Amnesty International

Vote YES on Prop 36: Amend the Three Strikes Law

America's prison problem (Great VIDEO)

Why does the US put so many people behind bars and what lies behind California's new push for leniency?

last Modified: 01 Nov 2012 14:40

By filmmakers Michael Montgomery and Monica Lam

The US locks up more people than any other country in the world, spending over $80billion each year to keep some two million prisoners behind bars. Over the past three decades, tough sentencing laws have contributed to a doubling of the country's prison population, with laws commonly known as 'three strikes and you're out' mandating life sentences for a wide range of crimes.

But a clear sign that Americans are rethinking crime and punishment is a voter's initiative on California's November ballot called Proposition 36 that seeks to reform the state's three-strikes law. Some 27 states have three-strikes laws patterned after California's version, which was one of the first to be enacted in the country.

Since it was passed in 1994, nearly 9,000 felons have been convicted in California under the law.

One of them is Norman Williams, a 49-year-old African-American man who was a crack addict living on the streets. He was convicted of burglarising an empty home and later stealing an armload of tools from an art studio. His third strike: filching a jack from a tow truck in Long Beach. His fate sealed under California's three-strikes law, Williams was sent to a maximum security prison [for a life sentence] alongside murderers, rapists and other violent criminals.

"I never wanted to do my whole life in prison. Nobody wants to be caged like that," Williams says.

Williams was lucky. After 13 years behind bars, his case was reviewed by a judge and he was released. He is one of about two dozen 'three strikers' who have won sentence reductions through the work of a Stanford University law clinic founded by Michael Romano. In Williams' case, the prosecutor actually agreed that the original sentence was too harsh. An idea emerged from Romano's work: Why not draft a ballot initiative to ensure that sentences like Williams' will not be repeated?

"When people originally passed the three-strikes law in 1994 the campaigns were about keeping serious and violent murderers, child molesters in prison for the rest of their lives," Romano says. "I think that's what people want and are kind of shocked to hear that people have been sentenced to life for petty theft."

Support Palestinian Hunger Strikers! SIGN PETITION

Prisoners Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahleh, who started the strike and have been detained for 2 years without charges, are at grave risk of death, now entering their 74th day (5/11/12) of fasting. For reference, Mahatma Gandhi ended his longest hunger strike on day 21; Bobby Sands died on day 66. 

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC STATEMENT regarding Inhumane CA prison isolation units

California’s prison isolation units remain inhumane despite proposals to amend policies   3/12/12

Amnesty International welcomes proposals by the California prison authorities to provide a route out of isolation for validated gang members through a step-down process.

 

However, Amnesty International remains deeply concerned by conditions in the state’s Security Housing Unit (SHU) units, which fall short of international standards for humane treatment.

 

Oct 14th EMERGENCY ACTION to Support CA Prisoner Hunger Strike, San Francisco

Medical condition of hunger strikers deteriorates, some days away from death

October 11, 2011

Join the emergency action to support the California Prisoner Hunger Strike on Friday, Oct. 14, 10:30 a.m.‐1 p.m., at McAllister and Van Ness in San Francisco and tell CDCR and Gov. Jerry Brown to meet the strikers’ five core demands

by Isaac Ontiveros, Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity

Georgia Senator Urges Execution Staff to STRIKE & REFUSE to Kill Troy Davis

Georgia Senator Joins SCHR to Urge Execution Staff to Strike & Refuse to Kill Troy Davis    Date of Publication:  09/20/2011

Atlanta – Today, the day before Troy Anthony Davis is scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection, Georgia Senate Democratic Whip Vincent Fort and Southern Center for Human Rights Executive Director Sara Totonchi have issued a joint statement calling upon the individuals charged with carrying out the execution to refuse to participate in the killing of a possibly innocent man. 

URGENT: STOP the Execution of Troy Davis, set for Sept. 21 (Calls, Emails & Petitions!)


An Innocent Man Faces Execution in Georgia

Troy Davis faces execution in Georgia, September 21.
Davis was framed up, convicted, and sentenced to death for the murder of a Savannah policeman in 1989.

Please, call, fax or email today.
Stop the execution of Troy Davis!

* Gov. Nathan Deal: phone (404) 656-1776, fax (404) 657-7332, email georgia.governor@gov.state.ga.us, web contact form http://gov.state.ga.us/contact.shtml

Stop Sept 21 Execution of Troy Davis!

Our calls and petitions have worked before.  They must work again!   STOP THE EXECUTION! FREE TROY DAVIS!

Stop Sept 21 Execution of Troy Davis!

On March 28, 2011, the US Supreme Court failed to take up the appeal of Troy Davis. He could be executed at any time.

AND NOW HIS EXECUTION HAS BEEN SET FOR WEDNESDAY, SEPTMEBER 21!.

TELL THE GEORGIA GOV., LEGISLATURE, PRESIDENT OBAMA, ATTORNEY GENERAL HOLDEN, CONGRESS AND THE MEDIA: STOP THE EXECUTION OF TROY DAVIS! 

Our Racist Justice System: How Troy Davis Has Spent 20 Years on Death Row, With Little Evidence Against Him

Davis's case has become an emblem for much of what is problematic about a capital punishment system that is riddled with racism, economic disparity and error.

June1, 2011 | “De’Jaun, come over here, I want to talk to you.”

De’Jaun Correia, a slender 13-year-old with thick corn-rows in his hair, sat down next to his uncle Troy Davis in the corner of the room. Troy described to De’Jaun what to expect now that he was approaching adolescence. “Your body’s gonna be changing…. Women, they go through things, and us guys, we go through things, too. The same thing happened to me when I was a young boy growing up.”

De’Jaun listened intently as his uncle explained the birds and the bees. It wasn’t the first time De’Jaun and Troy had had an intimate one on one. De’Jaun was more comfortable talking to his uncle, a sturdily built man with warm brown eyes, than anyone else.

Global BRADLEY MANNING Action Days, March 19-20

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Individuals and activists plan events around the world to show support for the accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower on March 19-20.

[March 19 event in Eureka CA: http://redwoodcurtaincopwatch.net/node/771 ]

On March 19-20, 2011, activist organizations and individuals will take to the streets to protest the U.S. government's treatment of accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower Army Private First Class Bradley Manning. Manning, 23, has been held in isolation for nearly 300 days, charged with releasing classified documents, including a video that shows American troops shooting and killing 11 people, including two Reuters employees, in 2007.

Tasers are Lethal Police Weapons, But Now They'll Be Researched in Canada

Medical study will look at Taser research gaps to better understand stun guns

Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press – Mon, 14 Feb, 2011

    A police-issued Taser gun is displayed at the Victoria police station in Victoria, B.C. May 7, 2008. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

    OTTAWA - Gaps in the research on how Taser stun guns affect people will be one focus of a federal program aimed at better understanding the powerful weapons used for years by Canadian police.

Michigan TEEN DIES AFTER COPS TASER HIM

link to article HERE

Michigan teenager dies after police Taser him

WASHINGTON (AFP) — A 15-year old boy died Sunday [March 22, 2009] in Michigan after police used a Taser stun gun to subdue him, police said Monday.

 

An investigation was opened and an autopsy ordered with police saying it was not clear whether Brett Elder's death was directly linked to the Taser incident.