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FREE MUMIA & ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS

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FREE MUMIA & ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS

This group was inspired by Elish and the many other members of this community who tirelessly work on behalf of freedom, justice and equality for political prisoners. Please join us.

Website: http://wacptv.ning.com/profile/Delaproser
Location: WORLD WIDE
Members: 48
Latest Activity: May 28, 2017

TROY DAVIS IS INNOCENT: Email this to: smayfield@georgia.gov NOW! Let them know!!!

Call Attorney General Eric Holder Now! Demand a Civil Rights Investigation! !!

The January 19, 2010 the Supreme Court Action of Sending Mumia's Case Back to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals Brings Mumia Closer to Execution Unless We Act Now!

U.S. Department of Justice Main Switchboard 202-514-2000
Public Comment Line 202-353-1555
U.S. Department of Justice E-Mail Address webmaster@usdoj. gov

We are continuing and escalating the Campaign for a Civil Rights Investigation to challenge the entire conspiracy to kill yet another Black revolutionary leader. As many of you have learned over the years, this conspiracy even precedes 1981 when the incident which led to Mumia's incarceration, conviction, and death sentence occurred. The FBI began its surveillance and targeting of Mumia when he was only 15 years old. At that time, Mumia had demonstrated against George Wallace, the arch-racist Alabama governor who played a strategic role in fighting the Civil Rights Movement in the South. We demand a civil rights investigation into the 28 plus years of violations of Mumia's rights in the court system, but also into that history of surveillance and targeting of Mumia when he was only a teenager. Mumia was part of the counterintelligence program that the infamous FBI Director, J. Edgar Hoover, initiated to "neutralize" potential Black leaders.

We urge people to continue to sign onto the petition on our website www.freemumia. com, or to download the letter which will follow and mail it to the address at the bottom, and now contact Attorney General Eric Holder in Washington, DC, by telephone and let him know that such an investigation is essential given that the courts all the way to the US Supreme Court have failed to provide any justice for Mumia.

For years we heard that the federal courts would overturn an obviously biased Pennsylvania judicial process. We have now seen the issue of racism in the trial and the state appeals process, as manifested both in the racial bias of the jury selection and in the judge's statement, "I'm going to help them fry the Nigger" ignored and denied by the federal courts all the way to the Supreme Court. And just recently, the Supreme Court even changed the standard for granting life in prison rather than execution (the Mills issue) in order to bring Mumia closer to execution. Join the movement for justice for Mumia! Call or e-mail the Justice Department immediately! Sign the petition online www.freemumia. com or sign the attached letter and mail it to the address on the bottom. And now, CALL ERIC HOLDER. LET'S FLOOD THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT WITH CALLS DEMANDING A CIVIL RIGHTS INVESTIGATION.

Free Mumia and All Our Political Prisoners! Abolish the Death Penalty! Abolish the Prison Industrial Complex!

For more information on what you can do as part of the Campaign for a Civil Rights Investigation, leave your number on our hotline, 212 330-8029, come to our weekly Friday 6:30 PM meetings at St. Mary's Church, 521 West 126th Street (between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue), ORGANIZE SUPPORT!

Discussion Forum

Justice 4 Major Tillery: Emanuel Claitt - New Evidence

Started by Delaproser. Last reply by Universal Divine Being AUSET Sep 12, 2016. 1 Reply

In The State Of Pennsylvania, Major George Tillery, has been in prison over 31 years for crimes he did not commit. There was no evidence against him for the 1976 poolroom shootings that left one man…Continue

Tags: Nancy, Lockhart, Tillery, George, Major

URGENT EMERGENCY MEDICAL CAMPAIGN FOR ROBERT SETH HAYES

Started by Delaproser. Last reply by Diane Friday-Travel Specialist May 6, 2015. 3 Replies

PLEASE POST AND SPREAD WIDELYRobert Seth Hayes #74-A-2280 Medical Justice Days of Action: May 5 - 8, 2015Seth in 2011Seth on Nov. 30, 2014Robert Seth Hayes is one of the longest held political…Continue

Tags: prisoners, campaign, political, HAYES, SETH

Michelle Alexander Shows Why Criminal Justice System of Racial Control Should Be Undone

Started by Marion Lamar Perryman Mar 21, 2015. 0 Replies

 Thanks Mrs. Michelle Alexander and to ALL group members. Once again The ONLY SOLUTION to the promblems of The Native American Negro population (also known as the Native Black American or…Continue

Michelle Alexander: Ferguson Shows Why Criminal Justice System of "Racial Control" Should Be Undone

Started by Delaproser. Last reply by Universal Divine Being AUSET Mar 4, 2015. 4 Replies

http://democracynow.org - The U.S. Justice Department has concluded that the police and city courts in Ferguson, Missouri, routinely engaged in a pattern and…Continue

Tags: System, "Racial, Control, Justice, Criminal

Comment Wall

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You need to be a member of FREE MUMIA & ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS to add comments!

Comment by TheArtiste Hassan on May 28, 2017 at 7:23pm
Comment by WACP111 SOCIAL REFORM on March 1, 2016 at 8:30am

LAST OF THE ANGOLA 3 FREE...

Hear it from Jamal himself

http://www.prisonradio.org/media/audio/mumia/last-angola-three-free...

Comment by Universal Divine Being AUSET on February 6, 2012 at 5:39pm

New photo of Mumia Abu Jamal and report on visit from Johanna Fernandez‏

Check this out! From Mumia's second day of contact visits (the first day he visited his wife), and is the first photo of Mumia since the mid-1990s when PA prisons made it illegal any visitors, including journalists, to bring cameras into visits. Below the photo is a writeup about the visit, by Johanna Fernandez (on the left in the photo).

The FOP, Philly DA, and the rest of the FRY MUMIA lynch mob did everything they could to prevent this from happening, and they FAILED because of the endurance and strength of Mumia and his supporters around the world.

