Articles From Here

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Thankfully Idaho has opted out of  CCA’s ICC private prison due to too many bad headlines and lawsuits. 

Private Prisons and the Creation of a Permanent Under Class
Posted: 03/11/2014 3:13 pm EDT

MORE: Juvenile Detention Center
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“Prison ain’t the place to find your right of passage in, it’s slavery, with nasty food in your abdomen.” Immortal Technique (Parole, The 3rd World)

Unfortunately, for increasing numbers of teenage African American and Latino males, prison is becoming a rite of passage and their presence in juvenile detention facilities has become more and more profitable. Nearly forty percent of American juvenile detention facilities are private and in Florida, it is 100 percent. Increasingly, financially strapped states hire private prison corporations to run their incarceration facilities in order to gain a large financial payout. This seemingly ‘logical’ financial move by states to outsource their incarceration to private companies makes imprisonment a newly booming business. While the government’s goal for incarcerating people is to ‘rehabilitate’ them into becoming productive members of society, private prison companies’ goals for incarcerating people is to make profits through keeping prison beds filled (thus, the private companies require states to meet a certain quota of prisoners). At the same time that states are pouring more money into incarceration, they are slashing their educational budgets. The concurrent defunding of public education and the privatizing of juvenile detention facilities is creating a school to prison pipeline that is heavily racialized and gendered.

The “school-to-prison pipeline” highlights the racial inequalities associated with incarceration and educational opportunities within the U.S. Most of the students targeted for disciplinary action at public schools are male, African American, Latino, low-income, or disabled. Disabled African American students are suspended at three times the rate of their disabled white peers. One in three African American men will spend time incarcerated, and one in seven Latino men. The massive public school closures occurring in urban centers like Chicago and Oakland are leaving thousands of children without an option for education, pushing them towards the privatized juvenile facility beds. Teaching at a public university in Miami-Dade county has opened my eyes to the ways in which urban public schools have largely become prisons: my students would tell me about armed police, metal detectors, metal bar doors that would lock students inside, and feeling threatened enough to carry weapons to school. This ‘conditioning’ of lower income and minority students to prison-like conditions in their educational setting makes it an easier ‘transition’ for when they do eventually end up in some form of correctional facility. Noam Chomsky calls the War on Drugs and massive incarceration of nonviolent offenders the rich man’s counterinsurgency.

Many people argue that private prisons are more cost effective than state run prisons and provide financial savings to taxpayers. This mythos of cost effectiveness has been debunked by a recent Yale economic study. While private prisons do have lower costs on average per prisoner, the high increased rates of recidivism after release from a private prison makes it actually more costly in the long term. There have been reports of increased physical and sexual abuse occurring in private prisons. The U.S. Department of Justice released a report that states 9.5 percent of juveniles in detention facilities are subject to sexual abuse. Instead of educating children in low income urban areas, our society decides it is a better investment for taxpayers to incarcerate them. However, as the Yale study pointed out, prisons are definitely not more cost-effective than education in preventing criminality. Despite all this evidence that private prisons, and incarceration in general, do not produce the most cost effective ways to manage crime within our society, we continue on this expensive and unjust path. This is because these policies are enacted in order to create a permanent underclass within American society that is racialized and classed.

The fact that nearly 10 percent of teenage youth in detention facilities are abused is horrifying enough, but we often forget how damaging a criminal record is once people are released back into society. In a number of states, felons cannot vote, and this law continues the tradition of racist voter suppression laws in a much more covert manner. In this way, the urban underclass created through the school-prison pipeline is largely left out of politics and making real changes to the current incarceration systems that oppress them. As mentioned earlier, rates of recidivism in private juvenile facilities are significantly higher than rates for state run facilities and hovers around forty percent. The vicious cycle of incarceration and recidivism is largely due to the way in which our society treats released prisoners. Many have a hard time finding employment once they are released because of their criminal records and often end up right back where they started. In this way, we are creating a permanent underclass that remains uneducated, unemployable, and that eventually becomes disenfranchised, both legally and intellectually, from the political system. And the face of this member of the permanent underclass is overwhelmingly black or brown and male.

