Prison System

Dave Lindorff writes at CounterPunch: Mumia Abu-Jamal, the radical Philadelphia journalist convicted of killing a white Philadelphia police officer in a trial fraught with prosecutorial misconduct, witness coaching and judicial prejudice back…

Not that anyone in Washington is likely to be listening, but bad boy film director Quentin Tarantino makes a very good point. Movieline reports on his interview with disinformation ally Strombo:

Quentin Tarantino says slavery continues in the United States.  The outspoken filmmaker — whose spaghetti southern Django Unchained unflinchingly depicts the brutality of slavery — stoked the debate on race Tuesday night when he appeared on the Canadian television talk show George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight to suggest that the United States’ “war on drugs” and  its “mass incarcerations” of black men is “just slavery through and through.”

Tarantino didn’t cite these figures, but he could have: According to the  New York Times, half of the 2.3 million Americans in prison or jail are black, an astonishing figure when compared to 2011 U.S. Censusinformation that indicates blacks comprise only 13.1 percent of the country’s population.

In other words, he’s got a point, and this is a conversation our country should stop avoiding…

Via Al Jazeera English:

The US has the highest prison population in the world – some of whom  have been subjected to lengthy sentences for relatively minor crimes.  And that population has surged over the past three decades.

Although there has been a slight reduction in the past year, more  than two million people are either incarcerated in prison or in jail  awaiting trial.

The US has the highest rate of imprisonment in  the world, with 743 people incarcerated for every 100,000 Americans. No  other nation even comes close to these figures.

One explanation for the boom in the prison population is the mandatory sentencing imposed for drug offences and the “tough on crime” attitude that has prevailed since the 1980s.

But it is the length of sentences that truly distinguishes US prison policy. Some prisoners are locked up for life – literally – and many receive harsh sentences for non-violent crime…