Well, I’m feeling pretty good about myself. Today, December 19th, the New York Times reported on the city of Oaxaca, Mexico’s use of Deaf officers to monitor the city’s surveillance cameras. But DeafInPrison.com reported on this story on Oct. 25. That’s right. The Gray Lady – the paper that broke Watergate and the disaster in Kampuchea – has been officially scooped. We here at the massive DeafInPrison Plaza complex, are elated at this turn of events.
Here’s the link:
According to San Antonio TV’s Kens5.com, Texas is rethinking their policy on sentencing offenders to state jails.
A new report argues that state jails aren’t meeting their goal of helping to reduce crime by intensively treating short-term, nonviolent inmates, and it recommends that judges no longer be able to sentence felons to state jails without a rehabilitation plan.
The report, published Monday by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank, says that those convicted of nonviolent felonies and normally sentenced to months in a state-operated jail should instead be released with community supervision. That can include treatment programs, community service, strictly enforced probation conditions and the threat of incarceration if certain conditions are violated. The report’s suggestions were based on recent data concerning the number of felons who commit crimes after being released from state jails.
In their Science section, Dec. 12, the NY Times published the stories of 4 inmates who were serving life without parole – all for drug related charges.
Of the 140,000 prisoners serving life sentences in the United States, about 41,000 have no chance at parole, a result of laws that eliminated parole in the federal system and for many state prisoners. These rules, along with the mandatory sentences decreed for some crimes and some repeat offenders, were intended to make punishment both stricter and fairer, but judges complain that the rigid formulas too often result in injustice. Here are four prisoners sentenced to life without parole by judges who did not believe the punishment fit the crime.
AnotherBoomerBlog posted some bad news and some good news. Marsha Graham will be closing her law office, but she won’t be giving up on helping the Deaf and the wrongly convicted.
Among other projects, she plans on starting a blogsite that will compliment and augment DeafInPrison.com.
We welcome her efforts and look forward to tons of informative and enlightening posts.
Readers of DeafInPrison.com are already familiar with Marsha’s work, and know she’s already done great things for this site. Her new site promises to be amazing, and I can’t wait to be of any help to her I can.
Go here to read her post, and it wouldn’t kill ya to give her a “Like.”
Speaking of Marsha Graham, she sent me the following via e-mail:
In Jailed Without Conviction – Behind Bars for Lack of Money, the Christian Science Monitor reports:
About 10 million people are jailed each year for crimes large and small. Most – two-thirds of the 750,000 in jail on any given day – stay long periods without conviction at great cost to the public and to themselves because they can’t afford bail.
Also in their op-ed section was a piece on relieving the overcrowding in our prisons:
And Finally, there’s this. Also via Marsha Graham, from the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Myth: Mass shootings are on the rise.
Reality: Over the past three decades, there has been an average of 20 mass shootings a year in the United States, each with at least four victims killed by gunfire. Occasionally, and mostly by sheer coincidence, several episodes have been clustered closely in time. Over all, however, there has not been an upward trajectory. To the contrary, the real growth has been in the style and pervasiveness of news-media coverage, thanks in large part to technological advances in reporting.
Myth: Mass murderers snap and kill indiscriminately.
Reality: Mass murderers typically plan their assaults for days, weeks, or months. They are deliberate in preparing their missions and determined to follow through, no matter what impediments are placed in their path.
Myth: Enhanced background checks will keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of these madmen.
Reality: Most mass murderers do not have criminal records or a history of psychiatric hospitalization. They would not be disqualified from purchasing their weapons legally. Certainly, people cannot be denied their Second Amendment rights just because they look strange or act in an odd manner. Besides, mass killers could always find an alternative way of securing the needed weaponry, even if they had to steal from family members or friends.
Myth: Restoring the federal ban on assault weapons will prevent these horrible crimes.
