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I wonder not anymore why Amerikkkan Gulags have 2.5 million innocent prisoners.   [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2012-1-5 09:25:47 |Display all floors
This post was edited by SMITHI at 2012-1-5 09:26

Russia Today

Cop caught planting drugs (VIDEO)

5 January, 2012

Two cops in Upstate New York are under investigation for allegedly planting narcotics in the car of a couple pulled over in the city of Utica.
The incident, which occurred on February 11, 2011, is being reexamined nearly a year later after the cops involved in the caper have been caught on tape creating “evidence” and placing narcotics in the suspects’ automobile.
The recording of the incident, unbeknownst to the officers, was being made by the camera in their own squad car.
The Utica Phoenix newspaper has come in possession of the recording and has since uploaded an excerpt of the footage to the Web. In the clip, a Utica Police Department officer is seen ushering a suspect in handcuffs away from his vehicle, then approaching the driver-side door, reaching into his back pocket and pulling out a small baggie. The officer then crawls into the car, appears to drop the item in question and shortly thereafter exits the vehicle with the drugs that were allegedly confiscated from the car.
According to the Venice Ervin of a local NAACP chapter, the clip clearly shows Officer Paul Paladino, a white officer, planting evidence in the car of two black suspects.
The video has gone viral since first posted this week, garnering enough hits to temporarily cause the Utica Phoenix’s website to go down. The local Police Department has fired back at the allegations, however, and insists that Officer Paladino came in contact with the evidence earlier in the search and had placed it in his pocket for safekeeping.
“You can put the evidence on your person to maintain custody of it until you have a chance to store it,” Williams and Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara explains. “Where else are you going to put it, on the ground? In the course of searching someone, sometimes the only thing you’ve got is your pockets until a short time later you can put it all together.”
To others, that seems too far-fetched to be the truth.
“We do feel there is concern that some wrongdoing has been done because police officers don’t place evidence in their back pocket and then take it out and climb into a suspect’s car, and then exit with the drugs unrolled,” adds the NAACP’s Ervin to Utica’s Observer-Dispatch.“I’m pretty sure it’s part of their training not to do the things they did in the video. That makes it very suspect when you see something like that.”
Others also remain skeptical. “If you take something from a suspect, do you put in back in your own pocket?” asks the Utica Phoenix’s Cassandra Harris-Lockwood. “You've got a crime scene, don't you protect your crime scene? What do you mean, you stick it in your pocket? That doesn't sound like proper police procedure to me. Stick it in your pocket? I don't think so."
The Utica Police Department’s Office of Professional Standards has begun their own investigation in the manner, which will be followed up by a probe by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. One of the suspects obtained the tape and forwarded it to the NAACP and FBI, prompting the recent reinvestigation nearly a year after the initial incident.
Pending the results of the investigation, Utica police Chief Mark Williams says he will handle it in a proper manner.
“I just hope people are open-minded and realize that it’s in my best interest, if I have a dirty road cop, to get rid of him, not defend him,” Williams says.

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Post time 2012-1-6 00:11:28 |Display all floors
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Post time 2012-1-6 02:30:32 |Display all floors
Crime and punishment in America
Rough justice
America locks up too many people, some for acts that should not even be criminal
Jul 22nd 2010 | from the print edition
Tweet..IN 2000 four Americans were charged with importing lobster tails in plastic bags rather than cardboard boxes, in violation of a Honduran regulation that Honduras no longer enforces. They had fallen foul of the Lacey Act, which bars Americans from breaking foreign rules when hunting or fishing. The original intent was to prevent Americans from, say, poaching elephants in Kenya. But it has been interpreted to mean that they must abide by every footling wildlife regulation on Earth. The lobstermen had no idea they were breaking the law. Yet three of them got eight years apiece. Two are still in jail.

America is different from the rest of the world in lots of ways, many of them good. One of the bad ones is its willingness to lock up its citizens (see our briefing). One American adult in 100 festers behind bars (with the rate rising to one in nine for young black men). Its imprisoned population, at 2.3m, exceeds that of 15 of its states. No other rich country is nearly as punitive as the Land of the Free. The rate of incarceration is a fifth of America’s level in Britain, a ninth in Germany and a twelfth in Japan.