Wow! Very inspiring!
Next step, Mumia's release!

http://prisonradio.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/muster.jpg


http://prisonradio.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/muster.jpg


Comrades, Brothers and Sisters:
 
Heidi Boghosian and I just returned from a very moving visit with Mumia. We visited yesterday, Thursday, February 2. This was Mumia's second contact visit in over 30 years, since his transfer to General Population last Friday, Jan 27. His first contact visit was with his wife, Wadiya, on Monday, January 30.
Unlike our previous visits to Death Row at SCI Greene and to solitary confinement at SCI Mahanoy, our visit yesterday took place in a large visitor's area, amidst numerous circles of families and spouses who were visiting other inmates.  Compared to the intense and focused conversations we had had with Mumia in a small, isolated visiting cell on Death Row, behind sterile plexiglass, this exchange was more relaxed and informal and more unpredictably interactive with the people around us...it was more human.  There were so many scenes of affection around us, of children jumping on top of and pulling at their fathers, of entire families talking intimately around small tables, of couples sitting and quietly holding each other, and of girlfriends and wives stealing a forbidden kiss from the men they were there to visit (kisses are only allowed at the start and at the end of visits). These scenes were touching and beautiful, and markedly different from the images of prisoners presented to us by those in power. Our collective work could benefit greatly from these humane, intimate images.
When we entered, we immediately saw Mumia standing across the room. We walked toward each other and he hugged both of us simultaneously. We were both stunned that he would embrace us so warmly and share his personal space so generously after so many years in isolation. 
He looked young, and we told him as much. He responded, "Black don't crack!"  We laughed.
He talked to us about the newness of every step he has taken since his release to general population a week ago. So much of what we take for granted daily is new to him, from the microwave in the visiting room to the tremor he felt when, for the first time in 30 years, he kissed his wife.  As he said in his own words, "the only thing more drastically different than what I'm experiencing now would be freedom." He also noted that everyone in the room was watching him.
The experience of breaking bread with our friend and comrade was emotional. It was wonderful to be able to talk and share grilled cheese sandwiches, apple danishes, cookies and hot chocolate from the visiting room vending machines.
One of the highlights of the visit came with the opportunity to take a photo. This was one of the first such opportunities for Mumia in decades, and we had a ball! Primping the hair, making sure that we didn't have food in our teeth, and nervously getting ready for the big photo moment was such a laugh! And Mumia was openly tickled by every second of it. 
When the time came to leave, we all hugged and were promptly instructed to line up against the wall and walk out with the other visitors. As we were exiting the prison, one sister pulled us aside and told us that she couldn't stop singing Kelly Clarkson's line "some people wait a lifetime for a moment like this." She shared that she and her parents had followed Mumia's case since 1981 and that she was overjoyed that Mumia was alive and in general population despite Pennsylvania's bloodthirsty pursuit of his execution.  We told her that on April 24 we were going to launch the fight that would win Mumia's release: that on that day we were going to Occupy the Justice Department in Washington DC. She told us that because she recently survived cancer she now believed in possibility, and that since Mumia was now in general population she could see how we could win. She sent us off with the line from Laverne and Shirley's theme song - "never heard the word impossible!"- gave us her number, and asked us to sign her up for the fight. 
We're still taking it all in. The journey has been humbling and humanizing, and we are re-energized and re-inspired!!
In the words of City Lights editor, Greg Ruggiero:"
"Long Term Goal: End Mass Incarceration. 
Short Term Goal: Free Mumia Abu-Jamal!"
--Johanna Fernandez
Facebook Link to Photo




--
SIGN THE JERICHO COINTELPRO PETITION!

Free All Political Prisoners!
nycjericho@gmail.com www.jerichony.org

Comment by Delaproser on November 2, 2011 at 1:06am

New rules slashing crack cocaine sentences go into effect


By Carol Cratty, CNNhttp://cnn.com/video/?/video/crime/2011/11/01/tsr-mary-snow-crack-s...

Washington (CNN) -- For thousands of prison inmates convicted of crack cocaine charges, the prison doors will be opening early, thanks to sentencing changes easing the disparity between the penalties for possessing or distributing crack vs. powder cocaine.

Congress passed the Fair Sentencing Act in August 2010, changing the 100-to-1 disparity between minimum sentences for crack and powder cocaine to 18 to 1. The U.S. Sentencing Commission voted this summer to make the reduced crack penalties retroactive, which means more than 12,000 current inmates are eligible to request reduced sentences.

The retroactivity took effect Tuesday. The Sentencing Commission estimates that inmates will have an average of three years chopped off their sentences. An estimated 1,800 inmates became eligible for release immediately because they had already served enough time, and prosecutors did not object to their release.

Critics of the old sentencing system say it was unfair to African-Americans, who make up the majority of those convicted of possessing and distributing crack.

"This really has been one of the great stains on our federal criminal justice system for 20 years or more," said Michael Nachmanoff, the federal public defender for the Eastern District of Virginia. "This disparity between the punishment for crack cocaine and powder was really unjustified."

Nachmanoff noted under the old guidelines someone who had just 5 grams of crack cocaine would receive a mandatory minimum sentence of five years. But someone would have to have 500 grams of powdered cocaine to receive a similar sentence.

Nachmanoff's district is believed to have the largest number of people in the country -- between 800 and 900 people -- who might benefit from the reduced sentencing guidelines on crack. He said 75 of his clients were expected to be released on the first day of retroactivity.

"A lot of people have been sitting in jail for a long time not because they didn't commit crimes, but because the punishment they faced was too harsh and unjustified compared to other people who had committed similar crimes in similar ways," Nachmanoff told CNN. He said reduced sentences will not be automatic. Judges must review the cases and determine whether an early release of an inmate represents a danger to the community.

William Johnson, a Virginia man convicted of conspiracy to distribute cocaine in 1997, was one of those released Tuesday. "It's unbelievable. I'm ecstatic," Johnson told CNN." The 39-year-old father of four said he only found out Monday he would be released the next day.

Under the terms of his original sentence, he would have been eligible for release in October 2018, and that sentence was reduced a few years ago so that his revised release date was June 2014.

Johnson, who identified himself as an African-American, said there seemed to be a racial component to the different sentences given out in the past for crack and powder cocaine, but he said he wouldn't describe himself as bitter.

"I don't have time for it," said Johnson. He said he's concentrating on catching up with family members and making plans to go into business cleaning office buildings.

Families Against Mandatory Minimums has fought for changes in mandatory cocaine penalties for years.

"Most mandatory sentences are so high and so rigid that judges can't get around them, so people are going to prison for extraordinarily long times, way beyond what they need to learn their lessons," said FAMM spokeswoman Julie Stewart.

But even with the changes, there is still an 18-to-1 disparity in sentences for crack and powder cocaine offenses. Nachmanoff said now a person with crack will have to have 28 grams before triggering a mandatory five-year minimum sentence. But the person with powder cocaine still must have a much larger amount -- at least 500 grams.

"Ultimately the right answer is 1 to 1, and people in the law enforcement community and the criminal justice system recognize that," said Nachmanoff. "But that just means that there's still more work to do."
Comment by Delaproser on November 1, 2011 at 11:41pm

Dying Woman's Family Fights To Free Her From Prison


Dying woman's family fights to free her from prison
By Charlene Muhammad -National Correspondent- | Last updated: Nov 1, 2011 - 12:47:54 PM

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (FinalCall.com) - The family of a dying woman serving her 14th year of a life without the possibility of parole sentence continues its struggle to free her, hoping for clemency by Gov. Jerry Brown or an appeals court decision.

The case is an example of how the state's Three Strikes law fails defendants and the legally blind woman never received a fair hearing, according to family and supporters.

