Mark Latham looks set to be the new Prime Minister after calling for Australian militants to be withdrawn from Iraq by Christmas.Opposition Leader Mark Latham said on Thursday that Labor's second priority was to abandon support for the doctrine of pre-emption, "which did not work in Iraq because there was nothing to pre-empt".
But there was something else, oil, gas and the fact that war on Iraq was illegal. History will record that Iraq is now occupied by the (Coalition of the Killing) and until the militants are out of Iraq, [war criminal], Prime Minister John Howard stands no chance of winning the next federal election. Why? Because he continually chooses to blindly go where, [war criminal], George Dubya Bush has gone before and that will lead to Howard's demise, no doubt.
Howard's illegal war and pre-emptive strike on Iraq raises two questions about him as a leader. The first is one of legitimacy. How easy it is to make calls on Iraq and lie.
As Howard knows well enough, before March 2003, everyone else connected the dots on Iraq but not in the same way as: George Bush did as well as the UK, and the Australian governments. Consistent with this, Saddam Hussein was already sanctioned by the UN for years which, greatly affected Iraqi citizens to be able to survive and defend their country against attack by the US neo-cons and their co-offenders.
The second question transcends naivety. It is about whether Howard should go to the war crimes tribunal, as a war criminal, but he is still running the country.
I suppose he's not unlike the Bulldogs football players alleged to have gang raped a 20 year old girl and still playing football in front of their *other fans*.
Saying never to pre-emptive wars on other countries is the only option when indeed nothing happened and you were not being attacked by them. Prevention is not killing other human beings that did nothing to you or your own country. It may seem all right for the US neo-cons and their politics reliving the butcher days of their youth but it is unacceptable in the current Prime Minister of Australia.
Imperfect intelligence does not absolve governments from having to uphold the law and make sound judgments. Often the result is imperfect decisions.
Obviously, when your government is making allegations that Iraq is our *enemy* and the people of Iraq are portrayed as a (loose collection of Islamist terrorist groups with multiple sanctuaries but no homeland) then some people tend to believe that and feel insecure.
Especially when the corporate media and their neo-liberalism ideology run with the ball. Or because intelligence agencies passed onto to the government material that can be misconstrued and exaggerated via the corporate media to show Iraq's alleged intentions and capabilities or to produce a threat in the eyes of Australians.
The continuation of the War on Liberty and the Resource War's in the Middle East, by the neo-cons who will give us even more spin and imperfect information than in 2003. But that does not excuse them from being tried as war criminals when they break the law just because they are the leaders of countries.
Mark Latham has signaled he is willing to risk the consequences of inaction, but you don't have to predict the future to make a legal decision NOW.
Pre-emption is a harsh doctrine and great if you're a soothsayer, right! However way you look at it there is no pretty way to describe it or implement it because we cannot see the future.
But we can predict the demise of John Howard because of his past record, which is not good. It is a case of kill and get killed total national insecurity. The Irresponsibility to strike first is a dreadful one. That thinking edges close to delusions of grandeur and the coalition of the killing in my view need psychiatric help.
Those who act pre-emptivly and try to pre-empt dangerousness need only consider the third world, poverty, hunger and famine and the consequences of neo-liberalism that end up like, [CIA false flag reichstag], September 11 in the office block, Bali, on the dance floor and Spain on the train.
Pre-emptive strikes on foreign soil means being able to predict the future something we humans have yet to master.
In 2004 the enemy is neo-liberalism and they do not play by any rules. They are not rational players amenable to deterrence or negotiation. They kill indiscriminately and their range of "first strike" weapons may include chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons, in other words, weapons of mass destruction.
These weapons kill in the thousands, if not hundreds of thousands. Pre-emptive action can never be undertaken ever again.
However, Britain's Labour Prime Minister, [War criminal], Tony Blair said earlier this month, Pre-emptive action be included in the West's armoury. Speaking as a neo-liberal that has WMDs and uses them. Very sad.
If a Latham government would only act on perfect information (evidence) then it sets impeccable standards for people like Tony Blair and advances Australia to prevent being a target from a bitter, and twisted enemy, post, CIA false flag reichstag-September 11, post CIA false flag-Bali, post false flag-Madrid world etc...
Lack of standards can only produce these results before we risk an apocalypse.
As Gough Whitlam would have said * It's time * so let's hope that on the eve of his first major foreign policy address next week, Latham seeks the advice of those in the Greens with a deeper understanding of war and foreign policy. A good start would be consulting Bob Brown and Kerry Nettle.
'FACTOPHOBIA' HOWARD, BLAIR AND BUSH Well think about this! Australia's intelligence agencies, [fear mongering, propaganda agencies], look set to receive a substantial funding boost in this year's Federal Budget, with the Prime Minister saying it is an obvious step to take.
HoWARd, where's your head at? Australians is living on the edge! Seems each time the bombs go off overseas for the Coalition of the Killing's resource war's in the Middle East Australians are living on the edge.
US to increase Iraq border security in Iraq Just plain rubbish, the USA are the terrorists and are dividing and conquering Iraq, by attacking the Shiite Muslims and blaming it on someone else another "A" typical false flag operation.
Halliburton's Ancient Scandals In the world of corporate scandals, the story breaks, there is a frenzy of reportage, a culprit in the lower levels of upper management is thrown to the SEC and then, slowly, the story dies.
Protesters arrested during PM's Tas visit Two people have been arrested at the start of the, [war criminal], Prime Minister's visit to northern Tasmania. John Howard was met by the protesters in Launceston this morning. Howard is in northern Tasmania to boost the profile of the Liberals' two new federal candidates for Bass and Braddon.
Australia: War Anthem Australians all let us give voice, For we have gone to war, And just like Vietnam before, We're not sure what it's for, But Uncle Sam said "Jump", And so our PM said "How high?"
Australia: Drawing the line for trade Once upon a "lifetime" there was, [war criminal], Prime Minister named John Howard. Dollar signs lit up in his eyes when he was told that if he got involved in the Iraq war and aligned the Australian Government with the Coalition of the Killing, US and the UK then the money he spent would be returned in a once in a lifetime Free Trade Agreement with the US.
JUDGEMENT: HOWARD'S WAR CRIMES Howard Vs Regina in Canberra the Capital Territory of Australia- Friday January 30 2004. Would the defendant please stand while I read out the judgement of this court.
Australia: The gospel according to Farr Howard said, "The teacher unions a year ago encouraged teachers to discuss the war on Iraq in the classroom that was code for attacking the Government's position."
War criminal Howard defends 'Son of a bitch' [War criminal], Prime Minister John Howard, says the government would be "recklessly negligent" if it did not consider joining the United States' missile defence program, known as "Son of a bitch".
Australia buys into 'Son of Star Wars'? [War criminal], Defence, [? War], Minister Senator Robert Hill says Australia may buy a sophisticated missile system that can destroy other ballistic missiles in space. But Australians want social services, health, and education, not warfare.
Pope calls for sanctions on leaders who violate rights Leader of the child molesters, Pope John Paul II has called for political leaders who violate human rights to be punished, in a World Day of Peace message released amid worldwide debate over how Saddam Hussein should be brought to justice.
International communities are the losers: Smith [War criminal], Prime Minister John Howard says Saddam Hussein's capture is a huge relief and a great development for the people of Iraq. Howard says Saddam should face trial in Iraq and he would not oppose the death penalty if it were imposed.
Coalition of the Killing's alliance against law 'the wrong way' Australia and Britain [and the Coalition of the Killing], could have agreed that the [resource], wars on Afghanistan, Iraq, and liberty, the proliferation of Security Housing Units, and Detention Centres, can be addressed unilaterally - a trend in the US that is feared all over the world - but must be faced collectively.
