In the United States, people can land in prison for life over minor offenses. They can be locked up forever for siphoning gasoline from a truck, shoplifting small items from a department store or attempting to cash a stolen check. Sentences across the United States in the last 30 years have doubled. Roy Lee Clay, for example, received in 2013 a sentence of mandatory punishment of life without parole for refusing to accept a plea bargain of 10 years for trafficking 1kg of heroin. Even the sentencing judge found this “extremely severe and harsh”. The bigger picture: a recent Human Rights Watch report found that the threat of harsh sentences leads 97% of drug defendants to plead guilty rather than exercise their right to a public trial.
Most citizens are shocked when they hear such reports. Federal judge John Gleeson of New York said that the way prosecutors use plea bargaining “coerces guilty pleas and produces sentences so excessively severe they take your breath away”. Federal judge Mark Bennett of Iowa has described the “shocking, jaw-dropping disparity” of prior-conviction enhancements to force a plea bargain in a case.
But these and other shocks mean nothing without a larger shock of recognition: Americans like to punish.
We like it so much that we ignore what legal punishment means in the nation’s jails and prisons. Incarceration extends far beyond the official designation of time served. It means horrifying levels of degradation and cruelty to prisoners at all levels. Overcrowding, gang activity, endemic rape, unchecked violence and overly long sentences have turned our jails and prisons into pocket war zones.
Child sex trafficking is a dark, real world for many. Public service announcements show how much money criminals make off of selling kids for sex. One from a non-profit group called “Disturbed to Deliver” says some girls are required to bring their “pimp” $1,000 a night. At $100 a person, that’s 10 guys she has to sleep with a night. 3,650 men a year.
“It’s more alarming to see it in person than see it in print,” said Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich.
The California study reported a pimp can receive more than $160,000 from each child he or she forces into prostitution. Weirich says child sex trafficking cases are more common in low-income areas.
“What they’re seeing is dads and step dads selling their kids for sex to make extra money,” she said. “Since January there have been over a thousand years of sentences against sex offenders and abusers in Shelby County.”
Report: Human Trafficking Rivals Drug Trade in Profits
SAN JUAN - The profits generated by human trafficking worldwide tripled last year to reach $96 billion, becoming the second most profitable crime after the drug trade, a report released by singer Ricky Martin’s humanitarian foundation said.
The report was presented at a conference entitled “Visiting Human Trafficking: An Updated Profile of the World and Puerto Rico,” held on the main campus of the University of Puerto Rico.
The principal speaker was Mohammed Mattar, an expert in legislation against human trafficking and executive director of the Protection Project, a human rights institute based at The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Washington.
Human trafficking includes exploitation for such purposes as prostitution, sexual violence, child pornography, pederasty, sexual tourism, wife slavery, forced labor, slavery and similar practices, servitude and the extraction of organs.
The president of the Ricky Martin Foundation, UPR researcher Cesar Rey, told Efe that the report also showed that the illegal drug trade in Puerto Rico generates $4 billion a year, an amount equal to the budget of the island’s Department of Education.
Now I’ve really got to see this movie!
Wow it looks like Disney is so “Evil.” This Cartoon looks so “Evil” and gay
Religious Right talk show host Kevin Swanson railed against the Disney film Frozen on Wednesday, accusing Disney of using the movie to turn children gay.
This bad bad snowman is going to make our children gay
By the way, I found all the pictures of the film on Google Images
A former member of Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s posse was arrested by MCSO deputies on child-pornography charges.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, 73-year-old Roger Byg was a posse member in the old-folks community of Sun City and even had served on the posse’s board before resigning early last year. MCSO’s computer crimes division detectives served a search warrant Thursday at his Sun City home.
According to the MCSO, a computer-repair technician called authorities on Monday. He said Byg had brought his desktop computer to him for repairs, and he found what the Sheriff’s Office describes as “a large amount of images depicting what he believed to be child pornography and that they were extremely disturbing … “
According to the Sheriff’s Office, there were “several hundred images” of young children involved in sex acts found on that computer and a “substantial amount” of child pornography found on his laptop, which was seized during the search of Byg’s home.
