Racism

Study released on handling of minor marijuana cases in Illinois

Marijuana possession arrests are down 32% in Urbana, but justice in the rest of the county and across the state is very uneven.

by ICDP/Roosevelt University

Illinois is one of the least friendly places in the nation for those caught possessing small amounts of marijuana, a new study by Roosevelt University’s Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy suggests.

An emphasis on misdemeanor arrests for possession and a lack of consistency in implementing local pot-ticket laws typify how cases involving small amounts of marijuana possession frequently are handled in Illinois, according to the report that looks at misdemeanor marijuana possession arrests vs. tickets.

Illinois ranked fifth in the nation for the number of marijuana arrests made in 2010, and the state ranked first in the country for its high proportion of marijuana possession arrests vs. marijuana sales/distribution arrests. A whopping 98.7 percent of marijuana arrests in Illinois were cases involving simple possession, according to the study.

End Mass Incarceration Now

The American experiment in mass incarceration has been a moral, legal, social, and economic disaster. It cannot end soon enough.

by the New York Times Editorial Board
 

For more than a decade, researchers across multiple disciplines have been issuing reports on the widespread societal and economic damage caused by America’s now-40-year experiment in locking up vast numbers of its citizens. If there is any remaining disagreement about the destructiveness of this experiment, it mirrors the so-called debate over climate change.

In both cases, overwhelming evidence shows a crisis that threatens society as a whole. In both cases, those who study the problem have called for immediate correction.

Poverty Is Not a State of Mind

by Charles M. Blow

Paul Ryan and Jeb Bush, the didactic-meets-dynastic duo, spoke last week at a Manhattan Institute gathering, providing a Mayberry-like prescription for combating poverty in this country: all it takes is more friendship and traditional marriage.

Ryan said: “The best way to turn from a vicious cycle of despair and learned helplessness to a virtuous cycle of hope and flourishing is by embracing the attributes of friendship, accountability and love.”

Lovely, Mr. Ryan. Really, I’m touched. But as every poor person in America will tell you, you can’t use friendship tokens to pay the electricity bill, and you can’t simply hug the cashier and walk away with groceries.

William Worthy, a Ground-Breaking African-American Reporter Drawn to Forbidden Datelines, Dies at 92

A journalist who practiced the Indymedia journalistic spirit before there was Indymedia

by Margalit Fox

William Worthy, a foreign correspondent who in the thick of the Cold War ventured where the United States did not want him to go — including the Soviet Union, China, Cuba — and became the subject of both a landmark federal case concerning travel rights and a ballad by the protest singer Phil Ochs, died on May 4 in Brewster, Mass. He was 92.

His death, from complications of Alzheimer’s disease, was announced on the website of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. Mr. Worthy was a Nieman Foundation fellow in the 1956-57 academic year.

Greenwald: From MLK to Anonymous, the State Targets Dissenters Not Just "Bad Guys"

The opportunity those in power have to characterise political opponents as "national security threats" or even "terrorists" has repeatedly proven irresistible.

Don't believe the argument that mass surveillance is only a problem for wrongdoers. Governments have repeatedly spied on anyone who challenges their power

by Glenn Greenwald

The following is an excerpt, as it appeared in The Guardian newspaper on Tuesday, from Glenn Greenwald's latest book, No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State, published on May 13, 2013 by Hamish Hamilton:

Citizens v. Subjects in a Democratic Society: The American Case

by Rochard Falk

"Have we agreed to so many wars that we can’t
Escape from silence?…"

        —Robert Bly, “Call and Answer”

In my understanding silence is passivity as a way of being. Silence can be much more than the avoidance of speech and utterance, and is most poignantly expressed through evasions of body, heart, and soul. Despite the frustrations and defeats of the period, America was different during the years of the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement. It was then that alienated gun-wielders assassinated those among us who were sounding the clearest calls for justice and sending messages of hope. In a perverse reaction, Washington’s custodians of our insecurity went to work, and the sad result is this deafening silence!
 

Report: U.S. Needs to ‘Significantly Reduce’ Prison Population

by Drug Policy Alliance

U.S. Has Less Than Five percent of World’s Population but Nearly 25 percent of People Behind Bars; Drug War Fueled Prison Explosion

WASHINGTON, DC — A groundbreaking report released this week by the National Research Council, the principal operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences, documents the unprecedented and costly price of U.S. incarceration rates.

With less than five percent of the world’s population but nearly 25 percent of the world’s prisoners, the U.S. continues to rank first among nations in both prison and jail population and per capita rates.

As the report points out, this unprecedented rate of incarceration is a relatively new phenomenon in U.S. history. America’s prison population exploded largely as a result of the failed drug war policies of the last 40 years.

The report, commissioned by the National Institute of Justice and the MacArthur Foundation, documents how the drug war has contributed to the skyrocketing U.S prison population and the staggering costs associated with mass incarceration.

ACLU Launches Online Tool to Fight Racial Bias in Marijuana Possession Arrests

To save a click or two, let's cut to the chase. In deep fiscal crisis, Illinois spent more than $200,000,000 in 2010 enforcing the law against marijuana possession. Enforcement has grown nearly 30% over the decade from 2001 to 2010. Nearly 60% of those arrested are black, despite use rates no higher than whites. Almost 98% of all marijuana arrests were for possession (although prosecutors often trump up charges with the nebulous "intent to deliver.") Illinois has a racial disparity in marijauna arrests that ranks 4th highest of the 50 states, with blacks more than 7.5 times as likely as whites to be arrested for marijuana.

Illinois is a national disgrace.

By The American Civil Liberties Union |  ACLU
 

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