Follow Julia Meszaros on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Jmesz1981

(Also many thanks to Huffington Post)

Notes From Here

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Ghandi: To call woman the weaker sex is a libel; it is man’s injustice to woman. If by strength is meant brute strength, then, indeed, is woman less brute than man. If by strength is meant moral power, then woman is immeasurably man’s superior. Has she not greater intuition, is she not more self-sacrificing, has she not greater powers of endurance, has she not greater courage? Without her, man could not be. If nonviolence is the law of our being, the future is with woman. Who can make a more effective appeal to the heart than woman? Young India (4 October 1930)

Meals From Here

Boise Rescue Mission Cuisine over the past two week period showed only one cookie. But, to their credit, I do recall there was a sampler cup of Chobani Greek yogurt as a cold treat…in lieu of the ultra rare appearance of ice cream. (Oh, darn, there I’ve said it and jinxed it!) Lots and lots of turkey for all us turkeys as you can plainly see…so gobble-gobble for us there! But, all-in-all, the serving sizes did seem better. I’ll give this sampling a C- for their lack of our friend, the Cookie.

Protests From Here

Protesters waved brightly colored signs along Curtis Road near the highway Friday morning as part of a protest against a recent Supreme Court ruling that tossed out restrictions on political campaign spending by corporations.The demonstrators were participating in the nationwide “Day of Action Against Corporate Personhood” touted by the Move to Amend group online. Carl Madison of Boise was among those holding signs and waving to cars during the morning rush hour. Madison said that he would support a constitutional amendment that would limit the rights and influence of major corporations.

http://www.idahostatesman.com/2013/05/10/2571181/citizens-united-protest.html

Meals & Stuff From Here

Here’s my latest and greatest from Boise Rescue Mission’s chow hall: And, Oh Joy, it was an Apple!…which I took home to chop into my a.m. oatmeal. Actually I took home two apples since those w/no teeth had left them scattered about on the tables… Hey, also, for another taste of things to come, this time I’ve decided to include for your digestive pleasures (ta-da!) a critical review I found about Julian Assange’s latest book, “Cypherpunks”! Now, please be forewarned: this would mainly be for those interested in such table talk as web privacy and conspiracy theory–extra fodder/dessert for the homeless and/or deranged. So if you’re not into such fare, well then, bye for now and may God bless. But–if you’re still here–and to continue–I think the reviewer really snarked away at our poor hero, Assange…as an egoist, lousy writer, pseudo smart guy, and all the usual critical stuff, etc. Nevertheles, I did think the review worthy of some very good exta info well worth sharing w/you good folks out there. Particularly compelling I thought was, “Google receives tens of thousands of similar requests each year — most of them subpoenas sealed under court order, not search warrants — and complies with 90 percent…” (including Facebook and other social platforms) stored for “later analysis.” And also compelling was that the new international currency is now “data” (especially important now when you consider how it’s used for “illegal” financial insider trading that’s so common nowadays). Then, lastly, among the myriad of privacy concerns and exhortation for future personal encryption, it told about the government’s current $2 billion underground Utah storage project. Well, that’s when it smacked me as something similar to that atomic bomb Manahattan Project of WWII. “Hey, why not once stored, why not just let that nuclear pulse bomb go ahead and blast everyone else’s data to bits??? (Literally…!)” And so there you have it, folks; instead of blowing up factories like they did during WWII, this time it’s going to be servers. And probably right along with it a lousy bio-plague…with Mitt Romney under his mountain in Utah. (Hey, whoever said Mormons were dumb needs a cup of coffee!)

http://www.salon.com/2013/04/30/tk_5_partner_15/

Meals From Here

This was called peppersteak (goulash) at the Boise Rescue Mission. Well, ok, it wasn’t as bad as it looks…creamed corn never looks good next to anything…because it did have lots of nutritious green and red bell pepper in it. And the beef pieces were identifiable as pieces of a real dead animal, too. So I’ll give it my critic’s choice award this time. The real bonus, though, was the popsicle stick that I got to add to the stack that a couple children and their mom had amassed. Boy howdy, was it ever fun listening to their excitement and mom reminding them they had to eat their dinner first. Dinner and a floor show…at the Boise Rescue Mission chow hall.

Reposts From Here

(Photo special thanks to The Boston Globe)

A TIME FOR ALL TO MORN

Top News (Reposted from Reuters)

Internet activist, programmer Aaron Swartz dead at 26

Sun, Jan 13 17:14 PM EST

By Alex Dobuzinskis and P.J. Huffstutter

(Reuters) – Internet activist and computer prodigy Aaron Swartz, who helped create an early version of the Web feed system RSS and was facing federal criminal charges in a controversial fraud case, has committed suicide at age 26, authorities said on Saturday.

Police found Swartz’s body in his apartment in the New York City borough of Brooklyn on Friday, according to a spokeswoman for the city’s chief medical examiner, which ruled the death a suicide by hanging.