Tougher than thou

Some parts of America have long taken a tough, frontier attitude to justice. That tendency sharpened around four decades ago as rising crime became an emotive political issue and voters took to backing politicians who promised to stamp on it. This created a ratchet effect: lawmakers who wish to sound tough must propose laws tougher than the ones that the last chap who wanted to sound tough proposed. When the crime rate falls, tough sentences are hailed as the cause, even when demography or other factors may matter more; when the rate rises tough sentences are demanded to solve the problem. As a result, America’s incarceration rate has quadrupled since 1970.

Similar things have happened elsewhere. The incarceration rate in Britain has more than doubled, and that in Japan increased by half, over the period. But the trend has been sharper in America than in most of the rich world, and the disparity has grown. It is explained neither by a difference in criminality (the English are slightly more criminal than Americans, though less murderous), nor by the success of the policy: America’s violent-crime rate is higher than it was 40 years ago.

Conservatives and liberals will always feud about the right level of punishment. Most Americans think that dangerous criminals, which statistically usually means young men, should go to prison for long periods of time, especially for violent offences. Even by that standard, the extreme toughness of American laws, especially the ever broader classes of “criminals” affected by them, seems increasingly counterproductive.

Many states have mandatory minimum sentences, which remove judges’ discretion to show mercy, even when the circumstances of a case cry out for it. “Three strikes” laws, which were at first used to put away persistently violent criminals for life, have in several states been applied to lesser offenders. The war on drugs has led to harsh sentences not just for dealing illegal drugs, but also for selling prescription drugs illegally. Peddling a handful can lead to a 15-year sentence.

Muddle plays a large role. America imprisons people for technical violations of immigration laws, environmental standards and arcane business rules. So many federal rules carry criminal penalties that experts struggle to count them. Many are incomprehensible. Few are ever repealed, though the Supreme Court recently pared back a law against depriving the public of “the intangible right of honest services”, which prosecutors loved because they could use it against almost anyone. Still, they have plenty of other weapons. By counting each e-mail sent by a white-collar wrongdoer as a separate case of wire fraud, prosecutors can threaten him with a gargantuan sentence unless he confesses, or informs on his boss. The potential for injustice is obvious.

As a result American prisons are now packed not only with thugs and rapists but also with petty thieves, small-time drug dealers and criminals who, though scary when they were young and strong, are now too grey and arthritic to pose a threat. Some 200,000 inmates are over 50—roughly as many as there were prisoners of all ages in 1970. Prison is an excellent way to keep dangerous criminals off the streets, but the more people you lock up, the less dangerous each extra prisoner is likely to be. And since prison is expensive—$50,000 per inmate per year in California—the cost of imprisoning criminals often far exceeds the benefits, in terms of crimes averted.

Less punishment, less crime

It does not have to be this way. In the Netherlands, where the use of non-custodial sentences has grown, the prison population and the crime rate have both been falling (see article). Britain’s new government is proposing to replace jail for lesser offenders with community work. Some parts of America are bucking the national trend. New York cut its incarceration rate by 15% between 1997 and 2007, while reducing violent crime by 40%. This is welcome, but deeper reforms are required.

America needs fewer and clearer laws, so that citizens do not need a law degree to stay out of jail. Acts that can be regulated should not be criminalised. Prosecutors’ powers should be clipped: most white-collar suspects are not Al Capone, and should not be treated as if they were. Mandatory minimum sentencing laws should be repealed, or replaced with guidelines. The most dangerous criminals must be locked up, but states could try harder to reintegrate the softer cases into society, by encouraging them to study or work and by ending the pointlessly vindictive gesture of not letting them vote.

It seems odd that a country that rejoices in limiting the power of the state should give so many draconian powers to its government, yet for the past 40 years American lawmakers have generally regarded selling to voters the idea of locking up fewer people as political suicide. An era of budgetary constraint, however, is as good a time as any to try. Sooner or later American voters will realise that their incarceration policies are unjust and inefficient; politicians who point that out to them now may, in the end, get some credit.

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Post time 2012-1-6 02:31:32 |Display all floors
LaughsatYou Post time: 2012-1-6 00:11
Have you ever seen an american county jail? The people are frightening. In my opinion make them figh ...

