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30 December 2005
Jail for gay or transgender prisoners to close on Rikers Island

[  full article

29. Dezember 2005

eine frau, die seit 3 monaten als vermisst gemeldet war, war die ganze zeit im dekalb county knast/ georgia inhafiert. ihre familie hatte die frau, die schizophrenie hat, gleich nach ihrem verschwinden bei der polizei als vermisst gemeldet und auch mehrfach im knast nachgefragt. die 38 jährige frau war wegen trinkens in der öffentlichkeit festgenommen worden. sie wurde nach ihrer entlassung aus dem knast in ein krankenhaus eingeliefert, da sie monatelang ohne medikamente war. jetzt wird von den behörden ermittelt warum sie die frau nicht gefunden haben, ob sie unter ihrem richtigen namen festgenommen wurde ( was die frau so angeben hat und auch aus den entlassungspapieren hervorgeht) und warum sie drei monate im knast war.

Missing woman found in DeKalb County jail

ATLANTA (AP) — The family of a DeKalb County woman with schizophrenia who was missing for nearly three months said Wednesday she has been in the DeKalb County jail the whole time. Dwelver Kindle, the sister of 38-year-old Felicia Kindle, said her sister had been missing since Oct. 8. ‘‘We filed police reports and have been to DeKalb County jail and Fulton County jail looking for her repeatedly,’’ she said. ‘‘My sister said she gave her name, her date of birth, and her social security number when she got to the jail.’’ Felicia Kindle, a disabled veteran, was released from jail early Wednesday morning, her sister said. She was briefly reunited with her family, who committed her to Georgia Regional Hospital around noon Wednesday for evaluation. Kindle said her sister, who lived with her in Lithonia, is an Army veteran who suffered a nervous breakdown and has been on ‘‘100 percent disability’’ since the early 1990s.

She said her sister has not been taking her prescribed medication. The day Felicia disappeared, she was walking the family dog and did not return home, according to her sister. The family filed a missing person’s report shortly afterward. Dwelver Kindle said her sister told her she was arrested for drinking beer in public. DeKalb police spokesman Herschel Grangent said a jail employee recognized Felicia Kindle’s photo on Tuesday newscasts about her disappearance. The family was notified by a nurse in the jail’s psychiatric ward about 1 a.m. Wednesday. ‘‘We’ve been up all night,’’ said Kindle’s mother, Kathryn Kindle, 65, who lives on the Caribbean island of Anguilla and came to Atlanta this month to look for her daughter. Grangent said DeKalb jail officials are investigating why they were unable to find Kindle, whether she was jailed under the proper name and why she was in the jail for so long. Kindle’s case resembles a similar one from Atlanta in July. Chastity Lewis, a Clark Atlanta University student, was found in the Atlanta city jail nine days after she went missing. Authorities had repeatedly told her mother, Theresa Lewis, that her daughter wasn’t in custody — even though an acquaintance told her he saw her daughter getting arrested.

[  mywebpal.com

28. Dezember 2005

das oberste gericht von massachusetts hat den einzigen beweis gegen einen mann der wegen mord an einem bostoner polizisten angeklagt ist, einen teil eines fingerabdrucks, als nicht beweiskräfig verworfen. zwar seien normalerweise fingerabdrücke schon wichtige beweise, aber nicht als teile die nicht zusammen passen.

MASS. court rejects fingerprint evidence

The Massachusetts Supreme Court has thrown out the only physical evidence linking a man to the slaying of a Boston police detective, a report said Wednesday. Despite the Tuesday ruling, prosecutors said they would proceed with the retrial of Terry Patterson in the September 1993 slaying of John Mulligan, who was shot five times the face while sitting in his Ford Explorer in Roslindale, Mass. Patterson's original murder conviction was overturned on appeal. The ruling removed the only physical evidence against Patterson -- latent fingerprints found on the Explorer, the Boston Globe reported. While the decision upheld most fingerprint evidence as valid, it rejected partial fingerprints when none can be declared a match. University of California criminology expert Simon Cole said it was the second time that a U.S. court has found fingerprint evidence unreliable. U.S. District Court Judge Louis Pollak, who made the first such ruling in 2002, later reversed himself, Cole told the newspaper.

[  sciencedaily.com

26. Dezember 2005

nach einem kürzlich veröffentlichten bericht sind im zeitraum zwischen september 2004 und august 2005 120 gefangene aus dem jefferson county knast die im sog. work- release programm waren, nicht in den knast zurückgekehrt. 25 davon sind immer noch auf der flucht. work releases bedeutet das gefangene ohne aufsicht nach einem job suchen, eine schule besuchen oder arbeiten. es sind grundsätzlich gefangene die wegen nicht- gewalttätiger delikte verurteilt wurden.

120 inmates flee program
Jeffco work-release walkaways highest inspectors have seen

A recently released report says 120 work-release inmates walked away from the Jefferson County Jail over the span of a year from September 2004 to August 2005. The team that assembled the report expressed "major concern with the high rate of walkaways," saying it is "by far the highest number we have ever seen." The team's accreditation report for the American Corrections Association urged review of the county's work-release screening policies. At the same time, it noted that security at the jail itself "was at a high standard and the team was impressed with the professionalism of the security staff."

A review of the program's screening program already is under way, said Jim Shires, sheriff's office spokesman. The work-release program allows inmates to be temporarily released into the community without supervision to look for jobs or to pursue educational opportunities. Eligible inmates are generally nonviolent offenders who have been convicted of offenses that range from failure to pay child support to harassment and third-degree assault. The work-release sentences allow inmates to earn an income, which often goes to pay child support or restitution to victims. Inmates in the program must surrender two hours' pay each day, up to a maximum of $40, to cover administrative costs of the program.

Of the 120 inmates who fled from the program over the period covered by the audit, 95 either returned to jail voluntarily or were apprehended. The other 25 remain at-large, Shires said. The report was issued after a September inspection by a three-member team from the ACA's Commission on Accreditation for Corrections Standards. Inmates participating in the work-release program leave the jail each morning and are expected to return each evening, Shires said. As they return, the inmates are searched and their return is noted and entered into a computer. If an inmate is more than two hours late, the computer system automatically alerts jailers, who begin trying to find the missing inmate, Shires said.

When those efforts fail, an arrest warrant is obtained and the missing offender faces escape charges. About 1,650 inmates have participated in the program this year. The 120 walkaways recorded in the 12 months audited by the ACA team would represent 7.3 percent of the inmates who served work-release sentences in 2005. All felony offenders eligible for the program, as well as some "assaultive" misdemeanor offenders, go through a screening process, said Michael Riede, chief probation officer for the 1st Judicial District, which includes Jefferson County.

"There's a lot of emphasis put on criminal history," Riede said. "Then we look at drug-alcohol (use), mental health, employment. We look at everything. That weighs heavily in our recommendation." The sheriff's office is examining ways to cut the number of inmates who walk away while on work release, including electronic monitoring, said Division Chief David Walcher, who heads the county's Detention Services Division. Most of the work-release inmates who walk away do so in the early weeks of their sentence. "We think if we can have some good monitoring of them right up front, (and) we can get them through 30 or 60 days in the program, the likelihood of them walking away diminishes drastically," Walcher said. Most of those contacted said the jail's location near Golden makes transportation to and from jobs difficult for inmates and probably contributes to the high number of errant inmates.

In 2001, the last year the work release program operated from a building at West 16th Avenue and Kendall Street, only 46 inmates walked away. But in 2002, when the program was moved to the newly expanded county jail, the number of inmates increased significantly and the number of walkaways climbed to 95, Walcher said.

[  rockymountainnews.com

26. Dezember 2005

28.800 menschen in pennsylvania sind unter der aufsicht von bewährungshelfern, 1.714 ( 6%) davon waren ende november auf der flucht, ebenso weitere 50 menschen aus dem allegheny county halfway house ( eine art offener vollzug vor der entlassung) .

Parolees in state often go missing
More than 1,700 former inmates fail to report

Two of the seven men questioned in the slaying of state police Cpl. Joseph Pokorny at a Carnegie hotel parking lot two weeks ago turned out to be parolees who had walked away from halfway houses and had warrants issued for their arrests. They are among more than 1,700 former prison inmates in Pennsylvania who have failed to report to their parole officers, and many have simply disappeared from alternative housing in communities across the state. Another 50 Allegheny County jail inmates are missing from local halfway houses.

State parole agents, who are responsible for an average of more than 70 parolees apiece, are hard-pressed to help track down violators while handling the rest of their cases. The same goes for county probation officers and jail officials. One of the fugitives questioned in the killing of Cpl. Pokorny was Tyrone Bullock, 40, a man with a record of drug offenses who had walked away in August from Renewal Inc., a Downtown facility that contracts with both the state Department of Corrections and Allegheny County. The other was Jack Maurice Woods, 23, who disappeared in September from Ada's House in Stowe, which provides alternative housing for Allegheny County Jail inmates. As it turns out, Mr. Woods was in Ada's by mistake and should have been in jail, according to county officials.

Both fugitives were arrested but neither has been charged in the Pokorny case. Leslie Mollett, 30, has been accused of killing Cpl. Pokorny. He was released last month from the State Correctional Institution Fayette after serving more than a year on drug charges. The union that represents the state's 10,800 correctional officers plans to investigate Mr. Mollett's release as part of an ongoing review of the state's parole policies, said Don McNany, president of the Pennsylvania State Corrections Officers Association in Harrisburg.

The association and many of its members contend that the state is trying to ease prison overcrowding by releasing into the community or into halfway houses inmates who are not ready for society. "The inmates do the proper head nodding and answer the right questions and they're out on the street," he said. The corrections department denies the allegation. "We have never released inmates as a way to deal with overcrowding in this state," said Department of Corrections Secretary Jeffrey Beard in a statement. "Inmates released on pre-release must meet specific criteria and seldom go out much before a few months prior to [the end of] their minimum sentence." Mr. Beard also said that 70 percent of inmates who end up back in prison return there because of technical violations of their parole and not because they have committed a new crime.

A variety of programs

Across Pennsylvania, more than 2,800 convicts live in community alternatives to state prisons. In Allegheny County, another 340 jail inmates are housed in neighborhood settings. The state runs some community facilities and contracts with private programs to operate others. Inmates in both are supervised by the Department of Corrections and the Board of Probation and Parole, sometimes jointly. Only nonviolent inmates can serve sentences at the private facilities, which usually operate as work release centers. Some also contract separately as "halfway back" locations -- an alternative to prison for people who violate parole. Pittsburgh has three state-run community correctional facilities -- in the North Side, Highland Park and Friendship. Inmates in those facilities usually are nearing their release dates.

The private programs, including Renewal and facilities in Braddock and Beaver County operated by Gateway Rehabilitation Center, are accredited by the American Correctional Association and are subject to state audits. Inmates at the contracted facilities may be on work release, undergoing drug and alcohol counseling or taking part in other special programs. Renewal, for example, provides an intensive 90-day program for addicts who violate their probation. Their alternative is going back to prison.

Most of the 2,839 state inmates in community facilities are supervised by the state Board of Probation and Parole, either because they have violated parole or the board decided they were not ready to be put back on the street, said LeAnn Halfast, a board spokeswoman. It's up to the board and its workers to track down inmates who walk away, Ms. Halfast said. At the moment, 7,727 people statewide have failed to report to probation or parole officers, but about 6,000 of them are being held in county jails or other local facilities at the request of the board. The other 1,700-plus include those, like Mr. Bullock and Mr. Woods, who walked away from community sites or otherwise failed to report to parole agents and for whom arrest warrants have been issued.

Tracking down fugitives

All told, nearly 28,800 people are on parole in Pennsylvania, and only 403 agents are assigned to keep track of them. That works out to an average case load of about 70 parolees per agent. The 1,714 people officially listed as absconders at the end of November therefore represent 6 percent of the people under the supervision of the Board of Probation and Parole. Ms. Halfast said the national average is 9 percent. Mr. McNany agreed that Pennsylvania's parole problems are no worse than those in other parts of the country. Penal systems everywhere are under pressure to release inmates to ease prison overcrowding while protecting the community but not spending too much money, he said.

"The whole system's way out of whack," he said. Arrest warrants are issued within 72 hours for anyone who leaves a community site without authorization, and they are posted on state and national databases, Ms. Halfast said. The parole board three years ago established a Fugitive Apprehension Search Team in Philadelphia to round up inmates who escape from community facilities. The program was expanded last year to include a three-person unit in Pittsburgh, and there are plans to set up teams in Erie and Harrisburg, Ms. Halfast said. Those teams and other parole agents work closely with the U.S. Marshals Service to track down parole violators, she said. Inmates who leave state community facilities are charged with escape, the same as an inmate who escapes from prison, corrections spokeswoman Sheila Moore said.

Nonviolent jail inmates in Allegheny County can serve their sentences in one of four community facilities under contract with the county, including Renewal, or seven other private sites. The county pays a daily fee per inmate to the contracted facilities, ranging from $47.50 to $57.50. Inmates must pay their own way at non-contracted facilities, like Ada's House and the ARC House on the North Side. If an inmate walks away, community facilities are required immediately to notify the jail's internal affairs section, the sentencing judge and county police, county jail Warden Ramon Rustin said. Internal affairs officers then obtain an escape warrant and enlist the help of county officers to track down the fugitive, Mr. Rustin said. At any given time, there are about 50 outstanding escape warrants for county inmates who left alternative housing sites, he said.

[  post-gazette.com

23. Dezember 2005

ein jahr und drei monate war ein 69 jähriger mann inhaftiert während er auf seinen prozeß, der immer wieder verschoben wurde, wartete.der mann war die ganze zeit ohne anwalt. erst nachdem ein mitgefangener seinem pflichtanwalt darüber berichtete, und eine weitere pflichtverteidigerin dann einige anrufe machte, wurde der mann am 16. dezember entlassen. wäre er verurteilt worden, wäre die höchststrafe 6 monate knast und eine geldstrafe in höhe von $ 500 gewesen. ein eintrag des gerichtes in der akte des mannes vom 0ktober 2004 hat die haft aufgehoben, aber die polizeiakten haben keinen diesbezüglichen eintrag.

Man Jailed for Over a Year Saw No Lawyer

A man was jailed for more than a year without ever seeing a lawyer as he waited for a repeatedly postponed court hearing, gaining release only after a cellmate told an attorney about the case. Walter Mann Sr., 69, was released Dec. 16 after a year and three months ? more than twice the time he would have served if he had been convicted in his contempt-of-court case. Mann's legal troubles began in 2002, when his 13-year-old son assaulted him and was sent to a juvenile detention center. Mann, who was unemployed and on disability benefits, was ordered to pay $50 a month for the boy's housing but never did, according to court records. Prosecutors sought to have Mann held in contempt of juvenile court, which led to an order that he be brought before a judge.

The judge then incarcerated him in September 2004 for three warrants alleging that Mann wrote bad checks. Then he waited more than a year as his contempt case was postponed again and again. "He wasn't lost in the system," said Sheriff's Department spokesman Sgt. Don Peritz. "We knew he was here ... we hold them until the judge says to hold him no longer." An October 2004 court docket entry suggests the judge's order was lifted, but Sheriff's Department records do not show it being lifted or Mann's release ordered.

Had he been convicted in the contempt case, he would have served a maximum of six months in jail and faced a $500 fine. His release came after cellmate Jim Brooks, 64, heard from Mann that he had never seen a lawyer. "I said, 'Man, why don't you call your people?' He said, 'Nah, I don't want to bother them with anything,'" Brooks said. Brooks, jailed on minor theft charges, told his public defender, who told another public defender, Shoshana Paige. She made several calls and Mann was released the same day. "I was shocked, and then part of me was shocked that I was shocked because I've read enough other stories about things like this," Paige said. "This one seems to be pretty egregious."

[  yahoo.com

21. Dezember 2005

ein artikel aus dem san francisco bay view über den "begnadigungsablehnungsbrief" von schwarzenegger in dem er begründet warum er stan tookie williams antrag abgelehnt hat. als beweis das williams sich nicht von gewalt abgewandt hat, wird in dem 5 seitigen schreiben u.a. erwähnt, das williams bücher von malcolm x , geronimo pratt ( ein black panther der 28 jahre im knast war für einen mord den er nie beging), george jackson ( der am 21. august 1971 im knast attica von wärtern ermordet wurde , auch black panther), leonard peltier ( ein aim [american indian movement] mitglied der seit dem 6. februar 1976 im knast ist) assata shakur ( black liberation army, der kämpfende teil der black panther. sie wurde 1973 verhaftet, 1979 aus dem knast befreit und lebt seitdem auf kuba), nelson mandela und mumia abu jamal gelesen hat. dies wird in dem artikel als angriff auf die afroamerikanische bevölkerung gesehen. zitat: "als stan williams hingerichtet wurde am Dienstag, dem 13. dez.frühmorgens, haben die vereinigten staaten nicht in der person von george bush sondern von arnold schwarzenegger und das gerichtswesen bis hoch zum u.s. supreme court der afroamerikanischen bevölkerung eine botschaft geschickt. sie sagten so viel wie es sind nicht nur die moslems und die ohne papiere die wir nach katarina gezielt angreifen."

Arnold uses Tookie to attack Black leaders

On that Monday night, I stood within a dense, spirited crowd of several thousand outside the East Gate of San Quentin Prison. When the execution of Stan Tookie Williams was announced, around 12:30 a.m., I stayed put in the hope someone would do something dramatic to exorcize the state’s death dealing demons.

In this case, the governor signed a clemency denial letter that very pointedly denigrated not only Tookie Williams’ new found redemption, his work ethic and contributions to society today, but also a cross section of Black heroes of the last 30 or 40 years. When Stan Williams was put to death early Tuesday morning, Dec. 13, the United States – not in the person of George W. Bush but of Arnold Schwarzenegger – and the court system up to the U.S. Supreme Court sent a message to the African American community. It’s not only the Muslims and the undocumented we’re focused on hitting after Katrina, they as much as said.

Arnold’s five page letter specifically highlighted Tookie’s dedication of a book to Malcolm X, a murder victim and convert to socialism, Geronimo Pratt, the Black Panther exonerated after 28 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit, George Jackson, who was never charged with a violent crime in his life despite Arnold’s libeling his memory, Leonard Peltier, a national Indian leader who was framed in the murder of provocateur FBI agents – as the original judge’s call for a new trial makes clear, Assata Shakur, a government opponent whose re-capture has become a maniacal cause in Congress, Nelson Mandela, the most principled and supreme resister of Black oppression in the world, and Mumia Abu Jamal, one of the brilliant analytical minds and mellifluous voices of our times, whose career as a leading journalist was abridged with intent to kill him legally by the Philadelphia power structure as it brought out of retirement the racist hanging judge, Szabo.

Because the anti-clemency attack was not limited to Tookie, we all share a tremendous burden to vindicate Stan Williams, to expose the wanton criminal blood lust of the entire logical system that Arnold’s letter represents and, if possible, to prove Stan’s innocence. Among all the hundreds of media outlets covering the execution across the nation, which newspapers, TV networks or radio stations shouted out the exposé of the blatant racism in Arnold’s labeling so many Black and Indian heroes as criminal elements?

Presenting such internationally renowned political prisoners as Mandela and Peltier as evidence that Williams had not turned away from a life of violence will be Arnold’s legacy. Those key figures used their lives to fight for freedom for others, for us all – whether Black or otherwise colored or ethnified.

No one should forget this attack. It needs repeating as a mantra – today, in the 2006 elections and in the unfolding struggle to defend, expand and preserve democratic rights in the U.S. The system’s ruthlessness has again extended to the level of anti-historical psychological warfare, where its front men and women are prepared to call humanity’s heroes, past and present, “terrorists and criminals,” to all but equate Mandela and George Jackson with Osama Bin Laden.

As the crowd filtered away from the East Gate at San Quentin, a Native American guy on a wall held an American flag painted with a big swastika that he set on fire. It hardly burned. A woman below, for reasons I could not discern, grabbed the flag from him trying to extinguish the pitiful flame. The poor guy fell off the six foot wall he was on – not once but twice. Another Native American hugged the woman and calmed her anger. At the mic a more disciplined and decked out Native American group chanted. I noticed Sean Penn, the actor who played a man executed in “Dead Man Walking,” with a tear in the corner of his eye as he left.

At the end, you don’t want to hear someone on a microphone feed you platitudes about how we need to keep fighting for a just criminal justice system or how Tookie lives in our hearts. You want to know what we are going to do next. You want action to end state violence and the ubiquitous media spin on our reality – both designed to further intimidate and pacify people. You want a real social revolution. No, not a protest, a rally, not even a riot. You want catharsis, peace, a total ongoing social collision against ruthless, raw, deceitful and selfish power, on the peoples’ terms.

Thirty-seven years ago, the state also executed Martin Luther King Jr. but did not then have the audacity to admit to the crime. The book, “An Act of State – The Execution of Martin Luther King,” by King family lawyer William F. Pepper, provides proof that King’s assassination was achieved in a way that the actual assassins didn’t even know they had the backing of the 902nd Military Intelligence Group. This truth was adjudicated by Pepper in a civil court case in Memphis a few years back with the support of the King family. A jury of common Memphis people exonerated James Earl Ray and ruled the U.S. government collaborated in the assassination. What media coverage did that get? If MLK were alive today it is conceivable the government would find a way to label him a terrorist and put him to death legally. This is the state and situation we face.

