Archive for the ‘US Prisoners’ Category

Life Sentences…

16 November 2006

Are usually not for kids. According to BBC News, over 40 children in Colorado jails are serving life sentences, in violation of international human rights laws. While three decades ago minors were hardly ever tried as adults, an increase in teen violence in the 1980s caused over 40 states to pass laws making it easier to try minors as adults. In Colorado, some people as young as 14 have been given life sentences.

Many of them are sent to Limon Prison, the site of riots, rapes, and murders. One 17-year-old, now there for his ninth year, was given a life sentence when a drug deal resulted in another youth being shot accidentally. Though the jury accepted that it was accidental, he was found guilty of charges that, since he was tried as an adult, carry a mandatory life sentence.

When a minor is charged in Colorado, the prosecutor has three days to decide whether to try them as a child or as an adult.

Though some children may deserve these sentences, many do not.

American children though are better off than children in many countries. From a BBC series:

Almost every country in the world has committed itself to respecting the human rights of children. But in reality, the signatures on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, are not worth the paper they are written on.

The BBC had a section on Pakistan, the United States, and Kenya.

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Brutality Discovered on YouTube

12 November 2006

A video of two police officers beating William Cardenas was recently uploaded to YouTube after being filmed by a local resident, according to BBC News. The video shows the officers punching him multiple times in the face and pinning him to the ground with their knee to his neck. In the video one can hear Mr. Cardenas saying that he cannot breathe.

The statement by the officers said that Mr. Cardenas resisted arrest and that there was concern he would try to grab one of their guns.

YouTube has now flagged the original video and you have to register on YouTube and verify that you’re over 18 to see it. The below video is a copy which is a second shorter but unflagged.

The ACLU of Southern California notes that the incident only came to light when the video was posted on YouTube. No doubt YouTube is an acceptable substitute for police accountability.

The incident occurred last August in Los Angeles.

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Judge Rules Against Jail Conditions

28 October 2006

Judge Dean D. Pregerson, saying that the central processing hub for the seven-facility L.A. County jail system has “defaulted to the lowest permissible standard of care,” recently ordered new measures regarding the situation, according to the ACLU-SC. Hundreds of people, arraigned but not convicted, are held in terrible conditions. In some holding cells there are 30 to 40 people, jammed together so much that they have to take turns lying down.

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“Trial by Ambush”

26 October 2006

The ACLU is challenging the Ohio trial laws that allow the prosecution to keep some evidence secret, which results in what the ACLU terms “trial by ambush,” since the defense is left without enough time to prepare a defense.

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Prisoners Dies in Restraints

15 October 2006

A prisoner in Michigan recently died after being released following four days in full restraints, according to the ACLU. He was actively psychotic and had a long history of mental illness, though no psychiatrist was consulted at any point.

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