Spokane Police Abuses: Past to Present

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Archive for the ‘Prison Industrial Complex’ Category

Police say they use taser on non-violent people

Posted by Arroyoribera on March 13, 2008

http://noworldsystem.com/2008/03/11/police-say-they-use-tasers-on-non-violent-people/

Police say they use Tasers on non-violent people
Internal documents show the weapon has been employed simply to get some suspects do what they are told

The Vancouver Sun
March 8, 2008

Vancouver police regularly use Tasers to subdue people who are unarmed and non-violent, according to internal reports released by the force.

On Friday, in response to a Freedom of Information request, VPD published on its website details of the about 150 times officers drew their Tasers from 2002 to early 2007.

The more than 70 pages of reports include cases where the electric shock weapon was drawn from its holster but not fired.

The reports cover cases in which the Taser was fired at a suspect from a distance and cases where it was used in “drive stun” mode — where a shock is administered by holding the device directly against a suspect.

The reports indicate that, in most cases in which Vancouver officers fired the Taser from a distance, the person was acting violently — from fighting with officers to threatening themselves or others with a weapon.

“[Officers] observed the male stabbing himself in the stomach with a pen,” reads one report from 2006. “When [officers] challenged the suspect, he ran at them and the [Taser] was fired. The suspect immediately fell to the ground and was handcuffed.”

However, in a number of cases, police used the Taser as soon as someone displayed a “fighting stance” or simply to get a non-violent suspect to do what they were told.

“Suspect fled from plainclothes members and resisted arrest when caught. Suspect was taken to the ground but refused to allow [officers] to handcuff him and held his arms underneath his body,” reads one report from 2006. “Strikes and open hand techniques were attempted but the suspect was still resisting. A [Taser] drive stun was applied to the suspect’s lower back and the suspect was then handcuffed.”

Jason Gratl, president of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, said he was troubled to see Vancouver police are using the Taser as a compliance tool.

“The officers seem content to Taser individuals for lack of compliance with verbal commands or aggressive posturing,” said Gratl. “It is dead certain from these reports that Tasers are not merely an alternative to the use of sidearms but are used in practice as a convenient tool to gain physical control over individuals.”

There is debate over whether the Taser should be used to get non-violent suspects to comply with police orders.

In December, Paul Kennedy, head of the RCMP’s Commission for Public Complaints, published a report saying Tasers were used too often and recommended police use them only against suspects who are being “combative” or “posing a risk of death or grievous bodily harm” to themselves or others.

VPD Const. Jana McGuiness said the force believes the Taser is sometimes the safest option for controlling someone who is resisting arrest. “The problem is when you have a subject resisting to that degree, your chances of injuring yourself or that person escalates,” she said. “The Taser allows [police] to gain control with the minimum amount of injury to themselves or the suspect.”

According to the VPD, suicide attempts were an issue in about one in five Taser deployments and drugs or alcohol were a factor in one in three.

Ohio: Travellers Threatened With Arrest In Storm
http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=weather&id=6008531&pt=print
Japanese coastguard ’shot’ whaling activist
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment..rc=rss&feed=networkfront

Chicago Links School Cameras to Police Squad Cars
http://www.chicagotribune.com..meras-07mar07,1,4279778,print.story

Britain Makes Camera That Sees Under Clothes
http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSL0926757420080309

Britain Building Stealth DNA Database
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/li..528857&in_page_id=1770

Posted in Independent Oversight, Prison Industrial Complex, Surveillance Society, Tasers, Unanswered Questions, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

FILM — Up The Ridge: A US Prison Story — Tuesday, March 11, 2008 Magic Lantern

Posted by Arroyoribera on March 9, 2008

Up The Ridge: A U.S Prison Story
A Shocking Look Inside The Incarceration Industry

Film Screening & Public Discussion

Tuesday, March 11, 2008 — 7:30 to 9:00 PM
Magic Lantern Theater, 25 W Main, Spokane

*Due to the graphic nature of this film, it is not recommended for children
Sponsored by November Coalition Foundation and Thousand Kites

For more information call (509)684-1550 or e-mail tom@november.org

Admission is free; donations gladly accepted!