If the issues were really about violence and “homeland” security rather than political opposition to this system’s ruthlessness and its racism, Arnold’s speech writers would not have lied about George Jackson being a violent gang banger in that letter. They would not have dared to even mention Mandela, whose principled refusal to betray the ANC’s armed wing kept him in prison indefinitely, solidified the ANC’s unity and catapulted him to the presidency of South Africa after Apartheid.

No, the state’s message was loud and clear: “If you resist our violence and terror you will be called the terrorist and we will kill you.” It is not violence per se that the elite and political classes fear. It is resistance and unity amidst the decline and fall of a class system and an empire already in total chaos, coming apart at its seams.

Tookie, like Malcolm X and Martin King Jr., was slowly becoming the kind of leader that terrifies them – a fearless man on a positive mission. Alive or dead, his example will be nurtured by others.

Dr. Marc Sapir, M.D., M.P.H., is executive director of Retro Poll, a citizen based voluntary non-profit which aims to contribute to building a free, open and democratic society in the U.S. The organization works to reveal how the government and corporate media distort information in order to manipulate, confuse and disorganize the public’s will. Visit www.retropoll.org. Email Marc at marcsapir@comcast.net.

[  sfbayview.com

21. Dezember 2005

das berufsgericht des bundesstaates washington hat die inhaftierung von kinder und jugendlichen, die öfters aus staatlichen heimen oder aus pflegefamilien weglaufen ,für 30 - 60 tage als rechtmäßig anerkannt.

Court backs jailing runaway foster kids

The state Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld the use of months-long jail terms as a means to stop foster children from chronically running away from home. The ruling by the Division III court in Spokane validates the controversial approach of a Yakima County Juvenile Court commissioner, who imposed contempt-of-court penalties after finding existing state law was too limited to control chronic runaways.

It also sets a precedent for judges in the state to replicate the commissioner's approach. The type of contempt-of-court power upheld Tuesday, "inherent contempt," allows a judge to hold a child who violates court orders in jail until age 18. But Judge John Schultheis, writing for the unanimous three-judge panel, wrote that the power should be "exercised with caution and within narrow limits" to prevent it from becoming a "systematic response." Bernie Ryan, chief of staff for the Children's Administration in the state Department of Social and Health Services, agreed. As a rule, judges impose inherent contempt only upon request from state social workers, so those requests must be carefully considered, Ryan said. "It's important for us to see this as a last resort," Ryan said. "The kid is going to get very little services while in detention."

Tuesday's ruling arose from contempt-of-court orders issued last year by Yakima County Juvenile Court Commissioner Robert Inouye against three foster children. The teens, all girls, repeatedly violated Inouye's court orders to not run away; one fled to Montana, another to Nebraska, forcing their state social workers to hop aboard airplanes to retrieve them. One of the three got pregnant, at 15, while on the run. State law allows judges to impose seven-day sentences for violations of court orders, with an opportunity to get out early by writing an essay.

But Inouye grew alarmed at the girls' behavior and frustrated with the seven-day limit. Instead, he resorted to a rarely used inherent contempt order, giving the girls 30- and 60-day jail terms and ordering them to comply with court-ordered mental-health and drug treatment. He said Tuesday that the ruling would help protect children from themselves. "We really need to have this type of tool available for the most extreme cases because without it we cannot safeguard the kids," Inouye said. While upholding Inouye's reasoning, the appellate court tossed out two of his orders for procedural faults. In one case, Schultheis wrote that a preprinted form used to justify a 60-day sentence was inadequate. That "suggests that this remedy is at least commonly -if not systematically - considered for runaways" in Yakima, Schultheis wrote. National research suggests that nearly one in five adolescent foster children run away while in care.

A recent survey in Washington found that 1,040 of the state's foster children - 7 percent of all children in care - had run away at least once since they entered care and that the problem was growing. Greg Link, an attorney for the girls, said the ruling was disappointing and increases the chances that inherent contempt will be used far more. "These are broader policy issues that should not be left for an individual judge to resolve," he said. "They should be put to the people's representatives in the Legislature."

[  seattletimes.nwsource.com

20. Dezember 2005

gerichtsurteil gegen die transit worker union. darin wird gedroht das die gewerkschaft für jeden tag ihres streiks $ 1 millionen strafe bezahlen muß. der streik begann am 20. dezember und endete am 23. dezember.


The judge presiding over the New York City transit strike case holds the Transit Workers Union in criminal contempt for failing to obey his December 13, 2005 preliminary injunction ordering them not to strike, and fines the union $1 million per day starting December 20, 2005.


14. dezember 2005

nach der flucht von zwei männern aus dem iowa state knast in fort madison war der knast eine woche unter lockdown

Prison Lockdown Nearing End

A lockdown at the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison may be nearing an end. The new warden is also looking at letting some inmates work in the kitchen and let others eat in the mess hall as early as this week. He says the problem that allowed Martin Moon and Joseph Legendre to escape has been fixed. During the lockdown, inmates have been allowed out of their cells only to shower. Some of the best-behaved inmates were allowed out last weekend for some recreation time.


9. Dezember 2005

25 jahre lang hat ein wegen entführung und vergewaltigung verurteilter mann versucht zu beweisen das er nicht schuldig ist. jetzt hat ein dna test dies bestätigt und der mann wurde entlassen.

DNA Tests Free Man in Prison 25 Years

ATLANTA - A judge Thursday freed an inmate whose claims of innocence in a kidnapping and rape went unheeded for nearly a quarter of a century, until DNA evidence proved him right. At the end of the 15-minute hearing where Robert Clark was finally granted his freedom, his attorney Peter Neufeld patted him on the back and said, "You're free to go, fella." A smiling Clark hugged and kissed family members, repeatedly saying, "I told you. I told you." Clark's mother died and his children grew up and had families of their own while he sat in prison for a 1981 attack on an Atlanta woman. His lawyers said DNA from another man matches not only that rape, but two others that were committed later. "This is a truly horrific case," said Vanessa Potkin, an attorney for the Innocence Project, a legal clinic co-directed by Neufeld. "While Robert Clark was wrongfully convicted, it appears the true perpetrator of this crime was out there harming women and children."

Clark, 45, was convicted and sentenced to life plus 20 years after a woman identified him as the man who carjacked her at gunpoint from outside an Atlanta Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant and raped her repeatedly. But recent DNA tests showed that Clark -who had no prior adult felony convictions - did not commit the crime. Tests against state and federal DNA databases of convicts matched samples from the rape to Clark's friend Floyd Antonio "Tony" Arnold. Cobb County prosecutors, who originally convicted Clark, are looking into whether to seek charges against Arnold, spokeswoman Kathy Watkins said. Arnold had convictions for sodomy and illegal gun possession when the rape took place. He is in prison for cruelty to children and is scheduled to be released Jan. 31. A search by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation revealed that Arnold's DNA matched two other unsolved Atlanta area rape cases in 2003, Potkin said. Arnold has not been charged with either crime. Clark became the 164th person in the nation and the fifth in Georgia to be freed through post-conviction DNA testing, according to Potkin.

Neufeld said an Atlanta law firm has volunteered to look into financial compensation for Clark. Earlier this year, the Georgia Legislature approved $1 million for Clarence Harrison, who spent nearly 18 years in prison before DNA evidence cleared him of rape. Clark's son, Rodrickus, said he and other family members looked forward to celebrating his father's freedom. "He always told me he was innocent. I believed in what he said," he said. "We can't make up for lost time. I guess we've just got to go on. We want to go fishing together, take a nice fishing trip." Clark said he is not sure what his long-term plans are, but he is looking forward to his first family Christmas in years. "I won't be able to give them any gifts or anything, but I don't think they're worried about that," he said. "They just want to have me home."

On the Net:
[  The Innocence Project

[  blackplanet.com

9. Dezember 2005

ein polizeibeamter, der vor 2 jahren einen unbewaffneten immgranten aus burkina faso mit 4 schüssen ermordet hat, wurde zu 500 stunden gemeinnütziger arbeit und 5 jahre bewährung verurteilt.

No jail for NY cop who killed unarmed immigrant

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York City police officer was sentenced on Friday to 500 hours of community service and five years probation for shooting an unarmed African immigrant while working undercover two years ago. Bryan Conroy, found guilty of criminally negligent homicide in October for killing Ousmane Zongo, could have received up to four years in prison.

The sentence came from Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Robert Straus who presided over the case without a jury and had acquitted Conroy, 27, of more serious manslaughter charges. Conroy's first trial in March ended in a deadlocked jury. After lengthy remarks reviewing the case, Straus said, "Jail is not appropriate in this case." Straus said both Conroy and the victim were "good decent people" and that "the case is a real tragedy." Disguised in a postal worker's uniform, Conroy was guarding a storage warehouse locker filled with counterfeit CDs when he encountered Zongo, 42, in the corridor.

According to testimony during the trial, Conroy pulled out his gun, a struggle ensued and Zongo was shot four times. He died in a hospital hours later. Zongo, an immigrant from the West African nation of Burkina Faso, was not involved in the counterfeiting ring. He used a storage room on the same floor that the counterfeit CDs were stored to repair African artifacts. "The court tempered justice with mercy," Conroy's lawyer Stuart London told reporters outside the courthouse. Zongo's widow, Salimata Sanfo, who attended the trial but was not in court for the sentencing, said in a statement read to the judge on her behalf that she wanted justice in America.

"Every time I look at Mr. Conroy, I see a killer. Every time I watch him walk freely about this courtroom and outside this courtroom, I feel sad. Why is he a free man and my husband a dead man?" she wrote. After the sentencing Zongo family lawyer Sanford Rubenstein blasted the New York Police Department for the way Conroy was supervised and trained. The family has filed a $150 million wrongful death suit against the city. Conroy was the first New York police officer to go on trial since four officers were acquitted for the 1999 racially charged case involving West African Amadou Diallo who was shot 41 times after he reached for his wallet, which officers believed was a gun.

[  reuters.com

8. December 2005
US terror watchlist 80,000 names long

A watchlist of possible terror suspects distributed by the US government to airlines for pre-flight checks is now 80,000 names long, a Swedish newspaper reported, citing European air industry sources. The classified list, which carried just 16 names before the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York and Washington had grown to 1,000 by the end of 2001, to 40,000 a year later and now stands at 80,000, Svenska Dagbladet reported. Airlines must check each passenger flying to a US destination against the list, and contact the US Department of Homeland Security for further investigation if there is a matching name. The list contains a strict "no fly" section, which requires airline staff to contact police, and a "selectee" section, which requires passengers to undergo further security checks. Some 2,000 passengers checking in at Stockholm's Arlanda airport have had to be cleared with the US authorities because of name matches on the "selectee" list this year, although none was prevented from boarding, Svenska Dagbladet said.

[  yahoo.com

7. December 2005
USA: 30.000 Fluggäste gerieten fälschlicherweise auf Listen für Terrorverdächtige
Löschung aus den Datenbanken nahezu unmöglich

Fast 30.000 Fluggäste wurden im vergangenen Jahr in den USA nachweislich falsch bei der Flugsicherheit in Listen für Terrorverdächtige eingetragen. Das teilte Jim Kennedy, Direktor der Behörde für Transportsicherheit TSA, gestern auf einer Konferenz des US-Heimatschutzministeriums in Washington, D.C., mit. Die Zahlen lagen damit deutlich höher, als bisherige Schätzungen der Bürgerrechtsorganisation Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC). Die Betroffenen müssen bei Flugreisen mit Behinderungen bei der Abfertigung rechnen.

Passagiere können aus verschiedensten Gründen entsprechend eingestuft werden, hieß es. Man gerät unter Verdacht, wenn bestimmte Merkmale einer Rasterfahndung erfüllt werden, lediglich ein Hinflug gebucht wird oder ein Computersystem eine relativ zufällige Auswahl trifft, so Kennedy.

Eine Löschung aus den Datenbanken sei bedingt möglich, wenn der Betroffene einen entsprechenden Antrag in Verbindung mit drei notariell beglaubigten Identitätsnachweisen einreicht. 45 bis 60 Tage dauert es dann, bis das Gesuch geprüft wurde. Der Name wird anschließend jedoch nicht aus den Datenbanken getilgt, sondern kommt auf die so genannte "Clearance List". Das Einchecken über Computerterminals ist damit noch immer nicht möglich.

Nach Angaben Kennedys wurde jedoch bisher keinem der 30.000 Verdächtigen verwehrt, ein Flugzeug zu besteigen. Die Daten dienen demnach lediglich als Grundlage für stichprobenartige, tiefer gehende Überprüfungen. Erst wenn sich hierbei der Verdacht erhärtet, folgt die Aufnahme in eine Flugverbotsliste. Nach Angaben des TSA-Direktors sollen die zusätzlichen Tests zu sehr sicheren Erkenntnissen führen.

Wie viele der täglich 1,8 Millionen Fluggäste bisher insgesamt in die verschiedenen Datenbanken aufgenommen wurden, wollte die TSA nicht bekannt geben. Kennedy kündigte jedoch an, das Sicherheitsprogramm einer Prüfung zu unterziehen. Zukünftig soll außerdem eine größere Transparenz gegenüber der Öffentlichkeit und den Fluggesellschaften gewährleistet werden. (ck)

[  internet.com

7. Dezember 2005

bei razzien hat das fbi und das homelandsecurity office mehre landesweit büros und wohnungen von anarchisten und tierrechts- und umweltaktivistinnen durchsucht, infomaterialien beschlagnahmt und mehrere menschen festgenommen.

Feds target Earth/Animal Activists across county

The FBI and Homeland Security agents have stepped up their campaign against anarchists and animal rights and environmental activists. Raids in Arizona, NYC, arrests in NYC, AZ, grand jury subpeonas in OR. U.S - The FBI and Homeland Security agents have stepped up their campaign against anarchists and animal rights and environmental activists. On Wednesday, in New York City, a 30 year old member of the Friends of Jeffrey Luers prisoner support group was arrested while at school. His apartment was also raided and computer and person affects seized. His arrest may be in connection with a May 2001 Earth Liberation Front arson at Jefferson Poplar Farms near Portland Oregon. The arraignment will be at 11:00 am Thursday morning on the second floor of the Federal Court Building, which is located at at 225 Cadman Plaza East in Brooklyn.

Portland activists, Frank Winbigler and Shannon (Nonny) Urick were approached in a cafe by three FBI agents, one agent from Homeland Security, and an Oregon Sheriff. They were served with papers ordering them to be witnesses in a federal Grand Jury investigation, and were also advised that they are both targets of the same investigation. The Grand Jury is scheduled for March 16th of next year in Eugene, Oregon. Later in the day more than a dozen FBI agents, along with Joint Terrorism Task Force and local police officers raided The Catalyst Infoshop in Prescott, Arizona. Environmental publications were seized and one of the groups founding members was arrested. The arraignment is scheduled for 10:00 am Thursday morning in Flagstaff where the federal courthouse is. Police in Arizona consider anarchists to be a terrorist threat. A second person has been reported arrested in Flagstaff according to www.arizona.indymedia.org

Earlier in the week federal agents were asking around Boston for Daniel Andreas San Diego, who they allege is responsible for placing an explosive pipe bomb at Chiron Corp in Emeryville, California on August 28, 2003. The Chiron Corp, a biotechnology company, was a target of the animal rights campaign to shut down Huntingdon Life Sciences, a company that performs cruel experiments on animals. This most recent attack on the earth and animal liberation movements was obviously well coordinated and planned far in advance. Activists across the country have been doing what they can to protect themselves by sharing information about how to avoid dealing with authorities a developing a better security culture. At least 2 additional people served with subpoenas.

[  portland.indymedia.org

6. Dezember 2005

khaled el'masri hat über seinen anwalt gemeinsam mit der aclu eine klage wegen seiner entführung durch das cia eingereicht. mashri selbst wurde die einreise in die usa verweigert.

German Sues Over Abduction Said to Be at Hands of C.I.A.

A German citizen who says he was abducted, beaten and taken to Afghanistan by American agents in an apparent case of mistaken identity in 2003 filed suit in federal court today against George J. Tenet, the former C.I.A. director, and three companies said to have been involved in secret flight operations. The suit came three days after Khaled el-Masri, a 42-year-old Lebanese-born former car salesman, was refused entrance to the United States after arriving Saturday in Atlanta on a flight from Germany with the intention of appearing at a news conference today in Washington. He spoke instead by video satellite link, describing somberly how he was beaten, photographed nude and injected with drugs during five months in detention in Macedonia and Afghanistan. "I want to know why they did this to me," Mr. Masri said, speaking in German. He said that he had been reunited with his wife and children and was seeking work in Germany but that he had not fully recovered from the trauma of his experience. "I don't think I'm the human being I used to be," he told reporters through an interpreter.

In a separate interview in Germany, Mr. Masri said his weekend encounter with federal immigration officers in Atlanta made him briefly fear that the ordeal might be repeated or that he might be taken to the American detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. "My heart was beating very fast," he said. "I have remembered that time, what has happened to me, when they kidnapped me to Afghanistan. I have remembered and was afraid." The lawsuit, filed by lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union in Alexandria, Va., came on a day of talks between Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, who said Ms. Rice had admitted that Mr. Masri's detention had been a mistake.

Since it was first reported in January, the Masri case has become an oft-cited example of tough American counterterrorism policies gone awry.

His lawsuit is the latest development in a series of challenges by human rights groups on the Central Intelligence Agency's clandestine operations to transport, detain and interrogate suspected terrorists since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Under particular scrutiny are secret detention centers, including some reported to be in Eastern Europe; the use of harsh interrogation methods by American intelligence officers; and the delivery of more than 100 suspects to other countries, including some where torture has been routine, in a practice known as rendition. The lawsuit appears to be the first to target a web of companies that own and operate a fleet of aircraft used by the C.I.A., including many based at the rural Johnston County Airport in Smithfield, N.C. The companies named in the suit were Aero Contractors Ltd., a Smithfield company that provides crews and maintenance; Premier Executive Transport Services of Dedham, Mass., which previously owned the Boeing business jet used to take Mr. Masri from Macedonia to Afghanistan; and Keeler and Tate Management L.L.C., of Reno, Nev., which owns the jet today.

The lawsuit could force the C.I.A. to acknowledge its secret relationship with the companies, said Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the A.C.L.U. "That's what's novel here," he said. "What we learn of these three companies will be as interesting as the outcome of the case."

A spokesman for Mr. Tenet, who served as C.I.A. director from 1997 to 2004, said he had no comment, as did a spokesman for the C.I.A. Initial attempts to reach executives of the three air companies named in the lawsuit were unsuccessful. Mr. Romero of the A.C.L.U. said the lawsuit was an attempt to counter the "culture of impunity" in the Bush administration for human rights violations and to force the C.I.A. to abandon practices in conflict with American values. The organization has obtained 77,000 pages of government documents on detention and interrogation under the Freedom of Information Act that have been the basis for thousands of news reports. Mr. Romero took issue with a statement Ms. Rice made on Monday before leaving for Germany denying accusations of human rights violations and declaring that "the United States does not transport, and has not transported, detainees from one country to another for the purpose of interrogation using torture." "Unfortunately, as our lawsuit shows today, those statements are patently false," Mr. Romero said. Souad Mekhennet contributed reporting from Germany for this article.

[  nytimes.com

4. Dezember 2005

ein längerer artikel über den umgang der medien mit fällen von vermissten kindern und jugendlichen.

Missing and The Media

For a missing child to attract widespread publicity and improve the odds of being found, it helps if the child is white, wealthy, cute and under 12. Experts agree that whites account for only half of the nation's missing children. But white children were the subjects of more than two-thirds of the dispatches appearing on the Associated Press' national wire during the last five years and for three-quarters of missing-children coverage on CNN, according to a first-of-its-kind study by Scripps Howard News Service.

"I don't think this results from conscious or subconscious racism," said Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. "But there's no question that if a case resonates, if it touches the heartstrings, if it makes people think 'that could be my child,' then it's likely to pass the test to be considered newsworthy. Does that skew in favor of white kids? Yes, it probably does." That race and class affect news coverage is a fact that's not lost on the families of missing minority children. "But the thing about it, the ghetto mamas love their babies just like the rich people do. And they need to recognize that," Mattie Mitchell said of news executives.

Mitchell is the great-grandmother of missing 4-year-old Jaquilla Scales. Jaquilla, who is black and has never been found, drew only slight national coverage in 2001 when she was snatched from her bedroom in Wichita, Kan. But the bedroom kidnappings of Danielle van Dam, Polly Klaas, Jessica Lunsford and Elizabeth Smart, all white girls, erupted in a barrage of publicity. "They could have done more," Jaquilla's mother, Eureka Scales, said of national news organizations. "They could have put more out there so people could know." Media coverage of missing children has an even stronger age bias. Children less than 12 represented only a sixth of all cases reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in the last five years. But they accounted for more than two-thirds of national news stories in the study.

