Stop and Frisk Criticized


NYPD graduation ceremony in Madison Square Gar...
NYPD graduation ceremony in Madison Square Garden, July 2005. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Stop and Frisk as used in New York is in my mind the commission of a series of crimes in the hope of deterring other crime. The New York City Police Department commits crimes by frisking using racial profiling and quotas not legitimate police methods. There is no way you can within the law stop and frisk people based on pigmentation and an arbitrary number of stops while still passing constitutional muster.

 

 

 

But I’m also worried about the effect this has on the individual policeman. If the public is just a series of quota targets to be harassed, searched or arrested, when does doing justice or serving the public come into the question? At what point, does police work become the practice of an occupying military force as opposed to public service? What does this practice do to public perception of police? When does a police department become a military force to be used at the discretion of its leadership (like below)?

 

 

 

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, speaking at

MIT on Wednesday about the city’s workforce, overreached with his

description of the police force which has been lambasted for pepper

spraying protesters lining Wall Street in recent weeks.

 

 

 

‘I have my own army in the NYPD, which is the seventh largest army in the world,’ he said.

 

 

 

If the police are an army to be used at the whim of a mayor, the goals of law enforcement are being threatened by politicization. This is poor policy.

 

 

 

Public trust and cooperation are critical elements in police work. The public is not a single community but a variety of communities based on economics, race and geography. Writing one or two off is bad police work and will have critical long term results.

 

 

 

Stop and frisk as a form of pre-emptive strike against minority crime is clearly unconstitutional.

 

 

 

It needs to end now.

 

 

 

James Pilant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NYPD Officer Adhyl Polanco Speaks Out Against Stop And Frisk In Video

 

 

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/08/nypd-stop-and-frisk_n_4066335.html

 

 

 

Adhyl Polanco, an officer since 2005, has become an outspoken critic of the NYPD\’s policy, which critics say disproportionately targets blacks and Latinos for police stops. He recorded his supervisors asking beat cops to meet a monthly arrest quota and testified in the recent federal trial that found New York City\’s use of stop and frisk unconstitutional.

 

 

 

\”This is not what I became a cop for,\” Polanco says of stop and frisk in the video, which was produced by the reform advocacy group Communities United for Police Reform and released on YouTube on Monday. \”This is not what I wanted to do.\”

 

 

 

A Vera Institute of Justice study released last month found that the experience of being stopped made New Yorkers less likely to trust the police. New York City is currently appealing a federal judge\’s recent ruling against stop and frisk, which prompted outrage from critics at a Monday rally.

 

 

 

via NYPD Officer Adhyl Polanco Speaks Out Against Stop And Frisk In Video.

 

 

 

From around the web.

 

 

 

From the web site, The Bronx Beat.

 

 

 

http://thebronxbeat.wordpress.com/2013/07/17/stop-and-frisk-intended-for-minorities/

 

 

 

Mayor Bloomberg has always been a strong

supporter of the New York Police Department. After Mayor Bloomberg Came

into office, those stopped and frisked has increased by more than 600%

reported nyclu.com (New York Civil Liberties). He has vetoed two bills

that were supposed to reform the stop and frisk policy that has caught

the attention of so many, especially those of minority groups reported

slate.com

 

 

 

Minority groups have always been the red

dot on the dart board, the scapegoats, the ones to who get slapped in

the head and no one gets punished. Thousands of Latinos and African

Americans are stopped and frisked on a yearly basis; up to 85% according

to slate.com. Mayor Bloomberg is convince that this is a very

productive policy.

 

 

 

The stop and frisk policy is not only

embarrassing but also condescending. Often times the police racially

profile young men on the streets and if they fit a certain description

then they must be guilty of something. The system is meant uphold white

supremacy as long as possible and this scheme of theirs shouldn’t be a

shocker when we recall historical events.

 

 

 

From the web site, The Bronx Beat.

 

 

 

http://thebronxbeat.wordpress.com/2013/07/17/prejudiced-policies/

 

 

 

As he walks home, a man of color is susceptible to be stopped and

frisked by police. Why? Because he simply looks suspicious to them.

Wearing baggy clothing alone could tempt an abusive police officer to

stop him. This man who was stopped can easily be a certified lawyer, a

college student, or even a hardworking father. This man could have been

very busy. However, he patiently waits to ensure that the police collect

evidence of his “unlawful” behavior – which most of the time turn out

to be perfectly legal.

