of the primary reasons why California experienced
a stunning 20 percent drop in juvenile arrests in just one year,
between 2010 and 2011, according to provocative new research.
The San Francisco-based Center on Juvenile & Criminal Justice
(CJCJ) recently released a policy briefing with an analysis of arrest
data collected by the California Department of Justice’s Criminal
Justice Statistics Center. The briefing, “ California Youth Crime Plunges to All-Time Low ,”
identifies a new state marijuana decriminalization law that applies to
juveniles, not just adults, as the driving force behind the plummeting
After the new pot law went into effect in January 2011, simple
marijuana possession arrests of California juveniles fell from 14,991 in
2010 to 5,831 in 2011, a 61 percent difference…
We all know that Ritalin is great for calming unruly children and
helping college students cram for their midterms. But does it also help
fight crime? The New York Times recently wrote up a study that
purportedly showed that those who suffer from “serious attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder” are less likely to commit crimes when they’re
taking their medication. Pam Belluck reports:
Of 8,000 people whose medication use fluctuated over a
three-year period, men were 32 percent less likely and women were 41
percent less likely to have criminal convictions while on medication.
Patients were primarily young adults, many with a history of
hospitalization. Crimes included assault, drug offenses and homicide as
well as less serious crimes. Medication varied, but many took stimulants
Though the study is preliminary, the results make some sense, if you
assume that at least some criminal behavior stems from chemical
imbalances in the brain. But the most inte…
In the last 15 years, we've witnessed a dramatic expansion in the
jailing of immigrants, from about 70,000 people detained annually to
about 400,000. In the mid-1990’s, during the height of an
anti-immigrant backlash, Congress passed a series of harsh measures that
led to a vast increase in unnecessary detention. This trend has been
exacerbated by the private prison industry and county jails looking to
exploit immigrant detention for profit.
The cost of this system today is 1.7 billion dollars at taxpayer expense.
In detention, immigrants continue to be subject to punitive
treatment, and are denied basic needs, such as contact with lawyers and
loved ones, inadequate food and hygiene, and access to fresh air and
sunlight. They continue to get injured, sick, and die without timely
medical care. They continue to endure racial slurs and discriminatory
treatment by prison staff, and are vulnerable to rape and assault.
Since 2003, a reported 131 people have died in immi…
A New York Times review of court cases and legislation around the
country shows that there are no uniform rules when it comes to whether
law enforcement can search cell phone records and use the data as
The judicial system around the country is sharply divided on the
legality of searching cell phone records and using that evidence for the
prosecution of criminal suspects. A New York Times review
of court cases and legislation shows that there are no uniform rules
when it comes to whether law enforcement can search cell phone records
and use the data as evidence.
In Rhode Island, a judge threw out evidence used to convict Michael
Patino, a 30-year-old resident of the state, because, according to the
judge, the police obtained cell phone data improperly. But a Washington
court said that cell phone text messages are similar to voice mail
messages that can be heard by anyone in a room, and are therefore not
subjected to privacy laws.
“The Supreme Court follows the election
returns,” or so opined satirist Finley Peter Dunne in 1901 in language
purged of its original Irish brogue (see Chapter 3 of Dunne’s Mr. Dooley
Back then, the court was headed by Melville Weston Fuller, its eighth
chief justice, under whose enlightened stewardship it handed down Plessy
v. Ferguson, the infamous decision that upheld the constitutionality of
state laws requiring people of different races to use “separate but
equal” public facilities.
What Dunne meant, of course, was that the
court was a partisan political institution, often less dedicated to
following constitutional values than currying favor with the nation’s
elites, and that it was also capable of responding to shifts in public
opinion. So it was at the turn of the last century and so it is today.
But exactly how the court reads and reacts
to elections is by no means a given. Thus we must ask whether the
court’s current ultraconservative Republican majority w…
Today, approximately 40 million foreign-born people live in the United
States, seven million of whom arrived within the past eight years.
Because very little is known about how most police agencies nationwide
work with immigrant communities, in 2010, Vera’s Center on Immigration
and Justice partnered with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of
Community Oriented Policing Services to identify and disseminate
information on law enforcement practices that cultivate trust and
collaboration with immigrant communities and merit replication. Staff
from Vera’s Center on Immigration and Justice solicited information from
more than 1,000 agencies in jurisdictions with large immigrant
populations and evaluated nearly 200 agencies’ practices. The resulting
multimedia resource—report, toolkit, podcasts—
features the efforts of 10 law enforcement agencies of different sizes,
capacities, and circumstances. Engaging Police in Immigrant Communities
is a practical, field-informed guid…
Two weeks after Barack Obama and Sen.-elect Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
carried the state of Wisconsin with the support of minorities and young
voters, Gov. Scott Walker (R) announced one of his major policy
proposals for the upcoming session: ending the state’s 40-year old law
that allows citizens to register to vote on Election Day.
