Tag Archives: prisons

“Systemic Failures Persist” in California Prison Mental Health Care, Judge Rules

The way we treat individuals in prison is atrocious as it is. This is inexcusable and supposedly even with a very minor amount of improvement over the past 20 years or so. And even that tiny amount had to be FORCED upon the state by the federal courts! Things need to change folks or one day when you are the one sitting in prison you’ll wish they had.
If you don’t think that is possible you’d better remember that the feds add an extra 1000 or more new laws to the Federal Register each and every year. That doesn’t even include your state and local yocals. So…You and I are all guilty of some crime. They just haven’t chosen to enforce the one we are guilty of yet. They will. (E)

Oh and one more thing-ya better learn to get along with ALL kinds of people no matter how much you disagree with them. Find some common ground. I’ve recently learned I have a lot more in common with former Black Panthers than some christians.


What a Country!!!

Medical Marijuana Patient Faces Life in  Prison for a Half Ounce in Texas

by Phillip Smith, August 11, 2010, 01:30pm

A Texas asthma sufferer who went to California for a medical marijuana recommendation and then got busted in June on a Texas highway with small amounts of marijuana and hashish is facing up to life in prison after being indicted by a Brown County grand jury. He is charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, a first-degree felony in the Lone Star State.

Chris Diaz, 20, has been jailed on $40,000 bond since the June 27 arrest. He was busted with 14 grams of weed and hash.

Under Texas law, possession of less than two ounces of marijuana is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail, while possession of hashish is either a state jail felony punishable by up to two years for less than a gram, or a second-class felony punishable by up to 20 years if less than four grams, although probation is also possible. It is unclear exactly how much hash Diaz had.

Diaz was pulled over for an expired license tag while en route from California to Austin, and according to the DPS trooper’s report, could not produce a drivers’ license or proof of insurance. He was then arrested for failure to identify, and during a subsequent search, police found a small amount of hashish on his person. A search of the vehicle then turned up more hash and marijuana in pill bottle from a California medical marijuana provider.

The DPS report said the search also turned up a cell phone “containing text messages referring to drug sales” and a notebook with “drug and law writings.” Those are apparently the basis, legitimate or otherwise, for the drug distribution charge.

Texas does not have a medical marijuana law, and its authorities do not recognize having a recommendation from another state as a defense against prosecution.

Diaz has attracted supporters both inside Texas and nationally. The Texas Coalition for Compassionate Care and a group called I Am Sovereign are publicizing the case and pressuring Brown County officialdom. And the asthmatic Diaz sits in jail in Central Texas awaiting trial, without his medicine.

Brownwood, TX

United States
See map: Google Maps

Drug sentences create racial caste system

The Miami Herald

Drug sentences create racial caste system

By Leonard Pitts
lpitts@MiamiHerald.com

Ron Allen probably thinks Alice Huffman has been smoking something.Huffman, president of the California Conference of the NAACP, recently declared support for an initiative that, if passed by voters in November, will decriminalize the use and possession of marijuana. Huffman sees it as a civil rights issue.

In response, Bishop Allen, founder of a religious social activism group called the International Faith-Based Coalition, has come out swinging. “Why would the state NAACP advocate for blacks to stay high?” he demanded last week at a news conference in Sacramento. “It’s going to cause crime to go up. There will be more drug babies.” Allen wants Huffman to resign.

But Huffman is standing firm, both in resisting calls for her head and in framing this as an issue of racial justice. There is, she notes, a pronounced racial disparity in the enforcement of marijuana laws. She’s right, of course. For that matter, there is a disparity in the enforcement of drug laws, period.

In 2007, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, 9.5 percent of blacks (about 3.6 million people) and 8.2 percent of whites (about 16 million) older than 12 reported using some form of illicit drug in the previous month. Yet though there are over four times as many white drug users as black ones, blacks represent better than half those in state prison on drug charges, according to The Sentencing Project. The same source says that though two-thirds of regular crack users are white or Latino, 82 percent of those sentenced in federal court for crack crimes are black. In some states, black men are jailed on drug charges at a rate 50 times higher than whites.

And so on.

So while the bishop hyperventilates about blacks “staying” high (?), he ignores a clearer and more present danger. As Michelle Alexander argues in her book, The New Jim Crow, those absurd sentencing rates, combined with laws making it legal to discriminate against even nonviolent former felons in hiring, housing and education, constitute nothing less than a new racial caste system.

Allen worries about a baby being born addicted to pot, but the likelier scenario is that she will be born to a father unable to secure a job so he can support her, an apartment for her to live in or an education so he can better himself for her — all because he got caught with a joint ten years ago.

It is a cruel and ludicrous predicament. And apparently Huffman, like a growing number of cops, judges, DEA agents, pundits and even conservative icons like the late William F. Buckley, Jr. and Milton Friedman, has decided to call the War on Drugs what it is: a failure. It is time to find a better way, preferably one that emphasizes treatment over incarceration.

You’d think that would be a no-brainer. We have spent untold billions of dollars, ruined untold millions of lives and racked up the highest incarceration rate in the world to fight drug use. Yet, we saw casual drug use rise by 2,300 percent between 1970 and 2003, according to an advocacy group called LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition). And as drug use skyrocketed, we find that we have moved the needle on addiction not even an inch, up or down. All we have managed, and at a ruinous cost, is to re-learn the lesson of 1933 when alcohol Prohibition collapsed: you cannot jail or punish people out of wanting what they want.

I’ve never used drugs. I share Bishop Allen’s antipathy toward them. But it seems silly and self-defeating to allow that reflexive antipathy to bind us to the same strategy that has failed for 30 years. By now, one thing should be obvious about our War on Drugs.

Drugs won.


© 2010 Miami Herald Media Company. All Rights Reserved.
http://www.miamiherald.com


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