 

 

 

Government abuse like the one mentioned above is a daily routine for

people of color. Whether they like it or not, race remains an essential

element that aids the police to their main targets, and they, whether

they are adults or teenagers, have to live with it.

 

 

 

Blacks, Hispanics and other minority groups who simply look

“threatening” to those stereotyping them have to deal with intrusive

police suspicion. They must endure frequent subway searches that prove

to lessen the amount of street crime and violence in New York State.

 

 

 

From the web site, The Bronx Beat.

 

 

 

http://thebronxbeat.wordpress.com/2013/07/17/stop-and-frisk-colored-people-only/

 

 

 

“Judging by the cover of the book,” A mentality is drawn upon certain

races so when an authority sees that race, already, he or she is

thinking that this person might be doing something illegal.

 

 

 

The Stop and Frisk policy is a policy that over years has caused

problems to many people and their lives. The simple idea of stopping,

when asked to then later being let go because you’re safe is more

embarrassing and hurtful then actually being caught if you had some sort

of bad possession on you. Why do I say this? Because it’s embarrassing

and hurtful to be stopped and frisked because you’re being suspected of

something, the reason being you’re dressed a certain way and/or your

race.

 

 

 

George Orwell Would Laugh


George Orwell Would Laugh

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/23/orwell-nsa-surveillance-alan-rusbridger

NSA surveillance goes beyond Orwell’s imagination – Alan Rusbridger

Guardian editor says depth of NSA surveillance programs greatly exceed anything the 1984 author could have imagined

The seal of the U.S. National Security Agency....
The seal of the U.S. National Security Agency. The first use was in September 1966, replacing an older seal which was used briefly. For more information, see here and here. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The potential of the surveillance state goes way beyond anything in George Orwell‘s 1984, Alan Rusbridger, the Guardian‘s editor-in-chief, told an audience in New York on Monday.

Speaking in the wake of a series of revelations in the Guardian about the extent of the National Security Agency’s surveillance operations, Rusbridger said: “Orwell could never have imagined anything as complete as this, this concept of scooping up everything all the time.

“This is something potentially astonishing about how life could be lived and the limitations on human freedom,” he said.

Rusbridger said the NSA stories were “clearly” not a story about totalitarianism, but that an infrastructure had been created that could be dangerous if it fell into the wrong hands.

“Obama is a nice guy. David Cameron is a nice social Democrat. About three hours from London in Greece there are some very nasty political parties. What there is is the infrastructure for total surveillance. In history, all the precedents are unhappy,” said Rusbridger, speaking at the Advertising Week conference.

I heartily share Alan Rubbridger’s concern about later governments. The possibilities for abuse are so incredible that it is difficult to wrap your mind around them.

But what about Business Ethics? What are the implications there?

The government is tracking all financial transactions, so they know who invests, in what and for how much in any and every American business. That’s power. Since they monitor all e-mails, they have every kind of inside information including promotion and firing decisions. They can do something no government has been able to do before: understand the inner workings of a corporation in detail and in real time. Since corporations have incredible power, this check to that power’s implications are hard to measure. But we could be on the edge of an era in which government management of data enables corporations both domestic and foreign to be brought to heel.

Of course, they know enough personal information to blackmail millions, discredit millions more and by implication of knowing silence tens of millions of others. I find these implications disturbing.

It may be that Obama will not abuse this power but where is the guarantee for those who will come in the future?

James Pilant

From around the web.

From the web site, Tech Crunch.

http://techcrunch.com/2013/07/03/wordpress-org-reddit-mozilla-others-will-participate-in-anti-nsa-web-protests-on-july-4th/

From July 3rd, 2013.

A number of high-profile websites will be taking part in an online protest tomorrow against the National Security Agency (NSA)’s surveillance of online activity and phone calls. The protest is organized by non-profit organization Fight for the Future, and will see participation from thousands of sites, including WordPress.org, Namecheap, Reddit, 4chan, Mozilla, Fark, TOR, Cheezburger, Demand Progress, MoveOn, and EFF, among others.

However, none of the tech companies – like Facebook or Google – whose cooperation with the NSA was outed in the PRISM reveal will be involved in tomorrow’s events.

