Everyone should care about the state of our Criminal Justice system. 1 in 31 Americans are currently caught up in the corrections system and 1 in 100 Americans are behind bars.
The reality is that it takes less and less to gain the attention of law enforcement these days.
For one thing, there are just too many laws criminalizing too many things ;
According to several scholars and legal researchers, Congress is criminalizing everyday conduct at a reckless pace. This study provides further evidence in support of that finding. Members of the 109th Congress proposed 446 non-violent criminal offenses and Congress enacted 36 of them. These totals do not include the many offenses concerning firearms, possession or trafficking of drugs or pornography, immigration violations, or intentional violence. The sheer number of criminal offenses proposed demonstrates why so many of them were poorly drafted and never subjected to adequate deliberation and oversight.
Without Intent: How Congress Is Eroding the Criminal Intent Requirement in Federal Law, by Brian Walsh and Tiffany Joslyn, The Heritage Foundation, May 10, 2010
It is nearly impossible for an ordinary person to keep track of, much less make any sense of the law anymore.
How Many Laws Have You Broken Today?
Over the past three years, the trend toward what I call “criminalization” of everyday conduct has only intensified. (Criminalization is the conversion of conduct that was once considered a contractual dispute, or merely socially stigmatized, into a criminal offense.) READ MORE
We are trying to harness the power of the law for purposes beyond its design.
“After five years of research culminating in our recent book, The Tyranny of Good Intentions, Larry Stratton and I found that the legal principles that guarantee a fair trial have been eroded by both good and bad intentions.” —Paul Craig Roberts on the Tyranny of Good Intentions
The Tyranny of Good Intentions: How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice
Roberts and Stratton say the Constitution and its basis in the historic rights of Englishmen to be secure in person and property are not merely imperiled but substantially gutted. In the twentieth century, many personal and property rights have succumbed to governmental regulations and to ambitious, unscrupulous government attorneys. The authors cite cases to show how it became possible to be guilty of a crime though lacking criminal intent; to be liable for damages that were, when committed, not damages; to forfeit assets without cause or assurance of recovery; to be coerced to plead guilty; to avoid punishment by snitching on others; and to force private attorneys to divulge confidential client information. For the sake of fighting the war on drugs, cleaning up pollution, and other initially well-meant causes, Roberts and Stratton warn, the U.S. is becoming the image of its totalitarian former enemies in its prosecution of justice–or, rather, injustice. Top-drawer public affairs argumentation. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
“The Tyranny of Good Intentions is a bold defense of our fundamental freedoms. It demonstrates that government oppression is not a right-left issue, but rather a universal evil that should be resisted by all free people. It demonstrates why conservatives and liberals who despise tyranny must unite against statists of both the right and the left who falsely believe that partisan ends justify deprivations of liberty. . . . When rights are subordinated to government power, the first steps toward tyranny are taken.” ~ Alan Dershowitz, author, The Genesis of Justice
We no longer insist that the fundamentals of law be upheld.
Jeremy Bentham despised William Blackstone for emphasizing law as a restraint on government. Government needed to be unrestrained, Bentham argued, in order to do more good. With regard to criminal law, Bentham argued that it is wrong-headed to make conviction so difficult when government’s purpose is to increase the general level of happiness by combating crime.
Bentham believed in proactively rounding up people who were likely to commit crimes. He believed in compulsory self-incrimination and wanted to revive torture. He hated the attorney-client privilege and believed that lawyers should aid prosecutors in convicting their clients.
We have allowed our country to violate basic human rights, in special cases such as with terrorist suspects. We know better than to set foot on such a slippery slope. Or we should.
January 7, 2010 NCJ 228416
Presents data from the 2008-09 National Survey of Youth in Custody (NSYC), conducted in 195 juvenile confinement facilities between June 2008 and April 2009, with a sample of over 9,000 adjudicated youth. The report provides national-level and facility-level estimates of sexual victimization by type of activity, including youth-on-youth sexual contact, staff sexual misconduct, and level of coercion. It also includes an analysis of the experience of sexual victimization, characteristics of youth most at risk to victimization, where the incidents occur, time of day, characteristics of perpetrators, and nature of the injuries.
An inmate in the Oklahoma County Jail has a good chance of dying. In 2006, the Oklahoma County jail had a mortality rate higher per 100,000 inmates than Los Angeles County Jail, Cook County Illinois, among many others. Three inmates have died there this year. Fourteen inmates died in the jail in 2007 and 2008.
We have permitted pound of flesh profiteering by private prison industries.
Former Luzerne County judge pleads guilty in kids-for-cash scheme
Published: Friday, July 23, 2010, 7:03 PM
PHILADELPHIA — A former judge in northeastern Pennsylvania pleaded guilty Friday to a racketeering conspiracy charge for his role in a kickback scheme that put juvenile defendants, many without lawyers, behind bars for sometimes minor offenses.
Ciavarella, 60, routinely shackled children, denied them legal counsel and removed them from their homes during brief plea hearings, juvenile advocates said.
Private prisons subject of controversy in Oklahoma
A private prison system that has yet to exist for a decade is coming under fire as part of growing concerns by legislators about rising costs involving the state’s correctional system.
With the Department of Corrections requesting millions of dollars in supplemental legislative funding for the 10th time in 12 years, many legislators are looking for ways to slow down the high costs of locking up criminals. A million-dollar audit was approved by the Legislature in order to have an independent performance review of the agency and the prisons under its purview.
July 31, 2009
Safety or Profit?
Oklahoma prisons to take other states’ maximum-security inmates
This could be your child, your brother….
by William Norman Grigg
If you can stand to, take a careful look at the faces at the top of this page.
Do they inspire respect, confidence, a quiet sense of gratitude for public service courageously rendered? Or do they look like the kind of human detritus one would find lurking in the vicinity of the local Junior High, leering at underage girls (or boys)?
How would your answer change if, instead of being seen in a police mug shot, each of the individuals above were swaddled in a government-issued police costume and clothed in the supposed majesty of the “law”?
You see, these three guys, who are accused of conspiring in the jailhouse rape of an 18-year-old high school student, are former deputies in the employ of the Grant County, Kentucky Sheriff’s Department. Sgt. Clinton Shawn Sydnor, the fetching item on the left, was the highest-ranking officer on duty that night at the Grant County Detention Center, located in tiny Williamstown, Kentucky.
Just one example of the depravity some encounter in Oklahoma jails or prisons. Were these women a threat to society? They could be now!
SNITCHING Blog a comprehensive resource on criminal informants: legal developments, legislation, news stories, cultural reactions, commentary and more….
Oklahoma Prison Project
This site is a journalism project of the Documentary Workshop class at The University of Tulsa. The purpose of the project is to document the lives of women in prison in Oklahoma, the state with the highest per capita number of incarcerated women. http://okprisonproject.blogspot.com/
Statistics for the State of Oklahoma 2009
Oklahoma’s Criminal Justice System:
2008 report The Oklahoma Academy
The overload on the Oklahoma Corrections systems is the direct result of conscious decisions made by Oklahoma elected officials. Without corrective action, Oklahoma is surely on a collision course with a federal court intervention and/or a major ‘crowd out” of tax dollars for other state functions. There is a third way. That is to forthrightly recognize the root causes of this situation – and correct them.