IN 2000 four Americans were charged with importing lobster tails in plastic bags rather than cardboard boxes, in violation of a Honduran regulation that Honduras no longer enforces. They had fallen foul of the Lacey Act, which bars Americans from breaking foreign rules when hunting or fishing. The original intent was to prevent Americans from, say, poaching elephants in Kenya. But it has been interpreted to mean that they must abide by every footling wildlife regulation on Earth. The lobstermen had no idea they were breaking the law. Yet three of them got eight years apiece. Two are still in jail.

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Post time 2012-1-6 02:34:29 |Display all floors
Democracy in America American prisons
More room behind bars
Dec 16th 2011, by R.W. | NEW YORK
Tweet..IN AMERICAN slang, to send someone "up the river" means to send him to prison. The phrase comes from New York, specifically, from Sing Sing prison, which is around 30 miles north of New York City on the Hudson River. I visited a couple of years ago, and was struck by the beautiful views the inmates had of the Hudson River Valley. Some local politicians think the views are wasted on convicts, and have suggested replacing the maximum-security prison with condos. Perhaps it comes as some comfort to them knowing that there are fewer convicts on whom those views are wasted. In 2000 it housed 2,300 prisoners; today around 1,700 are imprisoned there. Crime rates have fallen and drug laws changed in New York; both have resulted significant declines in the state's prison population. And its governor, Andrew Cuomo, plans to close some prisons to close budget gaps. After all, prison is expensive: according to a Pew report, states spent between $13,009 (Louisiana) and $44,860 (Rhode Island) in 2005 per prisoner per year. Total state spending on corrections now runs around $52 billion.

But that figure may be falling. According to the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2010 America’s prison population declined year-on-year for the first time in nearly four decades. There were 1,605,127 prisoners behind bars in state and federal correction facilities in 2010, 9,228 fewer than in 2009. Although that is less than a percentage point decrease, it is still significant. Half of the states reported decreases in prison populations, with Rhode Island and Georgia (where one in 13 adults is under some form of correctional control, one of the highest proportions in the country) reporting the largest percentage decreases, 8.6% and 7.9% respectively. There were some increases, most notably Illinois, which saw the largest increase in absolute numbers, followed by Texas. But the largest percentage increase in the state prison population was in Iowa, up 7.3%, followed by Illinois, up 7.2%.

The imprisonment rate is also down. The rate last year was about one in 201 residents. Since 2007, when it peaked at 506 per 100,000 residents, the imprisonment rate has declined each year. Illinois reported the largest rate increase, while it fell in 33 states. About one-third of admissions result from parole violations. Surveillance has been a key component in correction supervision since the 1980s. Consequently, parole violations caused a seven-fold increase in people returning to prison from 1980 to 2000. In 2009 parole violators accounted for a third of all state prison admissions, but this sort of admission declined last year, thanks in part no doubt because of the efforts made at the state, local and federal level to lower recidivism rates. According to a Pew report, 43% of offenders are returned to state prison within three years of their release.

Also encouraging is the news that releases from prison exceeded admissions in 2010 for the first time since 1977. This means that many prisons are not operating at full capacity. Twenty-eight states are operating at or below their highest capacity. Mississippi, for instance, operated at 46% above its top capacity in 2010. The same holds true at federal prisons where are operating at 36% of its highest reported capacity. It is not all good news. Black men still have a horrifically high imprisonment rate—nearly seven times higher than while males. But this is an encouraging first step on a very long march.

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Post time 2012-1-6 02:39:42 |Display all floors
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Post time 2012-1-6 02:46:12 |Display all floors
This post was edited by SMITHI at 2012-1-6 02:48
LaughsatYou Post time: 2012-1-6 02:39
These are not most people you find in these jails. I got a tour once, trust me. These men were not ' ...

America, the Exceptional

The notion of “exceptionalism” in the United States has come to mean that we are a  nation of such far-above-the-norm excellence socially, politically and economically compared with the other countries of the world, that “our way” deserves their admiration of, if not their allegiance to, our policies and pronouncements.  And those in America who might have the temerity to suggest otherwise are quickly branded by exceptionalists as anything from unpatriotic to downright treasonous.

