Subscribe

CI: Still Starving for Justice

May 01, 2013 By: nancy a heitzeg Category: Civil Rights, Criminal Injustice Series, Imperialism, International Law, Intersectionality, Military Industrial Complex, Prison Industrial Complex, Prisoner Rights

Criminal InJustice is a weekly series devoted to taking action against inequities in the U.S. criminal justice system. Nancy A. Heitzeg, Professor of Sociology and Race/Ethnicity, is the Editor of CI. Kay Whitlock, co-author of Queer (In)Justice, is contributing editor of CI. Criminal Injustice is published every Wednesday at 6 pm.

Still Starving for Justice
by nancy a heitzeg

In the face of unrelenting repression and no sign of relief, refusal becomes the last refuge of prisoners. Prisoner hunger strikes proliferate again, at Guantanamo, Pelican Bay and Wallens Ridge State Prison in Virginia.

Defying the Tomb.

The Green Diamond Eat The Red Diamond Die, Robert Indiana, 1962

The Green Diamond Eat The Red Diamond Die,
Robert Indiana, 1962

(more…)

Ella Baker: Decemeber 13, 1903 – December 13, 1986

December 13, 2012 By: nancy a heitzeg Category: Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Education, Intersectionality

“Give light and people will find the way.”

ella_baker_center

Ella Baker Center for Human Rights

 

Part 1: What’s Next for DOMA and Marriage Equality on Trial?

August 07, 2012 By: nancy a heitzeg Category: 2012 Election, Civil Rights, Intersectionality, LGBTQ

Part 1: What’s Next for DOMA and Marriage Equality on Trial?
by Scottie Thomaston


The past few weeks have seen a flurry of new developments in the courts concerning DOMA and marriage equality cases. The proponents of Prop 8 – in Perry, the challenge to the California constitutional amendment – petitioned the Supreme Court to review the case. Section 3 of DOMA was struck down yet again, this time by Judge Vanessa Bryant, an appointee of President George W. Bush, in Pedersen v. Office of Personnel Management. And the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), who is defending Section 3 of DOMA on behalf of House Republicans after the Justice Department decided to drop their defense, has lost a few requests for stays of proceedings in some DOMA cases. The sheer number of these cases can cause a lot of confusion and headaches; I’m told that even people who are solely focused on following DOMA cases are resorting to the use of spreadsheets to keep track of everything. So here is a series that is intended to be a rundown of where these cases stand after the latest developments.

This part will consist of cases that are currently before the Supreme Court. Since at this point only DOMA challenges and the Prop 8 challenge are before the Court, this post will focus primarily on DOMA. Future posts will be geared toward updates in the district and appeals courts, and those will include both DOMA and marriage equality cases.

A note regarding the cases that are currently before the Supreme Court: the Court is not in session until October. There will be a conference (to look at petitions for certiorari and vote on whether to review cases or not) on September 24 and another the following week. During a conference, either in late September or early October, the Court will decide whether to hear challenges to Section 3 of DOMA, and which cases it will review. Instead of writing this at the end of all the case updates on this post, I’ll leave it up here as a note; so just assume that the Supreme Court will decide whether and which cases to hear on these dates.

(more…)

The Power of Art and Resistance: Guernica at 75

July 07, 2012 By: nancy a heitzeg Category: Criminal Injustice Series, Imperialism, International Law, Intersectionality

“Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it.”

Guernica, Pablo Picasso, 1937

(more…)

Empower Women, Go Green

July 01, 2012 By: nancy a heitzeg Category: Civil Rights, Economic Development, International Law, Intersectionality

CI: Prison Health Care as Punishment

April 11, 2012 By: nancy a heitzeg Category: Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Criminal Defense, Criminal Injustice Series, Intersectionality, LGBTQ, Prison Industrial Complex, Prisoner Rights

Criminal InJustice is a weekly series devoted to taking action against inequities in the U.S. criminal justice system. Nancy A. Heitzeg, Professor of Sociology and Race/Ethnicity, is the Editor of CI. Criminal InJustice is published every Wednesday at 6 pm CST.

Prison Health Care as Punishment
by Kay Whitlock with introduction by nancy a heitzeg

Misrepresentations of the realities of prison life abound. These are a constant staple of media and public conversation, including unfounded claims that inmates are leading some sort of life of luxury, lifting weights, watching plasma TVs, dining finely and seeking college educations at the expense of taxpayers.