"It hasn't been proven, but there's a cuteness factor, I think," said Mitch Oldham of the National Runaway Switchboard. "Why do people like pandas more than condors? They're more cuddly. I won't say it's a callousness towards older children. But younger children are perceived to be more vulnerable." Scripps Howard studied 162 missing-children cases reported by the Associated Press from Jan. 1, 2000, through Dec. 31, 2004. Forty-three CNN reports were also studied. Scripps Howard determined the race of the child in each case by checking records maintained by missing-children organizations or by contacting police investigators. White children accounted for 67 percent of AP's missing-children coverage and for 76 percent of CNN's. But they represented only 53 percent of the 37,665 cases reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children during the same period and only 54 percent of the cases found in a 2002 study of missing children sponsored by the U.S. Justice Department.

Black children accounted for 17 percent of the AP stories, 13 percent of CNN's, 19 percent in the Justice Department's study and 23 percent of cases reported to the National Center. The discrepancies for Hispanic children were greater, accounting for just 11 percent of AP's reporting and 9 percent of CNN's stories, yet 18 percent of children reported to the National Center and 21 percent in the Justice Department study. "I think there are explanations other than that black kids and Hispanic kids are not objects of concern or compassion," said sociologist David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire and author of the Justice Department's 2002 study. "Middle-class white families have good social networks and are able to mobilize people better, making it a matter of communitywide attention. But minority parents may not see the media as a likely source of help," he said. Executives at CNN headquarters in Atlanta refused to comment on the study.

Associated Press Managing Editor Mike Silverman, however, said his staff "has certainly talked and thought a lot about what kinds of cases are getting media attention." He said racial and age disparities in missing-children reporting may be smaller when looking at community news covered by an individual newspaper or television station. "The issue of age has a fairly simple explanation," Silverman said. "Teenage runaways simply are not national news in the same way as are abductions, particularly abductions by strangers. More people in more places are going to be interested when a smaller child is at peril." Parents of missing minority children and several national advocacy groups complain that missing teenagers face a presumption that they've run away. "Minority families probably have a harder time overcoming this runaway hypothesis," Finkelhor said.

A good example is the 2002 abduction of Laura Ayala, 13, who disappeared after walking a block from her Houston home to buy a newspaper for her mother. Police found only the newspaper and the Hispanic teenager's shoes in a nearby parking lot. "The police said that maybe she left with her boyfriend," said Laura's mother, Angelica Rebollar. "I felt desperate. I knew something was wrong. I knew she didn't have a boyfriend." Allen and other staff workers at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children tried to persuade Texas newspapers and radio and television stations to cover the disappearance in hopes that an alert public might help locate the teen.

"I made dozens of phone calls," Allen said. "But we were told, 'Oh, she probably just ran away.' My response was: 'Without her shoes?' The presumption by media in cases of a 12- or 13-year-old is that this is a runaway. End of story." Laura was never located. But Houston police made a full investigation and now believe she was abducted and killed by a man on Texas' death row for another crime. Her story, after considerable prompting, was picked up by CNN and the regional AP wire and was featured prominently on the Univision national Hispanic cable TV network. But Rebollar said she believes her daughter would have been located if police and the press had acted more quickly. "I felt I was treated differently because I'm Hispanic, without a lot of money," she said.

Missing-children advocates say publicity can save lives. Amber Alerts on local radio and television broadcasts, for example, have helped recover hundreds of children in the last seven years. National media attention can be even more powerful, especially in cases where police fear a kidnapper has crossed state lines with a child. "We hope that news directors, editors and media decision-makers will begin to view this from the perspective of public service," Allen said. "The reality is that media works. When we can bring attention, we can mobilize the eyes and ears of the American public, we dramatically increase the likelihood that the child is going to be found safely." News executives have long considered how minorities, especially disadvantaged minorities, are treated, Silverman said. "My hunch is that socioeconomics has a lot to do with this. Affluent parents have the wherewithal to use the system better," he said.

Ivan Roman, executive director of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, agreed. "This is a class problem, a sign of how the media value the concerns of white, middle-class people," Roman said. "We used to have the so-called 'good address' syndrome. When a crime occurred in a middle-class neighborhood, it got coverage. That same mentality continues to play out."

But there can be other, more subtle factors at work. Allen said it is much harder to gain media attention for missing children in major urban areas where much of America's minority population lives. "A few years ago in New York City, we had two beautiful 2-year-old African-American boys who disappeared within a few months of each other from the same playground across the street from the same apartment house where they both lived," Allen said. "Media coverage could really have helped here. But we were told by media executives: 'It's New York. These kind of things happen in big cities.' " Media attention is easier to obtain in smaller communities, which tend to have predominately white populations, Allen said. "Missing children get the most attention in rural areas and small towns, places where people think these kinds of things don't happen," he said.

Scripps Howard examined media reports on AP and CNN from 2000 through 2004, a period selected so that comparisons could be made to data provided by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children during these same years. The Associated Press is the largest producer of print news in the United States, providing more national stories than any other source. CNN was selected because it was the largest provider of national television reporting during this period. Experts warn that patterns found in this study are indicative of reporting practices throughout the nation's news media. "This certainly crosses the entire media spectrum and is not unique to just CNN or the AP," Allen said. This study also examined missing-children stories carried by Scripps Howard News Service. Using the same methods employed to study the Associated Press, only four missing-children cases were carried from 2000 to 2004. Two of these were white children, one was black and one was biracial.

[  gainesville.com

2. Dezember 2005

zwei männer wurden als angebliche anführer eines riots im lee correctional knast / south carolina bei dem am 29. oktober 2003 zwei wärter 5 stunden als geiseln festgehalten wurden, zu lebenslanger haft verurteilt. die männer waren bereits zu 20 bzw. 30 jahren knast verurteilt.

Inmates get life in prison for inciting 2003 prison riot

Two Columbia men will spend the rest of their lives behind bars without the possibility of parole for their involvement in a 2003 prison uprising. Jurors convicted Tyrone Singletary, 25, and Jacob Lynch, 24, Thursday on two counts each of rioting, inciting a riot, assault on a correctional officer and concealing a weapon. The decision came after two hours of deliberation. Circuit Judge Thomas Cooper gave both men life in prison for taking a hostage. Each also received a consecutive10-year sentence for rioting and concealing a weapon, a consecutive 5-year sentence for assault, and a concurrent sentence for inciting a riot.

Defense attorneys Bryan Doby and Clifford Scott said their clients intend to appeal. The charges stem from a five-hour standoff Oct. 29, 2003, at the Lee Correctional Institution, where both men were being held. Singletary had served five years of a 30-year sentence for murder in Florence County, and Lynch was two years into a 20-year robbery sentence from Horry County.

Witnesses said Lynch and Singletary took over a unit with homemade knives and held officers Kenneth Dozier and Marcus Cotton hostage. Several inmates testified Cotton was singled out because he had abused prisoners. Cotton testified both inmates stabbed him during the struggle. Dozier said other inmates helped him get inside a cell, away from Singletary and Lynch. After the verdict, Dozier said inmates used security lapses to their advantage. At the time of the uprising, Dozier said, there were not enough radios for each officer, and the surveillance cameras did not always work. "The inmates knew all of this," he said.

[  thestate.com

18. November 2005
RFID-Telefone gehen ins Gefängnis
Extra-Handschellen für die Häftlinge

In Gefängnissen der USA soll in Zukunft ganz modern und reibungslos telefoniert werden. Das wünscht sich zumindest das Unternehmen AGM für den Absatz seiner Produkte. Neu ist dabei vor allem ein RFID-basiertes Telefonabrechnungssystem, das sogar besonders fälschungssicher sein soll. Es besteht aus einem RFID-Chip, der in ein Plastikarmband integriert ist. Die speziellen Telefone von AGM sollen den Nutzer und sein Abrechnungskonto über den Telefonhörer erkennen. Die Minutenpreise sollen dann automatisch beim Auflegen vom Konto des Häftlings abgebucht werden. Und damit es keine fruchtlosen Rangeleien um die Kontobewegungen gibt, wird das Armband unbrauchbar, sobald es durchschnitten oder irgendwie durchtrennt wird. AGM führt derzeit Gespräche mit Gefängnissen in den US-Bundesstaaten Idaho, Oklahoma und Texas. Es gebe bereits erste Interessenten, so die Firma in der US-Presse. Da die Abrechnung aber im Prepaid-Verfahren und auch als direkte Abbuchung funktioniere, sei auch an den Einsatz außerhalb der Gefängnismauern gedacht.

[  silicon.de

5. November 2005

2004 waren in den us knästen 2,267,787 menschen inhaftiert, 1.4 millionen in bundes- und staatsknästen und 700.000 in regionalen knästen. Einer von 109 männlichen us- bürger war im knast, ein anstieg von 32% seit 1995. Die zahl der frauen in den knästen stieg um 4 %. die jährliche steigerungsrate bei frauen liegt bei durchschnittlich 4.8% im vergangenen jahrzehnt, bei den männern liegt diese bei 3.1%. härtere strafen für drogen sind ein hauptgrund für diesen anstieg. Die höchste steigerung gab es bei den verstößen gegen das immgrationsgesetz. Diese stiegen um 394% seit 1995. 2003 waren 16. 903 menschen wegen immgrationsdelikten im knast, 1995 waren es 3. 420.

Record numbers in US prisons
Women, children and immigrants top incarceration increases

The number of people in US prisons and jails rose again last year to 2,267,787 people, continuing a trend of increasing incarceration rates that has gone on unabated for more than two decades. According to a report released in October by the US Department of Justice, by the end of 2004 there were 1.4 million prisoners in federal and state facilities and 700,000 in local jails.

One out every 109 US males was incarcerated in a state or federal prison in 2004, reflecting a 32 percent increase in the number of male prisoners since 1995. In 1980 the number in prison or jail in the US totaled 503,000. By 1990 this had doubled to over a million and by mid-year 2002 it doubled again, to surpass the 2 million mark.

The historical increase in the US prison population has been out of proportion to the general rise in population. In 2004 the US incarceration rate hit 486 sentenced inmates (those with sentences exceeding one year) per 100,000 residents, up 18 percent from 411 per 100,000 a decade ago, according to the government report.

Though US crime rates have actually fallen in recent years, a law-and-order atmosphere and more jail time and longer sentences under mandatory minimums and three-strikes laws are keeping the prisons filled. The prison system is a key component of political repression, designed to keep a lid on growing social tensions resulting from unprecedented levels of social inequality in the US.

The US has the highest prison population in the world, both in percentage of its population and in sheer numbers of people kept behind bars. Only China, with a population more than four times that of the US, even comes close, with 1.5 million prisoners. The overall US incarceration rate—724 per 100,000—is 25 percent higher than that of any other nation in the world, according to the Sentencing Project, a prisoner advocacy group.

Women and immigrants have highest increases

The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) report noted that the number of female prisoners rose 4 percent from 2003 to 2004, more than twice the rate of increase among men over the same time period. The annual rate of increase in women has averaged 4.8 percent for the past decade compared to an average of 3.1 percent for men. Harsher drug sentencing laws are a big part of the increase. Women now account for one in four arrests in the US, though they currently comprise only 7 percent of prison inmates. This is up from 5.7 percent in 1990.

The highest historical increase in incarceration rates has been in the area of immigration offenses, which has risen by 394 percent since 1995. In 2003 there were 16,903 people in prison for immigration offenses, up from 3,420 in 1995.

The number of persons jailed in federal prison for immigration offenses (such as attempting to enter the country within five years of being deported) doubled from 1,593 in 1985 to 3,420 in 1995. After the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act was implemented in 1996 the number skyrocketed to 16,903 in 2003. Immigration lawyers have documented that 57 percent of immigration violations cases referred for prosecution by the Immigration and Naturalization Service in the year 2000 involved citizens of Mexico, with nearly all of these cases being investigations of unlawful entry.

Sentenced inmates in federal prisons increased from 88,658 in 1995 to 158,426 in 2003, according to the BJS report. The largest increase was for drug offenses, just under half of the total growth. Those sentenced for drug offenses made up 55 percent of federal inmates in 2003. Public-order offenses, including weapons charges and the above mentioned immigration violations, made up nearly 40 percent.

The federal prison system has been the sole source of the growth of privately operated prisons in the past four years, according to the BJS report. Close to 25,000 federal prisoners were housed in private facilities in 2004 compared to 15,500 in 2000. The use of private prisons in the states and US territories declined over the same period. Nevertheless, states and territories held over 74,000 people in private jails.

Juveniles in adult prison

There are just over 100,000 prisoners in juvenile facilities. When juvenile justice statistics are examined in detail, the repressive conditions in US society are dramatically on display.

Earlier this year, the US Supreme Court ruled that juvenile offenders are too young and immature to be put to death. These rulings rested on the concept that children do not have the same mental capacity and thus are not as culpable as adults. But this has done little to stop the systematic dismantling of the 100-year-old juvenile justice system.

Though the number of youth convicted of murder was cut in half between 1990 and 2000, the rate of children sentenced as adults went up substantially. In 1990 there were 2,234 youth convicted of murder in the United States, 2.9 percent sentenced to life without parole. Ten years later, in 2000, the number of youth murderers had dropped to 1,006, but 9.1 percent were sentenced to life without parole.

More than one in four of the youth convicted of murder—the majority of cases remanded to adult court—were convicted of felony murder in which the teen participated in a robbery or burglary during which a co-participant committed murder, without the knowledge or intent of the teen.

In any event, experts have pointed out that the increase in the number of children sentenced as adults comes from cases that would not have been subject to the death penalty. They are young people who were accessories to crimes or who were sentenced to life (without parole) for property crimes and other nonviolent infractions.

In a recent world survey of juvenile offenders, Human Rights Watch/Amnesty International found only four countries that imprisoned children with sentences of life without parole. Out of 154 countries outside the US, the authors of The Rest of Their Lives: Life without Parole for Child Offenders in the United States found only 12 prisoners in just three countries who were serving sentences of life without parole for crimes committed while they were children. In the US, the fourth country, there were 2,200 people serving life without parole for crimes they committed before turning 18.

The US, along with only Somalia, has never ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It stands in violation of the international human rights standards contained in that charter that prohibit the incarceration of children with adults. According to the report, one third of the youth offenders now serving life without parole in the US entered adult prison while they were still children.

“In eleven out of the seventeen years between 1985 and 2001, youth convicted of murder in the United States were more likely to enter prison with a life without parole sentence than adult murder offenders,” the report says.

A few US states led the increase in harsh adult sentences for children. Virginia, Louisiana and Michigan had life without parole sentences for children rates that were three to seven-and-a-half times higher than the national average of 1.77 per 100,000 children.

According to the BJS, the states with the highest incarceration rates are found in the South. Louisiana’s incarceration rate is 816 prisoners per 100,000 state residents, approaching twice the national average and substantially higher than even its closest rival, Texas, which reported 694 per 100,000.

When Louisiana Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco announced her shoot-to-kill orders for New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina she was only crafting the logical extension of decades of increased police repression in the US that has accompanied the corporate and government assault on social conditions.

The response of the media was to largely ignore the semi-annual report from the BJS and the social implications of decades of increases in the imprisonment rates. Bringing up social ills in the US is rare, and discussing them in relation to crime and punishment is virtually taboo. There was only a brief outburst of protest a month ago when William Bennett, the former US Education Secretary and right-wing commentator, made his now infamous assertion that crime in the US would fall if all black babies were aborted.

Stagnant and falling wages and incomes for the poor, growing household indebtedness, cuts in social services and countless blows to the social safety net are a feature of everyday life in the US. Following the virtual elimination of any form of public assistance for the long-term unemployed and the dismantling of mental health facilities in the states, states have treated prisons as a dumping ground for the individuals ground down by society, a practice acceptable in official circles.

The Human Rights Watch/Amnesty International report found marked racial disparities among juveniles sentenced to life without parole. Nationwide, the estimated rate at which black youth receive life without parole sentences (6.6 per 10,000) is 10 times greater than the rate for white youth (0.6 per 10,000).

The BJS report finds the same racial disparities in adult prisons. In 2004 more than 40 percent of sentenced inmates were black. Of black males aged 25 to 29, 8.4 percent are sentenced inmates, compared to 2.5 percent of Hispanic males and 1.2 percent of white males in that age group. Even among middle-aged blacks, aged 45 to 54, the rate of incarceration is higher than the national average, at 3.3 percent.

Bennett, as “drug czar” under the first President Bush, was responsible for the direction of US policy in the area of drug offenses. The so-called war on drugs eschewed rehabilitation and caught up hundreds of thousands of black men in its net, even though drug use itself is no higher among racial minorities than among the population as a whole.

[  wsws.org

2. November 2005

der u.s. court of appeals , ein bundesgericht für berufungen / widersprüche, hat die im august von einem gericht aufgehoben urteile gegen die als cuban 5 bekannten männer wieder eingesetzt.

Verdict to stand for five Cuban spies

Miami's Cuban spy case has taken another turn in the U.S. Court of Appeals, with a ruling reinstating the original convictions. A final ruling may take months.

A federal appeals court jolted Miami with another electrifying ruling in the case of five Cuban men accused of spying for Fidel Castro ? reinstating their original convictions in the 2001 trial. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals late Monday threw out a ruling in August by a three-judge appellate panel that had overturned those convictions.

The decision pleased relatives of four Miami exile pilots who were fatally shot down over international waters in 1996 by the Cuban Air Force in an alleged plot linked to the espionage case. Now the appeals process starts all over again. The Atlanta appellate court must decide whether the five Cuban defendants -- convicted of infiltrating Miami's exile community and trying to pass U.S. military secrets to Havana -- received a fair trial in a community that despises Castro. This time, a majority of the 12-member appellate court has agreed to rehear the so-called Cuban Five's appeal, which leaves the case in limbo for several more months.

Maggie Alejandre Khuly, whose brother, Armando Alejandre Jr., was one of four Brothers to the Rescue pilots killed on Feb. 24, 1996, hopes the court upholds the convictions. ''We said throughout the trial we believed in the U.S. justice system,'' she said. ``We certainly hope this court agrees this was a just verdict.''

The other Brothers to the Rescue victims were Carlos Costa, Mario de la Peña and Pablo Morales. The exile organization conducted humanitarian missions over the Florida Straits and leafleted Cuba. Prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney's Office said they were ''gratified'' with the full court's decision to rehear the appeal, which came in a brief response to their challenge in September.


In August, the 11th Circuit's three-judge panel found that pretrial publicity -- from the community's anti-Castro views and the heavy media coverage to the hangover from the Elián González custody battle -- made it impossible for the defendants to receive a fair jury trial in Miami. Its 93-page decision meant the retrial would have to be conducted in a city outside of Miami. But in a petition, Acting U.S. Attorney R. Alexander Acosta asked all 12 members of the appellate court to review the ruling.

Such requests are rarely granted, according to legal experts. They said the appellate panel cited so much overwhelming evidence -- including a court-approved, pretrial survey showing widespread community prejudice toward the five Cuban defendants -- that there was nothing factually for prosecutors to challenge. But Acosta disagreed, saying the panel's ruling ran contrary to legal precedents in that court and the Supreme Court.

Former U.S. Attorney Guy Lewis, whose office prosecuted the spy case during his tenure, said the panel's opinion was flawed because not a single Cuban American was picked as a juror. ''Any suggestion that a jury can't sit in [Miami], especially under the extraordinary oversight that occurred with Judge Lenard, is wrong,'' Lewis said. Lewis said the 11th Circuit's decision to rehear the appeal as a full court bodes well for the prosecution. ''Why would the court inject itself into something so volatile if there wasn't going to be a change at the end of the day?'' he asked. ``My experience is, courts of appeals are very, very reluctant to throw out jury verdicts absent extraordinary circumstances.''

In July 2000, U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard, who presided over the trial, denied the motion by the five defendants to move their espionage trial outside Miami. The judge said she believed that an impartial, 12-person jury could be selected from the community. Her ruling followed the federal government's decision to send 6-year-old rafter Elián González back to Cuba to live with his father, raising a furor in Miami's Cuban-American community.

The six-month spy trial ended with the five defendants' convictions in June 2001. Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino and Antonio Guerrero all received life sentences from Lenard. Hernández was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder for his alleged role in the 1996 shooting by Cuban fighters of two Brothers to the Rescue planes.

René González, a pilot accused of faking his defection to insinuate himself into Brothers to the Rescue, was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Fernando González, no relation, was sentenced to 19 years for trying to infiltrate the offices of Cuban-American politicians and shadowing prominent exiles.


Attorney Paul McKenna, who represented Hernández, said the latest court opinion was a ''disappointment,'' but not an indication of how the entire court might rule on the Cuban Five's appeal. ''The issue is not were these jurors on this [Miami] panel fair,'' he said. ``The issue is whether this jury was tainted because of the community's sentiment toward Castro and the Cuban government.''

José Basulto, founder of Brothers to the Rescue, praised the 11th Circuit's decision to rehear the appeal, saying exile politics did not poison Miami jurors. ''The Cuban-American population is open-minded enough not to exert any type of pressure on jurors,'' he said.

[  ledger-enquirer.com

November 2005

[   Incarceration and Crime: A Complex Relationship PDF Sentencing Project. 11/2005

[  Broken Justice: The Death Penalty in Alabama PDF ACLU. 10/2005
   At least 30 current death row prisoners have no lawyer.
   Alabama's death row occupants are overwhelmingly poor 95 percent are indigent and minority.

