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Monday, 29 August 2011

Juvenile Incarceration


While United States citizens in Iraq are committing atrocities on incarcerated Iraqi civilians, at home here in the United States, we have our own incarceration problems.
Recently (particularly with the Bush administration, but with prior administrations too), the United States has decided to renege on international agreements and treaties when it deems those agreements to be an obstruction to U.S. current policies and political objectives. This is true in the arenas of environmental and trade issues, and in the United States' treatment of young people.

The United States is unlike most other countries with the death penalty which have abolished it for juvenile offenders. More than 72 countries with the death penalty do not execute juveniles. There are only 6 countries known to have executed juvenile offenders in the 1990s. Those countries are: the United States, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Nigeria. According to the United Nations (1998), the US policy on executing juvenile offenders violates international laws and treaties signed or ratified by the United States (Juvenile Crime, Adult Adjudication, and the Death Penalty: Draconian Policies Revisited). Clearly, most of the world agrees that putting young people on death row is wrong. At one time, so did the United States.
In addition to the execution of juveniles, some of the other U.S. youth incarceration issues include concerns over abuse and overcrowding in California's Youth Authority as well as the increasing practice of allowing more juveniles to be tried in adult criminal courts. From 1992 through 1997, forty-four states and the District of Columbia passed laws making it easier for juveniles to be tried as adults 

Davontae Sanford, a developmentally disabled 16-year-old, sits in prison after his lawyer says he was coerced to confess to killing four people in a rumored drug house on Detroit's east side. An admission from a confessed hit man could finally win him a new trial.
Vincent Smothers, who had already confessed to killing at least seven people, including the wife of a Detroit police sergeant, also has admitted to being responsible for the September 2007 drug house killings on Runyon, according to police and Sanford's appeals lawyer.

We're hoping to get his plea withdrawn so he can go to trial in light of this new evidence, this was a false confession made by an adolescent who is a special-ed student and who reads on a third-grade level
We believe that if we can get enough people to write and mail letters to Vincent Smothers pleading with him to confess to the murders in court, he may have a change of heart and speak on Davontaes behalf.

Together we could stand up for Davontae, write Vincent Smothers direct and make a plea for assistance on Davontae's behalf.

Vincent Smothers, #295527
Ionia Correctional Facility
1576 W. Bluewater Highway
Ionia, MI 48846

'Positive reinforcement encourages and perpetuates behavior. Attention is power. Whatever we give our attention to increases.'
You can read this request and then forget, or you can take hold of your pen and make a difference, which will you choose?

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