I watched a lot of cartoons as a child. I remember the zany poundings, loud kabooms, and characters falling 100 stories with only a momentary gaze. You remember Goofy bouncing and dusting himself off after being plummeted by an adversary before dashing into the next scene. I didn’t always laugh when most kids would.… Read the rest
I offer you Exhibit A, which proves that voters have the power to bring about positive prison reform. Exhibit A is the result of the vote on Proposition 57, which California voters approved on November 8th with 63 percent of the vote. As reported by the Los Angeles Times, the impetus of Governor Jerry Brown’s putting Prop 57 on the ballot was “to further shrink the state’s prison population.”… Read the rest
In a recent blog, I highlighted the death penalty referendums on three states’ November 8, 2016, ballots. In my opinion, the results of all three plebiscites are laden with the national swell of anger and the pernicious erosion of objectivity toward marginalized cultures in our country—in this instance, persons awaiting state-imposed death sentences.… Read the rest
Imagine a world without social media. No Facebook or Twitter—no way to reach out to relatives and friends. Imagine a world where the telephone is the only communication tool available. Welcome to prison.
I learned to lower my expectations for communications on day one of my incarceration. Letter writing and telephone calls became my sole means of connected outreach.… Read the rest
The prison conditions that led to the 1971 Attica prison uprising remain rife in today’s prisons. Overcrowding, poor healthcare, lousy food, racism, and poorly trained prison personnel churn within the caldrons of our prisons. Add to the brew elements of contrived inmate humiliation and shame, as well as lack of education and job training, and a single spark will blow the top off.… Read the rest
Let’s take a simple test about the scope of the Thirteenth Amendment to the US Constitution (ratified in 1865).
True or false: the Thirteenth Amendment prohibiting slavery applies to all people.
The correct answer is false.
The thirty-two-word Amendment states the following:
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to its jurisdiction.… Read the rest
The September 12–19, 2016, issue of Time, in its Ticker section on page 12, has a short entry: “President Obama commuted the sentences of 111 prisoners on Aug. 30, bringing the number of early releases he has granted to 673—more than the previous 10 Presidents combined. Most were drug offenders.”
Those who appreciate the unfairness of the harsh mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines baked into the punitive sentencing guidelines of the “War on Drugs” (the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986), clap with one hand for the president’s actions.… Read the rest
This November 8th, three states are asking voters for a thumbs up or thumbs down on the death penalty. The proposed laws illustrate how the death penalty in this country is not standardized (whatever happened to equal protection?) and is thus susceptible to political influence.
Nebraska voters are casting ballots for Referendum 426, which asks whether they want to repeal or maintain a 2015 law eliminating the death penalty that Nebraska’s Republican governor vetoed.… Read the rest
The fate of California’s death penalty is up for a vote. Two competing yes/no propositions are on the November 8th ballot. Should the state end the practice of killing condemned convicts, and should the botched ways of ending these lives finally be stopped?
Since 1976, as reported by CNN, 87 percent of the 1,391 executions over the last forty years in the United States have been by lethal injection, and 11 percent have been by electrocution.… Read the rest
I was incarcerated for two years from October 2003 to November 2005. Following is a review of my October 12, 2013, journal entry:
I returned to CIM, a California prison in Chino—this time as a visitor. My buddy Marcus, whom I met at Ironwood State Prison, has been my pen pal since I left in November 2005.… Read the rest