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Criminal Justice and Prisons

The Donald Trump Problem

Donald Trump — facing four government-run investigations, three criminal and one civil, targeting himself and his business — is not being targeted because of his crimes. Nearly every serious crime he is accused of carrying out has been committed by his political rivals. He is being targeted because he is deemed dangerous for his willingness, at least rhetorically, to reject the Washington Consensus regarding neoliberal free-market and free-trade policies, as well as the idea that the U.S. should oversee a global empire. He has not only belittled the ruling ideology, but urged his supporters to attack the apparatus that maintains the duopoly by declaring the 2020 election illegitimate.

English Lawyers Refuse To Prosecute Climate Protestors

A group of lawyers in England have signed a “Declaration of Conscience” saying they will refuse to participate in the prosecution of peaceful climate protesters like Just Stop Oil, Extinction Rebellion and Insulate Britain. The group of about 120 lawyers, who go by the name “Lawyers are Responsible,” will also refuse to represent those participating in new fossil fuel projects. “Like big tobacco, the fossil fuel industry has known for decades what its activities mean. They mean the loss of human life and property – which the civil law should prevent but does not,” Director of the Good Law Project Jolyon Maugham, one of the key signatories of the declaration, wrote in The Guardian.

Behind The #StopCopCity Domestic Terrorism Warrants

Atlanta, Georgia — The Georgia Bureau of Investigation, in collaboration with several other law enforcement agencies, charged 23 more people with ‘domestic terrorism’ for their alleged involvement in the ongoing effort to stop ‘Cop City’ and to defend the Weelaunee Forest in unincorporated DeKalb County southeast of Atlanta. This brings the total number of ‘Cop City’ opponents charged under the statute to 42. Most of those arrested are currently being held at the DeKalb County Jail after being denied bond by Magistrate Judge Anna Watkins Davis on March 7. Four arrestees, including attorney Thomas Jurgens, have been granted bond.

Phone Zap For Ohio State Penitentiary Hunger Strikers

Ohio - People incarcerated at the Ohio State Penitentiary began a protest in mid-March and need our support to be successful in getting their demands met. Recently, guards at OSP have been forcing prisoners to stand in the showers for hours on end as a form of retaliation for speaking out. The protest seeks to end this form of punishment, as well as several other injustices inside the prison. Without outside support and attention, protests like this one are much easier for the prison administration to sweep under the rug. It’s imperative that the administration hear from as many people as possible, so that they know we are paying attention to how they respond to this action.

Report On Incarceration And Women Outlines The Gender Disparities

Women represent about 9 percent of all incarcerated people in the United States, but data about their circumstances is spotty at best. We do know that in recent decades, imprisonment rates for women have increased dramatically, growing at twice the pace of men’s incarceration. A report published this month by the nonprofit think tank Prison Policy Initiative (PPI) provides one of the most comprehensive recent assessments of the realities facing women and girls held in the country’s prisons and jails. PPI teamed up with the American Civil Liberties Union to pull data from several government agencies, which can often be fragmented or out of date.

New Federal Proposal Could Seize 75% Of Commissary Funds Sent To Prisoners

Incarcerated people across the US could find their commissary funds depleted by a new proposed policy from the Bureau of Prisons to automatically deduct three quarters of all funds prisoners receive from loved ones on the outside. The BOP is justifying the proposed change by appealing to personal responsibility—claiming that the deductions will go towards covering prisoners’ financial obligations such as child support and court fees. But what about the financial obligations of the federal government? Billions of public dollars are earmarked for corporate contractors profiting from incarceration and war each year, while the costs of operating courts and raising children are pushed onto incarcerated individuals and their families.

The Betrayers Of Julian Assange

Those who are the antithesis of Julian: in whom courage is unheard of, along with principle and honour, stand between him and freedom. I am not referring to the Mafia regime in Washington whose pursuit of a good man is meant as a warning to us all, but rather to those who still claim to run a just democracy in Australia. Anthony Albanese was mouthing his favourite platitude, ‘enough is enough’ long before he was elected prime minister of Australia last year. He gave many of us precious hope, including Julian’s family. As prime minister he added weasel words about ‘not sympathising’ with what Julian had done.

Protesters Charged With Terrorism In Atlanta

At least 23 protesters have been charged with domestic terrorism amid a week of action against the construction of “Cop City” in Atlanta, a proposed $90 million police training complex. Atlanta police detained 35 people and arrested 23 on the night of March 5, they claim, for vandalism against the Cop City construction site and violence towards police. Activists dispute this narrative. While video footage shows a small group torching the construction site and throwing fireworks towards police, according to activists, none of the 35 people detained were detained at the construction site itself.

