Nevada assemblyman Steven Brooks (D) is in jail, arrested for threatening Democratic Speaker-elect Marilyn Kirkpatrick, the Las Vegas Sun reports.
“A source said he was arrested with a loaded gun after threatening to shoot Kirkpatrick… Another Democratic source with knowledge of the situation said Brooks publicly threatened to harm Kirkpatrick because he was unhappy with the committee assignments given to him by Kirkpatrick.”
Lady Justice always wears a blindfolded.
No doubt about that. If she weren’t, the good Lady might very well be outraged at how justice is dispensed between the haves and the have nots.
Our jails are filled with pretrial detainees held for petty crimes, who often for lack of even a few dollars are kept incarcerated at citizen expense. They have not been convicted of anything, they might be exonerated or cut a plea deal and plead to an even lesser offense. Sometimes, the punishment is time served. And that can men months of lockup for a crime which might have yielded no time at all or they spend more time locked up than they would if they were sentenced to incarceration. The national cost is measured in the billions of dollars.
Consider this: Over 95% of all pretrial detainees in local or county lock ups are never sent to prison.
Then there are the social issues- loss of work, time away from family and diminished family income.
There has to be a better way.
About 10 million people are jailed each year for crimes large and small. Most - two-thirds of the 750,000 in jail on any given day - stay long periods without conviction at great cost to the public and to themselves because they can’t afford bail.
The teenager opened her neighbor’s unlocked car, grabbed the iPhone off the armrest and ran home, a few doors away in her downtown neighborhood here.
Perchelle Richardson still isn’t sure why she took the phone. Just five days earlier, for her 18th birthday, her mother had given her a standard, no-frills cellphone. But she loved the way iPhones looked, and her little brothers had seen this one through the car window as they played outside.
The high school student, with no previous criminal record, was arrested and, because her family couldn’t raise the $200 to spring her, would spend 51 days in jail, missing school, before she got her day in court. Her public defenders unsuccessfully asked the judge to release her without court fee and after that could do little beyond bringing her school worksheets, which she craved, she says, because they helped to break her boredom.
Ms. Richardson is symbolic of a little-known criminal-justice crisis that affects the millions of low-income Americans each year who languish behind bars in city and county jails. On any given day, three-quarters of a million people are jail inmates and two-thirds of them haven’t been convicted of anything, according to US Department of Justice statistics. They are awaiting trial, and an estimated 80 percent of them cannot afford to pay bail.
In some studies cited by Brook, states with efforts to halt or reverse the incarceration of youth actually saw a drop in violent crimes committed by under-18s; in other words, the incarceration was increasing crime, not reducing it.
Young people, especially those without resources, will make mistakes and cause trouble, but there are better ways to hold young people accountable than tossing them in prison. One way to start reforming the criminal justice system would be to take a second look at the way it handles, categorizes and “rehabilitates” young people, and consider alternatives.
Two days after a judge revoked his bail, George Zimmerman is back behind bars. He surrendered to police in Florida today and was booked into jail. (June 3)
They have a bar with tequila and heroin, and they still want to get out?
Some prisoners learn woodworking or license-plate making. But bartending?
A prison workshop in Chihuahua City where inmates were supposed to be learning trades was found to contain a bar behind bars - complete with beer, vodka, tequila, and billiard tables.
Federal police and local authorities discovered the bar Monday at a minimum-security prison in the northern state of Chihuahua, the state attorney general’s office said in a statement.
Seized from the site were 20 bottles of vodka, 12 bottles of tequila, and 200 beer cans. Police also found three guns, 20 cell phones, 180 individual doses of marijuana and 90 doses of heroin.
The prison’s deputy director was fired Wednesday and prison guards are under investigation, said Jorge Chaires, a spokesman for the state’s prosecutor for prisons.
Also Wednesday, guards conducting a routine check at a prison in the northern state of Tamaulipas discovered 17 inmates missing, the state’s Public Safety Department said in a statement. The prison is located in Reynosa, across the border from McAllen, Texas.
Authorities later found a tunnel leading out of the prison from the laundry room, the statement said. The prison’s director and eight guards were being questioned.
Sylvia Mitchell’s next available palm reading will apparently take place in a jail cell, as her own future involves a stack of police complaints that is approaching the size of a tarot deck.
Ms. Mitchell, 36, traded her crystal ball for silver bracelets Wednesday morning shortly before 9 a.m., far from the Seventh Avenue South address where she worked at the parlor of Zena the Clairvoyant.
