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  #1  
Unread 6th December 2012, 11:19 AM
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Idea Drug Wars, Migrant Discrimination & Prison Reform: Real Solutions for healing Economy

I have often wondered how the President will ensure that he has a memorable legacy - and in processing the issue, what is surprising to me is that people on ALL sides have often ignored one the biggest issues that not only needs to be dealt with ...but that would ensure real change on the long term - and that change is with our American prison systems.

To be clear, I think part of establishing a good legacy is getting the finances placed in the right areas - as all sides have shown they don't have a problem spending and really it's more of an issue of showing where they want to have funding go. Getting immigration reform passed - with the Dream Act back on the table (in light of the many ways Latinos/Hispanics supported him on a myriad of ways he has already aided them ...more here/here) - is a big deal and something he needs to take seriously.


Howevwer, alongside immigration reform as a big focus, the president needs to do A LOT more focus on the ways that prison reform is in need of serious aid - especially as it concerns all the people complaining on higher taxes and the cry for spending less on social service programs (wrongly concluding that it's wrong for government to help) and yet remaining MUTE on the myriad of ways they won't address significant spending when it comes to the prison industrial complex which is harming minorities at substantial levels. It's sad enough that over 200,000 undocumented immigrants were detained last year in the two largest private prisons that are being backed by big investment banks such as Citigroup, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and WellsFargo. ..and thus, while a lot of Republicans have issue with immigration reform, you don't hear any talk on prisoners being wrongly utilized.




Private businesses are making vast amounts of money running prisons to incarcerate non-violent drug offenders -with the Drug War being one of the greatest waste of money/resources (billions) and yet still allowed to occur since it targets other groups. This represents a huge waste of money. Litigator-turned-legal-scholar Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow, argues well that we have not ended racial caste in America, but instead we have simply redesigned it: The U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary means of racial control, even as it formally adheres to the principle of color blindness. Her provocative new book challenges the civil rights communityand all of usto place mass incarceration at the forefront of a new movement for racial justice in America. As the United States celebrates the nation's triumph over race with the election of Barack Obama, the majority of young black men in major American cities are locked behind bars or have been labeled felons for life......and can't find work once they get out of prison (even if/when they reform in prison and seek education to take care of their families on the outside - and thus, stay trapped in a system of corruption).




The Prison-Industrial complex is doing much damage to the nation on so many levels and it needs to end...as Michelle Alexander noted wisely. Other scholars, such as Dr. Boyce Watkins, have said that President OBama is Fueling the Prison Industrial Complex. However, the proposed increase spending by the Obama Administration will be mostly used for much-needed ex-felon rentry programs per the Second Chance Act signed into law on April 9, 2008. Moreover, the increased spending will also target the mentally ill caught-up in the judicial system, by introducing more diversion programs. And of the 2 million or so people incarcerated in America, a significant number of them are mentally ill - with it seeming to be the case that President Obama'S administration is attempting to reduce the number of individuals who would ordinarily be incarcerated by the 40-year-long failed drug war.

According to the White House:
The Budget provides $153 million in prisoner rentry and jail diversion programs, including $80 million for the Second Chance Act programs and $52 million for problem-solving grants supporting drug courts, mentally ill offender assistance, and other problem-solving approaches. With 2.3 million people in U.S. prisons and 1 in 32 American adults under some kind of correctional supervision, these programs aim to divert individuals from incarceration, reduce recidivism, and achieve public safety in a more sensible way.
It isn't a negative thing seeking to help men and women transition back into society upon release from prison, nor is it negative to attempt filling prisons/jails with others providing services for the mentally ill. But to address the issues from the root as it concerns the ways prison is being a privatized industry and many are denied education and punished as a result with prison ...those things must be faced head -on. And although President Obama has sought to address the issue in various ways, from Responsible Fatherhood Programs (more shared here, here, here and here) to reforming the Educational System, much more work is needed.


For other articles on the issue:
The racism toward minorities - be it Hispanics or Blacks - is something that will always be an economic issue...and I often find it so amazing that others talk on the need to not fight for immigration reform/spending on that - saying they don't want undocumented workers - and yet say nothing as it concerns other immigrants doing the jobs not many others (if anyone else ) does since those jobs are considered at the bottom...and yet without them, a lot of things would break apart. Someone once said to me that folks have no problem with a Latino worker who's in the Hotel cleaning or placing chocolate on your pillows once they get things taken care of - or cutting the grass and doing construction....but the moment they are able to become equals living in the same neighborhoods of employers and actually have significant representation, that's when you hear complaints - and again, silence on the ways prisons are locking up immigrants at rapid rates (often without representation ) and having no problem wasting a lot of money for prisons set up to house immigrants/keep them there while still benefiting from the labor they do - both within and outside of prison.