A STRUGGLE ON TWO FRONTS: PRISONS & IMPERIALIST WAR After a war waged by the U.S. military against Vietnam which took the lives of more than 3 million Vietnamese people and more than 58,000 GIs, the U.S. finally withdrew in 1975. It had suffered its first official major military defeat by a united people struggle led by the Vietnamese, along with a mass U.S. anti-war movement.
Police surround protesters outside US Embassy Thousands of protesters have marched to the Lodge to protest against [war criminal], US President George W Bush's visit. The protesters had rallied outside Parliament House, booing when the president arrived this morning and chanting "go home Bush you war criminal".
Police violent towards peaceful protesters A protest march in Canberra involving more than 1,000 people has been violated, with some protesters breaking through an unlawful police barricade outside the United States Embassy.
50,000 protesters to turn out for anti-Bush protest Protesters are expecting a 50,000-strong crowd to rally against issues such as the illegal and degrading, Iraq war and the treatment of prisoners, some renditioned and tortured, at Gunatanamo Bay in Cuba.
David Burchell: Paradox of anti-Americanism [War criminal] President George W. Bush's trip to our shores today has focused attention on a striking fact - the apparently irresistible rise in hostility among many Australians towards the US.
Sydney Social Forum Oct 24-26 The war on Iraq has signalled an intensifying permanent war on the world's poor, adding more open unilateral military aggression to existing neo-liberal offensives conducted through organisations like the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and World Trade Organisation.
Refugee policy, here is a new project: Burnside The idea is to have thousands of Australian citizens writing to federal parliamentarians asking very simple, but hard, questions about the key aspects of refugee policy. I have devised a letter writing kit for this purpose. I attach a copy. It contains instructions which, are, I hope, fairly clear.
Pilger said White House knew Saddam was no threat Australian investigative journalist John Pilger says he has evidence the war against Iraq was based on a lie which could cost George W Bush and Tony Blair their jobs and bring Prime Minister John Howard down with them.
Civil Liabilities: Howard's diversity? I had a dream? The war criminal, Prime Minister, John Howard, who only yesterday was claiming he was showing diversity has stepped up pressure on the states to support plans to increase the war criminal, Federal Attorney-General's powers to ban terrorist organisations, [scapegoats and patsies for the Coalition of the Killing's illegal and degrading resource wars in the Middle East.]
Americans given deficit of Carr's spin? Bob Carr joined Richard Butler and other corporate and political leaders to discuss how the rest of the world views the US as well as the superpower's role in the world. [Brain-dead and totalitarian!!]
When the towns criers rang the bell! THEY scaled the walls of the Sydney Opera House, sent a strong message to the people of Australia, with their "No War" message and reinforced the will of the people.
PM man of steel? Or killer and a thief? Is JOHN Howard a killer and a thief or a man of steel after he dropped bombs on innocent civilians in order to fix the problem in Iraq for trade agreements with the US? Thousands of children are now dieing of disease.
Explosions rock Baghdad, jets overhead Iraq BAGHDAD, March 20 [Rooters] A handful of explosions rocked Baghdad at dawn today as jets roared overhead, Iraqi anti-aircraft batteries opened up and air raid sirens sounded.
AUSTRALIA AT WAR! Moment of death... "The opening stages of the disarmament of the Iraqi regime [? resource war on Iraq regime] have begun ," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer [should have] said minutes after the strikes. He said Bush would speak at 2.15pm (AEDT).
Moment of death 'HoWARd' JOHN Howard lost the war for public opinion as Australia braces to invade Iraq by the end of the week. With nationwide anti-war protests, and Labor scrapping 30 years of bipartisanship on sending troops overseas, the Coalition has failed all Australians.
War criminal Howard high-jacks HRCA to 'legitimise killing' The Human Rights Council of Australia (HRCA) says it fears Prime Minister John Howard's comments in support of the execution of [CIA operative] Osama bin Laden show his eagerness to overturn three decades of national opposition to the death penalty.
Doom gloom and 'Boom' Downer shakes the room? "Optimism is better and so is 'constructive feedback' because using constructive feedback means that the negatives also have a role in the construction of a nation. In short we have all the time in world to solve problems properly and that is what our leaders should be focusing on when they decide to inform all Australians. Hey what's the rush?" He said.
UK Reid, Blair and the reichstag London threat! The nature of the [alleged] terrorist threat to London is on the scale of the [USA false flag] September 11 attacks in the United States, the chairman of Britain's governing Labour Party said.
Bin Laden calls? CIA blind man's bluff! A [US propaganda, fear-mongering] taped message purportedly from Osama bin Laden has warned Arab nations against supporting a war against Iraq but has branded Saddam Hussein an infidel.
War: Part one The human cost On the road to Basra, ITV was filming wild dogs as they tore at the corpses of the Iraqi dead. Every few seconds a ravenous beast would rip off a decaying arm and make off with it over the desert in front of us, dead fingers trailing through the sand, the remains of the burned military sleeve flapping in the wind. "Just for the record,'' the cameraman said to me. Of course. Because ITV would never show such footage.
Mandela speaks out against Bush, Blair Former South African leader Nelson Mandela has lashed out at US President George W Bush's stance on Iraq, saying the US leader has no foresight, and cannot think properly.
Hill defends decision to attack Iraq: Step by step? FEDERAL Defence [War] Minister [Sinister] Robert Hill has defended the government's decision to send troops [ send militia] to the Persian Gulf [ to attack Iraq] in readiness for any [pre-emptive strike that would cause a] conflict with Iraq.
Pleas for peace ring the globe Anti-war demonstrators turned out in their hundreds of thousands around the world on Saturday to protest against United States military preparations for an invasion of Iraq.
Not too late for Iraq peace, Blix says But we all know that's rubbish now. The Coalition of the Killing were not seeking WMD in Iraq, they were there for their resource wars. So who gave the 'UN' and Blix the wrong information back then? War criminals!
George Bush's other poodle John Howard, Australia's PM, is the mouse that roars for America, whipping his country into war fever and paranoia about terrorism within.
First strike and you're out! The ideology of a super loser? John Howard shocks the nation again. A nation who cannot believe Howard's stupidity following his [complicity in the CIA's false flag operation, the Bali bombing.]
UN charter doesn't reflect new self-defence needs: Hill? The Defence [War] Minister, Robert Hill, says the United Nations' charter needs to be changed to help countries defend themselves against potential threats. [?] [Pre-emptive strikes on soveriegn nation states like Iraq and Afghanistan?]
Howard defends terror alert Prime Minister John Howard says the Federal Government would not have issued a terror alert if it had not come from a credible source. (America?) Speaking for the first time since the Government revealed the warning, Mr Howard says he wants people to be more careful, but not to stop living. [As long as they don't go dancing in Bali? And sure we'll all be depressed for as long as John Howard and Bob Carr say so.]
When Johnny comes marching home again: 'hoorah hoorah' Posted on the Resistance web page Bronwyn Powell, an organiser of the youth-led mobilisation told Green Left weekly that "in the face of attacks on civil liberties, it is unfortunate that some union officials have felt they need to submit. It could set a negative precedent for upholding the hard-won right to demonstrate in the street."
Give peace a chance PIERS AKERMAN DT 28 Nov 02: JUSTICE John Dowd should be removed from the bench. His crime? Stupidity. In a breath-taking display of hand-wringing sanctimonious morality, Dowd has condemned the State and Federal Governments' anti-terrorism measures, claiming they erode rights and give encouragement to oppressive regimes.