From the web site,

 

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Kitten Killer Josh Barro


Kitten Killer Josh Barro

New York Needs a Mayor With the Resolve to Let the Subway Kittens Die

The next mayor of New York, if he or she is to do a good job, will have to say “no” a lot. “No” to public employee unions who want a retroactive raise the city can’t afford. “No” to city councilmembers who will try to spend every tax dollar that comes in instead of rebuilding the city’s reserve funds. “No” to NIMBYs who don’t want anything new built in their neighborhoods. “No” to commuters seeking relief from fare increases, bridge tolls, parking fines, and an alleged “war on cars.”

Now, I will note that as far as I know, Josh Barro has not personally killed any kittens. He merely advocates that others do it, a candidate for major in particular, pointing out the “real New Yorkers” don’t care about this. I have had the pleasure of meeting New Yorkers and those have I met strike me as a compassionate and worthy lot. Perhaps he meets a different group.

Statue of Liberty seen from the Circle Line ferry, Manhattan, New YorkNew York does not need a mayor with the “resolve” to kill kittens. New York is not yet a business theocracy where order is preferred over the democratic rabble. Those kitten lovers, those unions, those neighborhoods are constituents in a democracy. They have a voice. They deserve that voice. They participate in society. They pay taxes and obey the laws. That they don’t meet the standards of Josh Baro is not a legitimate reason to disenfranchise or ignore them.

There is a certain implication here that killing kittens, ignoring unions and overruling local populations is a matter of courage. I often hear that acting in defiance of the wishes of those that elected you, for instance, cutting medicare and social security, is a matter of resolve and courage. No, it’s a matter of acting anti-democratically. It’s a matter of denying necessary benefits long proven successful because it disempowers millions of Americans and making them subject to the whims of our “betters.”

We can safely assume that the title of the article is meant to be provocative. I’ll buy that. But I think he means it. And I have seen a number of kitten hating blogs take up the cry and I find this depressing. There is a place for compassion and kindness and I believe that what “real New Yorkers” believe is far more varied than Josh Barro’s friends in the business community.

How can we have business ethics if we live in a country where order and profits (saving time by running over kittens with subway trains) trump moral and compassionate concerns? We might as well fold up our ethics tents and drift away in the night.

I have seen a good number of ethics professors and textbooks explain that business ethics is actually profitable. Businesses that practice ethics have greater customer trust and loyalty, and over time this and other ethics practices produce profits. I don’t doubt this for a moment but it misses the point of ethics. We do it not because it is profitable but because it is right. We do it because we want to live with some sense of purpose beyond counting our money and giggling like Bond villains.

Ruthlessness and profits above all other values are popular right now with the one percent. That you and I are not wealthy is a sign of our unworthiness. But we in the middle class, who do the work, who sacrifice for our values, and who do the jobs of fireman, teaching and policeman are the heart of the nation, the ones that make this country work. I have nothing but pride for being one of those citizens.

James Pilant

 

 

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New York Detective Helped Convict the Innocent


 

c37aNew York Detective Helped Convict the Innocent

http://www.salon.com/2013/06/22/retired_nyc_homicide_detective_investigated_for_misconduct_wrongful_convictions_partner/

This officer’s work apparently involved railroading the innocent with the full cooperation of a number of prosecutors in more than fifty cases.
I hope you have the opportunity to work in a prosecutor’s office. I believe in justice but prosecutorial discretion is too broad and the desire not for justice but for a good “kill” ratio often outranks justice as a priority in some of these offices.
Here is an important quote from the article:

“The prosecutor’s duty to the truth arises from several sources,” Gershman wrote. “The most important source is the prosecutor’s role as a minister of justice. In this role, the prosecutor has the overriding responsibility not simply to convict the guilty but to protect the innocent. The duty to truth also derives from the prosecutor’s constitutional obligation not to use false evidence or to suppress material evidence favorable to the defendant. The duty to truth also arises from various ethical strictures that require prosecutors to have confidence in the truth of the evidence before bringing or maintaining criminal charges. The duty is found as well in the prosecutor’s domination of the criminal justice system and his virtual monopoly of the fact-finding process.”

This quote parallels my views on the subject. Justice is not equal to God but stands high in its importance to morality and a life worth living.

Please read the full article.

James Pilant

From around the web:

From the web site, TOT Private Consulting –

http://privateinvesigations.blogspot.com/2013/03/nypd-detective-who-got-innocent-man.html

The NYPD detective whose corner-cutting investigative work, combined with a community’s blood lust for quick justice, put an apparently innocent man in prison for 23 years insists he’s being scapegoated by the very district attorney who pushed for the conviction.
 