Fascistic Judges

Three climate activists in two separate trials have been sent to jail by Judge Silas Reid using the entirely arbitrary powers of Contempt of Court, because they insisted on telling the jury that their protests had been motivated by the climate crisis and “fuel poverty,” the inability of people to keep their homes adequately heated. Juries are an essential safeguard from injustice by the state. That ordinary, randomly selected people decide on guilt or innocence has been fundamental to the criminal law in the United Kingdom for many centuries. The simplistic maxim is that the judge determines the law while the jury determines the facts. However, it is often more complex than that.

WaPo’s All-White Editorial Board Decides DC Can’t Have Democracy

President Joe Biden surprised fellow Democrats when he reversed course and announced he would support a Republican resolution to nullify an overhaul of crime laws passed by the Washington, DC, Council. While Congress has the authority to override DC legislation, it hasn’t done so in more than 30 years, making this move a dangerous new precedent at a time when Republicans are eager to use state power to swat down any progressive advances. Some observers (Slate, 3/3/23; Popular Information, 3/7/23) called out Biden’s hypocrisy. The president’s move comes after he had both endorsed DC statehood and publicly opposed the resolution (2/6/23), arguing that it was a “clear [example] of how the District of Columbia continues to be denied true self-governance and why it deserves statehood.”

Australia — Silent Collaborator Against Assange

The significance of the Belmarsh Tribunal could not be greater, and not only for Julian Assange and his family. We have reached a critical point in history for press freedom, and for all human rights intertwined with it. Julian Assange once said: I understood this a few years ago. And my view became that we should understand that Australia is part of the United States. It is part of this English-speaking Christian empire, the centre of gravity of which is the United States, the second centre of which is the United Kingdom, and Australia is a suburb in that arrangement. And therefore we shouldn’t go, ‘It’s completely hopeless, its completely lost. Australian sovereignty, we are never going to get that back. We can’t control the big regulatory structure which we’re involved in in terms of strategic alliances, mass surveillance, and so on.’

Why 222 Nicaraguan Criminals Were Deported To The United States

The major US media have been less than truthful about the 222 released prisoners, formerly Nicaraguan, who traveled to Washington by agreement with the US government, in a plane provided by the US, on February 9. What the media should focus on is that, as in the 1980s with Reagan’s Contra war, the United States has been trying to overthrow the democratically elected government of Nicaragua. These 222 received US monies directly or indirectly, through nonprofits or businesses, to manage US aggressions against the State of Nicaragua. Many of them conspired with the US embassy in Managua.

Atlanta Activists Say Prosecutors Plan To Indict Them On RICO Charges

Atlanta, Georgia – Community organizations involved in the ongoing campaign to defend the South River Forest outside Atlanta, Georgia and ‘Stop Cop City’ say state prosecutors are planning on releasing indictments in the coming weeks charging them as a “criminal organization” under RICO statutes. The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, targets organized criminal enterprises and was created in the 1970s to more effectively prosecute the mafia. Since then, RICO statutes have been used against participants in the 2019 college admissions scandal, anti-abortion groups, insider traders, and now, environmental and climate justice activists.

Lessons From Majid Khan’s Release From Guantánamo

On February 2, U.S. prisoner and former al Qaeda courier Majid Khan was released from the Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp in Cuba after more than sixteen years of imprisonment. “We are very pleased with Majid’s release,” says J. Wells Dixon, a senior staff attorney at the New York City-based Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR). “Majid’s transfer to Belize is the culmination of nearly twenty years of work by the CCR and the law firm Jenner & Block,” Dixon tells The Progressive “Our only regret is that he was not released sooner.” On October 7, 2001, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the United States, together with Great Britain, launched “Operation Enduring Freedom,” the war in Afghanistan and the beginning of the “global war on terror.”

Prisoners Reignite Movement To End Mass Incarceration

On Dec. 5, I sat in a circle with 30 prisoners at the Washington Correction Center in Shelton, Washington. As we looked around the room, anticipation, resolve and relief reflected in our eyes — yet we were all eager for this moment. Unable to meet due to COVID restrictions, we watched the world change around us for nearly three years. During this time tragedies like the murder of George Floyd, Brianna Taylor and countless others took place, and justice reform became a dinner-table conversation for many Americans. As incarcerated activists, we sat silenced, unable to convene — even though, as stakeholders, experts in the field and leaders in justice reform efforts in Washington state, we have a lot to contribute.
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