[  No Turning Back:
   Promising Approaches to Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities Affecting Youth of Color in the Justice System
   Building Blocks for Youth. 10/2005

[  Probation and Parole in the United States, 2004
   Bureau of Justice Statistics. 11/2005

[  Capital Punishment, 2004
   Bureau of Justice Statistics. 11/2005

[  Hate Crimes Reported by Victims and Police
   Bureau of Justice Statistics. 11/2005

[  Source:prisonsucks.com

31. Oktober 2005

in den zwei neuen knästen im maricopa county / arizona sind besuche nur über video möglich. Sheriff joe arpaio sagte dazu u.a. daß das neue system die wartezeit von mehreren stunden auf wenige minuten verringert hätte da die insassen nicht zum besucherraum gebracht werden müssten. Außerdem könnten dadurch weder sachen eingeschmuggelt noch die wärter nicht angegriffen werden.

Video jail visits becoming common at Phoenix jail

At Maricopa County's two newest jails, video is the only way to visit. While some call it impersonal, officials say the virtual visits with handsets and video screens make visits safer and allow more frequent ones.

"It's a good, good morale booster on both sides of the fence," Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said. "You shouldn't penalize the family who want to visit." Arpaio said the new system has reduced wait time for visits from several hours to mere minutes, as inmates no longer have to be escorted by detention officers to visiting areas with limited seating. Because inmates hook up in their housing units, it cuts down on movement, reduces the number of assaults and eliminates opportunities for contraband to be smuggled into jails.

Even though touching and hand-holding was never allowed, somes families bemoan the loss of personal contact . To Beverly Kelley of Glendale, who visited her son, Kurt, at the jail, it wasn't the same. During their 30-minute visit, Kelley had to keep asking Kurt to look up so she could see his eyes. "I would have rather seen him in person," Kelley said, but "it's better than nothing." Still, she was relieved to see he "looked good2 after six months in jail, that he "doesn't look beat up. I worry about that."

There are 126 booths for visitors, spread over the three facilities, and 280 for inmates. Each station costs up to $4,000 and is paid for from a one-fifth cent sales tax voters approved for jails in 1998 and extended for 20 more years in 2002.

With more than 10,700 jail inmates in Maricopa County and an average of 12,000 visitors monthly, Arpaio said he'd like to see home-based visitation within the next year. The technology is slowly spreading in Maricopa County, with public defenders, probation officers and even some criminal attorneys getting access in their offices over the next six months. And what's happening here could become the norm across the country in coming years as jails and prisons increasingly embrace video visitation as a smart management policy. Such video encounters eventually could take place from the comfort of home, virtually revolutionizing visitation as we know it. All that would be needed in the home is a Web cam, a microphone and a computer with a broadband Internet connection. If it happens, it would be the first program of its kind in the country to hook up private homes and jails, Arpaio said.

"It's the right thing to do," Arpaio said. "The kids can get on and talk to their father. Arpaio said he is also considering regional visitation centers and Pinal County officials also are looking toward satellite visitation centers.

The Arizona Department of Corrections uses video hookups at its Tucson and Alhambra prisons to connect visitors to inmates housed at facilities in other states. And Pinal County expects to have the technology in its current jail by the end of the year. It will allow inmates to have 30 minutes of visitation daily instead of 20 to 30 minutes a week, said Terry Altman, chief deputy for detention at the Pinal County Sheriff's Office, said currently, more than 700 inmates use eight in-person visiting booths. "Maintaining contact with the outside world is critically important while they're in here," Altman said. "It allows them to feel they have some influence and some connection with their families."

[  tucsoncitizen.com

21. Oktober 2005

34 insassen des mendocino county knast haben einen petiton auf zulassung eines "writ of habeas corpus" gestellt, und klagen wegen überbelegung und daraus resultierenden unsicheren und gefährlichen zustände im knast.

Writ of habeas corpus ist ein erlass nach der eine person in gewahrsam,im knast, psychiatrie, aber auch im krankenhaus oder altersheim, eine anhörung vor einem richter oder gericht fordert. Laut der petition müssen 50 menschen in einem als modul bezeichneten trakt leben die für 20 personen gebaut sind. Die gefangenen schlafen auf dem boden, einige neben den oft nicht richtig funktionierenden toiletten. Die duschenköpfe sind meist unbrauchbar, die belüftung wurde seit 1986 nicht mehr gereinigt und ist voller schmutz, weshalb einige gefangene bereits an asthma erkrankt sind.

Inmates take legal actions over jail conditions

Thirty-four Mendocino County jail inmates have filed a petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus, alleging unsafe and hazardous jail conditions because of overcrowding, malfunctioning cell doors, and non-functioning showers and sinks.

A Writ of Habeas Corpus is an order that requires a person in custody to be brought before a judge or court; in this case, for inmates to challenge conditions of their confinement. The court has reviewed the petition and determined a response from Sheriff Tony Craver and the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors is necessary. The County Counsel's Office will be preparing the response, County Counsel Jeanine Nadel said, though she would not comment on the case because it's in litigation.

"Today 50 people are housed in the B module. Many are sleeping on the floor. One shower works and some sinks barely work. Cells designed for one have five with one on the floor. The effects of severe overcrowding are heightened by the cell living arrangements which prevail. There is no walking space between bunks. Inmates sleep on the floor next to the urinal. All living quarters are inadequately ventilated. We do not have proper sanitation," inmate Randy Lee Sherwood wrote in the petition.

David Valley, also an inmate, echoed Sherwood, stating 50 inmates are housed in a module that was designed for 20. Shower nozzles are nonfunctional and vents are "plagued with filth" and have not been cleaned since 1986, he said.

"I suffer chronic allergies from the said vents and must also take an anti-anxiety (medication) due to the mental damages of overcrowding. In addition, there exists greater amounts of tension and hostility as a result (of these issues). I often witness extremely bloody fist fights that go undetected by jail staff. I witnessed a brutal rape ... that would have been prevented had there been a correct amount of jailers to inmate ratio," Valley wrote.

Valley also complained about the jail being understaffed which, among other things, "lowers the performance of employees," he said. Telephones in the jail are too old, and "medical and dental services are comparable to a third world service. ... The dental service is worse than the medical in that only teeth are extracted and no partial or false teeth are provided," he said, noting one inmate had nine teeth pulled in nine months and was not provided any type of prosthetic device and instead was fed a soft diet. Sheriff Tony Craver, on Thursday, also reserved comment regarding specifics of the case -- also due to litigation -- but he did agree with the inmates on the poor condition of the jail facility.

"We've been telling the Board of Supervisors for many years that it's only a question of time before we are faced with a significant lawsuit over jail conditions, and essentially we desperately need to make some improvements there."There has to be a realization within the county that a necessary element of the criminal justice system is the incarceration of people. As the county population and social elements continue to develop you will find more and more people being incarcerated, which, of course, necessitates the expansion of the jail."Unfortunately a jail, like any other building, does deteriorate in time. We have 300 people over there who don't want to be there and they are going to make it their life mission to see that it deteriorates as rapidly as possible; they aren't going to treat the building with tender loving care," the sheriff said.

[  ukiahdailyjournal.com

12. Oktober 2005

ein gemeinsamer bericht von human rights watch und amnesty international über jugendliche die zu lebenslänglich ohne aussicht auf bewährung ( lwop -life without parole) verurteilt wurden. " The rest of their lives: life without parole for child offender in the united states( Zur zeit sind 2.225 menschen in den us ) knästen die zur zeit ihrer verurteilung unter 18 waren. " während viele der jugendtäter jetzt erwachsene sind, sind 16 % zwischen 13 und 15 gewesen als sie ihre taten verübten."

Etwa 59% wurden als ersttäter zu lwop verurteilt. 42 bundesstaaten haben derzeit gesetze die es ermöglichen jugendliche zu verurteilen. Während die zahl der jugendlichen gewalttäter sinkt, steigt die zahl derer die zu lwop verurteilt werden. 1990 wurden 2.234 jugendliche wegen mord verurteilt, 2,9% davon zu lwop. Bis zum jahr 2000 fiel die zahl der verurteilten um 55% ( 1.006 ) während die prozentzahl der jugendlichen die zu lwop verurteilt wurden um 216 % stieg und dann bei 9% lag. Landesweit ist die zahl der afroamerikanischen jugendlichen die zu lwop verurteilt wurden 10mal höher als die der weißen ( in kalifornien 22.5mal). In pennsylvania werden hisspanics 10 mal mehr verurteilt als weiße ( 13.2 zu 1.3).

Thousands of Children Sentenced to Life without Parole

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International

There are at least 2,225 child offenders serving life without parole (LWOP) sentences in US prisons for crimes committed before they were age 18, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said in a new joint report published today.

While many of the child offenders are now adults, 16 percent were between 13 and 15 years old at the time they committed their crimes. An estimated 59 percent were sentenced to life without parole for their first-ever criminal conviction. Forty-two states currently have laws allowing children to receive life without parole sentences.

The 157-page report, The Rest of Their Lives: Life without Parole for Child Offenders in the United States, is the first national study examining the practice of trying children as adults and sentencing them to life in adult prisons without the possibility of parole. The report is based on two years of research and on an analysis of previously uncollected federal and state corrections data. The data allowed the organizations to track state and national trends in LWOP sentencing through mid-2004 and to analyze the race, history and crimes of young offenders.

"Kids who commit serious crimes shouldn't go scot-free," said Alison Parker, senior researcher with Human Rights Watch, who authored the report for both organizations. "But if they are too young to vote or buy cigarettes, they are too young to spend the rest of their lives behind bars." Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are releasing The Rest of Their Lives at a critical time: while fewer youth are committing serious crimes such as murder, states are increasingly sentencing them to life without parole. In 1990, for example, 2,234 children were convicted of murder and 2.9 percent sentenced to life without parole. By 2000, the conviction rate had dropped by nearly 55 percent (1,006), yet the percentage of children receiving LWOP sentences rose by 216 percent (to nine percent).

"Untie the hands of state and federal judges and prosecutors," said Dr. William F. Schulz, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA (AIUSA). "Give them options other than turning the courts into assembly lines that mass produce mandatory life without parole sentences for children, that ignore their enormous potential for change and rob them of all hopes for redemption."

In 26 states, the sentence of life without parole is mandatory for anyone who is found guilty of committing first-degree murder, regardless of age. According to the report, 93 percent of youth offenders serving life without parole were convicted of murder. But Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International found that an estimated 26 percent were convicted of "felony murder," which holds that anyone involved in the commission of a serious crime during which someone is killed is also guilty of murder, even if he or she did not personally or directly cause the death.

For example, 15-year-old Peter A. was sentenced to life without parole for felony murder. Peter had joined two acquaintances of his older brother to commit a robbery. He was waiting outside in a van when one of the acquaintances botched the robbery and murdered two victims. Peter said, "Although I was present at the scene, I never shot or killed anyone." Nevertheless, Peter was held accountable for the double murder because it was established during the trial that he had stolen the van used to drive to the victims' house.

The human rights organizations also said that widespread and unfounded fears of adolescent "super-predators" - violent teenagers with long criminal histories who prey on society - prompted states to increasingly try children as adults. Ten states set no minimum age for sentencing children to life without parole, and there are at least six children currently serving the sentence who were age 13 when they committed their crimes. Once convicted, these children are sent to adult prisons and must live among adult gangs, sexual predators and in harsh conditions. For more state-by-state statistics please see the State-by-State Summary (available online at: http://hrw.org/us/us100605.pdf).

According to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, there is no correlation between the use of the LWOP sentence and youth crime rates. There is no evidence it deters youth crime or is otherwise helpful in reducing juvenile crime rates. For example, Georgia rarely sentences children to life without parole but it has youth crime rates lower than Missouri, which imposes the sentence on child offenders far more frequently. "Public safety can be protected without subjecting youth to the harshest prison sentence possible," said Parker.

Nationwide, black youth receive life without parole sentences at a rate estimated to be ten times greater than that of white youth (6.6 versus 0.6). In some states the ratio is far greater: in California, for example, black youth are 22.5 times more likely to receive a life without parole sentence than white youth. In Pennsylvania, Hispanic youth are ten times more likely to receive the sentence than whites (13.2 versus 1.3).

The United States is one of only a few countries in the world that permit children to be sentenced to LWOP. The Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by every country in the world except the United States and Somalia, forbids this practice, and at least 132 countries have rejected the sentence altogether. Thirteen other countries have laws permitting the child LWOP sentence, but, outside of the United States, there are only about 12 young offenders currently serving life sentences with no possibility of parole. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International also challenged the presumption that the youth offenders are irredeemable, which is implicit in the sentence they have received.

"Children who commit serious crimes still have the ability to change their lives for the better," said David Berger, attorney with the law firm of O'Melveny & Myers and Amnesty International's researcher for this report. "It is now time for state and federal officials to take positive steps by enacting policies that seek to redeem children, instead of throwing them in prison for the rest of their lives." The organizations called on the United States to end the practice of sentencing child offenders to life without parole. For those already serving life sentences, immediate efforts should be made to grant them access to parole procedures.

[  truthout.org

[  The Rest of Their Lives
   Life without Parole for Child Offenders in the United States.pdf

2. Oktober 2005

für immer mehr gefangene bedeutet ein urteil zu lebenslang das sie im knast sterben. das phänomen sei u.a. auch ein produkt der todesstrafe. Gegner der todesstrafe haben für lebenslänglich als alternative geworben. Und da die begeisterung im land für die todesstrafe durch eine flut von entlassungen von unschuldigen aus den todestrakten sowie durch einschränkende urteile des supreme court schwindet, würden mehr bundesstaaten lebenslange verurteilungen anwenden an.

Dadurch sind immer mehr menschen in den knästen die dort auch sterben werden. z.b. sind im knast angola von den 5.100 gefangenen 3.000 zu lebenslang ohne aussicht auf bewährung verurteilt und die meisten anderen haben so hohe strafen das sie ebenfalls im knast sterben werden. 150 gefangene sind dort in den letzten 5 jahren gestorben und die knastleitung hat gerade einen zweiten friedhof angelegt. permannente inhaftierung sei vielleicht die passende bestrafung eines mörders. Nur wenige hätten eine träne für gary l. ridgeway verloren, der green river killer, der zu 48 aufeinanderfolgende lebenslangen strafen verurteilt wurde, für jede frau die er seinem geständnis nach tötete, eine.

Aber einige kritiker der lebenslangen strafe sagen nun sie würde übermäßig angewandt und verweisen dabei auf menschen wie jerald sanders, der in alabama lebenslang inhaftiert ist. Er war ein kleiner einbrecher und war nie wegen einer gewalttat verurteilt. nach dem "gewohnheitstätergesetz" des staates wurde er wegen dem diebstahls eines $60 - fahrrades lebenslang inhatiert. weniger als 2/3 der 70.000 menschen die zwischen 1988 und 2001 zu lebenslang verurteilt wurden sind wegen mord verurteilt. 16 % der lebenslänglichen sind wegen drogenschmuggel / handel verurtelt.

To More Inmates, Life Term Means Dying Behind Bars

In the winter woods near Gaines, Pa., on the day before New Year's Eve in 1969, four 15-year-olds were hunting rabbits when Charlotte Goodwin told Jackie Lee Thompson a lie. They had been having sex for about a month, and she said she was pregnant.

That angered Jackie, and he shot Charlotte three times and then drowned her in the icy waters of Pine Creek. A few months later, Judge Charles G. Webb sentenced him to life in prison. But the judge told him: "You will always have hope in a thing of this kind. We have found that, in the past, quite frequently, if you behave yourself, there is a good chance that you will learn a trade and you will be paroled after a few years." Mr. Thompson did behave himself, learned quite a few trades in his 35 years in prison - he is an accomplished carpenter, bricklayer, electrician, plumber, welder and mechanic - and earned a high school diploma and an associate's degree in business. So exemplary is his prison record that when Mr. Thompson, now 50, asked the state pardons board to release him, the victim's father begged for his release, and a retired prison official offered Mr. Thompson a place to stay and a job.

"We can forgive him," said Duane Goodwin, Charlotte's father. "Why can't you?" The board turned Mr. Thompson down. Tom Corbett, the state attorney general, cast the decisive vote. "He shot her with a pump-action shotgun, three times," Mr. Corbett said. "This was a cold-blooded killing." Just a few decades ago, a life sentence was often a misnomer, a way to suggest harsh punishment but deliver only 10 to 20 years.

But now, driven by tougher laws and political pressure on governors and parole boards, thousands of lifers are going into prisons each year, and in many states only a few are ever coming out, even in cases where judges and prosecutors did not intend to put them away forever. Indeed, in just the last 30 years, the United States has created something never before seen in its history and unheard of around the globe: a booming population of prisoners whose only way out of prison is likely to be inside a coffin.

A survey by The New York Times found that about 132,000 of the nation's prisoners, or almost 1 in 10, are serving life sentences. The number of lifers has almost doubled in the last decade, far outpacing the overall growth in the prison population. Of those lifers sentenced between 1988 and 2001, about a third are serving time for sentences other than murder, including burglary and drug crimes. Growth has been especially sharp among lifers with the words "without parole" appended to their sentences. In 1993, the Times survey found, about 20 percent of all lifers had no chance of parole. Last year, the number rose to 28 percent.

The phenomenon is in some ways an artifact of the death penalty. Opponents of capital punishment have promoted life sentences as an alternative to execution. And as the nation's enthusiasm for the death penalty wanes amid restrictive Supreme Court rulings and a spate of death row exonerations, more states are turning to life sentences. Defendants facing a potential death sentence often plead to life; those who go to trial and are convicted are sentenced to life about half the time by juries that are sometimes swayed by the lingering possibility of innocence.

As a result the United States is now housing a large and permanent population of prisoners who will die of old age behind bars. At the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, for instance, more than 3,000 of the 5,100 prisoners are serving life without parole, and most of the rest are serving sentences so long that they cannot be completed in a typical lifetime. About 150 inmates have died there in the last five years, and the prison recently opened a second cemetery, where simple white crosses are adorned with only the inmate's name and prisoner ID number.

A Growing Reliance on Life Terms

American enthusiasm for life sentences reflects an uneasy societal consensus. Such sentences are undeniably tough, pleasing politicians and prosecutors, but they also satisfy opponents of capital punishment. "If you are punishing a heinous criminal who has committed a violent murder, it is appropriate to use severe sanctions," said Julian H. Wright Jr., a lawyer in North Carolina and the author of a study on life without parole. "It has the advantage of achieving a harsh penalty and keeping a violent offender off the streets. And you don't take a human life in the process. Indeed, if you mess up and do it wrong, you haven't taken someone's life."

But the prison wardens, criminologists and groups that study sentencing say the growing reliance on life terms also raises a host of questions. Permanent incarceration may be the fitting punishment for murder. Few shed tears for Gary L. Ridgway, the Green River killer, who was sentenced to 48 consecutive life terms in Washington State, one for each of the women he admitted to killing.

But some critics of life sentences say they are overused, pointing to people like Jerald Sanders, who is serving a life sentence in Alabama. He was a small-time burglar and had never been convicted of a violent crime. Under the state's habitual offender law, he was sent away after stealing a $60 bicycle. Fewer than two-thirds of the 70,000 people sentenced to life from 1988 to 2001 are in for murder, the Times analysis found. Other lifers - more than 25,000 of them - were convicted of crimes like rape, kidnapping, armed robbery, assault, extortion, burglary and arson. People convicted of drug trafficking account for 16 percent of all lifers.

Life sentences certainly keep criminals off the streets. But, as decades pass and prisoners grow more mature and less violent, does the cost of keeping them locked up justify what may be a diminishing benefit in public safety? By a conservative estimate, it costs $3 billion a year to house America's lifers. And as prisoners age, their medical care can become very expensive. At the same time, studies show, most prisoners become markedly less violent as they grow older. "Committing crime, particularly violent crime, is an activity of the young," said Richard Kern, the director of the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission.

Marc Mauer, executive director of the Sentencing Project, a research and advocacy group that issued a report on life sentences last year, said that about a fifth of released lifers were arrested again, compared with two-thirds of all released prisoners.

"Many lifers," Mr. Mauer said, "are kept in prison long after they represent a public safety threat." In much of the rest of the world, sentences of natural life are all but unknown. "Western Europeans regard 10 or 12 years as an extremely long term, even for offenders sentenced in theory to life," said James Q. Whitman, a law professor at Yale and the author of "Harsh Justice," which compares criminal punishment in the United States and Europe.

Michael H. Tonry, a professor of law and public policy at the University of Minnesota and an expert on comparative punishment, said life without parole was a legal impossibility in much of the world. Mexico will not extradite defendants who face sentences of life without parole. And when Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turkish gunman who tried to kill Pope John Paul II in 1981, was pardoned in 2000, an Italian judge remarked, "No one stays 20 years in prison."

Some developing and Islamic nations mete out brutal sanctions, including corporal punishment and mutilation. But if the discussion is limited to very long prison sentences, Professor Tonry said, "we are vastly more punitive than anybody else." The reasons for this gap are hard to pinpoint. Professor Whitman detects an American appetite for harsh retribution. Professor Tonry locates that appetite in a Calvinist tradition. "It's the same reason we're not a socialist welfare state," he said. "You deserve what you get, both good and bad."