Australia's worst serial killer, John Justin Bunting, has been refused legal aid in his efforts to win leave to appeal his sentence.
Why don't we want to know the truth? Because the government, police, lower-courts and the prison including the Prisoners Legal Service have decided what the truth is for us! Without getting to the end of the appeal process where the case has been professionally put before judges so they can impartially and objectively interpret the law.
Well perhaps judges and Legal Aid lawyers are too busy? Or perhaps we are seen as too stupid? Or if the truth were know it simply doesn't appear to affect us because we have not been accused.
The South Australian Attorney General, Michael Atkinson, has rejected the Snowtown murderer's application for aid after receiving independent legal advice on the merits of an appeal.
Bunting repeatedly asked for the court to be closed, saying the media had misreported the case. His calls were ignored.His own lawyers have said they will not represent him in his leave to appeal application, after receiving specialist legal advice on the grounds for appeal.
But they have offered free advice to help him represent himself.
Mr Atkinson is yet to receive specialist legal advice on the merits of an appeal by Bunting's co-accused, Robert Wagner.
The two were found guilty last September of multiple killings in what became known as the bodies-in-the-barrel case, which cost $20 million to put to trial.
But time and time again the highest profile criminal cases are denied their right to Legal Aid to appeal against their conviction to the highest courts in Australia. They are simply told that they will get some assistance to do it themselves.
Ivan Milat knows what that is like being kept in a box within a box with no fresh air or sunlight. With no legal material to allow him to get legal precedence to prove his legal arguments and where the prisoners have to pay 50 cents a photocopy. 7 copies of appeal books to the High Court and 3 copies to the DPP.
Prisoners have to pay for the transcripts and they cannot be transported to the court instead they are told to prepare a written argument because they don't have a lawyer.
Usually the highest profile prisoners are also kept in the highest security prisons and least likely to be able to help themselves because they are disabled themselves by the prison.
Ivan Milat is on the same list of being refused legal assistance to appeal his case to the High Court.
Actually Ivan went off his hunger strike on 18 March 2004 but because of the difficulty in communicating with the prisoner we record that he was still on the hunger strike on 24 March 2004 6 days after he had started to eat again.
The reason behind his plight was that the government caused the media to tell the population about some other crimes Ivan was alleged to be involved in. By attacking his credibility after being convicted of one of the worst crimes in Australia and whilst he was trying to appeal his conviction. Simply not fair at all.
The police never even went into the jail and interviewed him about the allegation until Ivan wrote a letter to the commissioner of police to ask for an explanation. Ivan went on a hunger strike because of the misrepresentation and vilification bought on by the authorities time and time again while he is trying to appeal to the High Court from a dungeon.
That was not the only attack Ivan has had leveled at him since going to prison. It's as if someone is trying to ensure that he is prevented from getting a fair hearing when at all material times Ivan has declared that he is innocent of the crimes he has been convicted of.
Is it really a politician's job to pervert the course of natural justice? Who attacked Ivan? The Carr Government, the prison, the police and the corporate media?
In May 2003, anti-discrimination chief Chris Puplick complained that the prison was discriminating against Ivan for giving out his medical records and X-rays to the media after the prison had accused Ivan of trying to escape. Then the government sacked Mr Puplick who had continued to write to the Premier demanding action on the Milat case. Please explain?
So why don't the highest profile cases in Australia get legal assistance to appeal to the Highest Court in the land?
Because the government is hell bent on disabling any hope they have because they somehow don't see legal assistance to appeal to the Highest Court as a right even though the prisoners they block are effectively the most accused. Makes sense? Well not to me! Especially if they are innocent and the real perpetrators are out there killing.
Why doesn't the Government want to actually know the truth?
The public have the right to know and the Highest Court the obligation to clarify the truth for the public in order to obtain the truth and justice for all Australians whether they're the most accused or the least accused.
Violent prisoners in anger-control trial? Prisoners with a history of murder, sex attacks, bashings and stabbings are taking courses in anger management to control their *primal urge* to violence. But is there a *primal urge to violence* and if there is then where did it come from?
NSW Prisoner Hunger Strike: Ivan Milat day 28 Hello, I hope all is fine with you. Thank you for the letter dated 8th March, received today 12th, very inspiring. Forgive me for that incoherent eight pager I wrote out, what had occurred. I was three-four days into this protest, no eating any food.
HRMU: Harm-U for Hicks, Habib? At the HRMU there are no minimum standard guidelines adhered to and security of the prison over-rules the prisoner's medical needs. Prisoners are self-harming because of the environment they are kept in already.
Today Paedophiles TOMORROW You! This legislation came to the for during the campaign for the State election in March 2003, Carr announced a plan to introduce child sex offender orders in New South Wales, to restrict the movement of convicted paedophiles in places frequented by children.
Obituary: Garry Nye born 3/4/52 died 1/3/04 On July 24 1991, in a massive operation that traumatised his children and destroyed his house, NSW police arrested him for the murder of criminal Ray Thurgar, using a discredited informer's flimsy evidence.
Cheney's bid for review denied Cheney asked the court to appoint a judge to review his case, claiming he had been "verballed" by police and "loaded up". But Justice Jeff Shaw said last week there was "no real evidence of police corruption and Cheney, who had a long criminal career, had been convicted on "powerful circumstantial evidence".[?]
MILAT WAS FRAMED FOR TOURISM $$$$$ The bodies of seven backpackers were discovered at the Belanglo Forest in 1992. The victims were German, British and Australian origin. Australia at the time of the discoveries was well advanced in its bid for the Olympic Games to be held here in year 2000.
NSW Prisoner Hunger Strike: Ivan Milat It looks like Premier Carr's anti Milat Campaign is working well again, his application to the Judge in chambers to seek an order to be allowed to orally argue his appeal to the High Court was refused.
Brett Collins: Speech to Nagle Symposium 25 years on I was serving 17 years, was in segregation and had served five of the almost ten I eventually did. The prison movement outside had made the Royal Commission aware of the plight I was in as one of the prisoner organisers. That attention meant I was safer from that time on. Although two years later I was returned to Grafton with the classification of intractable.
REPORT CARD ON NSW PRISONS Ending the 'institutionalised bash' now replaced by the institutionalised 'solitary confinement' cave their heads in bash. Former Royal Commissioner Justice John Nagle and Professor Tony Vinson are the keynote speakers at a seminar this week marking 25 years since the landmark Nagle Report into NSW prisons.
Jails the new asylums? QUENTIN DEMPSTER: Asylum seekers -- no, not what you think -- but those who are so disillusioned with the current approach of our mental health system that they believe we should go back to the old ways and rebuild the asylums.
Inside Out Community Forum Inside Out Association of NSW Incorporated is a newly formed initiative aiming towards developing genuine educational, rehabilitative, and re-integrative programs and assistance packages for prisoners and others effected by the criminal justice system, [criminal law system.]
Government justice not personal justice Mr Collins said that, " No one is entitled to add to the court sentence to wreak personal vengeance on the offender, this is government justice not personal justice."
Risk Assessment Tools: Justice Health As I mentioned at the time, there are indeed a large range of actuarial tools for making such assessments, but a review of the literature shows that their ability to predict dangerousness in any one individual is next to zero (or as the Macarthur Study puts it, "the unaided abilities of mental health professionals to perform this task are modest at best"
Experts: The Prisoner's Dilemma [One] reason we are so-so scientists is that our brains were shaped for fitness [to the peopled environment], not for truth. Sometimes the truth is adaptive, but sometimes it is not. Conflicts of interest are inherent to the human condition, and we are apt to want our version of the truth, rather than the truth itself, to prevail.