Patricia Wright has terminal cancer. Her family's efforts, support from national and state advocates, and recommendations for release by the prison warden and medical director have not resulted in release from the Central California Women's Facility. She was jailed on a felony conviction for murder and had two prior felony theft convictions. She has maintained her innocence.

The murder conviction was the result of prosecution for the death of her husband, and makes her ineligible for medical release. The family says they were told the three felonies prohibit her release on humanitarian grounds.

Two felony charges were lodged against her after her then seven-year-old son walked out of a model home with two toys. That incident resulted in two felony theft convictions—one for each of the cheap toys, said her sister.

A family torn apart

“It's hard for me to see my sister when I know what she used to look like. She tries to laugh but when I see her, she's real weak and in a wheelchair. She asks me when I talk to her every day, ‘What has the governor said, now?'” stated Arletta Wright, a staunch advocate for her sister.

Arletta Wright says her sister was railroaded and failed by the criminal justice system. The governor says he would need recommendations from state high court justices to grant clemency, says the family spokesperson. The fight to free Patricia Wright, however, requires a more aggressive defense but the family can't afford a private attorney.Still their hope lies in an appeal at the Ninth Circuit Court level.

“What comes to mind when I think about it is this woman is ravaged by cancer.It's costing the prison a lot of money, and there are grounds for granting the release,” said Geri Silva, executive director of Families to Amend California's Three Strikes Law in Los Angeles.

The Innocence Project has taken on Patricia's case and is investigating whether she was wrongly convicted. Her plight has garnered support from Dr. Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, executive director of the Association In Defense of the Wrongfully Convicted; Alice Huffman, president of the California State Conference of the NAACP; Michelle Alexander, author and head of NAACP Legal Redress with the Madera, Calif. NAACP; and Pastor Sherman Mitchell of the Victorville, Calif. Branch of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

The advocacy groups believe Patricia Wright's constitutional and civil rights were violated.

All of the organizations have either written letters in support of her appeal or asked the Innocence Project to investigate the case.

Nancy Lockhart, activist and author of “A Guide to Grassroots Organizing in Support of the Wrongfully Convicted,” posted a petition to free Ms. Wright on change.org, an online advocacy platform. She usually does not get involved in cases without thoroughly researching them herself, but the Innocence Project's involvement prompted her support.

“What really caught my attention was that Patricia was in stage four cancer. I felt she was innocent of the charge of murder and I felt there was a greater urgency to have her released so she could die at home with her family or get better medical treatment,” Ms. Lockhart said.

Prosecutors have argued Patricia Wright received a fair trial, was convicted, and should remain in prison.

“I would prefer, instead of Gov. Brown giving us a cold shoulder and being evasive, that he comes out and tells us, ‘I don't want to do it,' ” Arletta Wright told The Final Call.

On Oct. 11, Riverside County Judge Becky Dugan denied a motion to reduce the theft convictions to misdemeanors, which would have made way for a medical pardon.

“My sister is dying of breast cancer.She has four tumors in her brain. She just wants to come home and die in peace with her children and grand kids,” pled an emotional Arletta Wright, before Judge Dugan ruled.

“In May 2010, doctors gave Patricia six months to live but thank God she has beaten the odds. They're saying any day now, she could be gone. They've given up on her but I can't think that way about my sister,” Arletta Wright told The Final Call.

The setbacks in Judge Dugan's ruling and Gov. Brown's position on clemency disappointed but have not deterred those who believe in Patricia Wright's innocence.

This ordeal is so outrageous that the truth must come out, Arletta Wright said.

‘Innocent people get convicted'

Judge Dugan said she was compelled to deny the release request because of multiple probation violations.

But according to Arletta Wright, the violations were actually police calls regarding a family dispute.

“They were never referred to the D.A.'s office. She never went to trial. She never was tried by a jury or convicted. As far as they went was to the police station as a report,” she said.

In a back and forth debate in open court, Ms. Silva shouted to Judge Dugan, from her seat in the last row of the public pews, “The New York Innocence Project took on Ms. Wright's case ... Innocent people get convicted, you know!”

“I'm sure you believe that ... but I have to assume these convictions are accurate,” Judge Dugan replied.

Arletta Wright told The Final Call she is awaiting documents from the Riverside District Attorney's Office she says will prove no charges for any such violations were ever filed.

“The D.A. only brought those incidents up as charges to make Patricia look bad and to feed the judge's denial of our request. Judge Dugan said herself that if it wasn't for those other charges, she would have considered dismissing it. It's wrong what they're doing to my sister,” Arletta Wright added.

Felony convictions for children's toys?

The two cases against Patricia Wright are inextricably linked and have left her dying alone in prison.

She received two felonies after pleading guilty to being involved in 2nd degree burglary at an open house in Moreno Valley in 1989. She received a third felony conviction in 1999 on conspiracy to murder her then-husband, Willie Scott.

According to her sister, Patricia Wright pled to the thefts only because the attorney said she would certainly face prison time if she went to trial.“But if she pled to misdemeanors, she could go back later, have them expunged and be at home with her children,” explained Arletta Wright.

The family insists the misdemeanor convictions were somehow changed to felonies after the fact.

Alfey, her 29-year-old son, was seven at the time of the open house. He testified that he took the toys and walked out without telling his mother.“It's been hard growing up without my mom and celebrating Mother's Day. I don't remember the last time I've celebrated Mother's Day and it's affected growing up as a man, dealing with relationships.It's taken a toll on me,” he said.

He never dreamed putting the toys in his pocket and playing in the back seat of a car could land his mother in prison.

Ms. Silva said the case is convoluted and while she is not condoning that toys were taken, she argues it wasn't theft.

Alfey did what children often do, pick things up that don't belong to them, she said.

It was a model home, not a residence; he was seven, and the toys were worth 99 cents, Ms. Silva adds.

“This is about Moreno Valley, an area which at that time was predominantly White, a Black woman, and her Black child, who were already being followed by the Caucasian realtor while they were inside the home,” Ms. Silva continued.

As for the murder, no physical or forensic evidence links Patricia Wright to the crime, according to her family, but police reopened the cold case and charged her 17 years afterward based on what her brother calls a forced, false statement, and written accounts from Patricia Wright's sister-in-law, who has since said she lied.

Larry Wright told The Final Call he was in a Connecticut prison at the time Los Angeles police detectives questioned him about his sister's case. It was his first time being incarcerated and he wanted out so when they told him that if he cooperated he would be released, he agreed.

Larry Wright said he never intended to testify against his sister and just wanted to get to L.A.

Once in L.A., he recanted his statement, and when police realized he wouldn't cooperate, Larry Wright said they kept him in a padded holding cell with no windows for 17 days. “They fed me the same thing, a hard burrito, twice a day, every day at Parker Center and they interrogated me and told me to kill myself ... When taking (recording) my testimony, they would cut the tape off and rehearse what they wanted me to say,” he continued.

