Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Powerful Student Work on the PIC

This poem was written by University of Colorado at Denver Communication majors Ben Swales and Brendon Lenzi. Both are enrolled in PCARE founding member Stephen Hartnett's class Communication, Prison & Social Justice. Here's some of their reflections on their work:

"This piece was inspired by the daily rituals and corruption that exists in modern prison. We hoped to use our voice and our education to create a voice for prisoners.

"When someone is arrested we are read our Miranda rights, the first one is 'You have the right to remain silent.' They understand and warn us before we commit crime that our voice will be lost. We cannot forget how powerful a voice is. We also cannot forget how loud a voice is. We cannot forget behind every prisoner is a voice, this poem is supposed to prompt the audience to hear that voice."

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

McCleskey v. Kemp turns 25

The ACLU reports that April 22 marks the 25th anniversary of one of the most important, yet least recognized, Supreme Court decisions of the past 30 years. In McCleskey v. Kemp, the court conceded the presence of systemic racial discrimination in Georgia's death penalty system, but refused to intervene. Instead, they erected an impossibly high standard of proof for discrimination and plainly admitted that they feared any other decision would shake the system to its very foundations.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The War on Drugs & Rising Incarceration Rates

CNN's Fareed Zakaria & religious right's Pat Robertson on the same page on something... their view on the rise of incarceration in the US.

In in a recent CNN segment, Zakaria talks about how the "war on drugs" that was birthed in the 1980s seems to correlate with the striking increase in the US prison population. The comparative statistics in this clip are startling:

"In the past two decades, the money that states spend on prisons has risen at six times the rate of spending on higher education. In 2011, California spent $9.6 billion on prisons, versus $5.7 billion on higher education. Since 1980, California has built one college campus; it's built 21 prisons. The state spends $8,667 per student per year. It spends about $50,000 per inmate per year."

You can watch/read the whole story here.