Chilling testimony of death row executioners cast shadow over entire system.
Execution teams describe what it feels like to administer the death penalty: knee bucklingly crushingly bad, it seems.
"The Chaplain said, ‘I usually put my hand on their leg right below their knee, you know, and I usually give ‘em a squeeze, let ‘em know I’m right there. You can feel the trembling, the fear that’s there, the anxiety that’s there. You can feel the heart surging, you know. You can see it pounding through their shirt.’
The warden asks the condemned man if he has any last words he’d like to say… some inmates decline to speak, some sing, some pray. Some apologize. Some will declare, for one last time, that an innocent man is being killed.
The Chaplain said, ‘I’ve had several of them where [I’m] watching their last breath go from their bodies and their eyes never unfix from mine. I mean actually lock together. And I can close my eyes now and see those eyes. My feelings and my emotions are extremely intense at that time. I’ve never … I’ve never really been able to describe it. And I guess in a way I’m kind of afraid to describe it. I’ve never really delved into that part of my feelings yet.’
One warden said, ‘You’ll never hear another sound like a mother wailing when she is watching her son be executed. There’s no other sound like it. It is just this horrendous wail. It’s definitely something you won’t ever forget.’”
Read the article at PolicyMic.
3 years in Rikers Island, 2 in solitary confinement, this high school student, NEVER CHARGED, gets released
16-year-old high school sophomore Kalief Browder, of the Bronx, spent nearly three years locked up at the Rikers Jail after he says he was falsely accused of stealing a backpack. Amazingly, Browder never pleaded guilty, actually refused to plead guilty and requested a trial, even when pressured, but was never convicted and was only offered plea deals while the trial was repeatedly delayed.
Near the end of his time in jail, the judge “offered” to sentence him to time served if a guilty plea was entered, and warned him he could face 15 years in prison if convicted, but Browder still refused to accept the deal. The only reason Browder was finally released was because his case was dismissed, but the damage had been done.
Browder, a high school student, spent an unbelievable 800 days, or over 2 years, in solitary confinement, which is a common juvenile imprisonment practice that the New York Department of Corrections has now banned after several investigations.
How does a teen end up in jail for 3 years, of which 2 years was spent in solitary confinement, and never be charged with a crime?
Browder’s case highlights several broken mechanisms in the New York legal system that feeds itself to civil liberty abuses on our youth.
- The 6th amendment gives us a right to a speedy trial, but in New York they have a “Ready Rule”. The “Ready Rule” allows the courts to postpone trial dates by offering continuances. The system may give a continuance for 1 week, but logistically it may be 1 month before the trial actually comes to fruition and the still not convicted civilian only gets “credit” for the 1 week, not the actual time they have served. In Browder’s case, he was given an absolutely ridiculous number of continuances initiated by the prosecution which left him locked up because he could not afford the $3000 bail.
- Browder was a high school student and juveniles are supposed to continue their education while behind bars .. except for juveniles that are in solitary confinement. Guards would place juveniles in solitary and the schooling would stop relinquishing any educational support.
- While in solitary, Browder says that guards would routinely refuse to give him his meals. Hunger is a common complaint by teens that are locked up because of the 12-hour stretch between dinner and breakfast. Guards would use starve tactics at their discretion for punishment or their own personal enjoyment. Browder says the worst of his starvations lasted for 4 meals in a row, meaning he was denied breakfast, lunch, dinner and another breakfast.
- As it stands, the courts place people in these situations and it is human nature for some to strike a plea deal just to get out of jail. But Browder did not play into their game and take a plea deal, but maintained his innocence and requested a trial which came at a snail’s pace. This leads one to believe that the courts use this a planned tactic or procedure to play on human nature all in the name of getting convictions.
- The issues of using a Public Defender have long been recorded across the country. In New York, court appointed lawyers make $75 a case. In order to make money, that PD has to take on huge caseloads which leads to other problems. Browder, although locked up for nearly three years in Rikers, where his PD was located everyday, never once was visited by his PD or had anyone to advocate his case for him. This shows a reckless disregard which leads to a vicious cycle of apathy that often leads innocent people to copping pleas or getting longer sentences.
I recently interviewed several domestic violence survivors imprisoned for defending themselves. Each woman reported that she had defended herself only after repeatedly trying to seeking help—unsuccessfully. One woman recalled that police would drive by as her boyfriend beat her on the street. Most of the time, they ignored the violence and continued to drive. When she called the police, they arrived and did nothing. The one time police did arrest her boyfriend, it was not for attacking her, but for having illegal drug paraphernalia. He was held overnight, then allowed to return home to continue his abuse.