Mr. Wright and Janet Carcelin, the sister-in-law, recanted their stories, saying the taped statements were coerced by police. The jury still convicted Patricia Wright of murder. “The crime that was committed was that in America if you're Black, laws apply very differently to you and you're going to be found guilty even if there wasn't a crime,” Ms. Silva said.

http://nancylockhart.blogspot.com/2011/11/dying-womans-family-fight...

Comment by Delaproser on October 31, 2011 at 11:23am

7 Celebrities Who Changed Their Lives for the Better After Serving ...

In 1983 amateur boxer Dewey Bozella was accused and later convicted of a murder he didn’t commit. It took 26 years in New York’s notorious Sing Sing prison before his name could be cleared. Now a free man, Bozella, 52, finally got the chance to live out his dream of being a professional fighter when he stepped into the ring on October 14 and went against 30-year-old fighter, Larry Hopkins, at Los Angeles’ Staples Center. Against all odds, Bozella not only finished the fight but won against an opponent 22 years his junior. The redeemed pugilist ended the evening saying, “Don’t ever give up.” In light of Bozella’s determination and story of redemption, BlackEnterprise.com takes a look at seven notable figures that were able to find success despite carrying the stigma of being formerly incarcerated. —Amber McKynzieIn 1983 amateur boxer Dewey Bozella was accused and later convicted of a murder he didn’t commit. It took 26 years in New York’s notorious Sing Sing prison before his name could be cleared. Now a free man, Bozella, 52, finally got the chance to live out his dream of being a professional fighter when he stepped into the ring on October 14 and went against 30-year-old fighter, Larry Hopkins, at Los Angeles’ Staples Center. Against all odds, Bozella not only finished the fight but won against an opponent 22 years his junior. The redeemed pugilist ended the evening saying, “Don’t ever give up.” In light of Bozella’s determination and story of redemption,BlackEnterprise.com takes a look at seven notable figures that were able to find success despite carrying the stigma of being formerly incarcerated.—Amber McKynzie


CHARLES S. DUTTON Best known for his TV role as Roc Emerson in the 1990s sitcom Roc, Dutton has established himself as a credible actor. But before the Maryland-born performer became a regular face on primetime television, he spent more than seven years behind bars for assault with a deadly weapon when a 17-year-old Dutton stabbed a young man to death in the street. Initially sentenced to three years in prison, the rowdy youth assaulted an officer, which earned him additional time. Dutton put the extra time to good use as he refocused his energy on more positive things. Upon his release, he enrolled in the Yale School of Drama, which gave him the skills to embark on a successful acting career.

  • CHARLES S. DUTTON
Best known for his TV role as Roc Emerson in the 1990s sitcom Roc, Dutton has established himself as a credible actor. But before the Maryland-born performer became a regular face on primetime television, he spent more than seven years behind bars for assault with a deadly weapon when a 17-year-old Dutton stabbed a young man to death in the street. Initially sentenced to three years in prison, the rowdy youth assaulted an officer, which earned him additional time. Dutton put the extra time to good use as he refocused his energy on more positive things. Upon his release, he enrolled in the Yale School of Drama, which gave him the skills to embark on a successful acting career.
  • DON KING
 Years before King became affiliated with boxing greats like Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, he was the leader of a Cleveland gambling ring. His life of white-collar crime became murderous in 1954. During the robbery of one of his gambling houses, King shot and killed Hillary Brown. Since the incident was deemed a case of justifiable homicide under the laws of self defense there was no conviction. The same didn’t hold true for another deadly incident in 1967, where King was convicted of second degree murder after stomping former employee, Sam Garrett to death outside a bar over $600. Released in 1971 after the charges were reduced to manslaughter, the ex-con decided to gamble legally by becoming a boxing promoter. King wound up orchestrating some of the sport’s most famous bouts including Muhammad Ali and George Foreman’s “The Rumble in the Jungle” (1974) and Ali’s third fight against Joe .DON KING Years before King became affiliated with boxing greats like Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, he was the leader of a Cleveland gambling ring. His life of white-collar crime became murderous in 1954. During the robbery of one of his gambling houses, King shot and killed Hillary Brown. Since the incident was deemed a case of justifiable homicide under the laws of self defense there was no conviction. The same didn’t hold true for another deadly incident in 1967, where King was convicted of second degree murder after stomping former employee, Sam Garrett to death outside a bar over $600. Released in 1971 after the charges were reduced to manslaughter, the ex-con decided to gamble legally by becoming a boxing promoter. King wound up orchestrating some of the sport’s most famous bouts including Muhammad Ali and George Foreman’s “The Rumble in the Jungle” (1974) and Ali’s third fight against Joe Frazier, “The Thrilla in Manila” (1975).
CURTIS “50 CENT” JACKSON More than 10 years before the man now known as 50 Cent was breaking records, the rapper/entrepreneur/actor was breaking the law as a notorious crack dealer on the streets of Southside Jamaica, Queens, NY. Following in the footsteps of his mother Sabrina, who was murdered when her son was just eight, Jackson began peddling drugs as early as 12. Eventually the fast life caught up to him as the juvenile delinquent was arrested and sentenced to three to nine years, but served six months in a shock incarceration boot camp instead. The scared straight program worked as Jackson refocused his efforts to a career in music, which has since blossomed into numerous legal ventures that has his estimated worth now hovering around an estimated $200 million.

  • CURTIS “50 CENT” JACKSON
More than 10 years before the man now known as 50 Cent was breaking records, the rapper/entrepreneur/actor was breaking the law as a notorious crack dealer on the streets of Southside Jamaica, Queens, NY. Following in the footsteps of his mother Sabrina, who was murdered when her son was just eight, Jackson began peddling drugs as early as 12. Eventually the fast life caught up to him as the juvenile delinquent was arrested and sentenced to three to nine years, but served six months in a shock incarceration boot camp instead. The scared straight program worked as Jackson refocused his efforts to a career in music, which has since blossomed into numerous legal ventures that has his estimated worth now hovering around an estimated $200 million.
JUDGE GREG MATHIS Before becoming one of TV’s favorite afternoon judges, the honorable Greg Mathis was a member of Detroit’s infamous Errol Flynns gang. With numerous arrests as a youth, he was once held at Detroit’s Wayne County Jail, where his mother revealed she had colon cancer during one of her visits. The news inspired Mathis to go straight, which he did upon his release on probation. Since his troubled teen years, the reformed citizen became an activist and earned his law degree. Although his criminal past barred him from practicing law for several years, Mathis finally made his dream come true in 1995 when he was elected a superior court judge for Michigan's 36th District, making him the youngest person in the state to hold the post. Now he reaches out to teens in prison making “PEER appearances” at various detention centers across the country and keeping the kids who don’t want to change behind bars.