That sort of talk struck M. L. Ebert Jr., a former president of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association and the district attorney of Cumberland County, Pa., as a little fancy. "Is it too much to ask that people don't kill people?" he said. "I can't tell you the devastation it causes families, who never forget. If you kill somebody, life means life without parole."

The Crime and the Victim

"My anger broke loose, and I shot her," Mr. Thompson said recently, recalling for the millionth time the day he killed Charlotte Goodwin. He was afraid, he said, that her pregnancy would get him kicked out of his foster home, his fourth in five years and the first one that he liked.

Mr. Thompson is a slight, almost elfin man, with receding, wispy, unkempt salt-and-pepper hair, a casual mustache, breath that smells of cigarettes and moody brown eyes in a heavily creased face. He is serving his time at the Rockview Correctional Institution near Bellefonte, just up the road from Pennsylvania State University. It is a soaring and forbidding mass of granite, a piece of Gotham City plunked down in the rolling hills of rural Pennsylvania.

He used his friend Dennis Ellis's pump-action shotgun, Mr. Thompson said, and he shot Charlotte at close range three times. He tried to explain the repeated shots. "You have to pump each time," he said. "It is true. Dennis and I, we always had a habit of going out in the woods with a gun and see how fast we could empty a gun. That's where the second and third shots come from." Charlotte's wounds were not immediately fatal. The youths had the idea, Mr. Thompson said, of putting her in a nearby creek. But she bobbed to the surface. So the three teenagers slid her body under the ice that covered a part of the creek, drowning her.

"You should have seen how stupid we was," Mr. Thompson said. "I wish I could change that." Mr. Thompson grew up as a slow and confused child, with a slight speech impediment. He had 13 brothers and sisters, "and that's not counting the half ones," he said. "Three or four of them have died so far," he said. His mother died when he was 10, he added, "I'm told of cancer."

Mr. Thompson recalled his younger self. "That 15-year-old kid was so scared. He was a special-ed kid. Special-ed kids get teased a lot. I was small. I kept running away. Here was a kid who was always scared to death, picked on, possibly beat up." "Looking back," he said, "I wish someone would have grabbed hold of me and kicked my butt. I wasn't a bad kid." He met Charlotte Goodwin at the foster home.

"I didn't get to know her that well," Mr. Thompson said. "At that age, boys are after one thing. A girl can talk all she wants and you ain't listening to her. You're thinking of only one thing." Duane Goodwin, Charlotte's father, remembered a cheerful child.

"She was just happy-go-lucky," Mr. Goodwin said of her. "If there was any kind of music on, she'd move to it." Jackie confessed to killing Charlotte, and Judge Webb sentenced him to life. At that time, 1970, in Pennsylvania, a life sentence usually meant fewer than 20 years. Dorothy D. Quimby was the clerk of the Orphans Court of Tioga County at the time and she knew him as "a gentle, good boy who had suffered a lot of hurt."

"I also knew Judge Webb very well," she wrote to the pardons board, "and know that his intentions were not to have Jackie incarcerated for any great length of time." A few months ago, Mr. Goodwin, 78, traveled 100 miles to speak up for his daughter's killer before the pardons board, which meets in an ornate courtroom of the State Supreme Court here, under a stained-glass cupola and a dozen frescoes attesting to the majesty of the law. Mr. Goodwin, a retired glass factory worker with a gray goatee and a hearing aid, is a small man with erect posture, alert eyes and quick laugh, but he gets a little overwhelmed by public speaking. He spoke softly and haltingly.

"He was just a scared little kid," Mr. Goodwin said of Jackie. "If he ever gets out, he's got a good education, and I think he'll use it." Kenneth Chubb, a retired facilities manager at the prison in Camp Hill, told the board that he had a proposal. "My wife and I would both like to offer, if needed, a place for him to stay," Mr. Chubb said, his voice choking with emotion. "Plus, my son, who has a plumbing business, will offer him a job." That drew a low whistle of surprise from a former prison official in the audience. "For a corrections person to embrace an inmate is just incredible," the official, W. Scott Thornsley, said.

A few days before the hearing, Mr. Corbett, the state attorney general, met with Mr. Thompson. "I walked out of the room thinking and feeling that he was going to say yes," Mr. Thompson later said. "He was not coldhearted. He wasn't drilling me. He gets to the point. He's a decent man." But in the end, that visit, Mr. Goodwin's pleas and Mr. Chubb's offer were not enough to sway Mr. Corbett, the one dissenting vote on the five-member parole board. "I am not prepared," Mr. Corbett said, "at this time to vote in the affirmative." John F. Cowley, the district attorney in Tioga County, where the killing took place, agreed that Mr. Thompson should never be free.

"At the end of the day, in Pennsylvania life means life," Mr. Cowley said. "I come down on the side - not firmly - but I come down on the side that there should be no pardon. It's a tough case. The only reason is the age at the time of the crime. Everything else is way beyond ugly." In lawsuits around the country, lifers are complaining that the rules were changed after sentencing. In some cases, they have the support of the judges who sentenced them.

A survey of 95 current and retired judges by the Michigan state bar released in 2002 found that, on average, the judges had expected prisoners sentenced to life with the possibility of parole to become eligible for parole in 12 years and to be released in 16 years. In July, a Michigan appeals court echoed that, saying that many lawyers there used to assume that a life sentence meant 12 to 20 years. "This belief seems to have been somewhat supported by parole data," the court said in rejecting a claim from a prisoner who claimed that recent changes in the parole system had worked to his disadvantage. "For example, between 1941 and 1974, 416 parole-eligible lifers were paroled, averaging 12 per year." In the last 24 years, by contrast, a New York Times analysis found that while the number of lifers shot up, the number of lifers who were paroled declined to about seven per year - even using the most liberal of definitions.

In 2002, for instance, a Michigan judge tried to reopen the case of John Alexander, whom he had sentenced to life with the possibility of parole for a seemingly unprovoked street shooting in 1981. The judge, Michael F. Sapala, said he had not anticipated the extent to which the parole board "wouldn't simply change policies but, in fact, would ignore the law" in denying parole to Mr. Alexander. "If I wanted to make sure he stayed in prison for the rest of his life, I would have imposed" a sentence "like 80 to 150 years," the judge said.

An appeals court ruled that the judge no longer had jurisdiction over the case. Executive Clemency Wanes In Louisiana, which, like Michigan and Pennsylvania, has a large number of lifers, "it was common knowledge that life imprisonment generally means 10 years and 6 months" in the 1970's, the state's Supreme Court said in 1982.

Since 1979, all life sentences there have come without the possibility of parole, and the governor rarely intervenes. "The use of executive clemency has withered, as it has all over the country, especially with lifers," said Burk Foster, a recently retired professor of criminal justice at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. The federal appeals court in California is considering whether the parole board there may deny parole to lifers based on the nature of the original crime, which, prisoners say, is a form of double jeopardy. The plaintiff in the case, Carl Merton Irons II, shot and stabbed a housemate, John Nicholson, in 1984 after hearing that Mr. Nicholson was stealing from their landlord. Mr. Irons was sentenced to 17 years to life for second-degree murder.

The parole board refused for a fifth time to release him in 2001, saying that the killing was "especially cruel and callous." The prosecutor who sent Mr. Irons away spoke up for him at a hearing the next year, to no avail. "If life would have it that Carl Irons was my next-door neighbor or I heard he was going to move next door to me," the prosecutor, Stephen M. Wagstaffe said, "my view to you would be that I'm going to have a good neighbor." Mr. Irons filed a lawsuit challenging the board's decision. A federal district judge agreed, ordering him paroled. The federal appeals court is expected to rule soon.

The state has 30,000 lifers, of whom 27,000 will eventually become eligible for parole. As a practical matter, parole for lifers is a two-step process: the parole board must recommend it, and the governor must approve it. Neither step is easy. In a 28-month period ending in 2001, according to the California Supreme Court, the board considered 4,800 cases and granted parole in 48. Gov. Gray Davis, a Democrat, reversed 47 of the decisions.

Governor Davis had run on a tough-on-crime platform. In five years as governor, he paroled five lifers, all murderers.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican who succeeded Mr. Davis in late 2003, has been more receptive to parole. He has paroled 103 lifers, 89 of them murderers. "Even though he is letting out more than Davis, it is still just a trickle," said Don Spector, executive director of the Prison Law Office, a legal group concerned with inmate rights and prison reform. "The victims' rights groups are used to seeing nothing, so to them, it seems like there's been a flood of releases." Reginald McFadden is the reason lifers no longer get pardons in Pennsylvania.

Mr. McFadden had served 24 years of a life sentence for suffocating Sonia Rosenbaum, 60, during a burglary of her home when a divided Board of Pardons voted to release him in 1992. After Gov. Robert P. Casey signed the commutation papers two years later, Mr. McFadden moved to New York, where he promptly killed two people and kidnapped and raped a third. He is now serving another life sentence there. Lt. Gov. Mark Singel had voted to release Mr. McFadden. When news of the New York murders broke, Mr. Singel was running for governor and was well ahead in the polls. The commutation became a campaign issue, and Mr. Singel was defeated by Tom Ridge, who did not commute a single lifer's sentence in his six years in office. Ernest D. Preate Jr., the state attorney general at the time, was the sole dissenting vote in Mr. McFadden's case.

Then, it took only a majority vote of the board to recommend clemency. Mr. Preate worked to change that, and in 1997 Pennsylvania voters passed a constitutional amendment requiring a unanimous vote in cases involving the death penalty and life sentences. The amendment also changed the composition of the board, substituting, for instance, a crime victim for a lawyer.

Mr. Thornsley, a former corrections official who now teaches at Mansfield University, said the amendment made a sensible change. "It took a unanimous vote to convict somebody," he said. "It should take a unanimous vote to send a case to the governor. If you're going to have a sentence, it should be served out in its entirety." The McFadden experience in Pennsylvania is a representative one, said Michael Heise, a law professor at Cornell.

"Around World War II, governors were giving away clemency like candy," Dr. Heise said. "Ever since Governor Dukakis and Willie Horton and President Clinton and Marc Rich, executive officers have been far, far more reticent to exercise their power. The politics are pretty clear: they don't want to get burned." As recently as 30 years ago, pardons for lifers were common in Pennsylvania. In eight years in the 1970's, for instance, Gov. Milton Shapp granted clemency to 251 lifers. Since 1995, even as the number of lifers has more than doubled, three governors combined have commuted a single life sentence.

These days, Mr. Preate is on the other side of the issue, working to overturn the amendment that he himself set in motion. He said his change of heart came after he spent a year in prison on a mail fraud conviction in the mid-90's. Meeting older lifers convinced him that the current system could be unduly punitive, he said. "That got me involved in the fight against the amendment I helped create and supported," he said. Mr. Preate now supports legislation that would allow a parole board to consider the cases of lifers who have served 25 years and are at least 50. "I never foresaw the politicization of this process," he said, "and the fear that has crept into the process."

Mr. Thompson entered prison in an era when its goal was rehabilitation, even for people serving nominal life terms. These days, he works as a prison carpenter, earning 42 cents an hour building cabinets and fixing things up around the prison, which houses about 1,800 inmates, more than 180 of whom are lifers. "It helps pay the cable and gets you a little bit of commissary," he said. "It might be strange to say, but coming to jail helped me. I got an education. Would I have got that out there? I probably would have quit like my brothers and most of my sisters. Would I have an associate's degree? Would I have job training?" He has a cell to himself, with a television and a guitar. He plays "the old rock, the classics" and said he was partial to Bob Dylan. He has started playing sports.

"Softball season started up again and the young boys talked me in to playing again, and I'm pretty good," he said several months ago. He plays second base. A lifer entering the system today would have few of Mr. Thompson's advantages. Programs have been cut back, and those that still exist are often reserved for prisoners serving short sentences. Mr. Thompson sounded resigned when he talked about being turned down by the pardons board. "A lot of guys in here really thought I was going to make it, staff and inmates, to give a little hope to the lifers," he said wearily. "I didn't cry this time. I committed a crime. Even though I think I've been punished enough, I'm to the point where I'm worried about my people, my supporters, because it really does take a toll on them."

[  nytimes.com

1.Oktober 2005

das urteil eines bundesrichters in kalifornien , daß das "strip- searching" neuer gefangener, egal weshalb sie inhaftiert wurden, gegen die verfassung verstößt, gibt etwa 27. 000 menschen die zwischen april 2002 und januar 2004 das recht / die möglichkeit, gegen die behörden zuklagen. Nach dem januar 2004 wurde diese regel geändert.

CITY jail's blanket strip searches illegal

San Francisco may have to pay millions of dollars to former jail inmates following a federal judge's ruling that the city's former policy of strip-searching new prisoners, regardless of the charges against them, was unconstitutional.

A lawyer for inmates who challenged the policy said Friday that U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer's ruling applies to as many as 27,000 people who were strip-searched at the city's reception jail between April 2002 and January 2004, when the policy was changed.

According to city statistics cited by Breyer, about 50,000 inmates per year are booked and temporarily housed in the jail before being transferred to other jails or released. Settlements in other strip-search cases, including a $15 million settlement in Sacramento last year, have amounted to about $1,000 per inmate, said the attorney, Jeff Schwarzschild. He said Breyer's ruling made it clear that the San Francisco inmates were illegally searched and leaves the amount of damages as the main issue to be resolved.

A lawyer for the city had a different assessment, saying the judge had narrowed the suit to between 7,000 and 9,000 inmates and allowed jail officials to try to show that particular strip searches were justified. "He really limited the class action and how it's going to proceed from here by recognizing that the jail has real security concerns about smuggling drugs and weapons into the jail" said Deputy City Attorney David Newdorf.

He also noted that Breyer refused to find the strip searches to be in violation of a state law that provides damages of at least $1,000 per victim. The judge instead invalidated the policy under constitutional standards, which allow strip searches only for specific reasons -- such as evidence that an inmate is concealing drugs or weapons -- but require proof of damages. The suit is one of several filed in the last few years accusing jail officials in Northern California counties of routinely strip-searching inmates in violation of their constitutional rights. Suits are also pending against adult jails in San Mateo, Marin and Contra Costa counties, and against juvenile facilities in San Francisco, Contra Costa, Sacramento and Solano counties.

Breyer's ruling, issued Sept. 22, said the jail's former policy violated constitutional rules, defined by a federal appeals court in 1984, that allow a strip search only if a newly booked inmate had been arrested for a crime involving drugs or violence, or if guards have evidence that the inmate is concealing weapons or contraband.

Sheriff Michael Hennessey changed the jail's policy in January 2004 to conform to those standards. Previously, other categories of new inmates were routinely strip-searched, including all those who were held longer than 24 hours and were to be transferred to other jails. Hennessey's office defended the old policy, citing numerous instances in which inmates had smuggled contraband from the reception jail into other jails. But Breyer said the problem, while serious, does not justify a blanket policy of strip-searching inmates without regard to the charges against them. That policy was clearly unconstitutional, and Hennessey and other city officials knew that or should have known it, the judge said. But he said the jail could still try to justify searches of particular inmates who were part of the suit.

On another issue, Breyer said the city was entitled to strip-search inmates who were sent to padded "safety cells" because they were dangerous to themselves or others. But he said other reasons for safety-cell assignments, such as bizarre behavior and grave disabilities, might not justify strip searches.

[  sfgate.com

1. Oktober 2005

seit 6 jahren sind 20 männer, die sich aus religiösen gründen weigern ihre dreadlocks abzuschneiden und ihre bärte zu rasieren, in isohaft. Die männer, die im sussex I state knast / virgina inhaftiert sind, weigern sich einer 1999 erlassenen Vorsicht zu folgen . danach sind bärte verboten und kurze haare vorschrift. Als gund wird die sicherheit und die gesundheit der gefangenen angegeben.

Defiant inmates say they'll keep dreadlocks, beards

RICHMOND, Va. -- State prison inmates who have been segregated for six years for violating grooming policies said they will continue to defy corrections officials. "I'm a Rastafarian," Sussex I State Prison inmate Elton L. Williams wrote in a letter. "My dreadlocks and beard are fundamental tenets of my religion."

The letter, and others, was sent last month to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The inmates wrote they won't comply with the Virginia Department of Corrections' 1999 inmate grooming policy because of their faith. The policy forbids beards and requires inmates to keep their hair trimmed neatly for security and health reasons.

In August, Rastafarian inmate Ivan Sparks, serving 51 years for murder, identified himself and nine other inmates who he said have been held in segregation since the grooming policy was imposed. The corrections department wouldn't confirm Sparks' allegations, citing what it said was a policy against discussing inmates' disciplinary histories. The department did, however, confirm that Sparks and the others are in segregation.

Inmate advocates said the punishments exceeded the offense and were inconsistent with the state's traditional respect of religious differences. "I can't believe this is happening, particularly in Virginia, which makes such a big deal about religion and how important it is that people be able to express religious beliefs," said Jenni Gainsborough of Penal Reform International.

Seven of the 10 inmates responded to letters written to them earlier this month by the Times-Dispatch. Greensville Correctional Center inmate Allen McRae wrote: "While in segregation sometimes it is as if time has ceased. I miss not being able to hold my son and see him as often as I would like. But, God willing, all this will change in the near future." McRae is one of five Rastafarian and Muslim inmates represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, which is challenging the grooming policy, alleging it violates the religious rights of inmates under a federal law.

A spokesman for the corrections department said that in general, inmates in segregation remain in their cells 24 hours a day and eat their meals in their cells. They are allowed three showers and three one-hour outside exercise periods per week. Officials said the male grooming policy, which bans beards and requires hair to be trimmed off the collar, was imposed so inmates can't hide contraband in their hair or change their appearance with haircuts and shaves should they escape.

Gainsborough called prison security concerns "ridiculous _ because women can actually keep their hair long as if somehow it was different for women, that they couldn't do all those things." Helen Fahey, chairwoman of the Virginia State Parole Board, said in an e-mail that there is no prohibition against granting discretionary parole to someone in segregation.

[  dailypress.com

22. Oktober 2005
neu auf PrisonSucks.com u.a. :
A Primer: Three Strikes - The Impact After More Than a Decade

In this piece, we summarize key provisions of Three Strikes and You’re Out; discuss the evolution of the law in the courts; estimate the impact of the law on state and local criminal justice systems; and evaluate to what extent the law achieved its original goals.
Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO)

[  A Primer: Three Strikes - The Impact After More Than a Decade.pdf

[  lao.ca.gov

1 Oktober 2005

nach einem bericht von human rights watch wurden hunderte von gefangenen in new orleans nach dem hurricane für mehrere tage verlassen / im stich gelassen.

New Orleans prisoners left to drown after Katrina struck

A statement issued by Human Rights Watch reports that the New Orleans Sheriff’s Department abandoned hundreds of prisoners in the Orleans Parish Prison (OPP) compound for several days after Hurricane Katrina hit on August 29. The report documents a particularly brutal example of the indifference and contempt for human life that characterized every aspect of the government’s response to the disaster.

Prisoners interviewed by Human Rights Watch said they saw bodies of drowned inmates floating in the surrounding waters, and the human rights organization says many prisoners remain unaccounted for.

According to the Human Rights Watch report (“New Orleans: Prisoners Abandoned to Floodwaters”), officers who worked in building Templeman I and II, part of the OPP complex, state that prisoner evacuation commenced in their buildings on August 30, as waters began to rise to chest level. The prisoners of Templeman III were not afforded the same treatment, and were left stranded, locked in their cells, for two more days.

In interviews with Human Rights Watch, inmates of Templeman III, which had some 600 prisoners, said that they were not evacuated until Thursday, having spent three days without food or water. They said there were no correctional officers in the building to get the prisoners out.

The prison generators died, leaving the trapped inmates without lights or air circulation. The toilets ceased to function and the stench became unbearable. Those inmates on the ground floor of the prison had water up to chest level.

The situation for prisoners in Templeman III became increasingly desperate as the water continued to rise. Earrand Kelly, an inmate, told Human Rights Watch, “We was calling down to the guys in the cells under us, talking to them every couple of minutes. They were crying, they were scared. The one that I was cool with, he was saying ‘I’m scared. I feel like I’m about to drown. He was crying.’” Dan Bright, another Orleans Parish Prison inmate said, “They left us there to die.”

Corinne Carey, researcher for Human Rights Watch comments, “At best, the inmates were left to fend for themselves. At worst, some may have died.”

Several corrections officers told Human Rights Watch there was no evacuation plan for the prison, despite the fact that it had been evacuated during floods in the 1990s. One described the situation as “complete chaos” as the storm approached.

A spokeswoman for the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Department told Human Rights Watch she did not know whether the officers had left the building before the evacuation. She also said that search and rescue teams had gone to the prison and that “nobody drowned, nobody was left behind.” However, this claim was contradicted by inmates who spoke to the human rights organization.

Many prisoners remain unaccounted for. According to the report, “Human Rights Watch compared an official list of all inmates held at Orleans Parish Prison immediately prior to the hurricane with the most recent list of the evacuated inmates compiled by the state Department of Corrections and Public Safety (which was entitled, “All Offenders Evacuated”). However, the list did not include 517 inmates from the jail, including 130 from Templeman III.”