Ron Woodham my faithful Commissioner? The Departments have all the senior legal staff, they have the brightest minds in the country and others who are willing to get their hands dirty to get the job done. They have the law and legislation which they can do with as they will, and a budget to blow your minds!
The Nagle Report 25 years on On 25 February 2004 the Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales and the Centre for Health Research in Criminal Justice will be co-hosting a seminar to celebrate the Nagle Royal Commission. The seminar will be held in Parliament House, Macquarie Street Sydney, from 5.00pm. Entry will be free, but seating will be limited.
Practicably Perfect Do you remember your first driving lesson? You were to steer as close to the curb when parking 'practicably' not perfectly or practically. Why? Because we are not as perfect as Premier Bob Carr wants to be seen. The degree of our mistakes depends on our experience and reflects on our upbringing and sometimes the lack of it.
Defining JA Mentoring Mentoring is not a new concept. Justice Action graduated its first class of Mentors in December 2003. A good idea has legs of its own, and so the concept of one-on-one support for vulnerable people finding their way in society is now being taken seriously.
Call for royal commission into NSW prison health system Mr Tony Ross a social justice activist said yesterday that a royal commission into the health system in NSW should be wide reaching to ensure that the Corrections Health Service, [Prisons Health Service], is also exposed because of reported widespread cover ups in the prisons health system.
CONS COMMIT CRIMES IN HASTE, NOW CAN REPENT AT LAWTEY Yes some peasants were out of work, hungry and desperate and had to find a way to feed their families, as they were not born with silver spoons in their mouths, Lord. They just robbed from the rich and gave to poor.
Australian prisoners numbers have increased by 50% over past 10 years In the past 10 years, the prisoner population in Australia increased by nearly 50% from 15,866 in 1993 to 23,555 in 2003, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). This increase has exceeded the 15% growth in the Australian adult population in the same period.
NSW Police Association wants sentencing powers? NSW Police Association president Ian Ball said Inspector Borland now feared for his safety because of a 63 year old man being released from prison after doing a quick 18 for manslaughter.
Conditions in the HRMU Justice Action is trying to obtain documents on behalf of prisoners held in the Goulburn High Risk Management Unit (HRMU) from the Federal Attorney General's Department, Corrective Services Minister's Conference regarding the process described below, in which the Standard Guidelines for Corrections in Australia were adopted. This documentation will help explain the justification for the conditions in the HRMU.
Man wrongly imprisoned awarded $1m A Sydney man who was acquitted of murder has won more than $1 million in damages for wrongful arrest and imprisonment. The New South Wales Supreme Court has agreed with Garry Raymond Nye's said that the charge was maliciously laid.
Forensic Hospital at Long Bay NSW should reject the government decision to set up a secure forensic hospital at Long Bay - or in any place where it can be influenced by the Department of Corrective Services (DCS) (or probably Corrections Health Service (CHS) for that matter).
But there are Keys! Charles Dickens said, "Life is a secret and you haven't got the key." "And you never will have."
NSW PRISONS: A TOTAL ABUSE OF POWER We the inmates, [prisoners], at the High Risk Management Unit at Goulburn Correctional Centre, would like to ask you for help in receiving equal treatment and opportunities as other inmates, [prisoners], throughout the system. As we are told that we are not in a segregation units, [solitary confinement units], but we are treated as though we are in one.
WHEN THE PUNISHMENT IS THE CRIME AND PLANTING THE SEED The brutality and savagery at Grafton jail that went on for 34 years with people getting their legs and arms broken running the gauntlet through a line of prison guards with batons. Some of those prisoners who were sent to jail for non-violence and punished went on to commit some of the most heinous crimes of the century.
WHY WE SHOULD OPPOSE HOME DETENTION The ACT Government has drafted a new Bill to implement Home Detention This very discriminatory type of sentence also punishes the family. It is questionable that it has been successful anywhere it has been tried.
Justice Kirby concerned at self-representation High Court judge Michael Kirby says Australia's justice system is weakened by the increasing number of people representing themselves in court. Justice Kirby says he agrees with One Nation founder Pauline Hanson's concerns about the high cost of legal advice.
A Question of Innocence Minister Chris Ellison: Yes we’re watching the progress of this project in NSW with great interest. This has been raised at the Standing Committee of Attorneys General and a working group is looking at this very question. I think we have to have a considered response to this proposal and on a national basis, we would need to have the cooperation of the states and territories.
Children of Prisoners' Support Group Children of Prisoner's welcomes Ann Symonds as our first Patron at this years AGM and screening of "The Space in Between" video , and will have a visual display to demonstrate the invisible population of children effected by parental incarceration.
REMAND PRISONER BAIL REFUSED, THEN SHOT AND KILLED IN CUSTODY A Melbourne court has been told a prisoner was shot dead as he tried to escape from a hospital. The Melbourne Magistrates Court has been told remand prisoner Garry Whyte was receiving treatment at St Vincent's hospital in May last year, when he tried to escape.
NSW Corrections Health Service: Response Prisoner: MRRC Long Bay: Corrective Health Services [Prison Health Service] in NSW fares only slightly better than CHS in the US. Force often takes the place of real medical care and custodial staff [guards] in fact must approve all CHS medical decisions.
Solitary Confinement: Our very own Alcatraz Solitary confinement only makes prisoners more violent and inhumane, writes convicted armed robber Bernie Matthews. They were countless. Grafton floggings were routine and didn't require a reason. Everything at Grafton was routine a mindless, never-ending routine of isolation and solitary confinement that was punctuated by a screw's baton, boot or fist. The prison system called it rehabilitation.
The Sentencing (crime of murder) and parole reform act 2003 We wish for each and every prisoner to be brought in front of a Judge to have closure on their sentences, a fixed non-parole period on an individual basis, to give these people a chance to be able to rehabilitate and to stop them being used as Political Prisoners.
Prisoners as citizens and duty of care For a long time now most learned people have been aware of the book Prisoners as Citizens. The Victorian Opposition is outraged at a confidential payout won by a prisoner injured while playing table tennis at the Melbourne Remand Centre because they can't afford the book?
Long Bay: Corrections Health Services in NSW prisons Firstly, to call the Prison Health Service a Corrections Health Services is the first identified mistake. Nice names don't take the place of the type of service, they only attempt to cover up for a bad service, when the service is out the door....
MULTICULTURAL SISTERS INSIDE Sisters Inside is a community organisation that works with women in prison, pre and post release. We challenge the injustices that impact on women in prison, their children and families.
NSW Terrorist Minister leads the way New South Wales is hosting a two-day conference of state and territory prisons ministers on how to detain terrorists [scapegoats for the Coalition of the Killing's resource war's in the Middle East.]
MENTAL ILLNESS AMONG NEW SOUTH WALES PRISONERS Anecdotal evidence from staff working in the New South Wales correctional system [prison system] has always suggested a high prevalence of mental illness among the prisoner population.
On the treatment of prisoners at the NSW HRMU Prisoners sister's letter from her brother: Following our phone conversation some weeks ago I would like to set out a few points on the treatment of prisoners in the High Risk Management Unit at Goulburn (Super Max) (Guantanamo Bay).
Lithgow Prison: This is no Irish joke! Allow me to introduce myself to you my name is John Smith I am writing to you for your help in regards to Corrective Services Jail at Lithgow, I am a prisoner at this centre and I am serving a long sentence. I originally came from Ireland a number of years ago.
Lithgow prisoners speak out about rations Some new issues have arisen today. A senior officer called me to the office, as they usually do to inform me of all new local orders etc concerning prisoners. The deputy governor has cut back funds for stores. Officers have been told they will issue only the following: One Toilet roll per week per prisoner One Toothbrush per month One plastic disposable spoon, fork, knife per day prisoner exchange only.