  • JUDGE GREG MATHIS
Before becoming one of TV’s favorite afternoon judges, the honorable Greg Mathis was a member of Detroit’s infamous Errol Flynns gang. With numerous arrests as a youth, he was once held at Detroit’s Wayne County Jail, where his mother revealed she had colon cancer during one of her visits. The news inspired Mathis to go straight, which he did upon his release on probation. Since his troubled teen years, the reformed citizen became an activist and earned his law degree. Although his criminal past barred him from practicing law for several years, Mathis finally made his dream come true in 1995 when he was elected a superior court judge for Michigan's 36th District, making him the youngest person in the state to hold the post. Now he reaches out to teens in prison making “PEER appearances” at various detention centers across the country and keeping the kids who don’t want to change behind bars.
DANNY TREJO Before appearing in such films as Spy Kids, xXx, Once Upon A Time in Mexico and Machete or television series like Grounded For Life and Desperate Housewives, Trejo spent an 11 year span going in and out of California’s San Quentin prison for excessive drug addiction and armed robbery. But while in prison, he found an outlet for bottled up anger through boxing. Becoming a lightweight and welterweight boxing champion while incarcerated, Trejo embarked on a 12-step rehab program that helped him turn his life around. In 1985 he began speaking for Cocaine Anonymous, where he met a friend who later called him for a meeting. The meeting turned out to be about getting cast as an extra on the movie Runaway Train. Trejo got the part and his acting career blossomed from there.
Before appearing in such films as Spy KidsxXxOnce Upon A Time in Mexico and Machete or television series like Grounded For Life and Desperate Housewives, Trejo spent an 11 year span going in and out of California’s San Quentin prison for excessive drug addiction and armed robbery. But while in prison, he found an outlet for bottled up anger through boxing. Becoming a lightweight and welterweight boxing champion while incarcerated, Trejo embarked on a 12-step rehab program that helped him turn his life around. In 1985 he began speaking for Cocaine Anonymous, where he met a friend who later called him for a meeting. The meeting turned out to be about getting cast as an extra on the movie Runaway Train. Trejo got the part and his acting career blossomed from there.
AKON Before becoming a global music icon, Akon (born Aliaune Damala Badara Thiam) ran a high-end car theft ring in New Jersey, and ended up serving a three-year probationary sentence for gun possession. While in prison, the Senegalese-American singer took to writing to express his distress with incarceration. His latent talents led to a record deal and in 2004 Akon released his chart-topping single, “Locked Up,” which recounted his experiences and feelings behind bars. His musical success as an artist led the once-troubled entertainer to start his own labels, Konvict Muzik and Kon Live Distribution, which are home to stars like T-Pain and Lady Gaga, respectively.

  • AKON
Before becoming a global music icon, Akon (born Aliaune Damala Badara Thiam) ran a high-end car theft ring in New Jersey, and ended up serving a three-year probationary sentence for gun possession. While in prison, the Senegalese-American singer took to writing to express his distress with incarceration. His latent talents led to a record deal and in 2004 Akon released his chart-topping single, “Locked Up,” which recounted his experiences and feelings behind bars. His musical success as an artist led the once-troubled entertainer to start his own labels, Konvict Muzik and Kon Live Distribution, which are home to stars like T-Pain and Lady Gaga, respectively
MALCOLM X Before there was the political leader known as Malcolm X, there was Malcolm Little, a small time crook with no direction. That was until January of 1946 when he was arrested for burglary and later charged with larceny and breaking and entering, which carried a hefty sentence. It was during his incarceration that Little was introduced to the Nation of Islam and he slowly began changing his ways and eventually his name to Malcolm X. In the years following his release, X rose up the ranks of the NOI and became a prominent minister and civil rights activist. A skilled speaker and leader, X eventually parted from the Nation and formed his own religious organization until his assassination in February 1965.

  • MALCOLM X

Before there was the political leader known as Malcolm X, there was Malcolm Little, a small time crook with no direction. That was until January of 1946 when he was arrested for burglary and later charged with larceny and breaking and entering, which carried a hefty sentence. It was during his incarceration that Little was introduced to the Nation of Islam and he slowly began changing his ways and eventually his name to Malcolm X. In the years following his release, X rose up the ranks of the NOI and became a prominent minister and civil rights activist. A skilled speaker and leader, X eventually parted from the Nation and formed his own religious organization until his assassination in February 1965.

http://irishgreeneyes-welcometomyworld.blogspot.com/?spref=tw

Comment by Delaproser on October 31, 2011 at 11:19am

Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Now: 30 Unconstitutional Years on Death Row are Enough!

By lindorff

Created 10/23/2011 - 16:54

by: 

Dave Lindorff and Linn Washington, Jr.

 

With Mumia Abu-Jamal's sentence of death now formally vacated, thanks to the Supreme Court's decision last week not to consider an appeal by the Philadelphia District Attorney of a Third Circuit Court panel's ruling that that sentence had been unconstitutional thanks to flawed jury instructions from the trial judge and a flawed jury ballot form, many of those who have long called for his execution are now saying, fine, let him rot in prison for the rest of his life.

The Philadelphia Inquirer, the leading newspaper in his hometown of Philadelphia, in more genteel language, said essentially the same thing in an unsigned October 13 editorial, opining that with the death penalty vacated, the default sentence of life in prison without parole was "appropriate" and "in the best interest of justice."

The editorial urged DA Seth Williams not to exercise his right within the next 180 days to seek to obtain a new death sentence by asking for a new jury trial on the penalty only. The paper made this plea not because the editors felt such an effort to re-sentence him would be unseemly, but because of the cost to the struggling city of Philadelphia.

But hold on here. Putting aside for a moment the matter of whether Abu-Jamal was even fairly convicted in a trial that was viewed as a shameful farce at the time in 1982 even by the editors of the Inquirer, is it really "in the best interest of justice" or in any way "appropriate" for Abu-Jamal to simply be switched over from a death sentence to a sentence of life in prison without parole, now that, as the Inquirer correctly noted in its editorial, "four federal judges have ruled that Abu-Jamal's 1982 death sentence was unconstitutional," and that "he was denied a fair sentencing at his original trial."

No. It is manifestly not just or appropriate! Abu-Jamal no longer has a death sentence, but remains in solitary on death row thanks to a vengeful, or gutless, DA and supine judges

The unconstitutional sentence of death voted out by confused jurors back in 1982 has meant that Abu-Jamal, for nearly 30 years, has been held in a Super Max death row prison called SCI-Greene in western Pennsylvania, where he is confined in a tiny windowless cell in solitary confinement, separated at all times form even other inmates. It means that unlike other prisoners, as a death row inmate he has for all those years been unable to have any physical contact with friends and loved ones -- even his little grandchildren, or his late mother, whose funeral he was barred from attending. Death row prisoners, on the rare occasions when they are allowed to see visitors, are brought, cuffed and manacled dispite the impossibility of escape, to a "visiting room," and must communicate through a thick plexiglass window. Abu-Jamal was even kept in this hellish condition during the last 10 years, after Federal District Judge William Yohn, in December 2001, initially overturned his death sentence, because the vindictive and sadistic then DA Lynn Abraham asked the court to keep him there for the duration of the appeal process on that issue. Yohn's decision was never overturned in all that time, yet even now that Yohn's ruling has been finally confirmed by the Supreme Court and can no longer be challenged, Abu-Jamal remains in that death row cell, thanks to the continued vindictiveness or political cowardice of Abraham's successor.