Many of the prisoners who were left in these horrible conditions were being held for minor violations, and some had not even been charged.

A September 25 article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on the same incident. It cited a letter from Paul Kunkel, who was being held on a misdemeanor charge. He wrote to a friend saying that guards had abandoned their posts on Sunday, the day before the hurricane hit.

“I thought I was going to die in that jail,” Kunkel wrote. “I was locked down in a cell made for two, with five people, no working toilet, no food and no protection. People were panicking, breaking windows, setting fires—anything to try to get someone’s attention from the outside. No one knew if we were forgotten. Three days later, they cut the jail bars and let us out.”

He continued, “The water was up to my chest. I was drinking that water for a day and a half. It was filthy and contaminated. But I did not know what else I could do. I wanted to live.”

The trauma for the inmates did not end when they finally made it out of the prison. Boats were used to move them to the Broad Street overpass. The Post-Gazette cited a letter from Robie Waganfeald, a friend of Kunkel, who wrote to his father, “I sat in the sun from 8 am to 6 pm—10 hours—[with] no water and with National Guardsmen threatening to shoot people. Some [prisoners] got hit with rubber bullets, others with pepper spray. It was the most humiliating, unjustifiable thing I’ve ever seen.”

While Waganfeald was moved to another corrections facility six hours away, Kunkel was taken to a fenced-in field in Elayne Hunt Correctional Centre near New Orleans, where he was held for another four days along with several thousand other prisoners. He gave the following description of the conditions there:

“We lived in 90-degree-plus sun with no protection from the elements. One day it poured, and the ground was wet and muddy. We were given one blanket, and we were freezing at night... Inmates were stealing blankets, and convicts were armed with homemade knives. There were no sanitary facilities. It was like a concentration camp. I [was] very afraid.”

Cynthia Meyers, Kunkel’s friend, commented that the two prisoners “were part of a number of people who didn’t do anything serious but were left to drown. The pet animals have been treated better than those inmates. It says to me there is a total lack of compassion for these [people].”

[  wsws.org

30.September 2005

etwa 50 gefangene sollen aus dem henry county knast verlegt werden, weil der knast nach dem ausbruch von 4 gefangenen angebl. erheblich beschädigt sei.

Jail trying to move inmates to state prison system after escape

Henry County was trying to move about 50 inmates to the state prison system after an escape by four prisoners caused considerable damage to the county jail, Sheriff Kim Cronk said. Two of the escapees remained at large late Thursday, and one of them, 24-year-old accused robber Roscoe Fry of Connersville, should be considered dangerous, Cronk said. The four escaped sometime before 5:30 a.m. by dismantling plumbing, forcing a steel shower unit from a wall and then making their way through a space inside the wall, Cronk said. They then traveled through air ducts to the roof to flee the jail. Two were back in custody by early afternoon. The county took steps Thursday to transfer about 50 inmates to the Indiana Department of Correction so it can make repairs to the showers and to the air ducts, Cronk said.

The county houses dozens of inmates for the state because of overcrowded prisons. It held 47 state prisoners as of July 1, according to the most recent report posted by the agency. The inmates being moved had been housed in the cells closest to the damaged shower room, Cronk said. Other prisoners also could try to escape. "It's an older facility and some of our piping and stuff needs to be replaced," Cronk said. About seven hours after the escape, an anonymous tip led officers to two of the escapees. Officers found Ron Wright, 33, and Richard Hicks, 32, both of New Castle, hiding in the basement of an abandoned house in New Castle. They were captured without incident. Both were awaiting trial, Wright for forgery and driving with a suspended driver's license, and Hicks for robbery. The other escapee still at large late Thursday, was identified as Brian York, 41, of New Castle, who was serving time on a drug charge.

[  thestarpress.com

29. September 2005

diskussion über den einsatz von taser nach dem tod eines mannes im lancaster county knast.

Inmate's death fuels debate over the safety of weapon

Maury Cunningham was shot twice and stunned six times with a Taser the night he died at the Lancaster County Detention Center.

Lancaster County Coroner Mike Morris said last week that a pathologist said Cunningham's death was caused by the Taser. But just how much is too much when it comes to repeatedly using Tasers? That's the question that everyone wants answered, but there doesn't seem to be an answer out there. Scrutiny about the weapon's safety as an enforcement tool has increased with its usage. The devices are being tested or are in use by more than 7,200 law enforcement, military and correctional agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

Cunningham's death is among a hand full of cases in the United States where a Taser shock has been determined to be the primary cause of death. Cunningham, 29, had been in jail 10 months, awaiting trial on a charge of assault and battery with intent to kill. He died July 23 following a fight with four officers, in which two of them were stabbed in the eye with pencils in what authorities call an escape attempt.

Lancaster County Sheriff's Department Lt. Lee Blackmon said a corrections officer fired his Taser once at Cunningham and then stunned him five times with five-second, 50,000-volt bursts to temporarily paralyze him. When Cunningham jerked one of the Taser probes from his chest, breaking the current making it inoperable and pepper spray didn't work, another corrections officer got another Taser cartridge and reloaded the device. He was stunned again, fell to the floor while fighting with the corrections officers and lost consciousness. EMS immediately arrived, but Cunningham was unresponsive and was pronounced dead at the detention center. Lancaster County Sheriff Johnny Cauthen has repeatedly said the corrections officers had very little choice, and if a deputy on the street were in the same situation, he would be justified in using lethal force. But are Tasers considered a form of lethal force?

The company that manufactures them says no. Taser International, which makes the devices, contends they are not firearms, since they use nitrogen gas as a propellant. The company contends that independent medical and scientific studies have determined the devices to be among the safest use of force options available. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) also does not consider a Taser a firearm. According to the Taser training manual, one shock may not be enough to"subdue a violent suspect" and officers "should anticipate a second or third application." However, the manual also warns that prolonged repeated Taser shocks "may impede breathing" and urges officers "to minimize overall Taser exposure."

But when does an officer draw the line?

Lancaster Police Chief Hugh White said Tasers give law officers something at their disposal that's between physical force and deadly force. White said he knows of at least two instances when his officers used Tasers when the use of deadly force was justified. "If you take them away, all an officer has left is his hands and a firearm, which isn't much," White said. "If you can't physically subdue somebody, that's really no choice at all." Saving lives

Major metropolitan areas report that officer shootings dropped and Tasers have actually saved lives. According to The Arizona Republic, the Phoenix police department saw a 54 percent drop (15 in 2002 to 8 in 2003) in police shootings when it started using Tasers in 2002. However, in that same six-month period, Phoenix police saw an increase in Taser deployments from 71 in 2002 to 164 in 2003.

Seattle, Wash., registered no shootings involving officers after Tasers were rolled out there in 2003. It was the first time that had happened in 15 years. A recent six-month field study on Tasers by the Columbus, Ohio, Division of Police showed a reduction in suspect and officer injuries. There were 14 cases in which the use of lethal force was justified. The study, by Taser International, said that 12 of the 14 cases were attempted suicides where a Taser was used to prevent death or serious injury of an individual.

Cauthen said since patrol deputies started carrying Tasers in December 2003, there have been encounters where they had saved both the lives of deputies and suspects. "Without them, the deputy would've likely had to use his service firearm," Cauthen said. "They've also been used to help violent offenders from hurting themselves. To save lives, we have to equip our deputies and correctional officers with a device they can deploy in a safe and reliable manner when faced with violent offenders."

But are they safe?

Doctors, media and humans rights groups have been raising questions about the safety of Tasers. Amnesty International and other groups are troubled by some of the deaths attributed to Taser use and say that it can't be overlooked. According to a recent report by Amnesty International, at least 130 people have died in the U.S. after being stunned with a Taser. Dozens of cases nationwide show that victims stunned with Tasers actually died of heart attack, cocaine intoxication and other underlying medical conditions. However, autopsies show that Tasers were contributing factors in several of the deaths.

Cunningham's death was not part of that report. However, it did cite the August 2004 death of William Teasley at the Anderson County Detention Center. Officers reportedly used a Taser to subdue Teasley after he became violent while being booked into jail. Teasley, 31, who had a medical history, including heart disease and brain damage from a 2003 accident, stopped breathing after he was shocked. Ed Jackson of Amnesty International recently told The Palm Beach Post, a Florida newspaper,"The idea that Tasers are generally safe is completely fictional." Florida leads the nation in Taser-related fatalities.

Amnesty International wants to ban Taser use until unbiased independent studies can determine if the devices were indeed responsible for at least 74 of the deaths cited in the report. Studies now underway While Taser International insists the weapons are safe and non-lethal, the Department of Justice is now probing the safety of devices.

Dr. Bill Bozeman, a medical doctor at the Wake Forest University's department of emergency medicine, is leading one of several teams investigating Taser safety. Bozeman said he anticipates the Wake Forest study will take about two years. Bozeman calls the labeling of Tasers as non-lethal an unfortunate tag. While he understands the definition of non-lethal as determined by the Department of Defense, Bozeman said he doesn't agree with it. "I prefer the term 'less-lethal' because that has the connotation of it's unlikely, but doesn't exclude it," Bozeman said. "When we're talking about weapons like bean bags, rubber bullets and shocking guns, you can't exclude it and they're supposed to mean the same thing."

When it comes to a relationship between repeated shockings with Tasers and deaths, Bozeman said that's a question no one has been able to answer. He has heard of a case when one suspect was stunned up to 18 times. "What we do know about the basic physiology of getting shot is that it's not additive," he said. "If you hit someone on the leg 15 times, it's going to do 15 times the damage. But that's not necessary true with electricity."Suppose you touch a car battery once and it bites you and give you a shock." he said. "Then you're not very bright and do it again, it's not twice the amount of electricity, it's the same amount twice. From a medical perspective, there's just no answer to that question, but from a tactical perspective, if something doesn't work, you try something else." Bozeman said preliminary research in some of the unexpected Taser deaths shows a pattern called "excited delirium."

Excited delirium is a term for an out-of-control psychotic reaction that has frequently been blamed for sudden deaths of drug users, the mentally ill and others who struggle with police. "They go into a spiral where they stop breathing," Bozeman said. "But the thing that usually kills them is cardiac arrhythmia."

A pathologist at the Medical University of South Carolina said Cunningham died of cardiac arrhythmia "as a result of an electrical shock by a Taser weapon." "That's the whole topic of discussion," Bozeman said. "Is it a possibility that a Taser was contributing factor? At this point I'd have to say that common sense says yes. That's what we're working to prove one way or another."

[  thelancasternews.com

24. September 2005

greyhound lines inc., das größte busunternehmen in den usa, hat angekündigt, angestellte die buskarten an illegale verkaufen zu entlassen.

Greyhound screens for illegal immigrants

Greyhound Lines Inc., the nation's largest intercity bus company, has threatened to fire employees who sell bus tickets to illegal immigrants under an internal policy that some Hispanic advocacy groups are calling an invitation to racial profiling.

The "Transportation of Illegal Aliens" policy warns Greyhound's customer service employees to beware of people in large groups, moving in single file and traveling with little or no luggage. It says other telltale signs include people "trying to hide or stay out of plain view" or large groups led by a "guide" who holds everyone's tickets.Greyhound also says immigrant smugglers give themselves away by calling bus stations to ask if immigration authorities are present, and by loitering, repeatedly buying large numbers of tickets for other people and using phrases like, "These guys just crossed the line," "my cargo," and "I've got to move my people."

The policy warns that failure to comply could result in the employee's firing and possibly arrest. Kimberly Plaskett, a Greyhound spokeswoman, said she didn't know how many customers have been denied tickets under the policy but called it a "pretty rare" occurrence. The Dallas-based company adopted the policy in 2002 in response to the criminal indictment of a now-defunct, California bus company that pleaded guilty to immigrant smuggling, she said.The policy was largely unknown outside the company until La Opinion, a Spanish-language newspaper in Los Angeles, reported on it earlier this month.

The National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, an advocacy group in Oakland, provided a copy of the three-page policy to The Associated Press. Greyhound confirmed its accuracy.Two migrant advocacy groups held a conference call with Greyhound attorneys on Sept. 9 to urge the company to reconsider its position, saying it invites discrimination against Hispanics."When the standard is that you should know who is in the U.S. illegally, it is a recipe for singling out Latinos," said Cecilia Munoz of the National Council of La Raza in Washington, D.C., who participated in the call. "You're not going to go after the Irish-looking guy."John Trasvina of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund in Los Angeles, who also joined the call, took issue with Greyhound's requirement that employees deny tickets to "anyone you know or believe to be an illegal alien.""On what basis does someone know it or believe to know that?" Trasvina said. "There's a great risk that the employee will go overboard."

Large Hispanic groups are more likely to be targeted than a Japanese or German tour group, he said. Greyhound notes that while the policy prohibits profiling based on "race, national heritage, gender, age, religion, disability, etc," federal law also makes it a crime to knowingly transport an illegal immigrant."We have to comply with federal law or we face pretty severe consequences -- criminal indictments, seizure of assets," she said.The policy was adopted in response to the 2001 indictment of Golden State Transportation Co. of Los Angeles on immigrant smuggling charges. The company later filed for bankruptcy and it pleaded guilty last year to transporting an estimated 42,100 illegal immigrants from Tucson, Ariz., to Los Angeles, using a roundabout route through Las Vegas to avoid Border Patrol checkpoints. The company paid a $3 million fine and forfeited a downtown Phoenix terminal. According to the indictment, buses typically left border cities after midnight to escape detection. Passengers appeared dirty, had no luggage, hid in the bushes near terminals and boarded buses at the last minute, prosecutors said.

"It wasn't one criteria, but you put them all together and it was obvious that these people were not in the country legally," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Wallace H. Kleinstedt, who prosecuted the case. Greyhound, which carried 21.2 million passengers last year to more than 2,200 destinations, with a fleet of 2,700 buses and 9,700 employees, isn't the only company with such a policy.Sistema Internacional de Transporte de Autobuses Inc., a Greyhound subsidiary, owned a 51 percent stake in Golden State. It currently operates the Crucero and Autobuses Americanos bus lines and has had a policy similar to Greyhound's since 2002, said Al Penedo, chief operating officer."It might sound a little overzealous, but we were scared, concerned and confused about what happened to Golden State," said Penedo. "It was a wake-up call. ... (The federal government) can walk in, take the bus, put your driver in jail and throw away the key." He said no customers have complained and agents haven't denied any tickets under the policy.

[  casperstartribune.net

10. September 2005

der grant county knast / indiana ist wegen angeblich steigender gewalt unter den insassen unter lockdown.

Jail on lockdown after spate of violence

Frequent fights lead officers to revoke privileges

Prisoners in the Grant County Jail will be without visitors, telephone calls and television at least through the weekend after officials suspended the privileges following a rash of violence and misbehavior. "We have just had problems in the jail," said Grant County Sheriff's Capt. Kevin Pauley, in charge of jail operations. "There have been a lot of fights occurring and a lot of contraband found in the jail." Pauley said that the visitation, telephone and TV privileges have been revoked since Thursday and are scheduled to be reinstated Monday.

"Inmates still have access to attorney visits and the chaplains on staff that they can talk to if they need to," Pauley said. "They are still getting their U.S. Mail, which we cannot hold from them, and they are still getting their shower privileges." Pauley said a large number of fights had been occurring - too many for him to count - and that Lt. Cathy Lee, Grant County Jail commander, told him that the situation in the jail has never been this bad in all the time that she has been employed.

It was at that point, Pauley said, that he decided to lock down the jail. "Unfortunately the jail is much like the military," he said. "There are people upstairs that have not been involved in fights or the trafficking of contraband but are still on lockdown due to the actions of their fellow inmates."Pauley also said the fights are becoming more serious."We are sending people to the hospital because of the fights, and we are having to call ambulances because of the fights, and that's a cost," he said. "It's a cost on the taxpayers, and we had to get a handle on the situation."

Lee said fights are occurring on a daily basis - an unusual situation for the jail - and that the increased number of problems could be caused by overcrowding.Late Friday there were 323 inmates at the jail, almost 50 over the building's capacity.Lee also noted that what the contraband jail officers are finding is similar to that which is found in any jail in the country, including tobacco, lighters, toothbrushes and combs sharpened to a point for use as a weapon.Lee said ultimately, releasing prisoners from the lockdown situation will be a direct result of their behavior."The lockdown could be longer depending on actions of the people in the cell blocks," she said. "It is all based on their actions."

[  chronicle-tribune.com

6. September 2005
Race and Incarceration: A Preliminary Consideration PDF

Delaware Center for Justice and Metropolitan Wilmington Urban Leage. 00/2005

[  download this report as .pdf

Opportunities Suspended: The Devastating Consequences of Zero Tolerance and School Discipline Policies Civil Rights Project. 03/2005

The report illustrates that Zero Tolerance is unfair, is contrary to the developmental needs of children, denies children educational opportunities, and often results in the criminalization of children.

[  download this report as .pdf

3. September 2005

der veranstalter des raves im spanish fork canyon in utah, das letzten monat von der polizei brutal gestürmt wurde, hat jetzt klage gegen die polizisten eingereicht.

Promoter sues over canyon rave raid 90 officers:

The lawsuit claims the sheriff exceeded his authority; it wants the law clarified and restraints added Salt Lake Tribune The promoters of a rave held in Spanish Fork Canyon that was busted by Utah County sheriff's deputies filed a civil lawsuit Friday, claiming the sheriff misinterpreted the law and used unnecessary force to break up the party.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court, seeks a review of Utah County's mass-gathering ordinance and a court order prohibiting the sheriff from terminating an event based upon his estimation of how long the event will operate.

Named in the suit are Sheriff James Tracy, Lt. Grant Ferre, County Attorney Kay Bryson, Commissioners Jerry Grover, Steve White and Larry Ellertson and Utah County. Police and promoters say that more than 1,000 people were in attendance when about 90 officers from multiple agencies stormed the party in full riot gear around 11:30 p.m. on Aug. 20. With the aid of a helicopter, dogs and machine guns, police cited 60 people on a variety of charges, including resisting arrest, illegal alcohol consumption and possession of a controlled substance.

Detention records show that about 30 of those cited were booked into the Utah County Jail early on Aug. 21. Many of those arrested say they were injured by police as they were thrown to the ground and handcuffed. Tracy claims the rave was not properly permitted. He also claimed that undercover officers planted inside the party witnessed a number of illegal activities, including drug deals before the party was busted. But Brian Barnard, attorney for the promoters - Uprock, Inc., and the Childs Family Trust, which owns the land where the party was held - said the sheriff improperly applied the mass-gathering ordinance and had no statutory authority to shut the concert down based on the drug deals. The ordinance in question provides a mass-gathering permit be granted by the County Commission for "an actual or reasonably anticipated assembly of [250] or more people which continues or can reasonably be expected to continue for twelve (12) or more consecutive hours."

But Tracy shut down two parties this summer, one on July 16 and the Aug. 20 event, based on his prediction that the events would exceed the 12-hour time limit and, therefore, would require the permit, according to the suit. "The ordinance is unconstitutionally vague in that it does not give notice to law enforcement officers as to the conduct which constitutes a crime. The vaguely worded ordinance allows for arbitrary and capricious application of the ordinance by law enforcement officers," reads the suit.

Promotor Brandon Fullmer said he was aware of the need for the permit but did not expect the party to exceed the time limit. DJ bookings and contracts for concessions support his claim, according to the suit. Fullmer applied and received a mass-gathering permit for the party through the county's health department about a month before the show. The health department permit requires the promoters to show they intend to provide adequate sanitation, toilet facilities and water for the event.

At no time during that process or following the issuance of the health department permit did anyone from either the county or the sheriff's office notify Uprock that an additional permit - which provides a safety plan, event details and requires approval from the county commission - would be needed, Barnard said. "Why didn't he just go to them and say, 'Hey, if in fact he staged this, you guys need to go get this permit,' " he said.

Bryson said the sheriff was on solid ground in assuming the party would last more than 12 hours, having witnessed at least one other similar party this summer sail past the 12-hour mark with more than 2,000 in attendance. He said the raves present a public safety issue.

"These aren't just concerts. They are activities that have at least, if not the primary purpose, a purpose to use and distribute drugs," Bryson said, declining to comment further on the lawsuit. Barnard said there is no law that allows officers to stop a concert because a few individuals in the audience may commit crimes."For the sheriff to say there were drug transactions and that's why we sent in the troopers is hogwash. This was an organized attack with the intent to scare the hell out of the kids, which they did."

[  sltrib.com

2. September 2005

mind. 229 immigrantinnen sind in der wüste von arizona seit dem 1. 0ktober 2004 gestorben hat die us.grenzbehörde gemeldet.

Immigrants die in US desert heat

Record numbers of illegal immigrants who cross into the US from Mexico have died in the scorching heat of the Arizona desert in the past year. At least 229 immigrants are known to have died since 1 October 2004, the US Border Patrol said. Many died while wandering through vast desert areas where summer temperatures regularly soar past 40C. In one Arizona county, a refrigerated trailer is being used to store up to 70 extra bodies as the morgue is full up.