Reality: The overwhelming majority of mass murderers use firearms that would not be restricted by an assault-weapons ban. In fact, semiautomatic handguns are far more prevalent in mass shootings. Of course, limiting the size of ammunition clips would at least force a gunman to pause to reload or switch weapons.
Myth: Greater attention and response to the telltale warning signs will allow us to identify would-be mass killers before they act.
Reality: While there are some common features in the profile of a mass murderer (depression, resentment, social isolation, tendency to blame others for their misfortunes, fascination with violence, and interest in weaponry), those characteristics are all fairly prevalent in the general population. Any attempt to predict would produce many false positives. Actually, the telltale warning signs come into clear focus only after the deadly deed.
Myth: Widening the availability of mental-health services and reducing the stigma associated with mental illness will allow unstable individuals to get the treatment they need.
Reality: With their tendency to externalize blame and see themselves as victims of mistreatment, mass murderers perceive the problem to be in others, not themselves. They would generally resist attempts to encourage them to seek help. And, besides, our constant references to mass murderers as “wackos” or “sickos” don’t do much to destigmatize the mentally ill.
Myth: Increasing security in schools and other places will deter mass murder.
Reality: Most security measures will serve only as a minor inconvenience for those who are dead set on mass murder. If anything, excessive security and a fortress-like environment serve as a constant reminder of danger and vulnerability.
Myth: Students need to be prepared for the worst by participating in lockdown drills.
Reality: Lockdown drills can be very traumatizing, especially for young children. Also, it is questionable whether they would recall those lessons amid the hysteria associated with an actual shooting. The faculty and staff need to be adequately trained, and the kids just advised to listen to instructions. Schools should take the same low-key approach to the unlikely event of a shooting as the airlines do to the unlikely event of a crash. Passengers aren’t drilled in evacuation procedures but can assume the crew is sufficiently trained.
Myth: Expanding “right to carry” provisions will deter mass killers or at least stop them in their tracks and reduce the body counts.
Reality: Mass killers are often described by surviving witnesses as being relaxed and calm during their rampages, owing to their level of planning. In contrast, the rest of us are taken by surprise and respond frantically. A sudden and wild shootout involving the assailant and citizens armed with concealed weapons would potentially catch countless innocent victims in the crossfire.
Myth: We just need to enforce existing gun laws as well as increase the threat of the death penalty.
Reality: Mass killers typically expect to die, usually by their own hand or else by first responders. Nothing in the way of prosecution or punishment would divert them from their missions. They are ready to leave their miserable existence, but want some payback first.
In the immediate aftermath of the Newtown school shootings, there seems to be great momentum to establish policies and procedures designed to make us all safer. Sensible gun laws, affordable mental-health care, and reasonable security measures are all worthwhile, and would enhance the well being of millions of Americans. We shouldn’t, however, expect such efforts to take a big bite out of mass murder. Of course, a nibble or two would be reason enough.
James Alan Fox is the Lipman Family Professor of Criminology, Law, and Public Policy at Northeastern University and the author of Violence and Security on Campus: From Preschool Through College (Praeger, 2010).
So, all this should keep you busy for a while. Enjoy.
BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.
- Another Digest Post (deafinprison.wordpress.com)
- Life Without Parole: Four Inmates’ Stories (nytimes.com)
- Life Without Parole: Four Inmates’ Stories (prisonmovement.wordpress.com)
- Most American Jail Inmates Have Not Been Convicted Of Anything (addictinginfo.org)
- One way to trim the budget? Prison reform. (washingtonpost.com)
- What Obama Can Do Right Now to End Outrageous Prison Sentences (reason.com)
- Breaking the cycle of criminality: Rethinking state jail sentences (kens5.com)
- NYTimes: For Lesser Crimes, Rethinking Life Behind Bars (timesunion.com)
- Prison News Update (deafinprison.wordpress.com)
- The Cost of Solitary Confinement – From NY Times (deafinprison.wordpress.com)