We have the money for a lot of things...but because the priorities aren't right in other areas, it messes up the entire equation on what a balanced budget looks like. Curtailing those things would do a lot as it concerns opening up resources for financial aid. A lot of what is occurring is similar to what happened in the film "Shawshank Redeemption" where the Warden begins exploiting prison labor for public works, profiting by undercutting skilled labor costs and receiving kickbacks ...very much like it is today when privatized prisons use prison labor for cheap work - and have the benefit of prisoners being seen as having no rights whatsoever to protest and having others involved in it such as Walmart and ALEC since billions are often made behind bars ..especially from migrants placed in jail - as discussed elsewhere in #102 / #108 ).

Although the president has sought to aid more funding on helping prisoners out as it concerns social services out, it'd really make a clear statement that he's for helping us get back on a balanced budget while also aiding people by cutting funding to practices that truly do damage - as opposed to doing what many have done when seeing a budget and thinking "Well, lets cut services to the elderly/disabled and destitute since we'd save money and make more jobs!!" and yet not considering how the jobs they give money to already harm others and take away from funding to other opportunities that need investment.

I think it'd make a BIG difference if spending was taken away substantially from the privatization of prison systems (the prison industrial complex ) since BILLIONS of dollars are placed there alongside many others - often unjustly - since prison is a business and many BIG Businesses cash in on it. And as long as much in the way of financial support is going toward that, there'll be less funding for other necessary things ...with others trying to "fix" that by taking away from programs that need to be funded for the benefit of those in need/destitute (i.e. widows, orphans, disabled, veterans, elderly, etc.) when it comes to social welfare programs - predominately the ones focused on Welfare Reform and doing well.

Whether you agree or disagree, if you want to share thoughts, you're more than welcome. Shalom...
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  #2  
Unread 6th December 2012, 12:22 PM
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The downside to your excellent posts, is you often say all that needs to be said. Bravo! I obviously don't disagree one bit. You touched on the war on drugs and I certainly think that needs to end and we need to free all non-violent drug felons and restore their full rights immediately. Ending federal funding is also key but with less prison population, the need for those funds is drastically diminished anyway so it may be a positive domino effect from ending the war on drugs.

Add to that immigration reform which you also covered quite well, are all factors that will change the dynamic of prisons for profit. If there is significantly less profit to be made, people are no longer interested in being in the business and that has a rippling effect though the entire judicial system and how judges who serve private business interests by incarcerating people, just to fill a vacancy, will have no reason to continue to pursue such unrighteous judgments.

When you think about it. Maybe that is a part of the whole obstruction strategy. If we stay gridlocked on pure economic issues, we never have the chance to have these discussion which could lead to real solutions under this president. As i alluded to in another thread, Obama has the chance to go down as just the first black president or as one of the greatest presidents in our history. Time will tell.
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Unread 6th December 2012, 12:34 PM
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Excellent post...and I agree it's an issue that has been ignored for too long. We simply incarcerate too many people...and we're paying the price financially and socially.

It's sad enough that over 200,000 undocumented immigrants were detained last year in the two largest private prisons that are being backed by big investment banks such as Citigroup, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and WellsFargo. ..and thus, while a lot of Republicans have issue with immigration reform, you don't hear any talk on prisoners being wrongly utilized.
Yes, politicians have been milking the fear of illegal immigration for some time. Fortunately, that milk can is about to run dry. Arizonans have seen first hand the get tough and lock-em-up mentality simply isn't working. Fortunately, more rational voices are starting to emerge on the topic of immigration reform:

Dubbed the Solution to Federal Immigration Reform, or SANE, the plan calls for continuing to strengthen border security and focus on immigration enforcement but also letting illegal immigrants earn legal status and revamping the nation’s visa system so immigrants can come legally to fill labor demands.
http://www.azcentral.com/news/politi...s-leaders.html
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Unread 6th December 2012, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by HiLo View Post
You touched on the war on drugs and I certainly think that needs to end and we need to free all non-violent drug felons and restore their full rights immediately. Ending federal funding is also key but with less prison population, the need for those funds is drastically diminished anyway so it may be a positive domino effect from ending the war on drugs..
I think the ways that we can deal with the war on drugs is by examining logically the other ways that it has actually branched out into supporting other economies around the world - thus making more markets when it comes to the Black Market (where others often have their hands in the pockets of other rich leaders/businessmen in the U.S) and the prison system being privatized. It's all one huge web that has gotten intangled in everything...and sadly, as much as the U.S says it's against things like Drug usage and terrorism from that, there are indirect benefits from keeping the Drug War around since it provides for other economies "off the books" (so to speak) and allows them to create a system that generates profit in the U.S...like staging a battle/creating an enemy so you have reason to galvinize others for war and make more profit. Not many wish to address the issue of drugs/narcotics dealers, and smuggling being one of the largest industries that in some ways keep the cash flow going.