And with Republicans now back in control of the Wisconsin state legislature, Walker may well get his way next year.
In 2008, Wisconsin enjoyed the second highest turnout of any state in the nation (72.4 percent
of eligible voters cast a ballot), due largely to the fact the Badger
State law allows residents who aren’t registered or have recently moved
to register at the polls. That year, approximately 460,000 people used Election Day Registration, 15 percent of all Wisconsinites who cast a ballot.
Walker pressed his case for ending same-day registration during a speech at the Ronald Reagan Library in California on Friday:
Now that Florida’s Department of Corrections has auctioned off the
job of providing state inmates with health services to the
highest-bidding companies, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) is moving ahead with his controversial plan
to privatize prisoners’ health care. Since Florida is now locked into a
contract with Corizon Healthcare of Nashville, and plans to sign a
second contract with Pittsburgh-based Wexford Health Sources, Gov.
Scott’s administration has already begun to lay off nearly two thousand state workers whose jobs have now become obsolete.
As the Miami Herald reports,
nearly 2,000 state workers are beginning to receive notices that their
jobs are ending, as part of the nation’s biggest push to outsource
prisoners’ health care to private companies:
“Due to the outsourcing of this function, your position will be deleted,”
reads a dryly worded dismissal notice from the Department of
Corrections, sent to 1,890 state employees in the past two weeks. [...]
In the dismiss…
A Manhattan banker shoots portraits of drug abuse, sex work, and homelessness in the Bronx.
In his portraits of sex workers and the homeless struggling with
addiction, photographer Chris Arnade is neither demanding an increase in
social services or gawking from the sidelines at others' degradation.
At their core, his "Faces of Addiction" portraits are simply about
watching and listening to other people. Arnade repeatedly declares his
one simple objective at the end of each detailed photo caption: "I post
people's stories as they tell them to me. I am not a journalist. I don't
try to verify, just listen." Read on...
Thirteen years after the Supreme Court of Canada issued a demand for
information that would enable trial judges to pass more culturally
sensitive sentences for aboriginal defendants, its edict has been
largely ignored in much of the country.
In most regions, a lack of
funding or a lack of interest has meant that detailed reports delving
into the background of offenders are simply not prepared.
Yet, these documents – named Gladue reports after the defendant in
the 1999 Supreme Court’s decision from which they evolved – are a vital
aid to judges considering the impact on a defendant of the historical
mistreatment of aboriginal communities. At the core of the Gladue
decision was a deep concern with the over-representation of aboriginal
people in jail. When judges are deprived of rich, case-specific
information, aboriginal offenders are much more likely to be thrown in
jail at a disproportionate rate.
“The reports are indispensable,”
said Chief Justice Glenn Joyal of the Man…
It was slain by a couple of professors, their students, and a district attorney who wanted reform.
In last week’s election, California voters made a decision that was
at once historic and obvious: They reformed the state’s infamously harsh
three-strikes law. Proposition 36, the ballot measure that passed with
an amazing 69 percent of the vote, changed the state’s three-strikes law
so that offenders who have committed no serious and violent crime will
no longer go to prison for life. The vote was historic because when
voters see crime measures on the ballot, they almost always pull the
lever in favor of retribution, not mercy. And yet this time the result
was also a no-brainer: The state was locking up petty thieves and
shoplifters for life, and given the chance to stop this, the voters
The original three-strikes ballot measure passed in California in
1994, following the terrible murder-kidnapping of 12-year-old Polly
Klaas, who was snatched from her…
Skeptics often dismiss those concerned about growing levels of
surveillance as paranoid conspiracy theorists. But Google’s latest transparency report, released Tuesday, shows the fears are grounded in reality: Government surveillance is on the rise.
Every six months Google publishes transparency reports to disclose
how many requests it has received from government agencies to hand over
user data or take down content. Yesterday's figures
reveal Google received 20,938 inquiries from government entities around
the world for user data in the first half of this year—a 55 percent
increase in requests received during the same period in 2010. The United
States by far made the most requests for user data, submitting more
than one-third of the 20,938 received. India was second, followed by