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February 12th, 2014
thesmithian
It’s time to fundamentally rethink laws that permanently disenfranchise people who are no longer under federal or state supervision…These restrictions are not only unnecessary and unjust, they are also counterproductive. By perpetuating the stigma and isolation imposed on formerly incarcerated individuals, these laws increase the likelihood they will commit future crimes.
December 5th, 2013
thesmithian

Racially biased marijuana enforcement…effects extend far beyond the degrading experience of being arrested and jailed. Most serious are the lifelong criminal records produced by a single arrest. Twenty years ago, misdemeanor arrest records were papers stored in dusty file cabinets. Now they are computerized and instantly available for $20 or less from commercial database firms…Employers, landlords, schools, banks and credit card companies rule out applicants on the basis of these now universally available records, which have been aptly described as a “scarlet letter” and a “new Jim Crow.”

more.

Racially biased marijuana enforcement…effects extend far beyond the degrading experience of being arrested and jailed. Most serious are the lifelong criminal records produced by a single arrest. Twenty years ago, misdemeanor arrest records were papers stored in dusty file cabinets. Now they are computerized and instantly available for $20 or less from commercial database firms…Employers, landlords, schools, banks and credit card companies rule out applicants on the basis of these now universally available records, which have been aptly described as a “scarlet letter” and a “new Jim Crow.”

more.

August 12th, 2013
thesmithian

'Holder…was blunt, “There’s been a decimation of certain communities, in particular communities of color.” This is no accident. The policy deliberately targeted those communities due to a lethal mix of racism, criminal justice system profit, political expediency, and media fed public mania over drug use. This is why Obama and Holder have delicately, but to their credit, publicly inched toward a rethink of the drug war, including who it benefits and who it hurts. They should be applauded for that.'

more.

March 24th, 2013
thesmithian
I’m not concerned that ultra-violent films and video games exist; I’m concerned that, increasingly, that’s almost all there is. For several generations now, the homicidal reflexes that structure these media entertainments have become second-nature, and other narrative paradigms are being phased out. But the larger reality is that these reflexes are present everywhere in our pathology, in our global politics, our sports culture, our criminal justice system, our weapons policy…our ignorant myths of our own national history…
Michael Atkinson, at In These Times
March 6th, 2012
thesmithian

Bryan Stevenson is a public-interest lawyer who recently gave an inspiring TED Talk about racial injustice. Stevenson founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, an Alabama-based group that has won major legal challenges eliminating excessive, unfair and racist sentencing. This is a rare TED Talk for confronting issues of racial injustice„,

more. it’s pretty incredible. beyond incredible, actually.

January 16th, 2012
thesmithian

…legal scholar Michelle Alexander writes that many of the gains of the civil rights movement have been undermined by the mass incarceration of black Americans in the war on drugs. She says that although Jim Crow laws are now off the books, millions of blacks arrested for minor crimes remain marginalized and disfranchised, trapped by a criminal justice system that has forever branded them as felons and denied them basic rights and opportunities that would allow them to become productive, law-abiding citizens…

more.

October 8th, 2011
thesmithian

In even the bleakest, most terrorized neighborhoods in the most  devastated cities, Kennedy suggests, violent crime and open drug markets  are the work of an astonishingly small number of individuals. What’s  more, these criminals are deeply rational, and it has likely already  dawned on many of them that there must be more lucrative and safer ways  to live. Perhaps, Kennedy suggests, the mass incarceration of black  American men is not a necessary condition for keeping cities safe, but  simply the collateral consequence of a poor understanding of how crime  really works.

more.

In even the bleakest, most terrorized neighborhoods in the most devastated cities, Kennedy suggests, violent crime and open drug markets are the work of an astonishingly small number of individuals. What’s more, these criminals are deeply rational, and it has likely already dawned on many of them that there must be more lucrative and safer ways to live. Perhaps, Kennedy suggests, the mass incarceration of black American men is not a necessary condition for keeping cities safe, but simply the collateral consequence of a poor understanding of how crime really works.

more.

September 16th, 2011
thesmithian

…the problem…exists in two places most Americans (and the media)  don’t often bother to look: in crime-ridden sections of cities where  minorities live, and in the overcrowded prison system that gives America  the world’s highest rate of incarceration.

more.

…the problem…exists in two places most Americans (and the media) don’t often bother to look: in crime-ridden sections of cities where minorities live, and in the overcrowded prison system that gives America the world’s highest rate of incarceration.

more.

December 14th, 2010
thesmithian
It’s easy…to stereotype an entire kind of music (though no one seems interested in doing do with rock, which last time I checked also had its share of sexist and violent content). More productive would be to examine the market forces that push the kind of songs you’re talking about into positions of mainstream prominence—and to acknowledge that those forces do not act solely on hip hop, but on mass culture at large. But it’s easier to pretend that violence and misogyny were somehow smuggled into the country through hip hop, as opposed to forces that act profoundly on us all…Ultimately, blaming hip-hop for “keeping African-Americans down” is a tried and true method of obscuring structural racism: if it’s hip-hop’s fault, then nobody has to care, do they? Nobody has to question inherent biases in education, law enforcement, the judicial system—all areas that hip-hop artists, ironically enough, have been addressing for thirty years. You’ve gotta listen to hear that part, though.

author Adam Mansbach


more here, at NBM

the words are in response to this bit of specialness

December 7th, 2010
thesmithian

…”At the Dark End of the Street” is a story of courage. The women did  tell, again and again. Many went to police before they went to the  hospital and were supported by families and friends who corroborated  their stories, at great risk. White control of the justice system meant  that relatively few men were ever arrested and many fewer were ever  convicted. McGuire reports that between 1940 and 1965, only 10  Mississippi white men were convicted of raping black women and girls.  Although rape was a capital offense in many Southern states, no white  man was ever executed for raping a black woman.

more, here.

…”At the Dark End of the Street” is a story of courage. The women did tell, again and again. Many went to police before they went to the hospital and were supported by families and friends who corroborated their stories, at great risk. White control of the justice system meant that relatively few men were ever arrested and many fewer were ever convicted. McGuire reports that between 1940 and 1965, only 10 Mississippi white men were convicted of raping black women and girls. Although rape was a capital offense in many Southern states, no white man was ever executed for raping a black woman.

more, here.

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