In fact, the location of the arrest was almost too good to be true: that quaint little Connecticut village getaway called Mystic.
The United States Supreme Court’s ruling Monday requiring the early release of tens of thousands of California prison inmates may be, as Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in his fiery dissent, a “staggering” and “radical” event in the annals of law. But it comes as no surprise to people (in and out of the criminal justice system) who long have been chronicling atrocious prison conditions around the country. And it surely marks a nadir in America’s persistently zealous efforts to imprison its citizens: We still lead the world in that category by far.
It was left to Justice Anthony Kennedy, a native of Sacramento and a graduate of Stanford University, to finally do the dirty work that has long needed to be done; to hold accountable lawmakers and prison officials who have tarried for decades in providing state prisoners with a constitutionally acceptable level of care and living conditions. In Brown v. Plata, one of the most important and contentious cases of the term, Justice Kennedy provided the critical fifth vote, the swing vote, to affirm a rare affirmative injunction issued by a special three-judge panel ordering as a last resort some 37,000 prisoners to be released through a variety of measures.
Here, at last, after decades of short-sighted policy, comes the butcher’s bill for the war on drugs, the state’s dubious three-strikes law, and the magnetizing political pull of victims’ rights groups. And it was delivered to the Golden State by the only tribunal in America with the power and the authority to speak on behalf of the nation’s last lobbyless constituency — our nation’s prisoners.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn was granted bail by a New York judge on Thursday, and the former IMF chief has vowed to fight charges that he tried to rape a hotel maid in Manhattan.
New York State Supreme Court Judge Michael Obus said that Strauss-Kahn, 62, can be released on $1 million cash bail, and placed under 24-hour home detention with electronic monitoring — conditions that had been proposed by his lawyers.
The judge also said Strauss-Kahn must have one armed guard at all times at his own expense and have a $5 million insurance bond.
From the Houston Chronicle:
In a state that already ranks near the bottom in per capita spending for mental health care, House members have proposed a cut of 20 percent in services provided by the Texas Department of State Health Services. Targets of the cut are caseworkers, crisis hotlines, clinics and community health centers, where severely mentally ill adults and children receive medications and outpatient treatment. The community-based centers get funding from the federal government, private foundations and individuals, although most of it comes from the state.
They are people like Tony Daugerty, 62, who was diagnosed 30 years ago with manic-depression and who has been in and out of jail at least 15 times in five years. For Daugerty and others, it’s easier to get arrested than it is to get treatment. Jail also is a more reliable provider of the treatment he needs.
“We have not recuperated from those cuts from the 2003 legislative decisions that were made,” said Dr. Sylvia Muzquiz, medical director of MHMRA’s mental health division. “When the outpatient system was cut back, there was an increased influx of individuals showing up to emergency rooms and to the jails.”
Since 2003, the Harris County Jail has gone from fewer than three full-time psychiatrists dealing with the mentally ill to 11 on duty 24 hours a day.
“We function, basically, as an emergency room,” Muzquiz said. “We can’t turn people away here. The emergency rooms can close doors and say they’re at capacity. The jail can’t.”
In the midst of this insanity, in the second worst state in the US to receive mental health treatment, Texas’s biggest priority is whether or not Houston gets to display a space shuttle.
Unbelievable. What happened to the First Amendment?
If you’re a criminal who likes to read — and/or religious, but not Christian — then the last place you want to be jailed in is Moncks Corner, South Carolina.
According to legal complaints, the only book, good or otherwise, that inmates at the Berkeley County Detention Center can readily get their hands on is the Bible. […]
The U.S. Department of Justice, brandishing its own sacred text — the U.S. Constitution — has filed a complaint against the sheriff’s office that runs the alleged book-barring jail. It’s moving to join a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union last October.…The AP quotes an email, sent to PLN publishers, from jail official First Sgt. K. Habersham: “Our inmates are only allowed to receive soft back bibles in the mail directly from the publisher…. They are not allowed to have magazines, newspapers, or any other type of books.”
The AP also quotes, however, the defendants’ attorney Sandy Senn, and according to her, all religious texts — yup, vampire and witchcraft ones included — have been allowed since 2009. Inmates “can even purchase Korans and things like that from the commissary if they want,” Senn says.
But according to the DOJ complaint, “the only book, magazine, newspaper or religious publication that Defendants consistently permit prisoners to possess is the Bible.” […]