Links from a Prison Nation

A round-up of stuff I've been reading."The Protester": Raven Rakia writes a powerful piece which I think probably functions as a Rorschach test. Do you focus on the rules this guy breaks, or the colossal overreaction he faces when he breaks them?When Frankie was 13, school authorities at his middle school called the police in to deal with him for disrupting class. Two police officers ended up physically restraining him: They hogtied his legs and tied his hands behind his back, duct-taped … [Read more...]

“Obama’s Big Idea: Let’s Hike Federal Cop Subsidies”

Walter Olson at Cato: President Obama’s newly announced police-reform package lives up to one’s worst expectations. He flatly refuses to curtail the federal police militarization program, instead calling for a big hike in federal spending on aid to local departments with the usual micromanaging strings attached. These strings will predictably make departments more responsive to Washington, and lobbies with clout there, as distinct from their local communities. As USA Today notes, one powerful in … [Read more...]

“Washington Bails on Demilitarization After Ferguson”

Seasons Greetings: Lawmakers vowed changes to the Pentagon programs that deliver military-grade equipment to local police after images of cops climbing out of armored vehicles with military-grade weapons filtered out of Ferguson, Missouri, in August.But months later, the chaotic 1033 program — which sends surplus military gear built for combat to local police forces with little oversight — hasn’t changed at all.The 113th Congress will end without substantive changes to the program. The W … [Read more...]

Gouging the Families of Prisoners; and “The Janitors of Good Wishes”

a post with lots to say about political praxis as well as, you know, gouging the families of prisoners: ...There is a salutary purpose to be served by people like Henson, who believe that good government can offer valuable solutions to vexing problems.  The positive wishes for new ideas provide a force that drives innovations that do, in many instances, make things better than they were before.  Even if they don’t turn out perfectly, or as well as hoped, they can be surprisingly better.  Wheth … [Read more...]

A Powerful Story of Friendship, Marriage, And Mental Struggles After Wrongful Imprisonment

by Liliana Segura: On a snowy evening in late March, just over a year after walking out of prison, where he had spent 23 years for a crime he didn’t commit, William Lopez entered a CVS in the Bronx and did something inexplicable. After paying for a prescription at the pharmacy counter, he paused to grab some other things—two sticks of Old Spice deodorant and some allergy medicine. Then, without paying, and in full view of a security guard, he walked out. Police were called and Lopez was arr … [Read more...]

In Which I Am the Last Person to Read Radley Balko’s Epic Report on St. Louis Co. Policing as Profiting from Poverty

and I'm posting it here just in case I'm actually second-to-last. ...The officer found that Bolden had four arrest warrants in three separate jurisdictions: the towns of Florissant and Hazelwood in St. Louis County and the town of Foristell in St. Charles County. All of the warrants were for failure to appear in court for traffic violations. Bolden hadn’t appeared in court because she didn’t have the money. A couple of those fines were for speeding, one was for failure to wear her seatbelt and m … [Read more...]

“Mom Arrested for (Maybe) Hanging Up on Cop While Her Missing Daughter Plays at Church”: Reason

gives this story a much different headline from many mainstream media outlets. Let's find out why! Here is a story that combines some of our favorite Reason.com topics, including strip clubs, jerk cops, and America's growing willingness to make less-than-perfect parenting a crime. In this case, Florida resident Bobbey Jo Boucher went with her 10-year-old daughter to a neighbor's barbecue and left the girl there when she headed to work, instructing her to go back home when it was over. When the … [Read more...]


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