And this — California Inmates Get Better Health Care than Ordinary Citizens: Thanks to Justice Anthony Kennedy, California prisoners have easier access to health care than ordinary citizens.

Those convicted of “non-non-non crimes”–non-serious, non-violent, non-sex related–are liable to get early release as a result of the Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling that the state must reduce prison overcrowding in order to provide adequate medical, mental and dental health care.

Petty thieves and the like can get freed and have no more claim to health care than an honest citizen.

Killers, rapists, and armed robbers, on the other hand, are free of health-care worries until they make parole, if they ever do.

The court ruled 5-4 that the absence of adequate care for prisoners violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. The majority decision was written by Kennedy.

In an added twist, J. Clark Kelso, the overseer of California’s effort to comply with the order was a law clerk to Kennedy in the early 1980’s. He says that he gets the same question wherever he goes: “How come we’re giving felons better health care than I get?”

Well, we aren’t. California has yet to dramatically reduce over-crowding, often shuffling inmates out of state-run prisons to county jails, and despite some efforts to comply with the Supreme Court order, questions still remain as to what standards California is using to define “adequate care”. In addition, the intolerable conditions of SHU confinement recently lead to a series of on-going prisoner hunger strikes and related deaths at Pelican Bay and elsewhere.

Hardly a “health care” paradise.

The reality of prison health care – throughout the nation — is one of neglect, denial f treatment and untimely death.

In response to the false picture presented by The Daily Beast and others, CI is re-publishing a piece which outlines the on-going limitations of the oxymoron called “prison health care”.

(more…)

Remembering Bayard Rustin

March 17, 2012 By: nancy a heitzeg Category: Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, LGBTQ

From The Advocate:

Bayard Rustin’s contributions to the world far outweighed his credits – and his 100th birthday is an opportunity to appreciate how his lifelong fights for equality live on today.

Rustin was the key strategist in every campaign waged by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the architect of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, and a passionate advocate for pacifism, workers’ rights, and freedom for marginalized peoples around the world. There is not one American movement for social change that his leadership did not touch.

Rights to vote, to join a union, or to marry the person one loves are today at the forefront of the struggle to build an America that reflects its ideals. And Rustin was reliably positioned at the vanguard of these battles from the 1930s until his passing in 1987. So it’s only appropriate that we take this opportunity to pause and reflect on where our movements have traveled over 100 years and to look ahead to our future.

CI: A Call for Every California Prisoner ~ 150,000 and More

February 08, 2012 By: nancy a heitzeg Category: Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Criminal Injustice Series, International Law, Intersectionality, Prison Industrial Complex, Prisoner Rights

Criminal InJustice is a weekly series devoted to taking action against inequities in the U.S. criminal justice system. Nancy A. Heitzeg, Professor of Sociology and Race/Ethnicity, is the Editor of CI. Criminal InJustice is published every Wednesday at 6 pm CST.

A Call for Every California Prisoner ~ 150,000 and More
by Nancy A. Heitzeg

“We must win this struggle not simply because it is morally correct, upholds international standards of humanity, opposes governmental collusion in corporate exploitation of underclass people, and serves the interests – social, political and economic – of society as a whole, but also because it’s necessarily our survival. We are men in earnest; consequences have little meaning in the face of such conditions.

Some of you reading these words are no doubt grappling with the reality behind them, attempting to find some point of relatability, some common experience from which to draw a correlation. Unless you’ve experienced this firsthand, such an attempt is an effort in futility. But for the sake of this discussion, I challenge you to run an experiment: Go to your bathroom and close the door. Imagine that you will never leave that room. Your tub and shower, that’s your bed. Yes, your toilet is only a step or two away from where you lay your head. Your food will be brought to you here twice a day.

Stay there as long as you can. How long do you last? Twenty minutes? An hour? Six hours? Imagine you sit in that bathroom for a year, 10 years, 24 years, 40 years. You will never leave that bathroom unless you are released from prison, agree to be an agent for the same people who stuck you in that bathroom, or you die of old age and infirmity. How long would you last? How strong is your will?” ~ Heshima Denham, January 8 2012 from the NCTT Corcoran SHU

(more…)