Goals for 2007
By Franz Kurz, Prisonersolidarity.org
Jan. 8, 2007
American justice system of 2006 becoming a thing of the past. We
know of citizens activities that are preparing the ground.
seems fairly clear that many American prison systems are in a critical
state, particularly in California (or Idaho), where facilities are
so overcrowded that the authorities are appealing to other states
to allow "local" inmates to return to their "home
by year, we see a rise in the prison population, often as the result
of recidivism. It's simply not feasible to keep building more prisons,
allowing architects to compete for the design of the ultimate "supermax,"
while the corporate cats who back a corrupt system become even fatter.
Yes, throwing out more concrete may solve the physical side of the
problem, but it won't solve the "mental" side.
that allow friends to visit. Most facilities restrict visits to
family, despite the fact that friends are the only "family"
some inmates have. Such a policy change might seem insignificant
to outsiders, but to inmates it could mean a lot. Small allowances
could give hope and discourage apathy, and could stop the cultivation
of hopelessness and resentment. After they're released, prisoners
need stronger support to deter them from re-offending. But they
also need support while they're in prison. And one way of doing
suggested by prison activist, Kay Lee (and practiced by The Florida
LOLITS), is to facilitate "Making The Walls Transparent"
and adequate legal support for men and women who have been accused.
Support should not begin after a person has been sentenced. It needs
to begin prior to and
during trial. With thousands of wrongful convictions each year,
it is no wonder that some prisons house over 30% more inmates than
they were built for. And how can prison
personnel do a good job, when the volatile situation of overcrowding
has been created by judicial authorities - authorities who have
been floundering, and grossly lacking
in positive initiative, for quite some time.
every prisoner an opportunity to have an opinion, and a voice. This
has been an achievement of another Great Lady, Sherry Swiney, a
pioneer in the gathering of
information on faulty and dubious court activities, including questionable
work of so-called "experts" (see www.patrickcrusade.org).
Helen Solem, of the Oregon Justice Watch, is another member of social
justice's old guard. And there are many others. In Illinois, the
great cooperation between the School of Journalism and School of
Law, ended with remarkable results. This sort of work should be
intensified across America, in every state,
because all states face the same problem: they have, more or less,
the highest prisoner rates of any industrialized country on this
scientists becoming immersed in advocacy work in the courts and
in the justice system. Just as activist "Lady-Justice"
distributes and discusses law and judicial publications, Carol Leonard's
"Prison Movement" provides a focus on the social aspects
of incarceration. Both do a good job of promoting public awareness
civil rights documentation center where support groups could go,
to fetch necessary information.
with activists that will lead to a visionary and achievable list
of goals for 2007, so that Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream"
speech may one day come true.
we follow King's Star, as we walk through 2007.
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