NSW PRISON CORRUPTION AT THE HRMU The High Risk Management Unit at Goulburn [Solitary Confinement Supermax, Torture, Gulag,] alleged to have been the first Australian jail of the 21st century and the most secure in the Southern Hemisphere (it was claimed in an article SMH 14 May 2001).
International Prisoners Justice Day 2003 Justice Action, Prisoners Action Group and others celebrated this year's IPJD by visiting Silverwater Jail Complex and talking to the visitors as they went in and came out. We handed out copies of the media release and Framed to the visitors (who took them inside!) and showed our support for prisoners and their families, talking through the loud hailer so prisoners inside would be aware of our presence.
Is Prison Obsolete? Eileen is a senior lecturer in the School of Social Work UNSW where she teaches and researches in the areas of social policy and social development. She has been the chief researcher, and has also collaborated on projects and publications regarding prisons, the criminal justice system and women, public and social housing and indigenous matters. She has recently completed major research on ex-prisoners, accommodation and social reintegration. Eileen has been active in using research to argue for policy change in the NSW criminal justice field for some years.
Escape proof but not so the prisoners mind Fewer prisoners escape from prison these days because they're "cemented in" by materials that do not break and by legislation that can keep prisoners in jail until they die. All new prisons are virtually unbreakable. Built out of products like perspex, concrete and steel that have no flexibility and ensure that the prisoners of today take the full brunt of all Department of Corrective Services institutional failures.
Parents on the inside leave children on the edge They have been dubbed the forgotten generation - the innocent casualties of their parents' crimes. New research shows that in 2001 14,500 NSW children had a parent in jail. And 60,000 NSW children under 16 have experienced the incarceration of a parent, more than half enduring the trauma of separation before they turn five.
New video to create empathy in violent criminals? Violent offenders in New South Wales prisons will be the audience for a new video put together by the victims of crime group, Enough is Enough, but nothing from the ex-prisoners, support groups, like Justice Action, because they don't rate?
Beyond Bars: Sentencing reform A spokesperson Dr Tim Anderson said, " The law reform commission was too gutless on this a few years back but re-introducing remissions (perhaps under another name) would be a valuable move best wishes".
Yatala Labour Prison Adelaide Going Backwoods I'm a prisoner in south Australia (Adelaide), Yatala Labour Prison, I'm 39 years old with only two and a half years spent in the community since the age of 13. I came into the adult prison system in 1985; I was released in 1998 only to re-offend. I'm now doing 30 years with a 16-year non-parole period, as it's truth in sentencing in our state and there is no remission. My release date is 2016.
Inspector General of Corrective Services Debate Below is our response to Justice Minister Hatzistergos' comments in a debate in Parliament on July 2, 2003 regarding the impending decision about the future of the Inspector General of Corrective Services in NSW.
PRISONERS OFFER OF RECONCILIATION Premier Bob Carr, Deputy Premier Andrew Refshauge, Senator Aden Ridgeway, and other community representatives have been invited to receive the message from the men of "The Hole.
Goulburn Solitary Confinement: Midnight Special If you ever go to Goulburn HRMU yeah, you better walk right, you'd better not breathe and sure thing better not fight. The next thing you know the SCU gonna arrest you and Rotten Ron send you down and you can bet your bottom dollar Lord, you'll be chaingang bound.
How the QLD Dangerous Prisoners Act failed the first test What is dangerous? Everyone is dangerous naturally it really depends on how far a person is pushed. Standing on a mountaintop with someone walking you backwoods towards the edge would promote fight or flight and if there is nowhere to fly but over the edge you may choose to respond. When a person breaks the law they lack social skills or are repressed into breaking the law.
Prison rehab programs in 'disarray': Opp The New South Wales Opposition says rehabilitation in the state's prisons is in disarray. But the states prisons could never rehabilitate in the first place. So how can it be in disarray? The space station as it is known cannot rehabilitate because it's only a dot on the community map, as it were, in relation to how people were raised.
High Risk Management Unit (HRMU) INSPECTION This letter is to request permission for an independent inspection team to examine the 75-cell HRMU at Goulburn Jail. The proposed inspection team consists of specialist doctors, jurists, members of the Corrections Health Service Consumer Council and prisoners representatives.
MJA - BBCD Outbreaks in NSW prisons Seems some of our friends in & around Corrections Health Service (CHS) were able to take advantage of a couple of recognised cases of needle sharing by HIV positive prisoners to gather data for a study.
Intractables As an ex-Grafton intractable (1971-1975) and the only living ex-prisoner to have served the longest time inside Katingal (1975-1978) I feel qualified to offer the following personal observations:
The Criminal Law (Rehabilitation of Offenders) Act 1986 Qld The Criminal Law (Rehabilitation of Offenders) Act 1986 (Qld), requires that any person who has committed an offence which is less than 10 years old or which resulted in a prison sentence of more than 30 months, must disclose that offence if requested eg. for employment purposes. If a criminal record is disclosed in a job application, it is unlikely that person will be given the job.
NSW Serious Offenders Review Council In response to a letter we have received from Mr K C who has said that he is serving 24 years and 10 months commencing on 29/8/1991 with his earliest release date being 28/6/2016 with 4 years parole and full time 28/6/2020. He said that he contacted the Serious Offenders Review Council in writing but received no response.
Sentencing innovation breaks vicious circle of jail terms "Three months' jail for one punch in a pub fight is too much," said the victim. The victim's comment counted because he and the offender, Robert Bolt, a Nowra Aborigine, were making history in the first case of circle sentencing, a new way of deciding punishment for indigenous offenders.
Letter from the mother of a prisoner on remand at the High Risk Management Unit Goulburn Correctional Centre I am writing to give you permission to make any inquiries on my behalf as I am invalid pensioner who doesn't drive and been only well enough to travel by train once in 15 months to see my son Scott Simpson. I have enclosed a copy of Scott's letter and also a copy of gaol papers form I have to fill out and wait to see if I'm allowed in to see him. He doesn't get any visits. He is in the Supermax and deprived of any privileges not even legal Aid will fund a solicitor to see him in Goulburn.
WA Jail trade in 'sex for favours' THE West Australian Government has ordered an inquiry into claims guards at Perth's main women's prison are trading favours for sex, and encouraging inmates to form lesbian relationships.
Beyond Bars Alliance colleagues There are certainly problems with the IG's terms of reference and the position is not nearly as strong as it should or could be but it should not be lost it should be strengthened (along the lines of the UK IG of Prisons) to provide an independent voice to the Parliament regarding activities and processes that otherwise happen behind prison walls.
Submissions for Review of Inspector General There is a very serious attack happening on the office of the NSW Inspector General of Corrective Services. A secret and flawed review is taking place at this moment, and we call upon all individuals and organisations interested in the area to make their views known.
Australia: Private Prisons, Junee NSW When I got to Junee I was given nothing except bed linen. That's it! No clothing. I had to put my name down for clothing, which they said I could get on Saturday. When I went down to get my clothing on Saturday I was told they had nothing but I was told that I could buy what I wanted on their monthly buy-up. In the mean time I got rashes between my legs from the dirty clothes I had on.
ARUNTA PHONE SYSTEM: IDC Lithgow Prison The prisoners of Lithgow Correctional Centre have requested that the Lithgow Inmate Development Committee write to you on their behalf and ask that the phone systems heavy burden upon the prisoners at this institution and their families be reviewed. I will outline the problems.