A Louisiana state lawmaker has filed a measure to keep a state database of people who have had medication abortions, as well as restrict access to surgical abortion through Texas-style regulations aimed to shutter clinics and intimidate physicians.
Democratic State Rep. Katrina Jackson’s bill, in addition to keeping a state database of people who have had medication abortions, would require physicians who perform the procedure to obtain hospital admitting privileges. Jackson has also proposed amending the statutory definition of the first trimester from “six to fourteen weeks” to “up to fourteen weeks.”
Jackson has called her measure the “Unsafe Abortion Protection Act,” in keeping with the latest trend of couching sweeping and dangerous restrictions on abortion care and reproductive health services in the language patients’ rights and health.
I don’t envy teachers. Kids are the worst. Parents are the worst. On top of that teachers’ unions seem to be under perpetual attack. No, being a K-12 teacher looks like a rough gig, and I’m glad there are people out there who are more cut out for it than I am. It’s too bad, however, that we constantly treat them like the children they teach.
Late last week, the Kansas Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would make it easier to prosecute teachers, librarians and school principals for materials that are “harmful to minors.” The move was in response to an incident involving a sex ed poster hung on a middle school classroom door.
Hmm… A kneejerk reaction to teaching preteens about sex? What could possibly go wrong?!
You may be thinking at this point, “What, exactly, is meant by ‘harmful to minors’?” The bill basically takes an “I know it when I see it” approach to figuring out if something is inappropriate for minors. It requires the imposition of “contemporary community standards.” Specifically, the bill defines “harmful to minors” to mean materials that:
(A) The average adult person applying contemporary community standards would find that the material or performance has a predominant tendency to appeal to a prurient interest in sex to minors;
(B) the average adult person applying contemporary community standards would find that the material or performance depicts or describes nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement or sadomasochistic abuse in a manner that is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community with respect to what is suitable for minors; and
(C) a reasonable person would find that the material or performance lacks serious literary, scientific, educational, artistic or political value for minors
Federal prosecutors in Texas have moved to drop all but one of the 12 fraud charges against Barrett Brown, a writer charged with crimes that involved data stolen by a member of Anonymous.
In a motion to dismiss (.PDF), the government today offered no reason for the move. Brown still faces a single charge of possession of stolen credit card numbers with intent to defraud, and a separate indictment for threatening an FBI agent.
The move comes a day after Brown’s defense attorneys filed a 48-page motion to dismiss the charges against him, on grounds that the government failed to substantiate that Brown had committed a crime. It also comes just as the Electronic Frontier Foundation was preparing to file an amicus brief next Monday on behalf of several journalism groups that have expressed support for Brown.
Brown, whose prosecution threatened to become a First Amendment test case, was charged with 12 counts centered around a link he posted in a chat room that pointed to a file containing data stolen from the intelligence firm Stratfor, or Strategic Forecasting. The data, stolen by Jeremy Hammond, a member of the loosely affiliated Anonymous collective, included company emails as well as credit card numbers belonging to subscribers of Stratfor’s service.
New research has found that women are on average no more likely to have multiple sexual partners in a single month after they are provided no-cost access to birth control methods than they were before. And while women reported a slight uptick in their reported monthly sexual encounters a year after getting free contraceptives, the new study says the resulting frequency of sexual activity fell within expected boundaries for women of childbearing age.
In a prospective cohort study called the Contraceptive Choice Project, 9,256 women and teenage girls in and around St. Louis were provided reversible birth control methods free of charge for a year. The subjects, ages 14 to 45, were asked to complete a survey upon recruitment, before they were prescribed and dispensed the birth control method of their choice, and at six and 12 months after their first visit.
The survey primarily aimed to measure two factors most closely tied to unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases: having multiple sexual partners and frequency of sex. Among the 7,751 participants who completed the surveys, researchers from Washington University in fact observed a statistically significant decrease in the number of sexual partners participants reported having had in the 30 days preceding. While 5.2% of the women reported having more than one male sexual partner in the past 30 days upon recruitment, 3.5% did so at month six and 3.3% did so at month 12.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) penned an editorial for Breitbart News on Monday, in which he implicitly critiqued Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) for attempting to take on the mantle of former President and Republican idol Ronald Reagan.