So perhaps a few statistics are in order to better determine the actual extent of our exceptionalism.  These come from the International Monetary Fund’s comparisons of 33 countries judged to enjoy “advanced economies.”  Their sources are our own CIA, our Bureau of Labor Statistics, The Economist, Gallup, Unicef, King’s College London’s World Prison Brief, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Program for International Student Assessment.  These results of the IMF survey were printed in The New York Times, which one can dismiss as biased but only in the fact of their publishing the survey, not its contents.

Let’s start with the myth that the U.S. has the best medical care system in the world, a claim heard often and loudly largely from Republicans against the Obama attempts to reform U.S. healthcare.  Surely a longer life expectancy ought to signify a better system.  Of the 33 countries, the U.S. ranked 26th on this measure.  So why not join the Republican attempts to repeal the recently passed healthcare reform and let’s see how far down the list we can go?  Maybe if people would just die sooner, we can meet the Republican’s cost-cutting rationale for their opposition, when in fact, they simply despise any program in which the government makes an attempt to help people in need.

Moving on to “income inequality” which measures how widely the income of the wealthiest exceeds that of the poorest, our land of equal opportunity for all ranks 30th out of 32 measured.  So by all means, let’s continue our Republican sponsored tax breaks for the rich, since there are still two governments that seem to do a better job of  helping the rich get richer and the poor get poorer (Hong Kong and Singapore, in case you’re interested).  The Republicans will tell you that raising anyone’s taxes in a struggling economy will reduce employment.  Economists overwhelmingly will tell you that raising taxes on the wealthiest will do no such thing.

But honestly, how many really poor people are there in the U.S.?  Well, a good measure of that might be the percentage of a country’s population that feels it does not have enough money for food in a given year.  On that question, statistics were only available for 20 countries.  We tied for 18th worst.  That still leaves us a least a little room for joining the Tea Party ‘s calls for eliminating food support for the poor since in their anarchist viewpoint, any government program is a bad program except Medicare and Social Security, government programs which they want the government to keep its hands off.

Given these results, it should not be surprising that in measuring a population’s sense of well-being, we might not do so well either.  Of the 30 countries surveyed, we came in tied for 18th.  If Mr. Obama is looking for a bi-partisan issue, he and his predecessor can share the responsibility for this one, Mr. Bush’s contributions being a war of choice in Iraq and letting our financial institutions run wild and Mr. Obama’s being a war of choice in Afghanistan and change we are still waiting for.

Nor should we be surprised that our unemployment rate is higher than 24 of the 33 countries.  After all, the epicenter of the current economic crisis runs along a fault line from Washington to Wall Street.  And while the Bush administration and so-called conservative Republican policies detonated the meltdown, both parties now vie for who can make the most ignorant economic pronouncements from an essentially brain-dead Congress.

But perhaps we can take some heart in our proclamations of exceptionalism when we look at law enforcement.  Here we rank number one, with twice as good a record as the runner-up.  The only problem is that the measure used counts the number of citizens per 100,000 of population who are in prison.  The questions is, are Americans that much more venal than people in the rest of the world, or are our laws so ridiculous as to imprison people for relatively minor offenses?

We might also find things looking up when we consider the ranking of our students in science, which is the only category in which we were in the top half of the list — barely — coming in at 14th out of 30.  But then there is math to consider, where we rank tied for 24th out of 30 — still room enough below us to enact the draconian cuts in education now being promoted in practically every state and municipality and no doubt will also be demanded by Republican-cum-Tea-Party members of Congress in the federal budget.

At least that leaves us our democracy as the beacon of government by consent of the governed, shining its light on the rest of the world.  Well, not exactly.  When measuring the level of democracy enjoyed by the populaces of the 33 countries, 16 other governments rate higher than ours in ostensibly caring about, hearing, and acting on the vox populi (including the Czech Republic, for heaven’s sake!).

All of which adds up to what?  That there are many better countries to live in than the U.S.A.?  Not at all.  Only that we’re not the exceptional nation the jingoists (mostly Republicans and their right-wing talking heads) would have us believe.  Maybe we used to be a great country that others should emulate, and could be again.  But first we have to accept the facts about ourselves, and stop listening to the bull---- we hear from politicians and the media from both sides of the aisle, especially from you-know-which-one.

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