“They threw me under the bus,” Louis Scarcella told The Post yesterday after DA Charles Hynes indicated he’d asked a judge to vacate David Ranta’s conviction, more than two decades after Ranta was found guilty of murdering a prominent rabbi in Williamsburg.

“I was appalled when I got the news,” the retired cop said outside his Staten Island home. “I stand by the confession 100 percent. I never framed anyone in my life. You have to be a low devil to frame someone. I sleep well at night.”

While Scarcella was sleeping, Ranta, 58, was languishing in a Buffalo prison, convicted of the February 1990 murder of Rabbi Chaskel Werzberger after a botched jewelry heist in the Orthodox Jewish community.
From the web site, General Strike –

An ‘overwhelmed’ David Ranta left prison with a small bag of belongings and  family members ecstatic to see him outside of his cell. His conviction began to  fall apart when it was revealed that case detectives used questionable tactics  in his case, including coaching witnesses.

An innocent man was sprung from prison Thursday — more than 20 years after he  was wrongfully convicted of killing a beloved Brooklyn rabbi.

David Ranta, 58, could barely contain his excitement, smiling broadly at  relatives who hadn’t seen him as a free man since his 1991 conviction. Ranta was  found guilty of shooting Rabbi Chaskel Werzberger in a botched jewelry heist in  Williamsburg.

The conviction crumbled after a year-long investigation revealed case  detectives coached witnesses, did not keep notes and gave incentives to felons  who provided information.

And from the web site, From the Trenches –

http://www.fromthetrenchesworldreport.com/who-protects-new-yorkers-from-the-nypd/44295

Heyward is not alone in his suspicion of foul play in Hynes executions of justice. The DA has recently come under great scrutiny for spending years refusing to review convictions that he and his predecessor obtained through working with a homicide detective of such dubious repute. Last week, the Hynes office was forced to reopen 50 cases in which NYPD Detective Louis Scarcella was involved, after the Times uncovered that he obtained false confessions, lied, and relied on testimony from a single, crack-addicted prostitute to obtain a number of convictions. While families of those convicted through Scarlla’s police plan to start bird-dogging Hynes, others, like Heyward, have vowed to win justice for those they will never see again.

“It doesn’t matter how long I have to be out here fighting and exposing the reality of what happened. I’m going to keep at it,” said Heyward who believes there is a clear conflict of interest between New York City’s DAs and the NYPD since they are both on the same side of the law. “When cops are involved, it’s like district attorneys forget how to prosecute.”

“I’m overwhelmed,” Ranta said outside a courtroom in downtown Brooklyn,  carrying a purple laundry bag with all his belongings. “Right now, I feel like  I’m underwater, swimming.”

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Police Work is not a Business


husbandmPolice Work is not a Business

Officers Say NYPD Sets Quotas For Stop-And-Frisks And Arrests | ThinkProgress

New York police officers testified this week that their office set quotas for both the number of police stops and arrests. Officers Adhyl Polanco and Pedro Serrano are two of the more than 100 witnesses to testify during a trial in a class action challenge to the New York Police Department’s rampant use of “stop and frisks,” a practice with constitutional implications in which an officer stops someone suspected of a crime, and may subsequently frisk that individual if they have justification for doing so.

The Department has conducted more than 5 million stops since Mayor Bloomberg took office in 2002, more than 85 percent of which targeted blacks or Latinos and only 12 percent of which resulted in criminal charges. Both Serrano and Polanco testified that supervisors required at least 20 summonses and one arrest each month, and that they were pressured to stop individuals — regardless of the grounds for doing so —  under threat of punishment. Polanco also said police later added a stop-and-frisk quota of five per month. During the trial, Polanco played an exchange he recorded in 2009. The New York Daily News reports:

In the tapes, one of Polanco’s supervisors is heard demanding that cops make their “20 and 1” quota and lambasting those who came up short.

“If you want to be a zero, I’ll treat you like a zero,” patrol Sgt. Marvin Bennett fumed on tape.

Polanco also recorded his patrol commander, Lt. Andrew Valenzano, telling officers to meet their quotas by ticketing bicyclists.

“If you see people over there on bikes, carrying the bags, you know, good stops,” Valenzano says on tape. “That’s what we need.”