Up the Ridge: A U.S. Prison Story

Up the Ridge: A U.S. Prison Story is a one-hour television documentary produced by Appalshop’s Nick Szuberla and Amelia Kirby. In 1999, Szuberla and Kirby were volunteer DJ’s for the Appalachian region’s only hip-hop radio program in Whitesburg, KY when they received hundreds of letters from inmates transferred into nearby Wallens Ridge State Prison, the newest prison built to prop up the region’s sagging coal economy. The letters described human rights violations and racial tension between staff and inmates. Filming began that year and, through the lens of Wallens Ridge, the film offers viewers an in-depth look at the United States prison industry and the social impact of moving hundreds of thousands of inner-city minority offenders to distant rural outposts. Up the Ridge explores competing political agendas that align government policy with human rights violations, and political expediencies that bring communities into racial and cultural conflict with tragic consequences. As the film makes plain, connections exist, in both practice and ideology, between human rights violations in Abu Ghraib and physical and sexual abuse recorded in American prisons.

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, Know Your Rights, Prison Industrial Complex, Prisons in Spokane, Racism, Solutions, Surveillance Society, Urgent Call, Videos | Leave a Comment »

U.S. Police State — 1 in 100 Americans in Jail, per studies reported in NY Times

Posted by Arroyoribera on March 1, 2008

Excerpt —

The report points out …. that prison growth and higher incarceration rates do not reflect a parallel increase in crime, or a corresponding surge in the nation’s population at large. Instead, more people are behind bars principally because of a wave of policy choices that are sending more lawbreakers to prison and, through popular “three-strikes” measures and other sentencing laws, imposing longer prison stays on inmates.

Pew Report Finds More than One in 100 Adults are Behind Bars

Release Type: Pew Press Release

Pew Contact: Jessica Riordan, Communications (215) 575-4886; jriordan@pewtrusts.org

Washington, DC – 02/28/2008 – For the first time in history more than one in every 100 adults in America are in jail or prison—a fact that significantly impacts state budgets without delivering a clear return on public safety. According to a new report released today by the Pew Center on the States’ Public Safety Performance Project, at the start of 2008, 2,319,258 adults were held in American prisons or jails, or one in every 99.1 men and women, according to the study. During 2007, the prison population rose by more than 25,000 inmates. In addition to detailing state and regional prison growth rates, Pew’s report, One in 100: Behind Bars in America 2008, identifies how corrections spending compares to other state investments, why it has increased, and what some states are doing to limit growth in both prison populations and costs while maintaining public safety.

As prison populations expand, costs to states are on the rise. Last year alone, states spent more than $49 billion on corrections, up from $11 billion 20 years before. However, the national recidivism rate remains virtually unchanged, with about half of released inmates returning to jail or prison within three years. And while violent criminals and other serious offenders account for some of the growth, many inmates are low-level offenders or people who have violated the terms of their probation or parole.“For all the money spent on corrections today, there hasn’t been a clear and convincing return for public safety,” said Adam Gelb, director of the Public Safety Performance Project. “More and more states are beginning to rethink their reliance on prisons for lower-level offenders and finding strategies that are tough on crime without being so tough on taxpayers.”

According to the report, 36 states and the Federal Bureau of Prisons saw their prison populations increase in 2007. Among the seven states with the largest number of prisoners—those with more than 50,000 inmates—three grew (Ohio, Florida and Georgia), while four (New York, Michigan, Texas and California) saw their populations dip. Texas surpassed California as the nation’s prison leader following a decline in both states’ inmate populations—Texas decreased by 326 inmates and California by 4,068. Ten states, meanwhile, experienced a jump in inmate population growth of 5 percent or greater, a list topped by Kentucky with a surge of 12 percent.

A close examination of the most recent U.S. Department of Justice data (2006) found that while one in 30 men between the ages of 20 and 34 is behind bars, the figure is one in nine for black males in that age group. Men are still roughly 13 times more likely to be incarcerated, but the female population is expanding at a far brisker pace. For black women in their mid- to late-30s, the incarceration rate also has hit the one-in-100 mark. In addition, one in every 53 adults in their 20s is behind bars; the rate for those over 55 is one in 837.