Swartz is widely credited with being a co-author of the specifications for the Web feed format RSS 1.0, which he worked on at age 14, according to a blog post on Saturday from his friend, science fiction author Cory Doctorow.

RSS, which stands for Rich Site Summary, is a format for delivering to users content from sites that change constantly, such as news pages and blogs.

Over the years, he became an online icon for helping to make a virtual mountain of information freely available to the public, including an estimated 19 million pages of federal court documents from the PACER case-law system.

“Information is power. But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves,” Swartz wrote in an online “manifesto” dated 2008.

“The world’s entire scientific and cultural heritage, published over centuries in books and journals, is increasingly being digitized and locked up by a handful of private corporations. … sharing isn’t immoral — it’s a moral imperative. Only those blinded by greed would refuse to let a friend make a copy,” he wrote.

That belief – that information should be shared and available for the good of society – prompted Swartz to found the nonprofit group DemandProgress.

The group led a successful campaign to block a bill introduced in 2011 in the U.S. House of Representatives called the Stop Online Piracy Act.

The bill, which was withdrawn amid public pressure, would have allowed court orders to curb access to certain websites deemed to be engaging in illegal sharing of intellectual property.

Swartz and other activists objected on the grounds it would give the government too many broad powers to censor and squelch legitimate Web communication.

But Swartz faced trouble in July 2011, when he was indicted by a federal grand jury of wire fraud, computer fraud and other charges related to allegedly stealing millions of academic articles and journals from a digital archive at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

According to the federal indictment, Swartz – who was a fellow at Harvard University’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics – used MIT’s computer networks to steal more than 4 million articles from JSTOR, an online archive and journal distribution service.

JSTOR did not press charges against Swartz after the digitized copies of the articles were returned, according to media reports at the time.

Swartz, who pleaded not guilty to all counts, faced 35 years in prison and a $1 million fine if convicted. He was released on bond. His trial was scheduled to start later this year.

‘HARSH ARRAY OF CHARGES’

In a statement released Saturday, the family and partner of Swartz praised his “brilliance” and “profound” commitment to social justice, and struck out at what they said were decisions made at MIT and by prosecutors that contributed to his death.

“Aaron’s death is not simply a personal tragedy. It is the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach,” the statement said.

“The U.S. Attorney’s office pursued an exceptionally harsh array of charges, carrying potentially over 30 years in prison, to punish an alleged crime that had no victims,” it added.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s office said they wanted to respect the family’s privacy and did “not feel it is appropriate to comment on the case at this time.” MIT could not be reached for comment

Swartz’s funeral is scheduled for Tuesday in Highland Park, Illinois. On Saturday, online tributes to Swartz flooded across cyberspace.

“Aaron had an unbeatable combination of political insight, technical skill and intelligence about people and issues,” Doctorow, co-editor of the weblog Boing Boing, wrote on the site.

Doctorow wrote that Swartz had “problems with depression for many years.”

Swartz also played a role in building the news-sharing website Reddit, but left the company after it was acquired by Wired magazine owner Conde Nast. Recalling that time of his life, Swartz described his struggles with dark feelings.

In an online account of his life and work, Swartz said he became “miserable” after going to work at the San Francisco offices of Wired after Reddit was acquired.

“I took a long Christmas vacation,” he wrote. “I got sick. I thought of suicide. I ran from the police. And when I got back on Monday morning, I was asked to resign.”

Tim Berners-Lee, who is credited as the most important figure in the creation of the World Wide Web, commemorated Swartz in a Twitter post on Saturday.

“Aaron dead,” he wrote. “World wanderers, we have lost a wise elder. Hackers for right, we are one down. Parents all, we have lost a child. Let us weep.”

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles and P.J. Huffstutter in Chicago; Editing by Colleen Jenkins, Doina Chiacu and Philip Barbara)

Meals From Here

Surprisingly quite a bit of meat in the Boise Rescue Mission’s goolash tonight. I scarfed it down quickly, though; the snow was getting deep outside and I had a long ways to go on my bicycle. Sure breaks the heart to see the women and children in that place…all that cold outside…and not even a dessert cookie the guys could give to the kids.

Meals From Here

New Year’s Day evening meal wasn’t the purtiest thing as you can see. It did have turkey, though, and it was a warm refuge out of the biting cold, so I certainly wasn’t complaining. I got there at 6:40 pm when they were giving their bible service…some guy ranting about apocalypse and conspiracy…and used the time to get feeling back in my fingers and toes till chow. New Year’s Day chow with no cookie…unfortunately.