Health problems denied in prison Lithgow Correctional Centre (IDC) Inmate Development Committee "Currently there are 72 inmates on the doctors waiting list with only one doctor coming fortnightly and usually on a weekend".
NSW Prisons Inmate Development Committee speaks out I am writing on behalf of the IDC Inmate Development Committee in area 3, MSPC at Long Bay. Area 3 is where, the Department is congregating minimum-security offenders within maximum-security walls whilst awaiting mandatory programs at Cubit (Sex Offenders Program).
Sir David Longland Correctional Centre If it were possible to characterize the term B Block attitude in a modern dictionary, it would read something like "demeanor of inhabitance" or "state of mind or behaviour of occupants".
SIR DAVID LONGLAND CORRECTIONAL CENTRE QLD - CELLS IN B BLOCK The cells in B Block are like no other in any Queensland prison. After Mr. Cooper was severally embarrassed by the Abbott and Co escape on 4th November 1997, he visited B Block and the surrounding grounds. It was that visit, by Cooper, that set in motion a plan (up the ante) to make sure security in B Block would never embarrass him again. It was like closing the gate after the horse has bolted.
Inspector General Ignored On Womens Prison Four months after a report from the Inspector General on Mulawa Correctional Centre, key recommendations involving safety and welfare of prisoners and staff have been ignored. Kathryn Armstrong (former chair of Inmate Development Committee) and Annabel Walsh, released from Mulawa Womens Prison in February, have produced an independent report confirming the findings of the Inspector General.
Distribution of: 'How to Votes in prisons'? Justice Action have received information from Andrew Burke of the NSW Greens that they have enquired with the Department of Corrective Services as to the procedure for distributing their How To Votes in prisons in the period before the election.
Getting Justice Wrong DPP make full admissions Back in May 2001 Nicholas Cowdery QC made an error at law by giving a speech called Getting Justice Wrong at the University of New England, Armidale Thursday, 31 May 2001. Sir Frank Kitto, Lecture now published at the DPP website. At page six, paragraph 3 under the heading:
NSW ELECTION 2003: VOTE 1 GREENS Inspector-General: The Greens believe that the role of the Inspector-General is crucial to the proper functioning of the prison system. It has never been more important to have a powerful watchdog role than today. Section 3.11 of our Criminal Justice Policy commits the Greens to "strengthening the role of the Inspector-General of Prisons."
Doing time even harder: 146 prisoners far from home The United States, however, has detained without trial about 650 men from 43 countries. They include Australians David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib, who are held at the Guantanamo Bay naval base as part of the sweep against global terrorism [scapegoats for the Coalition of the Killing's, pre-emptive strikes, occupation and genocide for resources in the Middle East.]
Human Rights 'Framed' Here is a quick report on our Human Rights Commission approach on Framed (the quarterly magazine of Justice Action) being banned from all NSW prisons. After 42 issues went in.
Prison Privatisation: Death camps looming in NSW I asked for the identification of the person I was speaking to and was told that I was not entitled to that information. I needed to verify the call and asked for a name or number to register my call because I was asked to get those details by my coordinator.The person refused to identify themselves either by name or number. I asked to be transferred to a senior person and was refused. The person I spoke to then hung up the phone.
Corrections Victoria and criminal acts: SCS-4\320 UPDATE You have stated "Section 30 of the Corrections Act 1986 and the Information Privacy Act 2000, restricts the release of confidential information regarding prisoners, I therefore am unable to provide any information regarding this matter."
Death camps looming in Victoria A letter was received on 15 January 03 from SCS-4\320 a remand prisoner in Victoria's Barwon Prison I later found out that the prisoner was in the Acacia High Security Unit.
Take crime talk beyond the bars:'lobby group' A coalition of academics, crime experts, welfare and church groups is preparing to launch an intensive pre-election campaign aimed at refocusing the attention of NSW politicians from harsh sentencing reforms to crime prevention strategies.
APPOINTMENT OF KLOK IS: 'DECLARATION OF WAR' The decision of the Carr government to appoint John Jacob Klok as the new Assistant Commissioner for Corrective Services in charge of security represents a statement of contempt to all those concerned about law and justice in NSW.
Prisoners Representatives Excommunicated Ron Woodham, Commissioner Corrective Services stated "[this Department] does not recognise Justice Action as an advocate on correctional centre issues." He has ordered a ban on all Justice Action material inside the NSW prison system. This resulted from a request for the approval of the latest edition of Framed (the Magazine of Justice Action) to be distributed throughout NSW prisons as has occurred for the past ten years.
Dept of Corrective Services: Rotten Ron Woodham on the ropes This is The Freeedom Of Speech and The Press in a goldfish-bowl! Herr Goebells has spoken. Zieg Heil! (Which means, actually: "aim-for health!" incidentally)Apologies for not making meetings ... my first experiences with Woodham (then a -screw-gestapo-minor-with-a-friendly-dog - AND YOU KNOW WHAT IT MEANS WHEN EVEN HIS DOG DOESN`T LIKE HIM?)
At the Minister's Pleasure The case of Michael Kelly Michael is caught up in a particularly cruel version of the game of Cat and Mouse. Because he is classified as a forensic patient under the Mental Heath Act of NSW, the Minister for Health is his master, not the Minister for Corrective Services. And the Minister for health will not let him go.
EX-PRISONER UNEMPLOYMENT: SENTENCED FOR LIFE Name removed by request served time in prison decades ago. Shes still being punished today. According to commonwealth and state legislation, ex-prisoners applying for jobs must declare any conviction that fits into the following categories: less than 10 years old, more than 10 years old but served more than 30 months in prison.
ARE YOU INNOCENT? The Australian Law Reform Commission had recommended that the Innocence Panel be independent and have the power to investigate alleged miscarriages of justice.
RESTORING TRUE JUSTICE: Australian prisons are fast becoming the new asylums of the third millennium. The prison industry is booming, while Australia spends far less on mental health services than similar countries.
Medical records Alex Mitchell's lost world Perhaps we can get your medical report and spew it around publicly so you can see how it feels. But surely we do not have to go that far. And of course we are law-abiding citizens and I should think it would be enough to remind you of your ethics to report at all.
NSW Department of Corrective Services attack right to privacy Corrective Services Minister Richard Amery has a problem attacking prisoners right to privacy.It seems to us that a civil society is best served when social justice laws are applied to all people regardless of their circumstances. Once government starts making exceptions which disadvantage certain groups and individuals, such laws are meaningless.
Litigants are drowning: in the High Court There were so many self represented litigants appearing in the High Court that more than half of its registry staff's time was taken up in dealing with them. The "go it alone" litigants have to take on tasks well above their qualified league causing them stress. This growing problem cannot be left unchecked.
Everyone wants to get out of 'jail' but 'Framed' wants life: Rotten Ron on the ropes On 2 May 2002, Justice Action received a faxed letter from Manager of DCS Operations Support Branch saying that, in his view, articles in Framed edition #42 'lack balance and integrity' and he is therefore 'not prepared to recommend this issue of Framed for placement in to correctional centre libraries.' Prisoners and those concerned about prisoner issues have very few sources of information.
Prisoners can prove innocence for $20? Les Kennedy Daily Telegraph reported today that" Prisoners who believe that DNA will prove they were wrongly convicted will have the chance to prove their innocence for a mere $20 administration fee. The move comes 20 months after NSW inmates were asked to provide DNA for comparison with a databank of DNA from unsolved crime scenes for possible convictions.
NSW opposition pledges review of detention laws A spokesperson for Justice Action Ms Anal Advice said " NSW Prisons are a sex offence if you have been raped, bashed and squatted down to be strip searched. People should be diverted from going there at all material times".