But Abu-Jamal should never have been there in the first place! The federal courts, since 2001, have established, over and over, and now with finality, that the jury back in 1982 was misinformed by trial Judge Albert Sabo about the absoluteness of the "life without possibility of parole" alternative to death. They were further confused by the jury ballot form he gave them, which a series of federal courts has established likely confused them about the rules on "mitigating circumstances" that they might consider would argue against voting for a death sentence.

In order for someone to be sentenced to death, it is not enough that someone simply kills another person. Rather, a jury must unanimously find at least one "aggravating circumstance" in the commission of that murder. But for there to be at least that one "aggravating" factor, the law says all 12 jurors must agree to it. They cannot say it exists if there is a single dissenting vote. But in the case of mitigating factors, which might lead a juror to decide against death and for life without parole, the rule is that any single juror can find one, and can then apply it to his or her own decision. The jury form, the courts found, improperly made it sound like they had to also agree unanimously about the existence of any mitigating circumstance before any one of them could consider it. The likelihood is that at least one of those 12 jurors could have felt there was a mitigating circumstance, such as that Abu-Jamal had no prior convictions, or that witnesses testified that he was a good father to his small children, etc. But thanks to the flawed jury form, and flawed instructions from Sabo, they did not feel they could legally take any of that into consideration because others didn't agree.

So because of these unconstitutional flaws in the penalty phase of his trial, Abu-Jamal spent not a month, not a year, not two years, but 30 years on death row, all the time waiting for the state to kill him. That is a heavy punishment for any man.

It might be one thing if this error had been corrected in a short time following his trial, but instead, the D.A.'s office has fought tooth and nail every step of the way over three decades and right up to the Supreme Court against the finding of error, and has even fought to keep him on death row after a federal judge had rendered his decision overturning the sentence.

It's not "appropriate" at this point, now that the error has been confirmed, to just say, "So what?" and to convert the sentence to life in an ordinary prison without the possibility of parole, as though nothing worse had happened.

Justice demands that there be some kind of recognition of the fact that Abu-Jamal has been put through 30 years of a true hell that he did not deserve, and that, moreover, his death sentence was unconstitutional.

Many convicted murderers in the United States have been released after far less than 30 years in jail. It would be appropriate at this point for the D.A. to admit that this particular prisoner has suffered not just enough, but more than was constitutionally appropriate, and to ask the court to release him on time served.

Meanwhile, if he is not released and is instead "left to rot" in jail for life, his new legal team, headed up by Christina Swarns of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, would have to discover new avenues for further challenges to his conviction. The difficulty for Abu-Jamal is that all the constitutional challenges to his original trial, and to the corrupted appeals process to which he was subjected, have already been rejected by the federal courts. In order to win a new trial at this point, then, he and his legal team would have to discover evidence of innocence which he "could not reasonably have been expected to have discovered earlier through due diligence." Such evidence might include recanting witnesses, newly discovered witnesses, or perhaps more crime scene photos that raise questions about the original evidence. But they all would face that high hurdle of being either new, or not earlier discoverable, if they are to be grounds for a possible new trial.

On the other hand, as I wrote earlier [1], if D.A. Williams is brash enough or pressured enought by groups like the Fraternal Order of Police to attempt to retry the penalty phase, there is a much easier route for Abu-Jamal to bring in new evidence of innocence. Since many of the alleged witnesses to the shooting incident that led to Faulkner's death were also used by the prosecution to portray the crime as a kind of a cold-blooded execution, those witnesses -- at least the ones who are still alive -- could be subpoenaed to appear at a penalty hearing by the defense, where their veracity could be challenged. At that point evidence such as ballistics tests [2] to show that it would have been impossible for Abu-Jamal to have fired directly downward four times at Officer Daniel Faulkner while straddling him, hitting him only once, without there being any bullet marks in the surrounding sidewalk. Or evidence--photographic and otherwise--that there was never any taxi cab parked directly behind Faulkner's squad car, where purported eye-witness Robert Chobert said he was parked when the shooting occurred. Or perhaps a new witness decisively claiming that there was never a confession shouted out by Abu-Jamal in the Jefferson Hospital ER, or that the prosecutor hid exculpatory evidence at trial.

Should any of these things happen during a new penalty phase trial it could be a whole new ballgame in terms of the conviction itself.

That would be the best outcome at this point. It is what Amnesty International, in a Feb. 17, 2000 report on the case which only merited a one-paragraph notice in the Inquirer at the time, concluded when it called for a new trial, saying that the first one has been "in violation of minimum international standards that govern fair trial procedures." Clearly the Inquirer's current editorial writers don't bother to check their paper's own morgue. If they had, they'd have seen that back on July 16, 1995, their predecessors had editorialized during a Post Conviction Relief Act hearing on the case that was being held before the original trial judge Albert Sabo, that the "whole truth" of the case may "never be found." Those same editorial writers wrote back then that the behavior of the Judge Sabo at the 1982 trial was "disturbing," and in the 1995 fact-finding PCRA appeal Sabo "did not give the impression to those in the courtroom of fair-mindedness." How one gets from there to saying his current fate is in any way "appropriate" or "in the best interest of justice" we cannot fathom.

If DA Williams wants to do the right thing here, but does not have the political courage to just release Abu-Jamal on time served, given the huge political power of the FOP, which has been unethically lobbying for, and even bribing judges to execute him for years, he could short-circuit all of this, as Linn Washington wrote earlier in ThisCantBeHappening! [3], by offering Abu-Jamal an Alford Plea deal.

Under the terms of an Alford Plea, a convicted person may continue to claim her or his innocence, while conceding that the prosecutor probably has the evidence to convict. Upon being freed, the individual remains a convicted murderer, but both sides can claim to have won on some level.

It would be a messy end to a very messy case, but it would be far more "appropriate" and would be far more "in the interest of justice," than just throwing Abu-Jamal into Graterford Prison for life without possibility for parole after he has already unconstitutionally endured 30 agonizing years on death row.