The morgue in Pima County, Arizona can hold up to 120 bodies, but officials have called for a new permanent cooler to double its storage capacity. "If conditions continue like this, it's something we'll have to face every year," said Bruce Parks, chief medical officer in the county. Temperatures in the western US desert regions have remained unceasingly "brutal" throughout the summer, Border Patrol spokesman Jose Garza told the Reuters news agency. "The smugglers continue to bring these people to the vastness of our western deserts... and we cannot control the elements."

Temperatures in Arizona have peaked at 44C this year, with the mercury in Tucson staying at 40C or above for 29 consecutive days in June and July.An estimated 81 immigrants died during that heatwave, Mr Garza said.Arizona serves as the main crossing point for some 1.1 million immigrants who make the journey into the US from Mexico each year.Border Patrol officers have carried out about 700 missions to rescue immigrants stranded in the desert region this summer.

[  news.bbc.co.uk

1. September 2005
Gefangene nutzten Evakuierung zur Flucht

Katrinas verheerender Feldzug betrifft jeden: In Louisiana mussten Tausende Häftlinge aus komplett überschwemmten Gefängnissen gerettet werden. Unter strengster Bewachung wurden sie per Bus und Boot in neue Strafanstalten verlegt. Einige nutzten das Chaos zur Flucht. Baton Rouge - Etwa 7600 Häftlinge wurden rund um New Orleans evakuiert. Wie in den meisten anderen Gebäuden der Region war auch in den Haftanstalten die Versorgung mit Strom und Trinkwasser zusammengebrochen. Im städtischen Gefängnis von New Orleans saßen zum Zeitpunkt der Katastrophe etwa 6500 Männer ein. "Die Häftlinge haben seit zwei Tagen nichts gegessen und sind in keinem guten Zustand", sagte Behördensprecherin Pam LaBorde und betonte auch gleich die Brisanz der Situation: "Wir haben es hier nicht mit Pfadfindern zu tun."

Dementsprechend umfangreich sollten die Sicherheitsmaßnahmen sein: Die Gefangenen, Verurteilten und Untersuchungshäftlinge würden bei der Verlegung strengstens bewacht, hieß es: "Die öffentliche Sicherheit ist uns das Wichtigste", so eine Sprecherin der Gefängnisverwaltung. Dem Eingreifen der Behörden vorausgegangen waren nicht nur die verheerenden Fluten im Schlepptau von "Katrina", sondern auch Gerüchte über Gefängnisunruhen und Ausbruchsversuche. Der Sender WBRZ hatte am Dienstag unter Berufung auf die Leitung des städtischen Gefängnisses von New Orleans über versuchte Ausbrüche und eine Geiselnahme in der Haftanstalt berichtet. Demnach seien ein Aufseher, seine Frau und deren vier Kinder von aufständischen Gefangenen als Geiseln genommen worden. Laut WBRZ trugen die Täter selbst gebaute Waffen bei sich.

Der Strafvollzugsbeauftragte Richard Stalder betonte gestern gegenüber Reportern: "Wir haben keine glaubwürdigen Beweise dafür, dass die in der Presse beschriebenen Vorfälle sich auch wirklich ereignet haben." Man habe alle Gefangenen sicher evakuieren können, so Stalder. Um die obdachlosen Häftlinge aufzunehmen, habe der US-Bundesstaat Louisiana seine Gefängniskapazitäten um 40 Prozent erweitert. Zahlreiche lokale Medien hatten berichtet, dass etwa 3000 mit Handschellen gefesselte Häftlinge des "Orleans Parish Jail" sich gestern durch brusttiefes Wasser zu einer Highway-Überführung durchgekämpft hatten, um von dort aus per Schulbus in das Hunt Correctional Institute nördlich von Baton Rouge gebracht zu werden.

Der "Houston Chronicle" bemängelt auf seiner Internetseite, dass sich unter den Evakuierten im Football-Stadion Superdome auch Häftlinge befänden. Über deren Verbleib könne während des laufenden Bustransports in das Astrodome im 560 Kilometer entfernten Houston kaum Buch geführt werden, sagte Bezirksrichter Robert Eckels der Zeitung. "Wir operieren in dem Wissen, dass sich einige dieser Leute unter den Flüchtlingen befinden", so Eckels. Unbestätigten Meldungen zufolge soll die Polizei während der ersten Evakuierungsphase etwa hundert Häftlinge in das Superdome-Stadion gebracht haben. Diese seien daraufhin in der Menge untergetaucht. Jetzt fürchten Beobachter, dass sich die Mehrzahl der Straftäter nicht bei der Polizei zurückmelden wird.

[  spiegel.de

31. August 2005

neue statistiken und Berichte auf prisonsucks.

[  Suicide and Homicide in State Prisons and Local Jails
    Bureau of Justice Statistics. 07/2005

[  Substance Dependence, Abuse, and Treatment of Jail Inmates, 2002
    Bureau of Justice Statistics. 07/2005

[  Federal Tort Trials and Verdicts, 2002-03
    Bureau of Justice Statistics. 07/2005

[  Improving Access to and Integrity of Criminal History Records
    Bureau of Justice Statistics. 07/2005

[  Violence by Gang Members, 1993-2003
     Bureau of Justice Statistics. 06/2005

[  Reporting by Prosecutors' Offices to Repositories of Criminal History Records
    Bureau of Justice Statistics. 06/2005

[  Family Violence Statistics: Including Statistics on Strangers and Acquaintances
    Bureau of Justice Statistics. 06/2005

26. August 2005

im alexander correctional knast / north carolina wurde es den wärtern jetzt verboten an den gefangene eine art hundeleine zu benutzen.

Prison ordered to stop using tether

RALEIGH, N.C., Aug. 26 (UPI) -- A North Carolina prison has been told to stop escorting inmates to showers and recreation areas on a tether that some prisoners say is like a dog leash.The Charlotte Observer reports the Department of Prisons was not aware of the use of the tether at the Alexander Correctional Institution until a reporter asked officials about it. The prison has been ordered to stop using it until its safety is evaluated.One inmate complained about having to "wear a dog leash around a chain as if we are really dogs or animals."

The prison, 65 miles from Charlotte, houses almost 1,000 men serving long sentences. Officials said the tether was used for a small group of inmates, currently 57, deemed especially violent.The tether is a 2 Â?-foot nylon rope that would be clipped to an inmate's waist chain and held at the other end by a loop. Inmates escorted with the tether would also have their hands and feet shackled.The prison's administrator, Reggie Weisner, said the tether protects officers involved in moving violent prisoners. He said prisoners are not "paraded" in front of others.

[  sciencedaily.com

25. August 2005

eine gruppe von 80 gefangenen hat jetzt eine klage gegen die private knastbetreiberfirma cca eingereicht. Darin wird den angestellten der firma nvorgeworfen nach dem riot im juli 2004 im crowley county knast gefangene aus rache misshandelt zu haben.

*"What You Deserve"**

A lawsuit claims brutal treatment of prisoners after last year's riot.

When all hell broke loose last year at the Crowley County Correctional Facility, a private prison on Colorado's eastern plains, Vance Adams stayed very, very quiet. From his cell door, Adams could see prisoners armed with weight bars running in and out of his unit, smashing windows, busting up plumbing, setting fires and raiding offices and vending machines.

"They looked like they were having a good time," Adams says. "But I wasn't."After a confrontation in the yard on July 20, 2004, the understaffed guards evacuated quickly, leaving the inmates free to rampage for hours, causing millions of dollars' worth of damage. Adams, serving a five-year sentence on drug and escape charges, soaked some towels to try to block smoke and tear gas from his cell.

Prison and state Special Operations Response Teams (SORT) arrived in the unit around midnight and ordered everyone to put their hands on their heads and crawl backward, face down. When Adams tried to sign the orders to his cellmate, who is deaf, the officers became more belligerent, he says. "I screamed back at them,'My roommate is deaf!'" he recalls. "They calmed down a little bit, but I guess I wasn't crawling fast enough."Adams says he was tightly cuffed, dragged by his ankles through the water flooding the unit, hauled outside and thrown on the grass of the prison ball field, where he remained until mid-morning. Older prisoners around him were passing out; others cried out for medical attention after being sprayed with birdshot, pepper gas or rubber bullets.

"When the SORT officers cuffed me, they broke my wrist," reads the affidavit of inmate Terry Borrowdale. "They left me cuffed with a fractured wrist for four to five hours, until I was taken by ambulance to a hospital in Pueblo.... When I told the SORT officers that I am almost sixty years old and had no part in the riot, one officer answered, 'This is what you all deserve for what you have done."

Bad as the riot was, many prisoners say they suffered greater injuries from the aftermath of the disturbance, as officers from the Colorado Department of Corrections and Corrections Corporation of America, the private prison operator, regained control. A group of more than eighty inmates is filing a lawsuit against CCA this week, claiming the company let conditions deteriorate before the riot, then brutalized men who didn't participate in the uprising. Prisoners claim they were assaulted by officers, shot (with live ammo, in at least one case) while fleeing burning buildings or trying to surrender, denied medical treatment, forced to strip in front of female staff and denied showers for up to a week after the incident.

Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, a Washington-based public-interest group, has joined Boulder attorney Bill Trine in representing the inmates. The attorneys have obtained thousands of pages of the state's investigation of the riot and are seeking access to videotapes made by staff. "There's absolutely no question about what happened during the riot," Trine says, "and there's a lot pointing the finger at CCA. They had to get the riot under control, but what they did afterward was to punish everybody, whether they were involved in the riot or not."

The Colorado DOC's after-action report on the riot blasted CCA management for ignoring state inspectors' recommendations before the riot, for inadequate staff training and for pitiful emergency-response procedures. The report noted that SORT teams fired hundreds of rounds of buckshot, birdshot and rubber bullets -- as well as slugs, smoke grenades, "stingballs" and pepper-spray canisters -- but concluded that "reasonable force was used" to regain control of the prison.

But since that report was released, the DOC has also come under fire from state auditors for failing to adequately monitor the private prison. As first reported in /Westword /last year, visits by DOC monitors were often shorter than required and suffered from a lack of followup on critical issues such as poor food, skimpy portions, chronic staff turnover and abysmal inmate morale ("Going Off," December 23, 2004). Investigative files obtained by the prisoners' attorneys indicate that DOC and CCA staff received more warnings from inmates of an upcoming disturbance than previously acknowledged. One counselor told investigators that several staff members had turned in reports on the matter but "the administration seemed more concerned about who the [source] was than about the information on a potential riot."

At the time of the riot, Crowley held 1,122 inmates, including some from Washington and Wyoming as well as Colorado, but had only 47 employees on duty. Although the riot was triggered by an alleged misuse of force on a Washington inmate, investigators found that inmates had a wide array of grievances, from the disparity in treatment of inmates from different states to rotten food. Investigators sampled the food in the dining hall and "found it to be of very poor quality and distasteful."

After the riot, prisoners say, they were kicked and struck by guards while cuffed, dragged face-down through vomit or feces-tainted water, and threatened with more violence. An inmate named Arnold Wyrick claims he was denied access to a bathroom, had to defecate in his pants, and was forced to wear the soiled clothing for eight hours while guards called him "Mr. Shitty Pants" and asked, "Does the little baby need a diaper?"

The investigative files also indicate that some prisoners performed heroically during the riot. Inmates in one honor pod repelled rioters who tried to enter their house and manned a bucket brigade to put out fires. Afterward, they were shoved into overcrowded cells with no mattresses or shipped off to more restrictive prisons or county jails.

The prison was locked down for nearly a month after the riot. Recently paroled inmates say that conditions at Crowley are no better than before, and possibly worse, with limited access to recreation and to the DOC's monitors. "I rarely saw a monitor around," says Adams, who's now in a Denver halfway house. "They'd have us cleaning the place a day before any inspection."

Inmate Oscar Barron, who left Crowley last spring and is now on parole on a robbery charge, says staff training is still a sore point. "They've got guys right out of high school and old ladies," he says. "Come on. Are they going to protect you if something happens?"

The DOC did not respond to questions about its officers' alleged mistreatment of handcuffed inmates.

CCA spokesman Steve Owen hadn't seen a copy of the complaint and declined to comment on the specifics of the lawsuit. "CCA will aggressively defend the complaint," he says. "Beyond that, we believe the most appropriate venue to respond is through proper court filings rather than by way of public comment."

Adele Kimmel, staff attorney for Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, says her group became involved in the case because of a lack of "significant reform" in the way CCA manages its four prisons in southeastern Colorado. "We think the lawsuit is the best mechanism for holding CCA accountable and preventing future riots," she says.

[  westword.com

23. August 2005

in einem bericht über einen neuen bundesknast steht das die zahl der bundesgefangenen von 26.000 im jahr 1980 auf 186.000 gestiegen ist.

Feds dedicate fifth W.Va. prison, but more coming

HAZELTON, W.Va. -- More than 540 inmates at the U.S. Penitentiary here were locked down Tuesday, a few peering from their cell windows, as hundreds of people gathered for the formal dedication of West Virginia's fifth--but not last--federal prison.

The $148 million, high-security complex for men and its satellite minimum-security camp on a scenic Preston County mountaintop has beds for 1,560 inmates and already employs more than 300 people. But construction of a $76 million, 512-bed women's prison that will employ another 100 is under way nearby on the nearly 1,000-acre site just off Interstate 68."The Bureau of Prisons needs more capacity, and West Virginia needs more jobs," said Sen. Robert C. Byrd, who has fought for the project since 1996. "I think that adds up to a mutually beneficial partnership."This is a worthy place," said Byrd, D-W.Va., "and employment here is worthy work." Bureau of Prisons Director Harley G. Lappin said the state's relationship with federal corrections predates his agency, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary.

The first prison, built in 1927, also may be the most famous: The minimum-security camp for women at Alderson is where celebrity hostess and homemaker Martha Stewart served her sentence for lying about a stock sale. But the federal government has also built medium-security complexes for men in Beckley and Glenville, and a low-security facility for men in Morgantown.Monday, it announced another prison will be built in McDowell County, in southern West Virginia.Lappin said the Bureau of Prisons housed 26,000 inmates in 1980, compared with 186,000 today. Ten federal prisons have opened just within the past year, he said.

The agency is mainly building in rural areas because that's where the facilities are most wanted, and Rep. Alan Mollohan, D-W.Va., praised Byrd for his work on Hazelton."This project exemplifies what I think is one of the senator's greatest talents. He has the ability to identify what West Virginia has to offer, then identify what the federal government needs on the other hand, and plot the point where they intersect," he said. USP-Hazelton began receiving its first high-security inmates in February. They are housed behind concrete walls and hundreds of electronic doors, fences and metal detectors, monitored by armed guards in seven massive towers visible from the highway.

"To be here, you have to earn it," said public information officer Chris Pulice. That means inmates have a history of violence and serious crimes, escape attempts, pending charges and other problems. The outdoor recreation area is ringed with rolls of razor wire that would stretch for 10 miles if uncoiled. There are also three touch- and motion-sensitive fences to stop any would-be escaped convict. "Prisons, by their very nature, inspire fear and dread," Byrd told the employees, family members and visitors who gathered to see the ribbon cut from a bronze plaque. "They remind us there is a dark side of human nature, and there always has been, since Cain slew Abel."But they are also places for rehabilitation, he said. "Even for those who have gone very far astray, there is hope," Byrd said. "Forgiveness is possible."

[  dailypress.com

20. August 2005

der polizeichef des boone county hat gegen taser international und zwei andere polizeiausstatter klage erhoben weil er während einer übung durch einen schuß mit einem taser verletzt wurde.

Police Chief sues Taser for injuries he says he suffered while being trained to injure others with Tasers

A police chief in Boone County has filed suit against Taser International and two police equipment supply companies, saying he was severely injured when shocked with a Taser weapon during training. The suit by Jacob "Pete" Herring joins more than 30 others from around the country that claim Tasers caused or contributed to injuries or deaths. More than 7,000 law enforcement agencies worldwide use the devices as a nonlethal alternative to firearms, according to company numbers


The suit by Herring, chief of police in Hallsville, Mo., says he suffered at least two strokes, loss and impairment of his vision and hearing, neurological damage, a head injury and "significant cardiac damage" after being shocked by a Taser M26 during a class on April 20, 2004. He seeks unspecified financial damages. Hallsville, a town of about 1,000 people, is approximately 10 miles northeast of Columbia, Mo. "We are aware of this (lawsuit) filing and intend to aggressively fight any such claim," Taser spokesman Steve Tuttle wrote in an e-mail responding to a reporter's questions.

St. Louis city and county police and many smaller departments across Missouri and Illinois have also armed at least some of their officers with Taser "guns." They resemble pistols but fire tiny metal barbs up to 21 feet to carry a high-voltage electrical charge that causes quick but generally brief incapacitation. Taser has been sued 14 times since 2003 in state and federal court over allegations of injuries during training, according to Taser's Aug. 12 quarterly financial report. The report said the company also faces 12 wrongful death lawsuits and four lawsuits alleging injuries during arrest or detention. Three other wrongful death suits have been dismissed, and one is on hold.

In announcing the dismissal of an Arizona lawsuit, the company released a statement this month that said, in part, "Our ongoing strategy is to never settle these baseless claims and we will continue to aggressively defend this type of frivolous litigation." The village of Dolton, Ill., near Chicago, stopped using its Tasers in May and filed a class action lawsuit in federal court last month. That suit says Taser's marketing portrays the unit as safe but that the product "has been involved in numerous deaths and serious injuries across the country" and has never been "adequately or independently tested for safety."

Taser's financial report also revealed that lawsuits have been filed against the company and certain executives, alleging that executives made false and misleading statements about the safety of their products. In January, Taser announced an informal Securities and Exchange Commission inquiry into company statements about the safety of Taser products. In June, a Randolph County, Mo., man and his son sued Moberly police and Taser International in federal court in St. Louis, claiming police shocked both with a X26 Taser and kicked the father repeatedly while he was suffering an allergic reaction to medication. That lawsuit says Taser failed to warn customers about a product that was "unreasonably dangerous" and that triggered repeated muscle contractions that ultimately led to muscle fiber breakdown and acute renal failure.

Taser denied the allegations in legal filings, and said the father's injuries, "if any," were caused by others. The Taser Web page cites several police department studies that showed reductions in the need to use force and in reports of injuries to officers and arrestees, since Tasers were implemented. The studies also document attempted suicides thwarted through the use of Tasers. "Studies ... have reaffirmed the overall general safety and effectiveness of the TASER life-saving technology," Tuttle wrote in an email response. "It is the safer use of force alternative available for law enforcement agencies to subdue violent individuals who could harm law enforcement officers, innocent citizens or themselves."

A British study found "very low" risk of life-threatening or serious injuries from the M26 Taser. Another study cited on the Web site, released this March, found that while Tasers are "generally effective" and not expected to cause heart trouble, there is not enough research to determine the consequences to people who may be vulnerable to the effects. For what was believed to be the first time, a medical examiner ruled last month that a Taser shock was a primary cause of a death. That case in Chicago involved a man shocked for 57 seconds in February as police tried to subdue him. Methamphetamine intoxication was a contributing factor, according to an Associated Press report. The company questioned the findings.

In a series of stories, The Arizona Republic newspaper in Phoenix reported four instances in which Taser use was identified as a cause of death that was secondary to drug use or medical or mental conditions -- and 10 cases in which coroners determined Taser use to be a contributing factor. Herring's suit, filed Wednesday in St. Louis Circuit Court, says that Hallsville bought an M26 Taser in November 2003 from the Ed Roehr Auto Radio Company in St. Louis. An Ed Roehr representative said he was still researching the incident. In April 2004, during a training session conducted by the Law Enforcement Equipment Co., Herring agreed to be shot with the Taser after being assured that it was safe, said Spencer Eisenmenger, one of Herring's lawyers.

Herring's lawsuit said that training staff didn't have adequate padded mats to protect him when he fell and weren't in the right position to catch him after he was shocked. Law Enforcement Equipment Co. representatives could not be reached for comment. Law Enforcement Equipment and the Roehr company were named as co-defendants in the suit. The suit also says Taser did not conduct enough research on the effect on people with heart conditions and didn't warn users of the danger. Herring bought the Taser and allowed it to be tested on him because of Taser International ads, informational packets and product manuals that promised that the Taser posed a minimal risk of injury, the suit says. Herring's lawsuit says the company either knew its safety claims were false or didn't know whether they were true or false.

Herring's wife said the family was referring all questions to their lawyers. Eisenmenger declined to comment on the allegations in the suit or on details about the Taser training incident. He did say that Herring had been attached to an electrocardiogram machine at the time he was shot, at Herring's insistence.

[  unknownnews.org

[  taser.com

18. August 2005

bericht über mißhandlungen und diskriminierung von native american gefangenen im shelby knast in montana. Der knast ist privat, betreiberfirma ist cca.

Shelby (MT): Abuse, violations and discrimination against Native American prisoners:

46 % of the population of CCA's in the Northern Plains States (MT, ND, SD) are Native American. The turn over rate at CCA is 85%, according to a guard who has since quit. It appears that new guards are teaching new guards.

The phone rates at CCA are extremely high. Shelby has a monopoly on the phone service/company being used there and could be past the legal rates. This puts an unbearable strain on the prisoners and their families. We were told that Shelby is likely breaking state or even federal laws by not allowing the cheaper phone rates made available by certain phone companies in many other prisons and other states. We were told that only by requesting permission from the warden himself could there be a possibility of using a different company that have cheaper rates. We were also told that by making this request there could be acts of retaliation against the inmates even though they really have nothing to do with it.

