Supreme Court Orders California To Free Up To 46,000 Prisoners, Because Of Chronic Overcrowding

Flashback:

Feb. 15, 2009: Cash crisis forces California to free 55,000 prisoners

Feb. 10, 2009: U.S. judges seek massive California prisoner release


Supreme Court orders California to free up to 46,000 prisoners (Telegraph, 23 May, 2011):

California has been ordered by the US Supreme Court to release up to 46,000 prisoners because of chronic overcrowding, despite one jail in the state only having only two inmates.

The Supreme Court said cramped conditions in the state’s prison system were causing “needless suffering and death.”

Read moreSupreme Court Orders California To Free Up To 46,000 Prisoners, Because Of Chronic Overcrowding

Yemen: Army Wounds 98 Students In Efforts To End University Protest – 2000 Prison Inmates Revolt

Two thousand inmates in Yemen jail revolt (Independent):

About 2,000 inmates have staged a revolt at a prison in the capital of Yemen, taken a dozen guards hostage and joined calls by anti-government protesters for the country’s president to step down, a Yemeni security official said.

He said the unrest in the Sanaa jail erupted late last night when prisoners set their mattresses ablaze and occupied the facility’s courtyard.

He said the guards fired tear gas and gunshots into the air but could not subdue the inmates.

The official said today that troops have beefed up security outside the prison. He added that a number of inmates were hurt in the unrest.


Yemen’s President moves against protesters seeking to unseat him as students and prisoners call for him to quit


An elderly protester holds up his dagger during a demonstration in Sana’a, Yemen’s capital; 98 were wounded, many critically, when the army tried to break up a sit-in at Sana’a University. Photograph: Muhammed Muheisen/AP

The Yemeni government escalated its efforts to stop mass protests yesterday calling for the president’s removal, with soldiers firing rubber bullets and tear gas at students camped at a university in the capital during a raid that left at least 98 people wounded, officials said.

The army stormed the Sana’a University campus hours after thousands of inmates rioted at the central prison in the capital, taking a dozen guards hostage and calling for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down. At least one prisoner was killed and 80 people were wounded as the guards fought to control the situation, police said.

Read moreYemen: Army Wounds 98 Students In Efforts To End University Protest – 2000 Prison Inmates Revolt

US: Enlisting Prison Labor to Close Budget Gaps

We need to throw all Americans into prison to close the budget gaps these days.

Oh, and even that might be not enough.



Inmates at the California Institute for Men at Chino in training to perform underwater welding work.

JAY, Fla. — Before he went to jail, Danny Ivey had barely seen a backyard garden.

But here he was, two years left on his sentence for grand theft, bent over in a field, snapping wide, green collard leaves from their stems. For the rest of the week, Mr. Ivey and his fellow inmates would be eating the greens he picked, and the State of Florida would be saving most of the $2.29 a day it allots for their meals.

Prison labor — making license plates, picking up litter — is nothing new, and nearly all states have such programs. But these days, officials are expanding the practice to combat cuts in federal financing and dwindling tax revenue, using prisoners to paint vehicles, clean courthouses, sweep campsites and perform many other services done before the recession by private contractors or government employees.

In New Jersey, inmates on roadkill patrol clean deer carcasses from highways. Georgia inmates tend municipal graveyards. In Ohio, they paint their own cells. In California, prison officials hope to expand existing programs, including one in which wet-suit-clad inmates repair leaky public water tanks. There are no figures on how many prisoners have been enrolled in new or expanded programs nationwide, but experts in criminal justice have taken note of the increase.

Read moreUS: Enlisting Prison Labor to Close Budget Gaps

California Prison To Use New ‘Burning Laser Beam’ On Inmates


Non-lethal: The Assault Intervention Device emits invisible laser-like beam to trigger a brief burning sensation and is set to be installed at a detention centre

It looks like something out of a video game, but this monstrous machine could come in very handy for breaking up prison fights.

The Assault Intervention Device (AID) emits an invisible laser-like beam to trigger a brief but painful burning sensation and has been touted as a new type of Taser gun.

Officials plan to set up the machine in a detention centre dormitory in Castaic, California, although it has not yet been given the green light by its federal sponsor.

The AID was first unveiled last summer, but its federal backers – the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) – have decided to review the project further before moving forward.

Non-lethal weapons such as ‘pain rays’ and Tasers are controversial and human rights groups fear they can be misused and may even be fatal on vulnerable people.

Read moreCalifornia Prison To Use New ‘Burning Laser Beam’ On Inmates

How to Destroy the Health of Prisoners: Soy Diet!