Officer Angel Herran, a union delegate, was taped telling officers the quota was agreed to “in this last contract.”

“They’re telling you to ‘go make money,’ ” Herran is heard saying.

Officers Say NYPD Sets Quotas For Stop-And-Frisks And Arrests | ThinkProgress

 

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Best Use of Police Time?


img15_thBest Use of Police Time?

NYPD Spent 1 Million Hours Over Last Decade On Marijuana Arrests, Analysis Finds | ThinkProgress

New York Police Department officers have spent 1 million hours making 440,000 marijuana arrests between 2002 and 2012, according to a new report from the Drug Policy Alliance. DPA put together the data in response to a request from New York City and New York State, as they consider measures to decriminalize marijuana. Each of these arrests can cost $1,000 to $2,000, according to a 2011 DPA estimate, costing New York City $75 million in just a single year (2010). The report explains:

In our ongoing research about marijuana possession arrests in New York, we have found that a basic misdemeanor arrest for marijuana possession in New York City varied from a minimum of two or three hours for one officer, to four or five hours or even longer for multiple officers. […]

NYPD Spent 1 Million Hours Over Last Decade On Marijuana Arrests, Analysis Finds | ThinkProgress

 

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The Private Prison Problem


002thThe Private Prison Problem

New Hampshire Dems Stick It To Greedy GOP | Addicting Info

On Friday, the Democratic controlled New Hampshire House voted 197-136 to ban the privatization of the state’s prison system. Whether this passes the Republican held (13-11) Senate is debatable but considering that last year there was movement to hand the prison system over to for-profit corporations, the move is significant.

From further down in the article –

The problem with private prisons is that they have absolutely no incentive to rehabilitate or even release prisoners. Early parole is bad for business. Reducing recidivism is really bad for business. Even more disturbing is the amount of money and effort the private prison industry puts into creating more jailable offenses, lengthening sentences and introducing mandatory sentencing for crimes as small as having a half-smoked joint in your pocket. That the industry is a big supporter of the War on Drugs goes without saying.

Private prisons cost more, have terrible safety and health records and several have been implicated in scandals to bribe judges to hand down harsher sentences in order to keep the prisons filled. This reprehensible behavior has even extended to the juvenile justice system. The logic is clear: kids that go to juvie tend to become adult criminals. Get’em while they’re young and you’ll have a customer for life.

Another dark facet of the Prison Industrial Complex is the push for “immigration crack-downs.” The industry is a major force behind the “sudden” urge for Republican-controlled states to arrest every person with brown skin they can find. Arizona’s now-infamous SB1070 was specifically created to make money for prison corporations who would then “share” their good fortune with the state. If you thought parking tickets were a nuisance, imagine being locked up for the sole purpose of closing your state’s budget shortfall.

New Hampshire Dems Stick It To Greedy GOP | Addicting Info

“no incentive to rehabilitate or even release prisoners”  I remember more than a decade ago when I was reading about a legislative attempt to soften the drug laws in New York state, when the rural members strongly objected. They objected on the grounds they would lose jobs from the private prisons, the principal employers in their districts. I was shocked. I thought the discussion should be about justice and what was right. Instead the legislature wound up talking about jobs and economic development in depressed areas.

We are at a turning point in the history of American criminal justice. Imprisonment rates are dropping for the first time in decades. There is considerable reconsideration of the “war on drugs.” There is increasing controversy over standards on forensic testing. We are confronted on a regular basis by the innocent who have spend years (often decades) behind bars for crimes they did not commit. We are dealing with the issue of prosecutorial overreach and misconduct (the Swartz case).

Change is in the air.

But the kind of changes being considered are hobbled by the fact that private industry makes a profit every day they keep a person in a private prison. After Citizens United, we are beset with corporate money damaging the chances of having an intelligent discussion and lobbying for even more incarceration as a panacea for all criminal justice problems.

Citizens United endangers every form of intelligent policy perverting every discourse into a discussion of who profits. There are other values besides money. One of our more precious values is to not be imprisoned without good reason.

One of the intelligent changes we need is the abolition of private prisons across the board in this nation, everyone of them. The precious right to freedom cannot coexist with a profit in denying it. It is long standing principle in American justice that a monetary interest in finding someone guilty is wrong. That is why we don’t have organ donors from death row. It would make sentencing people to death a more attractive option.

