Prison Grievances: when to write, how to write, is a 60-page graphic novel that teaches inmates to write. It simultaneously discourages frivolous grievances. Already in the libraries of all Maine and Texas prison libraries, the book is now, perhaps, about to reach the Christmas stockings of Minnesota inmates. Hope so!
Sen. Phil Gramm decided to get tough on drug crime; Texas and 11 other states quickly agreed, and banned any and all drug felons from food stamps--for life. Thus, when 180,000 women were released in the last 5 years, they could not get help to provide for their families. This refusal to help those who need help the most merely feeds the Industrial Prison Complex. It does not deter crime. It does not make society safer. Tell these states to allow drug felons to get back on their feet: TEXAS, AK AL, GA, MO, MS, SC, WV, WY.
Norman Pattis took a close look at the statistics and psychology behind plea bargains. This aspect of criminal justice needs this type of review--more often, and with more publicity. Help disseminate this article and scream aloud the message: innocent people should NOT agree to plea bargains, no matter what the pressure.
In a detailed, scholarly review of executions in Texas, three professors and their students investigated the relationship of lynchings to electrocutions. The Rope, the Chair, and the Needle draws heavily on an enormous base of research throughout the century and concludes that racism and a "cultural readiness of exclusion" have kept the South morally convinced that "the other" should never have power. Executed disproportionally for the same crimes (extensive empirical data), Afro-Americans in the South are taught over and again that their place is the subordinate one, that they should fear the true power of their masters, that the law can deny a person's humanity based on prejudice. The authors connect prosperity in the South with a fewer executions; financial depressions with lynchings and executions. The book is persuasive because it is factual and attempts a balance. Read it!
Fabulous story: Calvin Duncan, victim of mis-identification, spent 28 years in prison until the Innocence Project helped release him. With the help of the Tulane Law School, Duncan applied for and received a Soros grant. He uses the money to find and send inmates the necessary paperwork for their appeals. Soros is backing a winner: in prison, Duncan filed writ after writ, helping those around him. Now, happily, he can do it from the Free World.
Why would a state governor continue to use state money to fight against federal oversight? California governor Jerry Brown again and again returns to court, arguing that the state has done much to overcome past problems. He either ignores or denies current problems, many focusing on the care of mentally ill inmates. Why not use all those legal fees, instead, to hiring competent psychiatrists (many have left the system) and doctors? Why not continue to release nonviolent inmates to make room for those who need to remain separated from society? So far, federal judges have remained skeptical of his arguments.