Cruel and Unusual Punishment: Soy Diet for Illinois Prisoners

soybeans
Soybeans

When Rod Blagojevich was elected governor of Illinois in 2002, he immediately made a change in the prison diets. Beginning in January 2003, inmates began receiving a diet largely based on processed soy protein, with very little meat. In most meals, small amounts of meat or meat by-products are mixed with 60-70 percent soy protein; fake soy cheese has replaced real cheese; and soy flour or soy protein is now added to most of the baked goods.

The governor’s justification for replacing nutritious meat and cheese with toxic soy protein was financial-to lower the enormous costs of running the Illinois Department of Corrections. However, the likely reason is payback for campaign contributions from Archer Daniels Midland, the main supplier of soy products to the Illinois prisons.

Suffering of Inmates

Early in 2007, the Weston A. Price Foundation began hearing from inmates who were suffering from a myriad of serious health problems due to the large amounts of soy in the diet. These prisoners had found us through the Soy Alert! section of our website. Complaints include chronic and painful constipation alternating with debilitating diarrhea, vomiting after eating, sharp pains in the digestive tract, especially after consuming soy, passing out, heart palpitations, rashes, acne, insomnia, panic attacks, insomnia, depression and symptoms of hypothyroidism, such as low body temperature (feeling cold all the time), brain fog, fatigue, weight gain, frequent infections and enlarged thyroid gland. Since soy contains anti-fertility compounds, many young prisoners may be unable to father children after their release.

The suffering of these men is intense and medical care is palliative at best. Many have had sections of their digestive tract removed, but all requests for a soy-free diet are denied. The men are told, “If you don’t like the food, don’t eat it.” That means that unless they can afford to purchase commissary food, they must eat the soy food or starve.

Lawsuit

The Weston A. Price Foundation has hired an attorney to represent several inmates incarcerated in the Illinois Department of Corrections system. The Foundation’s attorney has entered his appearance on behalf of three inmates, has had contacts with several other inmates, has served several subpoenas upon the wardens of several facilities for documents and other information, and has informed the Court that additional inmates will soon be named in an amended complaint.

Read moreHow to Destroy the Health of Prisoners: Soy Diet!

US prisoners forced to submit to radiation experiments for private foreign companies

rapiscan-secure-1000-full-body-scanners
The Rapiscan Secure 1000 has been called a “virtual strip search.” It shows a person’s private parts but obscures the face. Bush’s Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff heads the so-called full body scanner lobby.

In Illinois, federal judges have allowed at least two lawsuits to proceed against correctional officials for using full body scanners to reveal the anatomy of both prisoners and visitors without removing their clothing. This is the very same device that airports are seeking to implement on some inbound flights to the United States.

The cases of Young v. County of Cook, 2009 U.S. Dist. Lexis 64404(N.D. 111.), and Zboralshi v. Monohan, 616 Supp.2d 792, 798 (2006, N.D. Ill), explain, “A Rapiscan is a machine that uses ‘back-scatter’ x-ray technology to conduct a body scan.” There is no significant difference between using Rapiscan and computer tomography (CT scan) whole body scanning.

Despite the clearance of some CT scanners (Rapiscan), the FDA’s website shows that no data has ever been presented to the agency as to the safety of these devices and states that it has never approved these devices as being safe because “some Food and Drug Administration officials were worried that full-body CT screening scans (Rapiscans) ‘may be exposing thousands of Americans to unnecessary and potentially dangerous radiation’ and that CT scans of the chest delivered 100 times the radiation of a conventional chest x-ray … between .2 to 2 rads of radiation during a single scan.” See, e.g., Virtual Physical Ctr-Rockville, LLC v. Philips Med. Sys., 478 F.Supp.2d 840, 842-43(D. Md. 2007) and “FDA Raises Body Safety Issue” by Marlene Cimons in the Los Angeles Times, June 5, 2001.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons officials have been forcing inmates at USP Big Sandy to submit to random computerized tomographic whole body radioactive scanners. If they refuse to submit to these radiation experiments, prison officials are charging them with disobeying a direct order and subjecting them to a wide range of sanctions, including but not limited to loss of good time credits, resulting in an extended time in prison, even if they agree to be subjected to an ordinary visual strip search as a reasonable alternative to radiation exposure from the whole body scanner. These images are saved and viewed by male and female staff and available online to certain civilian populations.

Regulations at 28 CFR §§ 512.11 and 512.12 prohibit the government from using inmates for this type of experimentation and require them to give both the inmates and the public notice of their intent to use inmates as test subjects as well as all of the possible effects related to being subjected to any such experimentation – and then only on a voluntary basis. See also Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. § 551(4) and 5 U.S.C. § 553(b)-(d).