With the phone rates this high it would seem that any storm would be able stand up to a 5 mile wind storm; however when the phones were last shut off it was stated it was because of an earthquake. Only they were shut down earlier that morning after 2 incidents between 2 guards, 1 guard and one captain in 2 different incidences. This is a usual occurrence and even mail is stopped and carefully read through word by word to make sure all information is not sent out.

The complaints reported also include illegal lock downs as punishment, and verbal and physical intimidation to the extent of pulling inmates into the closets in the rooms where no witnesses can attest to them being threaten with bodily harm.

New counselors are currently being hired because the last ones left due to the treatment of themselves and the inmates.

A few nights ago pods were locked down on the high side because an inmate sliced himself opened (the long way); and the disturbing thing about this is that during the illegal lock downs mental health patients are denied their psychotropic meds; this is detrimental to their rehabilitation and well being. When any kind of lock down happens on the low side, there are guards who force inmates to kneel down to get their sack lunches or meds. In extreme cases this would be OK. But they are not having them kneel away from the guard as if it was a security measure. This is just something for them to laugh about. As is the excessive use of pepper spray; guards were overheard bragging about how many pepper spraying they had done in a month, and even stating how easy it is to get away with it.

Mr Larry Gwen (spelling not confirmed) a Native American, a small man who was not causing any trouble, but just wanted to do his time, now has his jaw shattered and his wrist broken because he was still in handcuffs while sustaining a beating provoked by a guard and was allowed by Capt. Labeck (spelling not confirmed) . Another incident with the same inmate was his wife and his children were forced to walk back to their hotel after their car was impounded, which was supposedly for a drug search but was later revealed to see if he was passing information out. It was also an intimidation factor.

Capt. Labeck is also known to excessively spray inmates with pepper spray. Asking them what happened, when the prisoners try to respond they get pepper sprayed.

A Native American Inmate filed a lawsuit on the warden and the captain about some of these actions, and when the captain found out, he came into the pods wearing black leather gloves and holding a mop handle in a threatening and intimidating manner telling the inmates to get out of their cell, tearing pictures off the walls. After he was satisfied with his alleged search he walked out of the room, told the inmates to return into the cell and kicked the door full force shut.

Another Native American inmate was scheduled to go to pre-release over 2 months ago, but has not heard a thing now because he too filed a law suit. In another incident, guards tried to turn other inmates against other inmates who were also filing law suits. These acts of assaults and tactical forms of retaliation have been going on for some time now. So if an inmate speaks up and files on these conditions, something will happen to him.

When in lock down C pod inmates can receive no mail, only have sandwiches and no phone privileges. If a lawsuit is filed by inmates, the inmates are punished and it is said "well from now on, you' re going to get shit food, so get it stopped".

CCA's record is not all that pretty over the years in various states, violations include death, rapes, guards beating and killing inmates to make matters worse here in Montana due to the high turn over rates the employees and guards there are now being asked to work 12-hour days, which is very stressful. Guards have actually been leaving to drive Swan Ice Cream trucks rather than work there.

The sweat lodge is next to the basketball court and separated only by a chain link fence . So when inmates or officers cuss or holler it's heard inside the sweat lodge. In one instance the guard hollered " tell them to get the F*** outta there the sweat's over now" . At that time the warden and Capt Labeck were only a few feet away walking back and forth in the basketball yard. When count is messed up from their house, the guards force everyone out of the sweat to be recounted. Even if they are half way through a round in the sweat.

Inmates who come from Deer Lodge or other correctional facilities have their cedar, sage, and sweet grass taken, even though it is allowed through policy. The warden has recently stated these religious items will not be allowed until he sees it in writing and the paperwork is in front of him. These are in open denial and hindrance of religious rights. Why should any inmate have to file just to get rights protected by federal and state law?

One inmate, Randy Lionshows has only 5 points , and he also has 5 years of clear conduct, so he should be in the honor pod (dorm) but like most Native Americans with similar records or better records, they will be passed over for paroles, pre-releases, or even for being re-classed to less restricted pods as other inmates. Should an incident happen in a lock down unit or the high side, inmates would be forced to stand in line in their underwear to talk to staff even if they have nothing to do with the incident. They will also be forced to eat sack lunches morning, noon and night.

A high percentage of Native Americans are sent to and are locked down at the CCA in Shelby, MT. Native Americans are retaliated against frequently, and one reason can be when they just try to speak up about the violations of basic rights and policies.

[  hri.ca

13. August 2005

Ein hiv positiver mann aus mexiko, der nachdem er von einem polizisten vergewaltigt und bedroht wurde nach san francisco floh, wurde von einem bundesgericht als politischer flüchtlinge anerkannt.Damit wurde ein vorausgegangenes urteil nachdem der mann abgeschoben werden sollte hinfällig.

Abused gay Mexican earns asylum in U.S.

An AIDS-afflicted gay man from Mexico, who fled to San Francisco after a local policeman forced him into sexual acts under threat of being outed or killed, is eligible for political asylum, a federal appeals court ruled Friday.Reversing rulings by immigration courts that ordered Jose Boer-Sedano deported to Mexico, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said he had been a victim of persecution in his homeland and was likely to face further abuse, as well as a serious threat to his health, if he were sent back.

Reports by the U.S. State Department have found that violence against gays remains widespread in Mexico, and Boer-Sedano would also have difficulty getting life-sustaining medication, the court said.The ruling is one of several by the San Francisco-based court in recent years granting refuge to gay or transgender applicants from Latin America based on evidence of abuse inflicted or condoned by police.

"It really does mean that he'll be safe now," said Boer-Sedano's lawyer, Angela Bean.Boer-Sedano, now 45, works as a waiter and busboy at a San Francisco hotel. When she told him about the ruling, Bean said, Boer-Sedano was so overcome with emotion that he couldn't speak for a full minute.Boer-Sedano knew he was gay at age 7 and was ostracized by his family and friends in the town of Tampico in the eastern Mexico state of Tamaulipas, and he later was taunted and harassed by co-workers, the court said.

He testified in immigration court that he and a friend were arrested in 1988 by a high-ranking police officer, who told them that they were held for being gay, even though that is not a crime in Mexico. The same officer stopped Boer-Sedano nine times over the next three months, drove him to a dark location and forced him to perform oral sex, the court said, quoting his testimony. Boer-Sedano said the officer threatened to reveal his homosexuality to others, talked about killing him and once put a bullet in his gun, spun the chamber and held the weapon to Boer-Sedano's head.

Boer-Sedano moved to Monterrey, Mexico, stayed for a year, but left after lying about his homosexuality during a police raid. He came to San Francisco on a six-month visa in 1990 and was diagnosed with HIV in 1992 and later with AIDS. Deportation proceedings began in 1997.His asylum claim was denied by an immigration judge, who said Boer-Sedano had merely encountered a "personal problem" with a police officer that did not amount to persecution, and that there was no evidence of systematic official persecution of gays in Mexico.

But the appeals court said that the officer's assaults were clearly motivated by Boer-Sedano's homosexuality, and that his death threats constituted persecution by a government agent.The State Department reports show that abuse of gay men remains common, the three-judge panel said. Boer-Sedano would be in even greater peril, the court said, because AIDS patients face additional discrimination and hostility, and he presented evidence that the drugs he needs are unavailable in Mexico.

[  sfgate.com

12. August 2005

nachdem ein gericht in arizona eine klage gegen taser international inc.abgelehnt hat, stiegen die aktien der firma um 8.53% an.

Taser Shares Soar as Ariz. Court Dismisses Suit

Taser International Inc. said on Friday an Arizona court dismissed a wrongful death and product liability lawsuit against the stun gun maker.The ruling, which marks the third wrongful death suit against Taser to be dismissed in the last month, sent the company's shares soaring. Taser shares rose 8.53 percent to $9.16 on Nasdaq .In the latest legal action, Taser said the Superior Court of the State of Arizona in the County of Maricopa ordered a suit against Taser to be dismissed with prejudice, meaning the plaintiff will not be able to refile the suit.

The suit had charged Taser with liability for wrongful death, negligent infliction of emotional distress and product liability.Taser has faced a series of similar lawsuits from families of people who have died after being shot with one of the company's weapons, which disable victims with a 50,000 volt shock, but none has been successful.Human rights group Amnesty International has logged more than 100 Taser-related deaths since 2001. Taser says its "non-lethal" weapons actually save lives when used by police officers as an alternative to guns.

[  foxnews.com

10. August 2005

weil sie keinen fairen prozeß hatten wurden die verurteilungen von fünf männern, die angebl. kubanische spione seien, aufgehoben.

Appeals court overturns convictions of 5 Cubans accused of spying

A federal appeals court on Tuesday rejected the criminal convictions and sentences of five men accused of spying for the Cuban government, ruling that ardent anti-Castro sentiment in Miami prevented the men from receiving a fair trial in 2001. In a 93-page unanimous opinion, a three-judge panel from the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta cited heavy publicity and a string of dramatic incidents before and during the trial to argue that Miami-Dade County was not a suitable venue for the case.

The seven-month trial, heard by a jury that did not include Cuban-Americans, received international attention and stirred the passions of Cubans on and off the island. Attorneys for the men repeatedly asked for mistrials and at one point sought a change of venue to Broward County. On Tuesday, they called the opinion a landmark decision. "The court of appeals went through the entire trial and cited all the kinds of antics that were taking place, including a government witness calling me a communist spy in front of the jury," said one of the attorneys, Paul McKenna. "They went point by point, just showing how this trial was infected from beginning to end." Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González, and René González were convicted in June 2001 following their federal espionage trial.

McKenna and others plan to ask a federal judge to release the men on bail. A hearing date has not been set. The attorneys said it was too early to speculate where a new trial should be held. The judges noted previous arguments to hold the trial in Fort Lauderdale, but one of the attorneys said Tuesday that the opinion might rule out the federal judicial district that spans between The Florida Keys and Fort Pierce.In a statement, authorities at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Miami said they were reviewing the opinion and declined to comment. Federal prosecutors will have to start from scratch or appeal the panel's decision, a process that could take years.An adviser to Ricardo Alarcón, president of the Cuban National Assembly, said Tuesday that the court's decision was an important step.

"I always had hope justice would prevail," said the adviser, Miguel Alvarez. "This has been a case that has been meticulously revised, and we have a unanimous decision. ... It recognizes that they were not tried fairly." The men received stiff sentences, life imprisonment for three of them for counting planes at military installations and other activities. Hernández, the ringleader, was convicted of the most serious charge, taking part in the shootdown of two Brothers to the Rescue planes.

In Cuba, relatives of the five said they felt vindicated. "The phone hasn't stopped ringing. It's a huge happiness and a good step," said Roberto González, whose brother René is serving a 15-year sentence for acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign government. "We hope this will make people react within the United States and take a second look at the case ... and understand it for what it is, a case of men fighting against terrorism."René González arrived in the United States in a biplane as a supposed defector. He was embraced by the Cuban American exiles and joined Brothers to the Rescue and the Democracy Movement. But all the while he reported to his superiors on the activities of the organizations.

After the convictions, the Cuban government launched an international campaign to free the five, portraying them as victims who were unfairly convicted in a trial where Cuban exile politics trumped the rule of law.Billboards and signs proclaiming, "They will return!" went up across Cuba, T-shirts and posters were printed and even the smallest rural villages displayed modest memorials to commemorate the men's cause.But in Miami-Dade, the Cuban exile community widely despised the men, particularly for their involvement in the downing of the planes, which claimed the lives of four Cuban-Americans.In her afternoon radio show, Ninoska Pérez Castellón told listeners on Radio Mambi, 710 AM, that it was "a racist decision" against the Cuban-American community.

Others in the Cuban-American community said Tuesday they were offended by the ruling, saying it mentions incidents that took place at the height of anti-Castro violence in South Florida in the 1970s and 1980s."It's ridiculous," said attorney Manny Vázquez, who sits on the Cuban American National Foundation's board of directors. "I think as a community we have evolved. We respect the laws."U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, called the opinion "disheartening" and urged authorities to take immediate steps to charge the men once again."Ironically, the protections granted to these foreign spies, these criminals, are systematically denied to the oppressed Cuban people," she said.In their exhaustive narrative of events surrounding the trial, the judges illustrated a large number of incidents to paint Miami-Dade as a hostile environment against the Cuban government.The judges agreed that the incidents may have influenced or even intimidated the jury's decision. The opinion also noted that the trial came at the time when Cubans in Miami were still incensed over the international custody battle over Elián González.

Among the incidents the judges cited: Cuban exiles routinely staged demonstration during the trial; family members of the dead pilots held a news conference outside the courthouse during jury selection and prosecutors used inflammatory language during closing arguments.During his testimony, Brothers to the Rescue founder José Basulto accused McKenna of being a Cuban operative, the judges noted. Basulto on Tuesday insisted his remarks did not affect the jury. Guerrero's attorney, Leonard Weinglass, said the opinion will have legal ramifications in cases not only held in Miami-Dade, but nationwide.

"This is really a historic opinion," he said. "Never before in the history of the United States has a federal circuit court of appeal reversed a trial court's finding with respect of venue." José Pertierra, an attorney based in Washington, D.C., and an expert on Cuba, said the opinion would have an impact on similar cases involving Cuban nationals.

"Anybody who is tried in Miami will have a problem because you can't have a fair trial with the media circus in Miami and its atmosphere so full of hatred," Pertierra said. "Though they were innocent until proven guilty, these men were convicted by public opinion before the first juror was impaneled." On the final page of the order, the judges anticipated that their decision was not going to be a popular one, but one that was necessary to uphold justice."The court is aware that ... the reversal of these convictions will be unpopular and even offensive to many citizens," they wrote. "However, the court is equally mindful that those same citizens cherish and support the freedoms they enjoy in this country that are unavailable to residents of Cuba."

[  sun-sentinel.com

05. August 2005
California's No-Parole Policy:
Old-School Lifers Held Decades Beyond Their Release Dates

Thousands of California state prisoners serving a "term to life" sentence /with/ the possibility of parole have had their commitments illegally enhanced to life /without /the possibility of parole. ....

artikel über männer, die vor 1977 zu lebenslänglich ( mit der vorgabe zwischen 7 und 25 jahren mind.) verurteilt wurden und die immer noch in den knästen sind.

[  California's No-Parole Policy:
Old-School Lifers Held Decades Beyond Their Release Dates

[  This article was originally published in the August 2005 issue of the Community Alliance newspaper in Fresno, California

29. July 2005

die praxis, gefangenen die haare zu schneiden als maßnahme zu "sicherheit und ordnung" wurde von einem gericht als unzulässig erklärt.

Court throws out Calif. prison grooming policy
The California prison system acted improperly when it tried to trim the hair of an American Indian inmate who said a haircut violated his religious beliefs, a U.S. appeals court ruled on Friday.Billy Soza Warsoldier, who had not cut his hair in 25 years, filed a lawsuit after a minimum-security prison punished him for refusing to comply with a rule that men's hair be no longer than 3 inches (8 cm) long. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, reversing a lower court decision, said the state had failed to show the grooming policy was the least restrictive way to ensure prison safety and security."It applies to all male inmates, but to no female inmates regardless of a female inmate's security threat; it does nothing to distinguish between inmates housed at maximum security facilities and those low level offenders in minimum security institutions; and it provides absolutely no accommodation for religious belief," Judge Harry Pregerson wrote for a three-judge panel. Warsoldier, who was released from prison last year, called the decision an important precedent for American Indians."This is a really good win for us because now all Indian men behind me and the ones still here, now have the right to keep our traditions and let hair grow long," the Cahuilla Native American said in an interview. "They don't like the fact that we're going to stand up against them." Last year, a separate three-judge panel came down on the opposite side of a similar issue, saying the California Department of Corrections' reasons for requiring short hair -- such as making inmates easier to detect if they try to escape -- were justified.

[  reuters.com

25. July 2005

die staatliche knastbehörde hat 132 gefangene aus dem " unorganisierten, dreckigen" whitley county knast nach einer anhörung, in der ein richter die sofortige schließung des vor einem jahr für 8 mill. Dollar neugebauten knastes anordnete, in andere knäste in kentucky verlegt.

STATE removes inmates from 'disorganized, filthy' Whitley jail

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- The state Corrections Department has removed about 130 inmates from the "disorganized, filthy" Whitley County jail less than a year after the $8 million center opened, Commissioner John Rees said Monday.Rees said he will not allow the jail to reopen if it is to operate under the management of Whitley County Jailer Jerry Taylor.

A Franklin County Circuit Court judge cleared the way for the state to close the jail after a hearing Friday. Rees said Corrections officials initially planned to spend a few days transferring inmates, but acted quickly after they arrived on Saturday morning."The place was disorganized, filthy and full of contraband," Rees said. "The place was out of control, clear and simple."

Rees said Corrections officials found drugs, homemade weapons, alcohol and nearly nonexistent supervision. There was not enough food in the kitchen to feed the inmates Saturday and when officials went to the canteen to get supplies, they got the key from an inmate.Taylor's attorney, Randy Jewell of Barbourville, disputed the condition of the jail. Jewell said legal action would be taken to restore the jail to operating status. As of Monday, however, the nearly 30 jail employees are out of a job and Taylor's future is also uncertain.

Rees said the drugs and other contraband found during the Saturday closing was turned over to the Kentucky State Police, who are conducting their own investigation.The inmates were taken to local and regional jails in Laurel, Pulaski, Bullitt and Wayne counties, Rees said.

"It's an empty building right now," Rees said.The future of the building is up to "the people of Whitley County," Rees said.The jail could have a future as a regional center, which could be run by an appointed director rather than an elected jailer, Rees said.Taylor's term of office runs until next year.

[  wkyt.com

21. July 2005
Peaceful prison

bericht über einen knast für menschen über 55.

Inmates over 55 can finish serving their time planting flowers or vegetables, reading or making crafts at the Central New Mexico Correctional Facility's geriatric unit

[  Peaceful prison

20. July 2005

ein richter ordnet die zwangsernährung eines 26 jährigen mannes an. Den knastbehörden nach weigert sich der mann zu essen und zu trinken.

Judge says prisoner can be forced to eat

PROVIDENCE, R.I., July 20 (UPI) -- A Rhode Island Superior Court judge gave prison officials the OK Wednesday to force feed an inmate.Department of Corrections officials asked Judge Susan McGuirl for the feeding tube for Esteban Carpio during an arraignment hearing, the Providence Journal reports.Prison officials say the 26-year-old Carpio has not been eating or drinking and is getting sick.

Carpio pleaded not guilty to discharging a firearm and the subsequent murder of a Providence police detective, as well as two charges of assault in a separate case against a Providence woman and three charges of assaulting correctional officers.Prison officials also say Carpio was taken to the hospital recently after banging his head against his prison cell walls.A bail hearing for Carpio was set for next week.

[  sciencedaily.com

13. July 2005

wegen "illegaler sexueller kontakte" mit gefangenen frauen wurde ein ehemaliger wärter zu 10 - 28 jahren knast verurteilt.

FORMER Allegheny County jail guard gets 10-28 years in sex case

Had sexual encounters with eight inmates

A former corrections officer at the Allegheny County Jail, convicted in May of having illegal sexual contact with female inmates, was sentenced yesterday to up to 28 years in prison.Another former guard who pleaded guilty to fondling and kissing an inmate was sentenced to probation.Common Pleas Judge Donna Jo McDaniel looked outside sentencing guidelines in levying four consecutive terms of 2 1/2 to 7 years against LeShawn Walker, 33, of Duquesne.

McDaniel, who is administrative judge for the criminal division, could have ordered the sentences to be served concurrently.Defense attorney Wendy Williams said she believes her client was punished because he did not plead guilty in exchange for a more lenient sentence."Probation was in the mitigated range. It just shows that you can't go to trial,"Williams said.

Walker was tried for having sexual encounters with eight inmates, all of whom said he led them to believe their relationships were exclusive.Walker was found guilty of four counts of institutional sexual assault. On four other counts he was found not guilty or charges were withdrawn.

Under state law, jail and prison guards can be convicted of institutional sexual assault, because they hold so much authority over their captive accusers. It is a crime even if the acts are consensual."I think it's a fair sentence in light of the years of sexual misconduct he committed with these women," said Deputy District Attorney Diane Berman, who directed the grand jury investigation that resulted in the charges against 13 corrections officers.

"I feel terrible for anyone else who goes to jail, because I've been there," said one woman, 32, who said she fell in love with Walker while she was in jail."I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy," she said. "Then I found out that I wasn't the only one [assaulted by Walker]. He used me when I was at my lowest."The woman said she now is drug-free, working a steady job, and has resumed a relationship with her 10-year-old daughter.

Seven guards, including Walker, have pleaded or been found guilty, while one has been acquitted. More are awaiting trial.The seventh, Charles Richard Miller, 35, of Industry, Beaver County, pleaded guilty to one count of institutional sexual assault. A second count was withdrawn.Miller was sentenced to three years probation.Officials in county government, law enforcement and at the jail still are facing a lawsuit filed by another guard who mistakenly was arrested because he has the same first and last names as Miller.

[  post-gazette.com

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