The punishment: Is the 'crime' The punishment is the crime according to retired chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia Justice Alistair Nicholson. "Smacking a child ought to be seen as assault".
NSW prisons - primary industry bailed up! In many quiet regional centres around NSW there is a new primary industry shaping up. It has something to do with Bail but not with bales. The minister for Agriculture Richard Amery who also has the prisons portfolio is now committed to farming prisoners.
Black Nexus The Separation of Powers Doctrine is nowcontaminated witharangeofcolours, now leaving us with a black shirt on a once blue bridge that crossed that thin blue line. The 'Amery and Woodham show'.
Prison Mind Games-Do they exist? Directives are given inside the prison system that are not consistent with the law in NSW. And not in the good interests of the health and well being of the prisoners.
Chronology - A History of Australian Prisons [Allegedly:] The events that have shaped NSW prisons - from convict days through royal commissions, to the Supermax of today. [I say allegedly because no one should trust Four Corners [Walls], why? Because they spill out the propaganda of the day for the Government, whether it be wrong or right. A government that lies and has no remorse about it.]
Justice Action Justice Action is a community based organisation of criminal justice activists. We are prisoners, academics, victims of crime, ex-prisoners, lawyers and general community members. We believe that meaningful change depends upon free exchange of information and community responsibility.
Beyond Bars Alliance colleagues I imagine all of you received Justice Action's email yesterday regarding the position of Inspector General of Corrective Services.
Community Restorative Centre NSW spends more than half a billion tax dollars a year on prisons. It costs $60,000 to keep someone in maximum security for a year: more than double the minimum wage. CRC looks for and implements better solutions to the high social and economic costs of crime.
Sisters Inside Inc Sisters Inside Inc. is an independent community organisation, which exists to advocate for the human rights of women in the criminal justice system, and to address gaps in the services available to them. We work alongside women in prison in determining the best way to fulfil these roles.
Smart Justice Smart Justice does not support any party but calls for investment in prevention, alternatives to custody and initiatives that tackle the causes of crime. It is important to dispel the myths about 'law and order' and promote real solutions to crime and violence.
Shine For Kids What happens for a young person who has a parent in prison?There are a lot of consequences for children or young people who have a parent in prison. During Groupwork the kids themselves have identified as being:
Children of Prisoners' Support Group Children of Prisoner's welcomes Ann Symonds as our first Patron at this years AGM and screening of "The Space in Between" video , and will have a visual display to demonstrate the invisible population of children effected by parental incarceration.
Florida's effort to remove felons from voter rolls deeply flawed
US: TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Gov. Jeb Bush looked out over a roomful of felons appealing to him for something they had lost, and tried to reassure them.
"Don't be nervous; we're not mean people," the governor said as some fidgeted, prayed, hushed children or polished their handwritten statements. "You can just speak from the heart."
And they did: convicted robbers, drunken drivers, drug traffickers and others, all finished with their sentences, standing up one by one in a basement room at the State Capitol and asking Bush to restore their civil rights. Their files before him, Bush asked one man about his drinking, another about his temper, and so on.
Four mornings a year, this unusual scene unfolds in front of the governor and his cabinet, as they review the requests of some of the thousands of felons whom Florida has stripped of their rights to vote, serve on a jury and hold public office.
Since daybreak on Nov. 8, 2000, when the nation awoke to the shock of a presidential race ending in a virtual tie, Florida's voting laws and practices have been the subject of intense debate and scrutiny.
The disputed election results led the state to adopt sweeping changes in how votes are cast and counted and how voter rolls are maintained. Yet as Florida becomes an election-year battleground again, with Governor Bush vowing to ensure victory here for his brother and Democrats eager to reclaim the state, its electoral practices - including its felon disenfranchisement law - are drawing renewed attention.
In one lingering puzzle from 2000, an unknown number of legal voters were removed from Florida's rolls leading up to the presidential election, after a company working for the state mistakenly identified the voters as felons.
At the same time, some counties mistakenly allowed actual felons to vote or turned away legitimate voters as suspected felons. A lawsuit filed in January 2001 sought to prevent similar errors, while another, filed just before the 2000 election, charged that the ban on felons voting discriminated against blacks and should be overturned.
Critics say that, [war criminal], President Bush would have lost in 2000 if disenfranchised felons had been allowed to vote. A 2001 report by a University of Minnesota sociologist counted more than 600,000 in Florida, not including those still in prison, on parole or on probation. More than one in four black men here may not vote, the report found. The state says it is impossible to know how many disenfranchised felons live here, because some have died or moved.
Although the Democratic Party here has not made fighting the ban a priority since 2000, to the frustration of civil rights groups, Scott Maddox, the party chairman, said he had followed the issue closely and believed the governor and legislature supported the ban for partisan reasons.
"It's amazing to me that these Republicans that keep quoting the Bible seemingly don't believe in redemption and forgiveness when it comes to restoring civil rights," Mr. Maddox said through a spokeswoman.
Florida is the largest of the seven states that permanently take away the voting rights of all felons. While other states have scaled back similar bans in recent years, Governor Bush and the Legislature call their law a necessary consequence for citizens who commit crimes, and point out that many are eventually granted clemency.
"The governor believes this is a fair process," Jacob DiPietre, a spokesman for Bush, wrote in an e-mail response to questions about the ban. He pointed out that more criminals were getting their rights restored without hearings under a smoother process set in place by the governor.
Partly because the ban drew widespread attention after 2000, the backlog of felons whose applications for rights restoration are under review - 35,585 as of March 15, is more than five times what it was in July 2001.
The state automatically restores the rights of some felons after reviewing their records, while others need only fill out a short application. But others, including convicted drug traffickers, sex offenders, violent offenders and those guilty of public corruption, must go through an investigation and wait for a hearing in Tallahassee, which can take years.
Many felons apply not just to regain voting rights, but because they cannot qualify for certain state-issued professional licenses - nursing or contracting licenses, for example - unless their rights are restored.
Julio Lima, who was convicted on cocaine trafficking charges in 1997 said he had since gone to school to become an insurance adjuster but could not get a license without civil rights. Mr. Lima, 34, said he applied for restoration in 2002 and was still waiting for a hearing date.
The clemency board, which consists of the governor and his three cabinet members, has files on each applicant. The State Parole Commission recommends before their hearings whether to accept their applications, based partly on investigations that might include interviews with employers, neighbors and victims. But the board does not always follow the recommendations.
"How's the anger situation going?" Bush asked one man after leafing through his file on the most recent hearing day, March 18, when the clemency board considered 57 voting rights cases.
"You've stayed clean?" the governor asked another.
Over the course of that morning, board members seemed especially interested to know whether former alcohol and drug abusers were now sober. They had little patience for multiple traffic violations, domestic violence records and blame passing.
They rejected the application of a man convicted of killing a pregnant woman while driving drunk in 1989 (her mother was there, tearfully saying that he had never apologized) and a man convicted of a lewd act against a child in 1993. They restored the rights of a former drug addict who now helps AIDS patients and a convicted drug trafficker who said he wanted to make his young daughter proud by voting.
[But what has the type of crime got to do with restoring the rights of the people who have served their time?]
In all, the board restored the rights of 23 felons, rejected the applications of 30 and delayed decisions on 4.
The law has been on the books since 1868, when Florida gave blacks the right to vote as a condition of the state's being readmitted to the Union after the Civil War.
A new State Constitution drafted that year expanded the number of crimes that required disenfranchisement, a change that critics say was meant to affect blacks disproportionately. They also charge that this discriminatory intent of the ban persists even though the provision was re-enacted in 1968 as part of a new Constitution.
