Tag Archives: parole

Trend towards drug legalization

Has anyone else noticed that even sitting big name politicians are saying things only one step short of just legalize it?

The most famous politician in the world said a few months ago: ‘Drug legalization is an “entirely legitimate topic for debate,”‘ which is a big change from 2009 when Obama laughed off the question.

Newly elected GA gov. Nathan Deal said we can’t afford to lock up non-violent drug offenders. In April Gov. Deal signed a bill to create a panel to overhaul sentencing laws.

Public opinion is almost to the majority nationwide for legalization, according to the Pew Research Center.

Private prisons have no business plan, because the majority of their “customers” are in danger of not getting locked up. We don’t need a private prison in Lowndes County, Georgia. Spend that tax money on rehabilitation and education instead.


Protests about “trillion dollar incarceration machine” crash White House web site

W.E. Messamore wrote for caivn.org 18 June 2011, Internet activists crash White House phone lines calling for an end to the War on Drugs:
On Friday June 17th, exactly 40 years after President Richard Nixon declared a “War on Drugs,” Internet activists organizing from the social news and activism website, Reddit.com, called the White House en masse to demand an end to the War on Drugs, calling it a “trillion dollar incarceration machine” with a measurable failure to reduce drug use, or harm from drug use.
The original post included this:
This is also the last vestige of Nixon’s fight against the civil rights and anti-war movements: And if you look at US incarceration rates, it’s been incredibly effective. . .
  • 4,919 Black males per 100,000 population
  • 1,717 Latino males per 100,000 of population
  • 717 White males per 100,000 of population.
  • South Africa under Apartheid (1993) – 851 Black males per 100,000
That’s right, almost six times as many black males per capita get locked up in the U.S. than in South Africa under apartheid. The numbers are even worse for young people and especially young black males, leading to this summary:
This isn’t a War on Drugs: It’s a Race War; It’s a War on the youth, likely to protest controversial policies (a war that conveniently takes away those groups voting rights). It’s a war on the American People, paid for by the American people, for the American people’s own good.
Yep. Except a majority of the American people don’t want the “war on drugs” any more. It’s time for the laws to change.

Back to the main article: Continue reading

Call Off the Global Drug War —Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter in the New York Times 16 June 2011, Call Off the Global Drug War said the Global Commission on Drug Policy:
… has made some courageous and profoundly important recommendations in a report on how to bring more effective control over the illicit drug trade. The commission includes the former presidents or prime ministers of five countries, a former secretary general of the United Nations, human rights leaders, and business and government leaders, including Richard Branson, George P. Shultz and Paul A. Volcker.

The report describes the total failure of the present global antidrug effort, and in particular America’s “war on drugs,” which was declared 40 years ago today. It notes that the global consumption of opiates has increased 34.5 percent, cocaine 27 percent and cannabis 8.5 percent from 1998 to 2008. Its primary recommendations are to substitute treatment for imprisonment for people who use drugs but do no harm to others, and to concentrate more coordinated international effort on combating violent criminal organizations rather than nonviolent, low-level offenders.

These recommendations are compatible with United States drug policy from three decades ago. In a message to Congress in 1977, I said the country should decriminalize the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, with a full program of treatment for addicts. I also cautioned against filling our prisons with young people who were no threat to society, and summarized by saying: “Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself.”

Imagine that! A drug policy meant to address the problem.

How did we go wrong? Continue reading

Gov. Deal celebrates Juneteenth by recommending indentured agricultural labor

Remember 85% of people in the prison system are black, and Gov. Nathan Deal recommends during the week of Juneteenth celebrations, according to David Rodock in the VDT today, Parolees to replace migrants? Gov. Deal says put probationers in fields
With the recent exodus of undocumented Hispanic migrant workers leaving Georgia to avoid the consequences of House Bill 87, Gov. Nathan Deal made a statement on Tuesday suggesting that probationers could potentially fill the approximately 11,000 open jobs in the state’s agricultural economy.

“Specifically, I asked Department of Corrections Commissioner Brian Owens and (Department of Agriculture) Commissioner Gary Black to review the current situation and offer possible options,” said Deal in his statement. “Commissioner Owens has indicated that there are 100,000 probationers statewide, 8,000 of which are in the Southwest region of the state and 25 percent of which are unemployed … I believe this would be a great partial solution to our current status as we continue to move towards sustainable results with the legal options available.”

The potential move would allow probationers who are unable to find work to have a source of income, provided they are able to meet employer standards. Income can then be used to pay probation fines, along with other state fines that are a requirement of their probation sentence.

This fits right in with Joe Pritchard’s rumored suggestion to replace animal shelter employees with interns.

Hey, if there’s one thing Georgia is good at, it’s locking up more people even while other states realize they can’t afford to do that anymore.

So if probationers don’t want to pick onions, lock ’em up again, in the new private prison VLCIA wants to build in Lowndes County! That will benefit private prison executives and investors and not us in Lowndes County, but hey, that will serve those immigrants right!


Private Prisons don’t save much money —NYTimes

Richard A. Oppel Jr. wrote on the front page of the New York Times, 19 May 2011, Private Prisons Found to Offer Little in Savings
The conviction that private prisons save money helped drive more than 30 states to turn to them for housing inmates. But Arizona shows that popular wisdom might be wrong: Data there suggest that privately operated prisons can cost more to operate than state-run prisons — even though they often steer clear of the sickest, costliest inmates.
That’s right, they leave we the taxpayers to pay more in public prisons to house the most expensive prisoners:
The research, by the Arizona Department of Corrections, also reveals a murky aspect of private prisons that helps them appear less expensive: They often house only relatively healthy inmates.

