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July 29, 2015

Monday, April 30, 2012

Jimmy Carter: Show death penalty the door

Former President of the USA, Jimmy Carter, speaks out against the death penalty.
Let's also hope that Life Without Parole will be abolished once.


This was posted here on AJC Opinion on Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Show death penalty the door

By Jimmy Carter

For many reasons, it is time for Georgia and other states to abolish the death penalty. A recent poll showed that 61 percent of Americans would choose a punishment other than the death penalty for murder.

Also, just 1 percent of police chiefs think that expanding the death penalty would reduce violent crime. This change in public opinion is steadily restricting capital punishment, both in state legislatures and in the federal courts.

As Georgia’s chief executive, I competed with other governors to reduce our prison populations. We classified all new inmates to prepare them for a productive time in prison, followed by carefully monitored early-release and work-release programs. We recruited volunteers from service clubs who acted as probation officers and “adopted” one prospective parolee for whom they found a job when parole was granted. At that time, in the 1970s, only one in 1,000 Americans was in prison.

Our nation’s focus is now on punishment, not rehabilitation. Although violent crimes have not increased, the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world, with more than 7.43 per 1,000 adults imprisoned at the end of 2010. Our country is almost alone in our fascination with the death penalty. Ninety percent of all executions are carried out in China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United States.

One argument for the death penalty is that it is a strong deterrent to murder and other violent crimes. In fact, evidence shows just the opposite. The homicide rate is at least five times greater in the United States than in any Western European country, all without the death penalty.

Southern states carry out more than 80 percent of the executions but have a higher murder rate than any other region. Texas has by far the most executions, but its homicide rate is twice that of Wisconsin, the first state to abolish the death penalty. Look at similar adjacent states: There are more capital crimes in South Dakota, Connecticut and Virginia (with death sentences) than neighboring North Dakota, Massachusetts and West Virginia (without death penalties). Furthermore, there has never been any evidence that the death penalty reduces capital crimes or that crimes increased when executions stopped. Tragic mistakes are prevalent. DNA testing and other factors have caused 138 death sentences to be reversed since I left the governor’s office.

The cost for prosecuting executed criminals is astronomical. Since 1973, California has spent roughly $4 billion in capital cases leading to only 13 executions, amounting to about $307 million each.

Some devout Christians are among the most fervent advocates of the death penalty, contradicting Jesus Christ and misinterpreting Holy Scriptures and numerous examples of mercy. We remember God’s forgiveness of Cain, who killed Abel, and the adulterer King David, who had Bathsheba’s husband killed. Jesus forgave an adulterous woman sentenced to be stoned to death and explained away the “eye for an eye” scripture.

There is a stark difference between Protestant and Catholic believers. Many Protestant leaders are in the forefront of demanding ultimate punishment. Official Catholic policy condemns the death penalty. Perhaps the strongest argument against the death penalty is extreme bias against the poor, minorities or those with diminished mental capacity. Although homicide victims are six times more likely to be black rather than white, 77 percent of death penalty cases involve white victims. Also, it is hard to imagine a rich white person going to the death chamber after being defended by expensive lawyers. This demonstrates a higher value placed on the lives of white Americans.

It is clear that there are overwhelming ethical, financial, and religious reasons to abolish the death penalty.

Jimmy Carter was the 39th president and is founder of The Carter Center in Atlanta.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Thursday, April 19, 2012

April 24th: Occupy the Justice Department: education about the prison industrial complex; amplifying the voices inside

From press releases:

OCCUPY4PRISONERS PRESENTS:

In Solidarity with the Occupy the Justice Department protest in Washington, DC
End Mass Incarceration! Tuesday, APRIL 24th

4PM - RALLY at 14th and Broadway, Oakland

Occupy4Prisoners and supporters will rally at Oscar Grant Plaza, where awareness and understanding regarding the brutality and corruption within the United States INjustice system will begin to rise up. We will be doing educational outreach about the prison system with music, speakers, a "Truth Mob" and amplifying the voices of people inside of prisons.

5PM - MARCH to Federal Building and Obama Headquarters

We will take to the streets to march as an expression of our solidarity with the 2.5 million people incarcerated in the country. The United States has the highest incarceration rate of any country, with 743 people in prison per 100,000 of national population. Occupy4Prisoners brings to the attention of the greater Occupy Movement how we cannot forget the bottom 1% of the 99% in our greater struggle for justice and equality.

The march will continue past the Federal Building (13th and Clay) where representatives from the Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia and the Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal will speak. Folks from the Bradley Manning Support Network will share information about Bradley’s plight when we reach the Obama Headquarters (17th and Telegraph.) Then we will march to...

6PM - THE INJUSTICE SYSTEM ON TRIAL - 19th and Telegraph

Once we arrive at the 19th and Telegraph Plaza, we will be putting the Injustice System on trial. Powerful local activists will preside over a trial that is actually about the truth.

The prosecutor will be Anita Wills, (Oscar Grant Committee and Occupy4Prisoners), the defense attorney will be Deborah Small, (Break the Chains), and the judge will be Jerry Elster (All of Us or None). The system will be played by Dan Siegel (National Lawyers Guild).