For reference/study:



Add to that immigration reform which you also covered quite well, are all factors that will change the dynamic of prisons for profit. If there is significantly less profit to be made, people are no longer interested in being in the business and that has a rippling effect though the entire judicial system and how judges who serve private business interests by incarcerating people, just to fill a vacancy, will have no reason to continue to pursue such unrighteous judgments.
There's also the issue of the IMAGE mediawise of who and what a prisoner is. Many seem to assume that all in prison are "guilty"/"deserve to be there" - and thus, you often don't hear any public outcry on the matter since most accept it...counter to other issues where people see the face of what immigrants/migrants really do.

The media, which can often be bought, has been very influential in determining how others see and therefore respond to issues that people profit from. And as long as that's left alone and there's no education on the matter, more prisons will keep being filled up needlessly. There was a story of one individual I heard of from what's known as The Innocence Project . And it broke my heart seeing how he had been in prison for 17yrs and was innocent due to not having a speedy trial/evidence properly brought forth that went counter to what they had. Although he's back with his wife, that is a GRAVE injustice that happens often - and for families that don't have their fathers in the home, that's evil (IMHO).

The stereotypes others often place on you because of prison are something else that leads to destruction. For single fathers/men coming out of prison who are very hard workers seeking to take care of their families and do everything on their end to see their own are taken care of - even getting education while in prison/being HIGHLY intelligent and articulate (and yet in some places, because of their record, they're denied a job/stereotyped - even though others have done substantial work in addressing the issue, as seen here/here/ here/here/here/ here/here/here/here/here and here). THere was one study years ago on the ways that others without jobs have often been discriminated against due to ethnic issues, as job applications with the same material of high quality were submitted and yet those with more ethnic sounding names (like "Tyrone" or "Terrel") were ignored whereas those with traditional American names (like "John" or "David") were consistently accepted:
Those things have happened often - and thus, no one can act as if all people not able to find a job/impoverished are in the position because of a lack of education/qualifications.
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Unread 6th December 2012, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by HiLo View Post
When you think about it. Maybe that is a part of the whole obstruction strategy. If we stay gridlocked on pure economic issues, we never have the chance to have these discussion which could lead to real solutions under this president. As i alluded to in another thread, Obama has the chance to go down as just the first black president or as one of the greatest presidents in our history. Time will tell.
My friend and I were discussing that very issue recently, as it concerns how often you'll not hear any talk on the prison situation - or the work of others who've worked with prisoners to get jobs (more shared in #125 ), be it those in former gangs or others who were convicted for other reasons. For as much as we talk on addressing the issues impacting our nation, it seems like this would be a glaring elephant in the room - and my friend pointed out that actually having a REAL conversation on it would go against the point of Presidential Debates as they are today since the populace is used to having micro-wave entertainment answers as opposed to seeing people impacted in real life. The same goes for what's seen in the political commentary networks whenever folks bring up issues thinking they're disconnected from others....and yet when you start asking questions, you see that no one really wants to answer them.

I've often said multiple times that businesses with prison are doing JUST fine...and not many want to ruin that money maker even though the ethics are off. It's sad how much of our prison systems have been corrupt and doing things that people never deserved. And there's something highly odd when certain institutions seem to be thriving and prospering when so many others are failing...and the ones that are thriving happen to be the ones many banks have their hands into.
This is directly tied to areas where investments have also been problematic when creating more problems....as it concerns what you noted on education. When men aren't allowed economic mobility and wrongly placed in prisons - with them being released back into the streets and yet still dealing with a system that is geared against them in stereotyping/preventing them from working a job, what else do you expect them to do except return to those things which get them in jail to begin with? One can quickly think back to 1930′s and the Development of Organized Crime and how profit/competition fueled things from greed to extortion to embezzelment and a host of other means….including making a profit at any cost...and some of it often seemed necessary for others who felt that many buisnesses wouldn't hire others and essentially left them with "Black Market" options to go with (if remembering folks like Bumby Johnson, more shared here/here ).