“It’s cherry-picking,” said State Representative Chad Campbell, leader of the House Democrats. “They leave the most expensive prisoners with taxpayers and take the easy prisoners.”

And yet private prisons still cost more.

Could it have something to do with their executive salaries?

Anyway, we don’t need a private prison in Lowndes County. Spend that tax money on education instead.


Find better way to fight crime —Rev. Chuck Arnold

Another Sunday, another preacher against private prisons. Unlike some, this one is not famous; Rev. Chuck Arnold is pastor of Valley of the Flowers United Church of Christ in Vandenberg Village, CA. He wrote in the Lompoc Record 20 May 2011
Going to a RAND Corporation study, in 1994 higher education received 12 percent of the state budget, corrections 9 percent, other services 9 percent (which included controlling environmental pollution, management of parks, fighting of brush fires, regulating insurance and other industries). By 2002 higher education took the biggest hit, along with “ other services,” both of which were virtually eliminated from the state budget. Corrections on the other hand went from 9 percent to 18 percent of the budget.
Which means that California, like so many other states, including Georgia, spends more on prisons than on education.

And not just public prisons anymore: Continue reading

Biomass down for now: next?

Congratulations to all who worked against the biomass plant: today was the deadline on its most recent extension, so it’s gone for now. Congratulations to WACE and SAVE and NAACP and New Life Ministries and everyone else who was involved, especially Natasha Fast, Seth Gunning, and Brad Bergstrom, who were working against it before almost anyone else.

Congratulations to those who were instrumental even though they were not exactly or originally biomass opponents, especially Ashley Paulk, who came out and said what needed to be said, and George Bennett, who was willing to admit in public that he was one of the earliest proponents of the biomass plant but new knowledge caused him to think differently.

A big shoutout to the VSU Faculty Senate, the only traditional non-activist body that went on record as opposing the biomass plant with an actual vote before the extension deadline. The VSU Faculty Senate did what the Valdosta City Council, the Lowndes County Commission and the Industrial Authority Board would not. Go Blazers!

A special strategic mention to Kay Harris and David Rodock of the Valdosta Daily Times, who came to realize they were not being told the whole truth by the Industrial Authority. The VDT even gave a civics lesson on how to stop the biomass plant.

And a very special mention to the people who did the most to make the name of biomass mud in the public’s eye: Brad Lofton, Col. Ricketts, and the VLCIA board. Without their indoctrination sessions and paid “forum” and stonewalling, people wouldn’t have been turned against that thing nearly as fast!

Yet it ain’t over until it’s over.

According to David Rodock in the VDT today: Continue reading

Another Sunday, another preacher against private prisons

Neal Peirce wrote:
And Sicilia had a stern judgment to make — as King did in his time — about the U.S. government: “Since the war was unleashed as a means to exterminate (drug trafficking), the United States, which is the grand consumer of these toxic substances, has not done anything to support us.”
This was about Javier Sicilia and the war on drugs in Mexico.

MLK? Harsh? Maybe the writer is thinking about this speech, Beyond Vietnam — A Time to Break Silence:

My third reason moves to an even deeper level of awareness, for it grows out of my experience in the ghettoes of the North over the last three years — especially the last three summers. As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they ask — and rightly so — what about Vietnam? They ask if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.
One year later to the day Martin Luther King Jr. was shot dead. This is what he died for: Continue reading

States lock up less people, but Georgia increases —Pew

A Pew Center on the States report from 1 April 2010, Prison Count 2010: State Population Declines for the First Time in 38 Years:
For the first time in nearly 40 years, the number of state prisoners in the United States has declined, according to “Prison Count 2010,” a new survey by the Pew Center on the States. As of January 2010, there were 1,404,053* persons under the jurisdiction of state prison authorities, 4,777* fewer than on December 31, 2008.

This marks the first year-to-year drop in the nation’s state prison population since 1972. While the study showed an overall decline, it revealed great variation among jurisdictions. The prison population declined in 26* states, while increasing in 24* states and in the federal system.

*Numbers updated as of April 1, 2010. (Report originally released March 17, 2010.)

Guess which way Georgia went? As you can see in the map, Georgia increased by 1.6% while Texas, already leading in not wasting tax dollars on new prisons, decreased by 0.7%. Continue reading

The Evils of For-Profit, “Private,” Prisons —Christians Against Prohibition

Another Sunday; another group of religious people against private prisons; a group that points out Georgia is already number one in locking people up.
Christians Against Prohibition is a nondenominational organization and website that welcomes everyone no matter what your perspective on God or the War on Drugs. Here at the website you will find educational materials — from an areligious as well as Christian perspective — as to why the Drug War and drug prohibition exacerbates every ill the prohibitionists decry, what can be done about it, and what you can do about it. (Hint: Legalize and Regulate.)
CAP has a three-point mission statement:
  1. Heal the Sick
  2. Free the Captives
  3. Shine Light in the Dark
  4. Deal with Dissent
They explain each point in practical and biblical terms.

And they spell out their position on the subject topic, The Evils of For-Profit, “Private,” Prisons: Continue reading