A federal judge in Miami dismissed one lawsuit seeking to overturn the ban, Johnson v. Bush, filed just before the 2000 election by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University. But in December, an appeals court in Atlanta reversed the decision and ordered a trial, saying the state had to prove it re-enacted the law for a "nondiscriminatory purpose" and not just for the sake of continuity. The state has asked for a rehearing of the appeal.
In recent decades, the largest number of people who regained their voting rights in a year was 16,192 in 1986, under Gov. Bob Graham, a Democrat. But the numbers dropped sharply in the 1990's, when another Democrat, Lawton Chiles, was governor. That is because the state made it harder for many felons to get restoration during the tough-on-crime era of the early 90's.
"Jeb Bush is not responsible for this problem," said Howard Simon, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida. "It's more than 100 years in the making under both Democrats and Republicans. But Jeb Bush and his cabinet are the only ones who can alleviate it right now."
By ABBY GOODNOUGH posted 30 March 04
Abolish the Security Housing Units: MIM March 6 -- Protesters took to the streets in cities across the state of California to demand California prisons shut down the Security Housing Units (SHU). Like other control unit prisons across the country, the SHU are prisons within a prison. They are solitary confinement cells where prisoners are locked up 23 hours a day for years at a time. The one hour a day these prisoner sometimes get outside of their cell is spent alone in an exercise pen not much larger than their cell, with no direct sunlight.
USA: Sobering Prison Statistics US: If recent incarceration rates remain unchanged, an estimated 1 out of every 20 persons (5.1%) will serve time in a prison during their lifetime.
Helping Prisoners Find Their Way Home? Antonio Pinder used to be scared of returning home from prison, stricken by fear that he would fall back into the life that landed him behind bars. He hadn't had a steady job before he was sent away 13 years ago, and he worried that he never would. A year out of prison, he is still searching for work.
The Truth About Private Prisons Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the nation's largest operator of prisons for profit, is celebrating its 20th anniversary throughout this year "at both the company's corporate Nashville office and at all of the more than 60 prisons, jails and detention centers under CCA ownership and/or management."
CCA PRIVATE PRISONS: REPORT GRASSROOTS LEADERSHIP New National Study of Corrections Corporation of America Warns Investors and Legislators of Risky Investment. Report explores continuing operational and financial problems; questions CCA's long-term viability as states reassess prison policies.
Finally, States Release The Pressure on Prisons? US: After decades of massive prison growth, America may be ending its love affair with incarceration. Policymakers around the country, some of whom previously supported ratcheting up punishments, have begun to rethink the wisdom of unbridled prison expansion, and are advocating alternatives to simply "locking them up and throwing away the key."
California Parole System Deemed 'Broken' SACRAMENTO, Calif: California spends $1.5 billion annually on parolees who mostly fail and are sent back behind bars because they are no better prepared for life on the outside than the day they entered prison, according to a report.
USA: With Cash Tight, States Reassess Long Jail Terms OLYMPIA, Wash., Nov. 6 - After two decades of passing ever tougher sentencing laws and prompting a prison building boom, state legislatures facing budget crises are beginning to rethink their costly approaches to crime.
A STRUGGLE ON TWO FRONTS: PRISONS & IMPERIALIST WAR After a war waged by the U.S. military against Vietnam which took the lives of more than 3 million Vietnamese people and more than 58,000 GIs, the U.S. finally withdrew in 1975. It had suffered its first official major military defeat by a united people struggle led by the Vietnamese, along with a mass U.S. anti-war movement.
Report on State Prisons Cites Mental Illness NEW YORK: Nearly one of every four New York State prisoners who are kept in punitive segregation [solitary confinement], confined to a small cell at least 23 hours a day are mentally ill, according to a new report by a nonprofit group that has been critical of state prison policies.
Shut down the Security Torture Units San Francisco: October 18 In solidarity with other prison activist organizations, MIM, RAIL, the Barrio Defense Committee (BDC) and the Prison Reform Unity Project held a four hour rally in San Francisco demanding the Security Housing Units (SHUs) in California prisons be shut down.
Solitary Confinement: Mental illness in prisons As noted earlier, inmates [prisoners] with mental illness are over represented in our toughest prison settings. Symptoms of mental illness (i.e., delays in response time, paranoia, difficulty interpreting the actions of others, command hallucinations, and so on) can make complying with prison rules difficult.
Post-Incarceration Sentences Pat: "The 1990s brought a new front in the war on drugs, featuring a new layer of the Prison Industrial Complex, which has the effect of ensuring that people coming in contact with the criminal punishment system remain within the grasp of the Prison Industrial Complex even beyond prison walls."
Inside Prison, Outside the Law Every year, tens of thousands of prisoners in state and federal custody are attacked. The exact number who die is difficult to determine: According to the nonprofit Criminal Justice Institute, in 2000, the most recent year for which figures have been compiled, 55 prisoners were murdered, 39 died "accidentally," and 118 died for unknown reasons.
Day Seven of the Fast for Freedom in Mental Health: PASADENA, CALIF: On the seventh day of a hunger strike by six psychiatric survivors to oppose human rights violations in the mental health system, the American Psychiatric Association faces a direct and unprecedented challenge from a Scientific Panel of 14 academics and clinicians.
Supreme Court Justice Criticises Sentencing Guidelines San Francisco, August 9, 2003, Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy said today that prison terms are too long and that he favours scrapping the practice of setting mandatory minimum sentences for some federal crimes.
US prison population 2.1 million The US prison population grew more than twice as fast last year as in 2001, bringing the total number of people held behind bars in the United States to more than 2.1 million, a record, according to a government report.
McKean Federal Prison: An Alleged Model McKean, a federal correctional institution [? prison], does everything that "make 'em bust rocks" politicians decry--imagine, educating inmates [prisoners]! And it works. [Allegedly works.]
Prisoners Justice Day Press Release (Montreal) On August 10th, 1974, Eddie Nalon bled to death in a solitary confinement unit at Millhaven Maximum Security Prison near Kingston,Ontario when the emergency call button in his cell failed to work. An inquest later found that the call buttons in that unit had been deactivated by the guards.
Notebook of a Prison Abolitionist In his autobiography, Frederick Douglass recalls how as a slave he would occasionally hear of the "abolitionists." He did not know the full meaning of the word at first, but he heard it used in ways that he found appealing.
Study Warns of Rising Tide of Released Prisoners Washington: More than 625,000 former prisoners will be coming back into U.S. society this year, part of a record flow of prisoners who will face crushing obstacles in finding work and housing and repairing long-fractured family ties, according to a newly released study.
Second International Conference on Human Rights & Prison Reform **This second gathering will be much smaller and more in depth in participation. A report on the human rights violation of discrimination in regard to prisoners will be produced. This report will be given to the Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights which will be having its annual meeting near our conference and is the"think tank" for the human rights agenda of the United Nations.
Judged Forever- The Orange County Register US: California's largest job-placement program for parolees will be shut down May 31 after an Orange County Register investigation found that ex-convicts were sent to questionable jobs [?] and that the state was charged for placements that did not occur. [? According to the ruling-class]
California Family Visiting Case US: CALIFORNIA: Today (5/03/08) in Superior Court around twenty friends and family members of inmates from CSP Solano showed up to show their support in the Gordon vs. CA Department of Corrections (Case #322862) which deals with the subject of bringing back Family Visits to all inmates.
Justices question prison visitation policies WASHINGTON: In a case that could affect the visitation rights of millions of prisoners, Supreme Court justices on Wednesday struggled with the question of whether inmates have a constitutional right to visits with friends and family.