--Mumia is Innocent!  Stop the Frame Up!  Free Mumia!--

Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition, NYC
  www.FreeMumia.com, info@FreeMumia.com
Comment by Delaproser on October 31, 2011 at 11:16am

Buried Alive


Tedi Snyder at age 18
In today's LA Progressive:
Though the Supreme Court ruled on May 17 that juveniles must not be sentenced to life without parole for any crime short of homicide, we expected no surprise and no mercy when we arrived in court Friday morning for the sentencing of young Tedi Snyder. But Judge Ohta did not hand down the preordained 80-year-to-life-sentence. Not because such a sentence is, in effect, equivalent to life without parole, but rather because he, the judge, was recovering from surgery. The sentence is a mandatory one under current California law, and the hammer will come down now in August, Supreme Court decision be damned. Young people like Tedi still face a fate of being buried alive.
A mandatory sentence means there's no mitigation report, no chance for the judge to consider the life circumstances of this child caught up in a non-lethal shooting at the age of 15. While the prosecutor was free to describe Tedi as a bloodthirsty "shot-caller" for a violent gang, no one was allowed to take into account that Tedi, excellent student and child of a stable, caring family, had within weeks of the incident been released from the hospital with a metal plate in his head after being victim of a shooting from which he barely escaped with his life. That he was shot again the day before the incident. That he has seen friends killed. That he held one of his closest friends in his arms as the boy bled out and died. No one got to hear he was never a hard-core gang member, that he deeply impressed the Probation officers and County Jail guards who got to know him as a human being. No one could remind the court that young men on the streets of some Los Angeles neighborhoods experience greater rates of posttraumatic stress syndrome than soldiers returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. 
 Outside the courtroom, a young man named José wanted to talk. As far as gangs go, he said, "arrest just makes it worse. If you're in jail and you're not from nowhere" -- that is, not affiliated with a gang -- "you get stabbed 'cause you don't have protection." 
 "Tedi didn't kill no one. He should be with his family," said a shy and worried young woman named Shareice.
And what of those juveniles who are indeed convicted of homicide? Even the Los Angeles Times--not known for being soft on crime, in a May 18th op-ed argued they too should be given a chance and aren't "necessarily 'irredeemably depraved.'" 
 Convicted killers include, for example, Sara Kruzan, raped at age 13 and turned out as a prostitute by her rapist. At age 16, she killed him to escape this brutalizing life. Instead of protecting her, society has condemned her to a sentence of life without the possibility of parole. 
 On Wednesday, when Dawn S. Davison, now retired as warden of the California Institution for Women, spoke at a meeting at the National Council of Jewish Women/Los Angeles, I wanted to know whether she thought prisoners like Kruzan deserved a chance. When she was still warden, Davison said, she wasn't allowed to express an opinion. Now that she's retired, she speaks emphatically. "Go back and look at your own life and what you were at 15 or 16 or 17 and how different you are now--it's like night and day. To say a child who commits a crime at that age is not going to change is just ludicrous." She now writes letters of support for prisoners.
 But will that do any good in a system where the ultimate decisions rest not with people in close contact with prisoners, but only those who pass judgment without any direct knowledge of the people or their circumstances? With Assistant District Attorneys who feel their careers hinge on how tough they can be. On parole board commissioners who believe their role is to deny, deny, deny. In a recent case, they looked at a young man who has spent more than a decade behind bars facing a potential life term for a teenage incident in which no human being and no other living creature suffered any injury whatsoever. After showering him with praise for his good character, good record, his firm offers of employment, his plan for transitional housing, and the outpouring of community support, they told him to keep up the good work, denied him parole, and explained he'd have to wait another three years before applying again. The State, which means the taxpayers, has already spent close to one million dollars on this young man's incarceration and medical treatment for injuries sustained due to prison violence and serious disease contracted due to prison conditions. 
 How much will we pay to keep Tedi Snyder behind bars for life? While at the same time, Father Greg Boyle's Homeboy Industries--saving more lives than we can count--has lost so much funding they've had to lay off young workers who had made the choice of employment over crime. According to Debra Herndon, Associate Director of Female Offender Programs and Services, a plan to open nurseries in women's prisons was dropped due to budget cuts . Babies born to inmates--even those serving short sentences--are still taken away at birth and, when no immediate family member is able to take a newborn, sent directly into the troubled foster-care system. What are we doing?
 In the courthouse, Henry approached me to talk about extreme sentences. "It's like an excuse to kill the youth," he said. And Kim McGill of the Youth Justice Coalition shared a fantasy. What if prosecutors and judges acted on the prompts of conscience? What if instead of just following orders, they looked at unjust sentences and stood up and said No. And it occurred to me that in addition to all the irreparable damage done to individuals and their families and their loved ones, in addition to all we lose when our tax dollars go to excessive incarceration instead of needed services, we stand to lose a lot more. When an entire generation has reason to believe that society is unjust and brutal, who can be surprised when kids become anti-social?  
 What's amazing to me is that so many people who've suffered in the System still have faith in the power of compassion and love. Below, a letter from Tedi Snyder's father:
 I am urging the court, the office of the District Attorney and all of Los Angeles to consider the case of my son, Theodore Snyder, who will be sentenced today to 80 years to Life in a case where no one was killed. He was 15 years old when he was arrested, and has spent the last four, long years in juvenile hall and County jail going back and forth to court. This experience has taught me a lot about the myths of justice in America – including the myths of a speedy trial, a jury of your peers and “innocent until proven guilty.”
During my adult life, all I ever wanted was to have a son. It took me 47 years to get Tedi, and I can’t bear to think that he will have only 15 years with me. Like all fathers, every time I see my son, I realize all the love and hope and promise for the future that I carry in my heart. When I hear him laugh, I realize how much the world gives us joy. When he dreams, his vision for himself, and our family and the community, lifts my spirits. When he expresses his thoughts on the world’s events, as he often does, I am reminded how quickly he is becoming an honorable and good man.
 I have much to be proud of. In school, my son has received outstanding grades, graduated high school and is seen by the entire staff as a leader. He excels in writing and reciting poetry. He is active in church, and is much beloved by both the Chaplains and lay volunteers. He is admired by both his peers and teachers. At a recent BBQ, he made sure all youth and parents there ate before taking the last half of a hamburger for himself. He has mediated fights and squashed rumors between Black and Brown youth, and between rival neighborhoods. Yet, he has reached all these accomplishments from behind bars. For nearly three years, while going back and forth to court, he has been detained at one of the nation’s most secure and notorious juvenile halls – “the compound” at Sylmar, where nearly 250 youth are locked up while being tried in adult court. For the past year, he has survived the degradation, violence, overcrowding and disease of County jail. During that time, he has shared all his gifts within concrete and steel. When he breathes fresh air, it is from a small yard overshadowed by razor wire and security gates. When the sun hits his face, he is most often shackled at wrists and ankles, hobbling from the Sheriff’s bus into court. At the end of 2009, the unimaginable happened – my son was found guilty on all counts of attempted murder.
 In South Central Los Angeles, as in many poor, urban communities, our children grow up in war zones. My son was shot in the head and nearly died just two months before his arrest, so I also feel for all the parents who have buried their children or who push children in wheel chairs. But, we are also burying thousands of children alive in prison – sentencing 13 and 14 and 15 year-olds to 35, 50, 100 years to life, and for some youth at 16 or 17, to life without the Possibility of Parole. I don’t expect you to understand what I am feeling, or what any of the families with children in similar circumstances are experiencing. All I ask is that you consider reviewing the extreme sentences that Tedi and other youth are receiving. You might say, as you did at last time we were at court, that as a judge under California law have no discretion in this decision regarding his sentence. But, I pray that you look not into California penal code, not into the court transcripts or into the eyes of the District Attorney, but look instead into your own heart, and provide a different option than throwing Tedi’s entire life away. Even if it means that you as a judge risk punishment from the system, your conscience must be a higher law than that of California. As Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. King and many others have taught us, an unjust law must be broken. I say this not only for Tedi, but for the thousands of youth in our nation serving Life Without Parole and other extreme Life sentences.
 Youth must be held accountable for their actions. But all youth deserve a fair trail, adequate defense, and just sentencing. All youth must be recognized as victims of violence and neglect, before they ever practiced violence or neglected others. I believe that the boy who shot Tedi is also a victim of this same cycle. All youth deserve the consideration that who they were at 15 is not who they are at 19, and definitely not who they are at 30. I know you understand that people can change, that people can repair the harm they cause, and that everyone can give back to their communities.
Thank you for your attention to this matter, Theodore Snyder, Sr. 
Comment by Delaproser on October 31, 2011 at 11:15am