Federal regulations also prohibit the use of x-ray, MRI or similar devices on inmates for any reason other than legitimate medical purposes or only when there exists reasonable suspicion that the inmate has recently secreted contraband – and then only by a licensed practitioner in the manner set out in 28 CFR §§ 552.13(b)(1) and 541.48.

Read moreUS prisoners forced to submit to radiation experiments for private foreign companies

Britain dropped plans for compulsory ID cards

id-card
File photo showing Home Secretary Jacqui Smith holding a sample identity card at a news conference in London September 25, 2008. (REUTERS)

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain said on Tuesday it was dropping plans to bring in compulsory biometric identity cards for airport workers and that the multi-billion pound scheme would remain voluntary for all Britons.

Home Secretary Alan Johnson said the government was going ahead with the introduction of the 30 pound cards, which contain personal details, fingerprints and a facial image, but ruled out making them compulsory.

Civil rights campaigners and opposition politicians have long opposed the project, saying it was unnecessary, expensive and an intrusion into private life.

Read moreBritain dropped plans for compulsory ID cards

On the Edge with Max Keiser (06/05/09)

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Read moreOn the Edge with Max Keiser (06/05/09)

£46 award for innocent man’s 27 years in prison

Sean Hodgson, who spent 27 years in jail for a crime he did not commit, has been given just £46 by the government with which to restart his life.

The Prison Service has awarded the mentally ill former prisoner the equivalent of £1.70 for every year he was wrongly imprisoned.

The payout, a resettlement grant to help ease the victim of one of Britain’s gravest miscarriages of justice back into society, was condemned as “the final insult” last night.

Julian Young, Hodgson’s solicitor, said: “I am absolutely astounded. I find it quite unbelievable, it is scandalous that, in these exceptional circumstances, additional funds could not be found. He has served 27 years for something he didn’t do and this is just insulting.”

Read more£46 award for innocent man’s 27 years in prison

Cash crisis forces California to free 55,000 prisoners

The debt-ridden state can no longer afford to keep inmates in an expensive and bloated penal system


Inmates at Mule Creek Prison in California have been moved into the gymnasium because of overcrowding

There’s not been a greater escape since Steve McQueen jumped aboard his motorcycle. The state of California has been ordered to release more than 55,000 prison inmates to ease pressure on its ailing penal system.

Federal judges ruled last week that California’s 33 adult jails have become so overcrowded that they violate the constitutional rights of inmates, subjecting them to “cruel and unusual” punishment that is causing at least one death a month. Just over a third of the state’s 158,000 prisoners must be set free by 2012 to ensure that basic healthcare is provided to those who remain behind, the judges said. The majority will go through early release and parole schemes.

Read moreCash crisis forces California to free 55,000 prisoners

U.S. judges seek massive California prisoner release


A guard stands at the gate of San Quentin prison in a file photo. (Kimberly White/Reuters)

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Federal judges on Monday tentatively ordered California to release tens of thousands of inmates, up to a third of all prisoners, in the next three years to stop dangerous overcrowding.

As many as 57,000 could be let go if the current population were cut by the maximum percentage considered by a three-judge panel. Judges said the move could be done without threatening public safety — and might improve a public safety hazard.

Read moreU.S. judges seek massive California prisoner release

Ghost Ships

Brothers that live when we are dead,
don’t set yourself against us too.
If you could pity us instead,
then God may sooner pity you.
We five or six strung up to view,
dangling the flesh we fed so well,
are eaten piecemeal, rot and smell.
We bones in a fine dust shall fall.
No one make that a laugh to tell:
pray God may save us one and all.

The United States is operating “floating prisons” to house those arrested in its war on terror, according to human rights lawyers, who claim there has been an attempt to conceal the numbers and whereabouts of detainees.

Details of ships where detainees have been held and sites allegedly being used in countries across the world have been compiled as the debate over detention without trial intensifies on both sides of the Atlantic. The US government has been urged to list the names and whereabouts of all those detained.

Alexa :: Ghost Ships

Since 2006, when Stephen Gray’s revelations of Ghost Planes confirmed the suspicions of human rights activists, we have known that our government kidnaps and tortures “suspicious” individuals as a matter of routine. Extraordinary rendition is the NewSpeak term used when this practice is denied. The denials and non-denials have become a mockery, a stain on the soul of America, when the truth is brought to light by an individual such as Maher Arar, who lived to bear witness.