Another woman told me that she had called the police on several occasions. Each time, officers simply took her boyfriend out of their apartment, talked with him, and then allowed him to return. The beatings and abuse continued. She filed for and received an order of protection, which he repeatedly violated. She tried calling domestic violence hotlines. One told her that, to receive assistance, she would have to go in person to their organization. Another did not return her phone calls.
A third woman was in an even more precarious situation. Because her abuser was a police officer, she felt that she had nowhere to turn for protection. He repeatedly told her, “You can’t call the police. I am the police.” When she called a domestic violence hotline, they told her that she was in the worst situation possible; in addition to keeping guns in the house, her husband’s profession meant that he could access records to find out where she was even if she did leave. They advised her to start saving money and to keep her important papers in one place in case she ever had to flee.
Why does she stay? Why doesn’t she leave? Those questions come up frequently in conversations about domestic violence. They also become key legal questions in self-defense cases. But leaving is often the most dangerous time for people in abusive relationships.
Continue reading this article "How Many Women Are in Prison for Defending Themselves Against Domestic Violence?" at Bitchmedia.org.
I’d like to start by saying thank you for pausing to read through my profile. My name is Travis. My buddy Alf and I are looking for some pen pals to write. Alf is a yellow Lab looking forward to helping those with disabilities through a great program we’re both a part of. CCI gives me a dog to train for fourteen to sixteen months. During that time I prepare him for the love he’ll reap from his training and the countless ways Alf will enrich the life of someone in need.
Relating and extending myself to others through writing is a strength of mine I enjoy sharing with others. While I train a dog full time I also like to play basketball and workout. I’m 6’5” so getting on a team comes pretty easy. On my leisure, music is key. Classic rock, rock, rap, hip-hop, electronic, dance and techno are what I most enjoy though I listen to a lot of other genres too. Some other hobbies I enjoy are writing poetry, hitching horsehair, watching TV and eating. The latter two I’ve found go hand in hand. Survivor, Breaking Bad, The Ultimate Fighter, American Horror Story and The Walking Dead are some of my favorite shows and cookies are the best snack for each and every one of them.
I try to put a fun twist on everything and have a good sense of humor. It makes all the negative times and depressed moments bearable to me. I always look for the silver lining. I love being funny but express myself on a more serious note as the occasion warrants.
I look forward to getting to know you. I’m only a letter away and sure hope you take the next step and drop me a line.
Travis Kirkbride #2130590
50 Crossroads Drive
Shelby, MT 59474 USA
If I didn’t already have 3 other pen pals that I’ve been neglecting due to school work I’d write… but just in case my followers are looking for a pen pal I’m re-blogging :)
One sick inmate said he fell and was left on the floor for three to five hours. “I would just like to feel safe and not fall. That’s all,” he told one of the visiting doctors."
According to the International Centre for Prison Studies, nearly one-third of all female prisoners worldwide are incarcerated in the United States of America.
Prison time is a very severe punishment. John Stuart Mill likened it to being consigned to a living tomb. Any society that employs it should do so with care and restraint. Yet we do not.
SAN FRANCISCO — Judging from the large bags of colorful Legos on the floor and dozens of plastic base plates piled on tables, this room could have been the activities station for a well-funded summer camp. And the five women and men drifting in and out, slicing open boxes and rooting around for the right size toy bricks, were young enough to pass as camp counselors.
Only the place where they were working is the opposite of summer camp: Alcatraz, the notoriously bleak military prison turned maximum-security penitentiary turned national park. With its banks of small windows and a “gun gallery” for surveillance, this building is where inmates once laundered military uniforms. It’s usually off limits to tourists.
But starting Sept. 27, visitors will be able to see for themselves, spread across the floor, where so many Legos were heading: an ambitious installation by the Chinese activist-artist Ai Weiwei, featuring 176 portraits of prisoners of conscience and political exiles around the world — from the South African leader Nelson Mandela and the Tibetan pop singer Lolo to the American whistle-blower Edward Snowden — composed of 1.2 million Lego pieces. The work is part of an exhibition running through April 26 called “@Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz,” organized by For-Site, a San Francisco producer of public art, in the prison hospital, A Block cells, dining hall and that former laundry building.
TALENTED Boscombe residents joined other artists, musicians and dancers performing at the area’s second Fringe Festival at the weekend.
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I wish I would have known about this sooner! This is a good thing to keep on our radar if you are interested in prison arts….
While rehabilitation programs in prisons is nothing new it is the more creative ones that catch your eye. The rehabilitation program at the maximum security prison Volterra in Italy is one program that caught the eye of filmmaker Inaya Yusuf….
This is fantastic… check it out, there is a cool video
Ion Theatre’s well-acted but slow-moving drama explores what freedom means