If the president deals with this, it'd be amazing. For when you deal with the issues of education and prison reform, you help the economy substantially - and it says a lot when others seem more willing to invest in a JAIL cell than they are willing to invest in the education of others/prevention of them going to jail (as mentioned before here in #108 with the work of Geoffrey Canada).
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Unread 6th December 2012, 12:50 PM
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All well said my friend. Let me ask you this. What can we do as individual citizens to help move the conversation forward? I obviously haven't read every link you've provide so maybe it's in there but I'd like your opinion on how we can move from simply highlighting the issues on a forum to actually forcing a national conversation on the facts. Obama can't do it by himself. He needs a coalition of citizens.
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Unread 6th December 2012, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by HiLo View Post
All well said my friend. Let me ask you this. What can we do as individual citizens to help move the conversation forward?.
I think the reality of how to deal with things always starts with proper education - and, for that matter, public awareness on the issues. Additionally, voting on those issues is a BIG deal when it comes to the things people complain about. Immigration Reform had others involved lobbying for it as well as other issues they felt were important - but if no one rallies together - be it in Washington D.C or other key places - for Prison Reform and make their voices known on the state level, nothing can really get done.

Pressure can only be applied when people bring frustration on those issues....and if supporting things in your own state locally that are not for Prison Reform or bills passed for more funding on that, you can only go so far. I'd highly recommend for others to get involved with faith-based organizations that do prison visits, work with the families of prisoners and serve to be a voice/advocate for them. It adds to the relevance of the issue and the experience - and petitions also matter as well as talking to your local State representatives on it.

One of the biggest things I think can be done is more of a push for green-collar jobs for prisoners - as many have benefited from them, be it in working with solar panels or working to clean areas/build. Prisoners are being trained for green jobs when they re-enter society and it needs to happen at a greater level with a realization on where certain jobs can truly change the lives of others
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Last edited by Gxg (G); 6th December 2012 at 01:14 PM.
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Unread 6th December 2012, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by wing2000 View Post
Excellent post...and I agree it's an issue that has been ignored for too long. We simply incarcerate too many people...and we're paying the price financially and socially.



Yes, politicians have been milking the fear of illegal immigration for some time. Fortunately, that milk can is about to run dry. Arizonans have seen first hand the get tough and lock-em-up mentality simply isn't working. Fortunately, more rational voices are starting to emerge on the topic of immigration reform:
Sadly, it grieves me knowing that the media/music culture also does play a part in how many go to prison and why so many feel justified in doing so. When you have things like gang violence and crime going on - with many harming others in the community and thus giving fuel to those who want to harm ALL in the community for their actions - it doesn't make things easier.

For more, here's one of the most powerful documentaries I've seen when it comes to examining the paradox of others either glorifying places others are trying to escape from .or glorifying actions that place them/others in the very systems they say they're against - even if they're correct in noting the ways certain systems are often geared toward being against the groups they come. And not surprisingly, many of those same businesses that profit from putting folks in prison often have their hands in the pockets of the music industry that promotes a lot of mess to put others in prison.

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Proverbs 24:3-6
5 A wise man has great power,
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Originally Posted by wing2000 View Post
Yes, politicians have been milking the fear of illegal immigration for some time. Fortunately, that milk can is about to run dry. Arizonans have seen first hand the get tough and lock-em-up mentality simply isn't working. Fortunately, more rational voices are starting to emerge on the topic of immigration reform:

Yes, politicians have been milking the fear of illegal immigration for some time. Fortunately, that milk can is about to run dry. Arizonans have seen first hand the get tough and lock-em-up mentality simply isn't working. Fortunately, more rational voices are starting to emerge on the topic of immigration reform:

Dubbed the Solution to Federal Immigration Reform, or SANE, the plan calls for continuing to strengthen border security and focus on immigration enforcement but also letting illegal immigrants earn legal status and revamping the nations visa system so immigrants can come legally to fill labor demands.
http://www.azcentral.com/news/politi...s-leaders.html
That's amazing work what you noted with SANE. Very glad to have been made aware of it and will go through it more in-depth later. I think it's very true that the images you see of just locking others away are indeed illusions ..and far from working.
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Unread 6th December 2012, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by wing2000 View Post
Excellent post...and I agree it's an issue that has been ignored for too long. We simply incarcerate too many people...and we're paying the price financially and socially.

Do you have any solutions that you think would help in addressing the issue fully in the times we live in? Or is it a lost cause?
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Coming From MJ Synagogue, Connected in Orthodox Living - & Building God's Kingdom One Brick at a time
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5 A wise man has great power,
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