Archive for Open Editorials

Georgia Capitol Visit

The result of the gathering at the State Capitol. Information about how prison has become “big business.” Be careful! Thanks Matthew!

Our story with the most shares this week focused on the rise of private, for-profit prisons. Yes, there is such a thing; in fact, it’s a $70 billion industry and many of the major contractors who oversee these prisons are also publicly traded corporations.

Wait, how?

States hire these companies because they’re cash strapped, and the cost of incarcerating people is not cheap — between $24,000-$30,000 annually. Private prison companies claim they can house, feed, and monitor inmates more cost effectively than state governments and so there you have it– they win big contracts.

Why is this messed up?

Most private prison contractors have occupancy guarantees that mandate their prisons remain between 80 and 90 percent full. In other words, the more prisoners they house, the more money they make. And the more prisons that are built, the more contracts they win.

A perverse business model

The business model of private prisons is to maximize the amount of people in America who are locked up– not to rehabilitate or ultimately lower incarceration rates. That’s why these companies fight hard for “tough on crime” policies. In the past 10 years, the Corrections Corporation of America (the largest private prison company) spent 17.4 million on lobbying government to criminalize more activities and increase sentencing periods.

This is one reason why America has more prisoners per capita than any other nation in the world and why nearly 1 in 3 young people will be arrested by age 23.

So what can we do?

For starters, do not invest in or buy shares of publicly traded private prison corporations. Second, vote for politicians who want to reduce the incarceration rate and end the War on Drugs. If you are not registered to vote, you can do so here.

 

Follow the link for more future news –  LINK

 

 

 

 

The Federal Bonding Program

Been an eX-offender can be a burden on its own when it comes to job search. However, the burden should not be consider permanent as their is always a way out with a strong will. Attending technical schools or obtaining some type of required skills can be an asset for the eX-offender, but not without its own challenge. Again, when there is a will, there is always a way.

If you are considering getting a new skill set to help facilitate your transition, then consider more information about the “Federal Bonding Program.” The program is offered by the Department of Labor at no cost to you, the eX-offender. If you need more information or know someone who does, please visit or call your local/nearest Department of Labor for more location.

You can also visit http://www.servicelocator.org for more information on how to apply, necessary forms needed to apply and assistance on how to complete and submit the forms. When all else fails, please send email to newstart@reentryproject.org to request assistance. Good luck in your job search.

 

A Mother’s Cry

A PLEA FOR HELP

Many times during the course of any given month, we receive in excess of ten [10] calls from mothers across from the State of Georgia; particularly from Cobb, Dekalb and Fulton Counties for help. These calls are from mothers of incarcerated young men ranging from age 19 through 35 – sometimes older. And what do they have in common? They are all pleading for help. Can you please help my son? He’s coming home [not from military service in Afghanistan or Iraq] but from the prison system after 3, 4, 5 years or sometimes longer sentences.

I am sure when you click on this page, you expect to find it and read the content on it which in turn will empower you to go and do something…whatever that something is, perhaps just for basic information. But you found the page. Imagine after clicking on this page – you find an error page. A 404 Error page with no further instructions….A dead-end! Nothing! How will it feel?

That’s how most of these mothers feel when all they get, at every attempt made in seeking help for their loved ones; ends up in a dead-end. Also, they hear “sorry, we can’t help you” or “call this number or that number etc”. My experience with this project has taught me that telephone numbers in itself do not help people. People – help people.

So, would you help Reentry Project of Cobb County help those mothers who are trying to help their children? We do appreciate your help. Remember that all of your donations to this or other non-profit agencies qualify as tax-deductible.

We are mostly in need of sponsors for our work related program to help get 600 young men out of the streets,  permanently out of the prison industry and into the work force. Please ask for a confidential plan on how this can come to life with your generosity.

From the Desk of Program Director

The 5th Amendment – Part 1

The authors and framers of the United States Constitution did a fine job in creating such a lasting document. But in the 5th Amendment, either through interpretation or criminal negligent – the phrase “double jeopardy” has been nothing short of disaster when it comes to its application – particularly as it relates to the less affluent within our society.

Judges across the land have done as good a job as possible when applying one of two elements needed to reach a fair and balanced decision when it comes to the least fortunate, always susceptible members of our society. And again, it’s good to point out that one of the reasons for such a strong outcome on cases with the 5th Amendment application is because there is no “judicial discretion” when it comes to the law itself. The restriction on both our federal and local law enforcement agencies is pretty steep and leaves no doubt as to the consequences of any attempt to violate such stipulation.

Looking back on all the laws within our Criminal Justice apparatus, the most enduring of the laws are the laws which does not allow for judicial discretion in the areas of its application. Since the Constitution itself seems incorruptible for the last two hundred plus years, I am almost 100% sure that it will be there until the end of time unless otherwise scrapped due to some fanatical takeover of our governmental structure as we know it now. God forbid!

We know that judges come and judges go. Some are elected while some others are appointed. As a result, judges can be influenced by ideology and in some cases, can be bought by various means while others can be bought for a price. Whenever rulings depend on judicial discretion, the full meaning of the law and its application can ultimately be lost and or corrupted.

I said earlier that one element of the law in the 5th Amendment is rock solid and its result un-impeachable. That is the first clause of the amendment which prohibits the prosecution of a person twice for the same offense post-conviction or acquittal on the same charges. In other words, one can only be prosecuted once for the same offense and if convicted, can only be sentenced once not multiple sentences.

A perfect example that most people can easily relate to is the Orenthal James [a.k.a O.J] Simpson’s case. Yes, the government was unhappy with the outcome when O.J Simpson was acquitted. With its unlimited financial resources, the government could have tried Mr. Simpson again in order to obtain a satisfactory outcome. Only the 5th Amendment prohibited the State of California from doing just that.

The part that the 5th Amendment ignored and should have dealt with is the part that deals with “double punishment” for the same crime. If there is a weak link in our criminal justice system, it is in the area of “double punishment” for the same crime. I might have lots of legal experts discarding my point right about now. Please allow me to elaborate a bit further. [To be Continued]

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