Imprisonment is a public function not a private one. It is a common burden on society because of a joint shared decision to use confinement as a means of justice.

It constantly needs rethinking because of its critical importance as an issue.

James Pilant

From around the web –

From the web site, National Prison Divestment Campaign:

Over the past decade, Wells Fargo Bank has advertised to Latinos through community outreach, Spanish-language advertising and programs that allow immigrants, without U.S. identification, to open bank accounts.

However, Wells Fargo has also invested in the GEO Group, the nation’s second largest private prison company, which operates private prisons and immigration detention centers, reports Univision and Salon.com.

Mary Moreno, the communications director for the National People’s Action Campaign, told Univision: “They’re trying to win over all these Latino customers, but at the same time they’re promoting prisons for immigrants. Profits should never be a motive for incarcerating people.”

From the web site, Prison Pork:

In the wake of the announcement that Florida Atlantic University would name its football stadium after private prison corporation GEO Group for a hefty price, an executive at the company is disseminating false and misleading information about the firm’s practices and documented abuses at its facilities.

In both a statement to reporters and an op-ed, GEO Vice President for Corporate Relations Pablo Paez has falsely claimed that horrific abuses at a GEO juvenile detention facility in Mississippi described by the Department of Justice as “systematic, egregious, and dangerous practices exacerbated by a lack of accountability and controls” occurred before GEO took control of the prison, even though both DOJ and court documents clearly show otherwise.  …

From the web site, Capital Weekly:

In three years, a private-prison construction and management company, the Corrections Corporation of America, has seen the value of its contracts with the state soar from nearly $23 million in 2006 to about $700 million three months ago – all without competitive bidding. Even in a state accustomed to high-dollar contracts, the 31-fold increase over three years is dramatic.
During the same period, the company’s campaign donations rose exponentially, from $36,750 in 2006, of which $25,000 went to the state Republican Party, to $233,500 in 2007-08 and nearly $139,000 in 2009.  The donations have gone to Democrats, Republicans and ballot measures. The company’s largest single contribution, $100,000, went to an unsuccessful budget-reform package pushed last year by Gov. Schwarzenegger.

From the web site, Spikes Mind:

How would you describe an industry that wants to put more Americans in prison and keep them there longer so that it can make more money?  In America today, approximately 130,000 people are locked up in private prisons that are being run by for-profit companies, and that number is growing very rapidly.  Overall, the U.S. has approximately 25 percent of the entire global prison population even though it only has 5 percent of the total global population.  The United States has the highest incarceration rate on the entire globe by far, and no nation in the history of the world has ever locked up more of its own citizens than we have.  Are we really such a cesspool of filth and decay that we need to lock up so many of our own people?  Or are there some other factors at work?  Could part of the problem be that we have allowed companies to lock up men and women in cages for profit?  The two largest private prison companies combined to bring in close to $3,000,000,000 in revenue in 2010, and the largest private prison companies have spent tens of millions of dollars on lobbying and campaign contributions over the past decade.  Putting Americans behind bars has become very big business, and those companies have been given a perverse incentive to push for even more Americans to be locked up.  It is a system that is absolutely teeming with corruption, and it is going to get a lot worse unless someone does something about it.

From the web site, Friends of Justice:

In the wake of the Walnut Grove Youth Correctional facility scandal, the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) announced that GEO Group — one of the largest private prison corporations in the U.S. — will no longer operate three correctional facilities in the state.  By July 20, the corporation will no longer manage the Walnut Grove Youth Correctional, East Mississippi Correctional, or the Marshall County Correctional facilities.

In 2010, reports emerged of sexual abuse, improper medical care, extended prisoner isolation, and violence among inmates at the Walnut Grove facility.  These reports sparked a class-action lawsuit filed by the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center.  The lawsuit resulted in the removal of youth from the Walnut Grove facility. According to the Associated Press, MDOC also had concerns about incidents that occurred at the other GEO Group facilities in the state.

And from the web site, Wickersham’s Conscience:

By determining that an Alaska prisoner doesn’t have the right to recover money from a private prison contractor, the court has cut off the best single way to get a private prison contractor’s attention: by nibbling at their bottom line. In effect, the court is deciding that all prisoner litigation is chaff.