And then they would take me back to the interrogation room. Again another set of questions, and the beating starts again and again. On the third day the beating was the worst. They beat me a lot with the cable. And they wanted me to confess that I have been to Afghanistan. This was a big surprise to me because even the Americans who interviewed me, the FBI officials who interviewed me, did not ask me that question. I ended up falsely confessing in order to stop the torture. The torture decreased in intensity.From that moment on they rarely used the cable. Mostly they slapped me on the face, they kicked me, they humiliated me all the time.

The first 10 days of my stay in Syria was extremely harsh and during that period I found my cell to be a refuge. I didn’t want to see their faces. But later on living in that cell was horrible. And just to give you an idea about how painful it is to stay in that place–I was ready after a couple of months, I was ready to sign any piece of document for me, not to be released, just to go to another place where it is fit for human being.

Stephen Grey, investigative journalist, exposed the CIA’s ghost planes with actual flight logs from the air carriers and photographs from hobby “plane spotters.” The flight logs were proof.

Proof of kidnapping and torture of so-called suspicious persons? Highly inconvenient for the Torture Administration. They may have started the ghost ships before, but certainly, they have used them extensively as an alternative to air torture and rendition — and as a matter of expedience.

Read moreGhost Ships

The prison industry in the United States: big business or a new form of slavery?

Human rights organizations, as well as political and social ones, are condemning what they are calling a new form of inhumane exploitation in the United States, where they say a prison population of up to 2 million – mostly Black and Hispanic – are working for various industries for a pittance. For the tycoons who have invested in the prison industry, it has been like finding a pot of gold. They don’t have to worry about strikes or paying unemployment insurance, vacations or comp time. All of their workers are full-time, and never arrive late or are absent because of family problems; moreover, if they don’t like the pay of 25 cents an hour and refuse to work, they are locked up in isolation cells.

There are approximately 2 million inmates in state, federal and private prisons throughout the country. According to California Prison Focus, “no other society in human history has imprisoned so many of its own citizens.” The figures show that the United States has locked up more people than any other country: a half million more than China, which has a population five times greater than the U.S. Statistics reveal that the United States holds 25% of the world’s prison population, but only 5% of the world’s people. From less than 300,000 inmates in 1972, the jail population grew to 2 million by the year 2000. In 1990 it was one million. Ten years ago there were only five private prisons in the country, with a population of 2,000 inmates; now, there are 100, with 62,000 inmates. It is expected that by the coming decade, the number will hit 360,000, according to reports.

What has happened over the last 10 years? Why are there so many prisoners?

“The private contracting of prisoners for work fosters incentives to lock people up. Prisons depend on this income. Corporate stockholders who make money off prisoners’ work lobby for longer sentences, in order to expand their workforce. The system feeds itself,” says a study by the Progressive Labor Party, which accuses the prison industry of being “an imitation of Nazi Germany with respect to forced slave labor and concentration camps.”

The prison industry complex is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States and its investors are on Wall Street. “This multimillion-dollar industry has its own trade exhibitions, conventions, websites, and mail-order/Internet catalogs. It also has direct advertising campaigns, architecture companies, construction companies, investment houses on Wall Street, plumbing supply companies, food supply companies, armed security, and padded cells in a large variety of colors.”

Read moreThe prison industry in the United States: big business or a new form of slavery?

Large Number of Beijing Falun Gong Practitioners Arrested Before Olympics

According to sources from Beijing, from the end of 2007 to early this year, at least 100 Falun Gong practitioners with confirmed names (oftentimes practitioners do not reveal their true identity to protect family, friends and colleagues) have been arrested in Beijing.Some were immediately sentenced to eight months in prison. It is believed to be a new round of suppression by the Chinese Communist Party before the next session of the National Congress in March and the Olympics in August 2008.

A Beijing Falun Gong practitioner, Li Qingyun (alias) said, in an interview with The Epoch Times that since the end of 2007 he has known of more than 10 Falun Gong practitioners being arrested.

According to data from the Falun Gong website Minghui.net, since the end of last year at least 100 Falun Gong practitioners have been secretly arrested in Beijing. According to the latest news from Beijing, there were over 40 arrests between Jan. 23 and 25.

china-olympics.jpg
Chinese paramilitary policemen patrol near the Olympic countdown clock showing less than 6 months to go for the up coming Beijing Olympic Games at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on February 18, 2008. According to sources, a large numbers of Beijing Falun Gong practitioners have been arrested before the Olympics. (Teh Eng Koon/AFP/Getty Images)

Read moreLarge Number of Beijing Falun Gong Practitioners Arrested Before Olympics