“Get Out of Jail, Inc.”

The New Yorker: On a cold November afternoon, Harriet Cleveland, a forty-nine-year-old mother of three, waved me over from the steps of her pink cottage in Montgomery, Alabama. She was off to her part-time job as a custodian at a local day-care center, looking practical but confectionary: pink lipstick, a pastel yellow-and-pink tunic, and dangly pink earrings. We’d need to start walking soon, she explained. The job, which paid seven dollars and twenty-five cents an hour, was the only one she’d b … [Read more...]

“Making the Welfare State Less Intrusive”

some thoughts from Jesse Walker: ...The sorts of welfare-reform tinkering that interest me most are the ones that cashify and combine programs. By cashify, I mean taking a subsidy with strings attached—food stamps, Section 8 housing vouchers, anything like that—and instead just sending money to the people who qualify for it, letting them choose how to spend it. That way taxpayers can reduce the bureaucratic overhead (and sometimes corporate welfare) involved in administering the program; and tha … [Read more...]

“The Criminalization of Parenthood”: Radley Balko

again some more: A couple of themes we explore here at The Watch are the increasing criminalization of just about everything and the use of the criminal justice system to address problems that were once (and better) handled by families, friends, communities and other institutions. A few examples from recent headlines show those themes intersecting with parenthood.The first story comes from South Carolina, where a mother was jailed and charged with “unlawful conduct toward a child” for . . . … [Read more...]

Today, Global Protests Call for Support, Not Punishment, For Drug Users

from Substance.com:In an unprecedented display of people power against the war on drugs, thousands of activists in 100 cities across the world will rally on Thursday, June 26, to push one message: “Support. Don’t punish.” The concerted campaign will remind national governments and the UN of the growing size and clout of people who use drugs and their supporters as a political constituency—and the futility of pouring billions of dollars into efforts to enforce prohibition. At least 150 NGOs … [Read more...]

“Stop Helicopter-Parenting Other People’s Kids”: Michael Brendan Dougherty

yeah: It's an odd way to "help" a child who is unsupervised for five minutes to potentially inflict years of stress, hours of court appearances, and potential legal fees and fines on their parents. Children who experience discreet instances of suboptimal parenting aren't always aided by threatening their parents with stiff, potentially family-jeopardizing legal penalties. The risk of five or even 10 minutes in a temperate, locked car while mom shops is still a lot better than years in group … [Read more...]

“Want to Predict the Future of Surveillance? Ask Poor Communities”: American Prospect

piece: Since Edward Snowden started disclosing millions of classified NSA documents in June, terms like metadata, software backdoors, and cybervulnerability have appeared regularly in headlines and sound bites. Many Americans were astonished when these stories broke. In blogs, comment sections, and op-ed pages, they expressed disbelief and outrage.But I wasn’t surprised. A decade ago, I sat talking to a young mother on welfare about her experiences with technology. When our conversation t … [Read more...]

“The Criminalization of Poverty”: Radley Balko

writes: ...NPR found that in the vast majority of America, defendants can be charged for a public defender, for their own parole and probation, the cost of a jury trial, and their stay in a jail cell. Some jurisdictions have even found ways to charge people “booking fees” after an arrest, even if the arrest never results in a criminal charge, a policy recently upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. My favorite example of this nonsense, though it isn’t in the NPR report, is … [Read more...]


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