The mistake the court makes, WC thinks, is in treating public prisons and private prisons the same. They are not. As WC has argued before, a public prison has no motivation to keep a prisoner any longer than necessary. A private prison, paid a fixed amount per prisoner per day, has every incentive to keep the private prison census high, because it maximizes revenue. A private prison, for example, might be inclined to impose more discipline on prisoners because, under the system for credit for “good behavior,” it means the prisoners stay longer. And the private prison gets more money.

If Perotti’s “segregation” for  ”investigation of possible possession of escape paraphernalia” results in Perotti serving more time, even if the “investigation” was baseless, CCA is a net winner. Perotti – and the State of Alaska, which is paying CCA – are net losers. By failing to take into account or even to acknowledge the different situation presented by a private prison contractor.

 

 

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Occupy Wall Street Poster!!


My understanding is that this poster is free to use and I recommend you post it as well and visit OCCUPYWALLST.ORG. The struggle is just beginning.

James Pilant

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Ethics Bob Journeys to Zuccotti Park, Home of Occupy Wall Street


"Thousands gather at the Subtreasury Buil...

Image via Wikipedia

Report from Zuccotti Park, and what’s next for Occupy Wall Street; Ethics Bob

My buddy, Ethics Bob, has journeyed to the wilds of New York, in particular, the semi-encampment of Zuccotti Park, the home of Occupy Wall Street.

Here’s a little of what he has to say

Zuccotti Park was a friendly place, surprisingly orderly, contrary to expectations from television. People sweeping, others staffing the free food tent, others reading or cheerfully chatting with visitors like me. There was a library, several pet dogs (apparently OWS is dog-, not cat-friendly) and a few baskets seeking donations. I saw lots of American flags and posters, but nothing ugly or much beyond run-of-the-mill progressive political ideas.

That’s been my perception as well, that Occupy Wall Street is replaying elements from previous eras of American Progressivism. Certainly, you can catch glimpses of the Grange, early labor organizers like Samuel Gompers and more than a little Chautauqua.

But there is definitely some new stuff here. These guys are very media savvy and, however, much disdain the fact attracts, the truth is that the Occupy Wall Street Movement is part and parcel of the demonstrations across the Arab World a few months ago. Citizen activism is catchy like the flu. And there is a lot of this flu going around. I expect to see more and more in Europe as their austerity budgets kick in.

Please go to Ethics Bob’s web site. I have provided several links. You should never rely on one paragraph to get the whole sense of his writing.

James Pilant

 

Map of Wall Street and the surrounding streets...Report from Zuccotti Park, and what’s next for Occupy Wall Street « Ethics Bob

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Andi comments on the previous post – The 99 Percenters – Why is New York the Center of their Protests?


This is a comment on a previous post –  The 99 Percenters – Why is New York the Center of their Protests?

(The article was actually motivated by one of my reader’s comments on Facebook and while I hope there are elements of a call for economic justice implied in it, I didn’t have any ethical argument except for inequality itself – James Pilant)

Here’s Andi’s response to the post –

While reading this article, I wondered about the ethics and what the author wanted us to tell. Is it the question whether it is morally right that people do the protests in NY or is it the question if it’s ethically that 1 percent of the population in NY owns about 44 percent of all income?! Or is it the more general question whether it is ethically to do protests in the street?

To answer this question it is necessary to know the definition of an ethical decision. A decision is ethically if it affects others, has alternative courses of action and is perceived as ethically relevant by one or more parties.
By comparing the questions with the definition, it becomes clear that the second question cannot be discussed under ethical terms. Only the questions whether it is ethically to to protests or to do them in NY, has alternative courses of actions.
Therefore I focus on protests and try to state my opinion about it.

To answer the question with the postmodern ethical theory (= decision is morally right if the person follows his emotions in a situation), I would say that doing protests to point to abuses is morally okay because it is a good medium to raise high attention in the press and in tv newscasts. But that’s only half of the story. To answer this question in a more rational view, the combination of postmodern ethical theories and ethics of rights and justice is needed. Here the question of fair procedures or fair outcomes comes up.

Whether protests are morally right or wrong, is difficult. What do you think about the following questions?:

Can a protest really influence decisions that there are fair outcomes for everybody? Or is it only a way to highlight unfair procedures?

My great thanks to Andi for taking the time to comment and not just to comment but to comment with intelligence and insight. I want Andi to know that author identification is up to the contributor. If you want to be clearly identified with e-mail, blog links, etc.., you have only to ask and I will modify the posting.

Thanks!!!

James Pilant

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