American penitentiaries, in idealized Quaker imaginings, were to be a place for reflective penitence followed by forgiveness. That's not how it worked out, especially for the poor. And the problem goes far beyond prison reform: Read the rest
Japan's recently expanded prisons are already at 70% occupancy, an incarceration epidemic blamed on hungry pensioners who account for 35% of the nation's shoplifting, with a high rate of re-offending. Read the rest
Tina Hunt, a 49-year-old grandmother received a felony conviction for aggravated battery of a peace officer when she kicked a sheriff's deputy in the shin during a struggle in a lockup. At her trial, the deputy testified that the kick was not painful and left no mark. Nevertheless, because Hunt has two prior convictions for violent crimes decades ago, she faces a mandatory minimum of six years in prison.
From Chicago Tribune
A Temple University assistant professor in criminal justice who spent nearly a decade working at the Leighton Criminal Court Building as a law clerk called the case an example of inequities in criminal sentencing law.
"She may very well should have been convicted, but what you see in the sentencing is there's no way to reform," Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve said in a telephone interview. "It's a punitive system. The sins of the past will follow you forever."
What's worse than courts demanding that poor people pay extortionate fines to the state for minor offense? Asking them to literally pay with their own blood.
San Francisco sheriff's deputy Scott Neu is accused of leading a ring of corrupt jail guards who coerced prisoners into gladiatorial combat with threats of rape and violence. Read the rest