The report points out the necessity of locking up violent and repeat offenders, but notes that prison growth and higher incarceration rates do not reflect a parallel increase in crime, or a corresponding surge in the nation’s population at large. Instead, more people are behind bars principally because of a wave of policy choices that are sending more lawbreakers to prison and, through popular “three-strikes” measures and other sentencing laws, imposing longer prison stays on inmates.

As a result, states’ corrections costs have risen substantially. Twenty years ago, the states collectively spent $10.6 billion of their general funds—their primary discretionary dollars—on corrections. Last year, they spent more than $44 billion in general funds, a 315 percent jump, and more than $49 billion in total funds from all sources. Coupled with tightening state budgets, the greater prison expenditures may force states to make tough choices about where to spend their money. For example, Pew found that over the same 20-year period, inflation-adjusted general fund spending on corrections rose 127 percent while higher education expenditures rose just 21 percent.

“States are paying a high cost for corrections—one that may not be buying them as much in public safety as it should. And spending on prisons may be crowding out investments in other valuable programs that could enhance a state’s economic competitiveness,” said Susan K. Urahn, managing director of the Pew Center on the States. “There are other choices. Some state policy makers are experimenting with a range of community punishments that are as effective as incarceration in protecting public safety and allow states to put the brakes on prison growth.”

According to Pew, some states are attempting to protect public safety and reap corrections savings primarily by holding lower-risk offenders accountable in less-costly settings and using intermediate sanctions for parolees and probationers who violate conditions of their release. These include a mix of community-based programs such as day reporting centers, treatment facilities, electronic monitoring systems and community service—tactics recently adopted in Kansas and Texas. Another common intervention, used in Kansas and Nevada, is making small reductions in prison terms for inmates who complete substance abuse treatment and other programs designed to cut their risk of recidivism.

Pew was assisted in collecting state prison counts by the Association of State Correctional Administrators and the JFA Institute. The report also relies on data published by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Association of State Budget Officers, and the U.S. Census Bureau.

To view the entire report, including state-by-state data and methodology, visit the Public Safety Performance Project’s web Site.

Launched in 2006 as a project of Pew’s Center on the States, the Public Safety Performance Project seeks to help states advance fiscally sound, data-driven policies and practices in sentencing and corrections that protect public safety, hold offenders accountable, and control corrections costs.

The Pew Charitable Trusts applies the power of knowledge to solve today’s most challenging problems. Our Center on the States identifies and advances effective policy approaches to critical issues facing states. Online at www.pewcenteronthestates.org.

ASSOCIATED REPORT:
One in 100: Behind Bars in America 2008

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, Know Your Rights, Prison Industrial Complex, Racism, Statistics | Leave a Comment »

“Privatize” — Evergreen Freedom Foundation’s solution to Washington prison crisis

Posted by Arroyoribera on February 14, 2008

It should not take the informed reader more than a couple minutes after reading any article on problems in prisons to realize that a private foundation or think tank is out there furiously drawing up the data and arguments for a proposal to “privatize” the so-called “industry”.

And when one thinks “privatize the prison industry” (the privatizers tend to like the word “corrections” better than “prison”, as part of their tactic of taking the debate and the language of the debate onto their turf), immediately one thinks of CCA — Corrections Corporation of America.

Corrections Corporation of America — sometimes called “America’s private gulag” — is a scandal-ridden, billion dollar company deeply entrenched in everything from incarcerating undocumented immigrant minor children for the Department of Homeland Security to running high security facilities in many states.

In a new report called Unlocking Washington’s Prison Capacity Shortfall , the Evergreen Freedom Foundation recommends involving CCA in resolving Washington state’s prison mismanagement problems and proposes constructing private prisons in the state of Washington.

The report’s author, Amber Gunn, is a former Charles G. Koch Fellow. Charles Koch is the billionaire co-founder of the ultra-libertarian, right-wing Cato Institute and the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation.

And they call it democracy…

Posted in Prison Industrial Complex | Leave a Comment »