May 7, 2016 at 9:26 am #198
Post your link on criminal justice reform here. One link per post, please.
For profit prisons have become big business in the US. The lobbying efforts behind them are growing, providing millions of dollars to candidates that will pass favorable legislation. There is growing evidence that these private prisons are profiting off of the lives of people who have harmed no one but themselves, usually by criminalizing acts that would otherwise not involve another injured party, like drug consumption, for example.
Even worse, there are a growing number of reports exposing “cash for kids” scandals, where judges are given kick backs for sending our nation’s youth to prison. It’s difficult to imagine a less fair system than one designed to incentivize a judge to find defendants guilty before they ever step foot in the court room.May 7, 2016 at 9:28 am #199
President Obama follows the Koch brothers’ lead on criminal justice reform
by Corie W. Stephens
“Mark Holden, general counsel for Koch Industries, explained that, “As a large United States-based manufacturing company that employs 60,000 American workers we shouldn’t be rejecting people at the very start of the hiring process who may otherwise be capable and qualified, and want an opportunity to work hard.” As data from the Department of Criminal Justice shows, up to 75 percent of inmates have difficulty finding work during their first year of reentry into society.
When a company chooses to “ban the box,” as Koch has done, the employer won’t know about a prospective hire’s criminal record by simply looking at their application. If a manager expresses interest in a résumé and interviewing begins, they’ll find out about the felony record as the process goes on. The key difference is that the interviewee has already gotten his foot in the door, and the employer is more likely to give him a chance.
This week, President Obama decided to follow suit, announcing on Monday that he signed an executive order that begins eliminating bias against those with criminal records in the federal hiring process. This comes in the wake of Obama’s recent focus on criminal justice reform, which included a summer visit with inmates at a federal prison, something no other president has done before.”May 25, 2016 at 7:21 pm #372
How for-profit prisons have become the biggest lobby no one is talking about
By Michael Cohen
“With the growing influence of the prison lobby, the nation is, in effect, commoditizing human bodies for an industry in militant pursuit of profit. For instance, privatization created the atmosphere that made the “Kids For Cash” scandal possible, in which two Pennsylvania judges received $2.6 million in kickbacks from for-profit juvenile detention centers for sending more kids to the facilities and with unusually long sentences. The influence of private prisons creates a system that trades money for human freedom, often at the expense of the nation’s most vulnerable populations: children, immigrants and the poor.”May 25, 2016 at 7:25 pm #373
Pennsylvania Judge Gets ‘Life Sentence’ For Prison Kickback Scheme
by Walter Pavlo
“His sentence brings to closure a dark time in the history of the city of Wilkes-Barre, PA, which is in Luzerne County. He was found guilty in February of racketeering for taking a $1 million kickback from the builder of for-profit prisons for juveniles. Ciavarella who left the bench over two years ago after he and another judge, Michael Conahan, were accused of sentencing youngsters to prisons they had a hand in building. Prosecutors alleged that Conahan, who pleaded guilty last year and is awaiting sentencing, and Ciavarella received kick-backs from the private company that built and maintained the new youth detention facility that replaced the older county-run center.”
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