Young black men make up four in 10 of youth jail population Report ...

http://gu.com/p/32q7v/tw via @guardian
Alan Travis, home affairs editor
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 26 October 2011 00.05 BST

Young offender institution
The chief inspector of prisons says conditions in young offender institutions are deteroriating. Photograph: Paul Doyle / Alamy/Alamy
Young black men now account for nearly 40% of the population of youth jails in England and Wales, according to a report by the chief inspector of prisons.
The report, published jointly with the youth justice board, shows that the proportion of black and other minority ethnic young men in young offender institutions (YOIs) has risen from 23% in 2006 and 33% in 2009/10 to 39% last year.
The changing demographic profile of the population inside youth jails in England and Wales also shows an increasing proportion of young Muslims, up from 13% last year to 16% this year. Foreign national young men account for a record 6% of the population.
The chief inspector of prisons, Nick Hardwick, says young people aged 15 to 18 are being held in deteroriating conditions in the YOI network, with fewer feeling safe while they are locked up.
The inspection showed that fewer young inmates felt they could tell someone they were being victimised or believed a member of staff would take them seriously. Only half said they had done something while they were inside that would make them less likely to reoffend in the future.
The report also reveals that more that one-third of the young men had been physically restrained as part of the disciplinary process at their YOI. The highest restraint rate – 66% – was at the Keppel unit at Wetherby, which deals with male teenagers who have not responded to a "normal" YOI regime. The lowest – 8% – was at the Carlford unit near Woodbridge, Suffolk, which holds 30 teenage boys serving long sentences.
The over-representation of young black men in youth jails comes despite a sharp fall in the number of children and young people in custody that has already led to the closure of five YOIs, including a specialist unit for young women.
The total population of the youth justice "secure estate", which includes eight male YOIs and three specialist units for girls and young women, continued to fall from 1,977 in March 2010 to 1,822 this March, before this summer's riots.
Hardwick says, however, that the number of black and minority ethnic children in custody has not fallen at the same rate as the number of white children being locked up.
"Between 2007 and 2011 there was a 37% reduction in white children in custody, compared with a 16% reduction in black and ethnic minority children," says the report.
The report does not discuss the reasons why young black people make up an ever greater proportion of the shrinking youth jail population. But Hardwick does note that an increasing number – 53% now, compared with 39% last year – of young men are being sent to prison for the first time.
Hardwick said: "This report has highlighted some deterioration in children and young people's experience of custody. Despite the falling numbers, this population has well-defined vulnerability and increasing numbers within minority groups. The need, therefore, to provide these people with support during their time in custody and in preparation for their release is as great as ever."
Frances Done, the chair of the youth justice board, which commissions places in youth prisons, said it would be working with all secure establishments to make sure that young people's time in custody has positive results.
The inspection was based on the experience of 1,115 young men and 47 young women in YOIs and specialist units.
Comment by Delaproser on October 31, 2011 at 11:15am

Black and female young offenders 'failed by legal advice' Study of ...

http://theindustrycosign.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/prison-woman.jpg

  • guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 5 October 2010 19.50 BST 
  • http://gu.com/p/2k6ng/tw via @guardian 

  • Black and female young offenders are being denied access to justice because legal advice in young offenders' institutions is sometimes unavailable, a report shows.
    A study of 25 young offenders' institutions and almost 300 requests for legal help from young people found that 80% of those struggling to access legal advice are from black and ethnic minority backgrounds, and 9% are female – almost double the number in the overall prison population.
    The report, published tomorrow by a group of organisations that work with young offenders, also found that one third of young offenders seeking legal advice had been unable to arrange accommodation, prolonging their period in detention.
    "There is a systematic failure by local authorities to meet the welfare needs of young people leaving custody, increasing the already high chance of reoffending," said Chris Callender, assistant director at the Howard League which produced the report. "The public is being put at risk by the prison service ignoring the needs of this abandoned generation," he added.
    Young adults are over-represented in the prison population, making up one third of all those sentenced to prison each year despite only making 10% of the population.
    Tomorrow's report is the first to gather evidence from young offenders about their experience trying to access lawyers and issues affecting them. It also claims that up to half of young offenders' institutions are failing to meet their legal obligation to provide a "legal service officer", able to provide young offenders with information and help accessing legal advice.
    "The discovery that half of YOIs are breaking their legal obligations to provide proper legal support for young adults in prison is the latest proof that this age group is being ignored across the criminal justice system," said Debbie Pippard, head of programmes at the Barrow Cadbury Trust, which also contributed to the report.
    The Ministry of Justice said it tried to provide legal advice within young offenders institutions, although it did not deny the finding that as many as half do not provide legal services officers.
    "Every prison in England and Wales is required to appoint a legal services officer in accordance with prison Sservice guidelines," a prison service spokesperson said.
    "The services of a legal service officer are proactively offered to all new prisoners and we try to ensure those who want it are seen within 24 hours of their arrival to determine whether they need a solicitor or any other advice."
    But the report comes as legal aid is facing drastic cuts and campaigners say that accessible legal advice will be particularly crucial to protect vulnerable individuals from the unintended effects of cuts elsewhere in public spending.
    "Access to justice must be promoted at a time when all areas of public services face savage cuts; good quality legal services save costs and protect against the risk of injustice," the report says.
 

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With the temperature rising, here are our top tips in reducing your hay fever-induced tears.

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