The jury will be YOU!

These witnesses will be bringing evidence against the system regarding the following charges:


1. Targeting youth of color

Chris M, Occupy Oakland Tactical Action Committee

Sagnitche Salazar, Youth Together and Xicana Moratorium Coalition


2. Allowing murder and assault by police to go unpunished

Denika Chatman, Kenneth Harding Jr. Foundation

Carey Downs & Dionne Smith Downs, A Mother's Cry for Justice


3. Enforcing racism at every level

Jabari Shaw, Rapper, Laney College Black Student Union

Manuel La Fontaine, All of Us or None and Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity


4. Holding political prisoners hostage

Kiilu Nyasha, Independent journalist and former Black Panther

Aaron Mirmalek, Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee Oakland


5. Torturing people inside the prisons

Sharena Curley, Oscar Grant Committee

Luis “Bato” Talamantez, California Prison Focus and one of the San Quentin Six


6. Conspiring to commit mass incarceration

Linda Evans, All of Us or None and former political prisoner

Ghetto Prophet, Onyx Organizing Committee and spoken word artist



More information:

www.occupy4prisoners.org

www.occupythejusticedepartment.com

occupy4prisoners@gmail.com

Sunday, April 15, 2012

April 19th—The Day to Break the Silence! 
Say No to Mass Incarceration!

It is time and way past time to stand up and say NO MORE! Our youth are being treated like criminals—guilty until proven innocent, if they can survive to prove their innocence. The vigilante murder of Trayvon Martin concentrates the racial profiling that leads into more than 2.4 million people being warehoused in prison and the millions more who are treated like second-class citizens even after they've served their sentences.

April 19th must be a day of standing up and saying NO MORE to all of this. It must be a day of teach-ins and rallies in high schools and colleges; a day of youth, tired of being demonized, taking to the streets—joined by many others from different backgrounds, races and nationalities who stand with them; a day of speaking bitterness to the way the whole criminal justice system abuses millions of people. All saying in a powerful voice: NO to mass incarceration and all its consequences.

NO MORE TRAYVON MARTINS!


NO MORE OSCAR GRANTS!


NO MORE 2.4 MILLION PEOPLE WAREHOUSED IN PRISON!


NO MORE 1 IN 8 BLACK MEN IN THEIR 20'S LOCKED DOWN IN JAIL!


MASS INCARCERATION + SILENCE = GENOCIDE!

April 19th Convergences

Atlanta: 4 pm—Protest, speak-out, street theater, & march, Five Points MARTA Station.

Chicago: 5 pm—Federal Plaza at Dearborn & Adams. Houston: 3:30 pm—Convergence, intersection of Cleburne and Tierwester, March to Houston Police substation.

Los Angeles: 4 pm—Pershing Square, 5th & Olive, Downtown L.A.; 5 pm—March to LAPD Headquarters.

New York City: 4 pm—One Police Plaza, downtown Manhattan; 5:30 pm—March to Union Square.

San Francisco Bay Area: 12 noon—Rally, California State Building, Van Ness & McAllister—March to Federal Building, 7th and Mission Streets. Seattle: 3 pm—speak-out and picket, King County Jail, 5th Ave. & James St., downtown Seattle.

Endorsed by (as of April 14):

All-African Peoples Revolutionary Party (GC); Gbenga Akinnagbe, Actor; Rafael Angulo, Professor of Social Work, USC; Edward Asner, Actor; Dave Atwood, Houston Peace and Justice Center; Lawrence Aubry, Convenor, Advocates for Black Strategic Alternatives; Hadar Aviram, Associate Professor, UC Hastings College of the Law*; Lucy Bailey, Independent, LA Ca; Nellie Bailey, Occupy Harlem; Carissa Baldwin-McGinnis, Director of Peace and Justice, All Saints Church. Pasadena, Ca.; Jared Ball, VOXUNION Media, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement; Social Justice Committee, Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists; Rev. Dr. Dorsey O. Blake, Presiding Minister, The Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples; Blase Bonpane, Ph.D., Director, OFFICE OF THE AMERICAS; Herb Boyd, Harlem-based author, educator, journalist and activist; Bob Brown, co-director, Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael) Institute; Elaine Brower, World Can't Wait, Military Families Speak Out; Richard Brown, Former Black Panther Party; John L. Burris, Civil Rights Attorney; Rev. Richard “Meri Ka Ra” Byrd, Senior Pastor, KRST Unity Center of Afrakan Spiritual Science; California Coalition for Women Prisoners; Kendra Castaneda, Prisoner Human Rights Activist with a family member in CA State Prison Segregation Unit; Denika Chapman, mother, and Marco Scott, uncle, of Kenneth Harding, Kenneth Harding Foundation; Eric Cheyfitz, Ernest I. White Professor of American Studies and Humane Letters, Cornell University; Solomon Comissiong, Executive Director, Your World News Media Collective (www.yourworldnews.org); Community Futures Collective, Vallejo CA; Drucilla Cornell, Professor, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, Rutgers University; Colin Dayan, Robert Penn Warren Professor in the Humanities, Vanderbilt University; Oscar De La Torre, Founder/Executive Director, Pico Youth and Family Center, Santa Monica, CA; Emory Douglas, Black Panther Party/Alumni; Carl Dix, Revolutionary Communist, co-initiator of Campaign to Stop “Stop and Frisk”; Kevin Epps, Independent Filmmaker/Activist; Glen Ford, executive editor, Black Agenda Report; Dr. Henry Giroux, Department of English and Cultural Studies, McMaster University, Ontario, Canada; Rebeca Guerrero, Los Angeles, CA; Jeff Haas, Civil Rights Attorney, Activist and Author of The Assasination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther; Kelley Lytle Hernandez, Professor of History, UCLA; Nicholas Heyward Sr., October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Parents Against Police Brutality, and father of Nicholas Naquan Heyward, Jr., killed by NYPD; Jeremy Hiller, Education Not Incarceration; Mike Holman, Executive Director, Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund*; Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace (ICUJP) members Mary C. Singaus, Douglas MacMillan, Margaret Hutchinson, Stephen L. Fiske, Susan Anderson, Ed Fisher, Anthony Manouses, and Andy Griggs, Los Angeles CA; The International Coalition to Free the Angola 3; Melvin Ishmael Johnson, Director of Dramastage-Qumran Workshop; Mesha Irizarry, Idris Stelly Foundation; Tom Kleven, Professor, Thurgood Marshall School of Law; Cephus 'Uncle Bobby' Johnson, Oscar Grant Foundation; Robin DG Kelley, Distinguished Professor of History, UCLA; Robert King, Freed Angola 3; Wayne Kramer, Jail Guitar Doors USA, Co-Founder; Patricia Krommer CSJ, Pax Christi So. California; Roshanak Kheshti, Assistant Professor, Ethnic Studies, University of California, San Diego; Sarah Kunstler, Esq., National Lawyers Guild NYC*; Laura Magnani, American Friends Service Committee; Joe Maizlish, Los Angeles, CA; BM Marcus, Community Director, Comm. Advocate Organization, Brooklyn NY; Dr. Antonio Martinez, Institute for Survivors of Human Rights Abuses, and co-founder of the Marjorie Kovler Center for the Treatment of Survivors of Torture; Carlos Meza, Occupy Whittier; Rev. Janet Gollery McKeithen (Unity Methodist Clergy), President, Methodist Federation for Social Action, Cal-Pac; Peter McLaren, School of Critical Studies, Faculty of Education, University of Auckland, New Zealand; Rev. Darrel Meyers, Presbyterian Church USA; Nancy Michaels, Associate Director of the Mansfield Institute for Social Justice and Transformation; Aaron Mirmalek, cousin of Leonard Peltier, LPDOC, Oakland, CA; Gregg Morris, Assistant Professor, Journalism, Department of Film and Media Studies, Hunter College; Khalil Gibran Muhammad, author of "The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime and the Making of Modern Urban America; Rev. Sala Nolan, National Minister for Criminal Justice and Human Rights, United Church of Christ; Oakland Education Association Representative Assembly; Occupy Education, Northern California; October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation (New York Committee); Kelly Phillips, Symple Equazion/ author of "The Art of Frowns to Smiles"; Laura Pulido, Visiting Professor, Department of Black Studies, UCSB; Professor, Department of American Studies and Ethnicity, USC; Willie and Mary Ratcliff, Editor, San Francisco Bay View Black National Newspaper; Anthony Rayson, curator of South Chicago Anarchist Black Cross Zine Distro; Rev. Dr. George F. Regas, Rector Emeritus, All Saints Church, Pasadena, CA; Joyce Robbins, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Touro College; Dylan Rodriguez, Professor and Chair, Dept. of Ethnic Studies, University of California, Riverside, and founding member of Critical Resistance: Beyond the Prison Industrial Complex; Stephen Rohde, Chair, Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace; Lila Salas, Occupy Whittier; Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou, Freedom Church; Dan Siegel, Civil Rights attorney; Jonathan Simon, Adrian A. Kragen Professor of Law, U.C. Berkeley; Ellen Snortland, author, activist, performer; Jahan Stanizui, Culver City Interfaith; Debra Sweet, Director, World Can't Wait; Heather Thompson, Departments of African American Studies and History, Temple University; Paul Von Blum, African American Studies, UCLA; Jim Vrettos, Professor of Sociology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice; Anne Weills, National Lawyers Guild; Cornel West, author and educator, co-initiator of Campaign to Stop “Stop and Frisk”; Tim'm T. West, Community Activist, Youth Advocate, Hip Hop Artist/Poet; Hadar Aviram, Associate Professor, UC Hastings College of the Law*; Anita Wills, Occupy 4 Prisoners; Clyde Young, Revolutionary Communist, and former prisoner;
*For Identification Purposes Only

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