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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

With ISIS Threats on the Homeland, Should the Federal Government Have Completed the Federal Investigative Case Management System, asks Advocacy Group A Just Cause

The Case Investigative Life Cycle (CILC) software by IRP Solutions Corporation is still a viable option for feds in fight against terrorist by providing a single point of access to all intelligence and law enforcement information, says A Just Cause
Denver, Colorado (PRWEB) September 30, 2014
Advocacy group, A Just Cause, will release research findings that illustrates that arguments made byexecutives of IRP Solutions Corporation regarding development of software to help law enforcement share information, align with the federal government’s activity to find a solution to track terrorist organizations and collaborate with other agencies in the war on terror.
“A Just Cause has conducted this research because our organization feels that it is critical in proving the innocence of the IRP Solutions executives who, based on our findings, have been wrongfully incarcerated for over two years”, says Sam Thurman, A Just Cause. “The IRP Solutions executives are known as the IRP6”, adds Thurman.
Court records from the IRP6 case show that IRP Solutions Corporation developed the Case Investigative Life Cycle (CILC) software for federal, state, and local law enforcement. Court records further show that during the trial of the IRP executives, software forensics expert Don Vilfer of Califorensics analyzed the CILC software. According to the analysis conducted by Califorensics, “The software (CILC) contained many notable features, making it a functional product for the intended consumer,” (Califorensics Analysis, Case 1:09-cr-00266-CMA Document 298-2, 10/8/10 USDC Colorado).
“It is very disturbing to hear news reports of new terrorist threats against the Untied States Homeland”, exclaims Thurman. “Just last week there were reports of possible threats against subway systems in New York (CBS News, September 25, 2014 - http://www.cbsnews.com/news/isis-plot-to-attack-new-york-paris-subways-uncovered-iraq-says/). I guess even more disturbing is an NBC News report that showed a Department of Homeland Security bulletin with the statement, ‘…(it is not) clear who, or what agencies in the United States Government were alerted’ (NBC News, September 25, 2014 - http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/isis-terror/iraqi-report-isis-subway-threat-knocked-down-n211496). The DHS statement hints that we are still a ways away from knowing which agencies have key intelligence information, and it would indicate that we are still not sharing critical information”, Thurman alludes.
“We believed that DHS was doing an excellent job several years ago when it was seeking companies to assist with the Federal Investigative Case Management System (FICMS)”, says Gary Walker, IRP Solutions, CEO and Chief Technology Officer (IRP6). “After we met with DHS and agencies that were part of DOJ, we are convinced that the CILC software addressed issues that were raised by DHS during the early phase of FICMS and the Consolidated Enforcement Environment Initiative (CEE)”, continued Walker. “When we were invited to attend the agency’s Industry Day in the fall of 2004 we knew that we had a great opportunity”, Walker added.
According to an article in Government Computer News (GCN.com, March 3, 2005), “In September, the FICMS team held an industry day and released a request for information. The departments closed the event to the press and the public, citing security concerns. But documents from the meeting show that DHS, with more than 40 case management systems to integrate, faces problems on a scale similar to Justice, which runs about 70 case management and related systems.” The article went on to say, “According to a DHS presentation: (1) Agents can't access details of investigations in paper case files around the country. (2) DHS offices and external agencies exchange case and intelligence information via copies of paper files. (3) Officers need up to an hour to search for a case file in 10 to 15 government and private databases. (4) Lack of integration forces duplicate entry of case and incident data. (5) Data entry can take up to five hours per case. (6) After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, a search of nine databases to check for 900 names took weeks. The goal of the FICMS project is to create a single point of access to all law enforcement information and to allow for easy sharing of case data among federal agencies.” (http://gcn.com/Articles/2005/03/03/Should-the-FBI-wait-for-governmentwide-case-management-app.aspx)
“CILC modules, standalone or integrated, are seamlessly adaptable and configurable to the investigative and intelligence workflows and processes of any agency, whether that is Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), FBI, Secret Service, Border Patrol, U.S. Marshals or a multi-agency conglomerate like DHS or DOJ”, says Gary Walker, IRP Solutions, CEO and Chief Technology Officer (IRP6).
According to the 2005 GCN article, DHS program manager Steven Cooper stated, “'It is hoped that there are a set of [commercial] components that would address the architectural needs. We do not believe that one package would address all of the needs, and we would need a systems integrator.” (http://gcn.com/Articles/2005/03/03/Should-the-FBI-wait-for-governmentwide-case-management-app.aspx)
“The software that we developed (CILC) addresses the shortcomings identified in the 2005 FBI Inspector General’s audit regarding Trilogy (http://www.justice.gov/oig/reports/FBI/a0507/findings.htm) and we believe that CILC aligned with what DHS was looking for with FICMS and CEE”, says David Banks, IRP Solutions Chief Operating Officer (IRP6). “The fact that the recent Bipartisan Policy Center tenth anniversary review of the 9/11 Commission Report says that we are no safer now than we were on Sept 10th 2001 is a reason to be concerned (http://bipartisanpolicy.org/events/2014/07/911-commission-report-ten-years-later). And the fact that we are still having conversations about how we track terrorist is another cause for concern”, adds Banks.
“It was the goal of CEE and FICMS to function as an Information Sharing Environment (ISE) consistent with 6 U.S.C. 485 (b), which requires the President of the United States to ‘create an information sharing environment for the sharing of terrorism information...’”, says Banks (http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/6/485). “CILC currently supports thirteen of fifteen attributes of an ISE required under 6 U.S.C. 485(b)(2) and can be extended to accommodate the other two. CILC 1) facilitates the availability of information in a form and manner that facilitates its use in analysis, investigations and operations, 2) connects existing systems where appropriate and allows users to share information among agencies, between levels of government, 3) permits investigators and analysts to collaborate both independently or in a group, 4) employs an information access management approach that controls access to data rather than just systems and networks, 5) incorporates strong mechanisms to enhance accountability and facilitate oversight, including audits, authentication and access controls, and 6) integrates technologies through Internet-based services to enable connectivity among required users at Federal, Local and State levels”, concludes Banks.
Court records from the IRP6 case show that discovery includes DHS investigative process scenarios with accompanying diagrams (D. Ct. No. 1:09-CR-00266-CMA). “It raises questions how our case made it to trial when discovery shows that we were engaged with federal agencies in ‘real’ initiatives. The records show that IRP Solutions provided a quote to deliver the Confidential Informant Module of the CILC software to the government… a quote that exceeded $100 million (for the Consolidated Enforcement Environment Initiative)”, argues Banks. “Additionally, court records show that retired federal agents who worked with us as contractors provided sample investigative cases for drug, terrorism and financial crimes”, Banks continued. “Former agents Epke (FBI), Fuselier (FBI) and Hillberry (ICE) worked along side Gary and I as we developed the CILC software”, added Banks. (D. Ct. No. 1:09-CR-00266-CMA).
In an affidavit Gary Hillberry, a retired U.S. Customs Special Agent In Charge wrote, “From January 2004 through October 2004, I attended a number of meetings at the IRP Office...”. Hillberry stated there were delays in payment for services but, “...the three of us (Hillberry and other agents) decided that (IRP) truly had a viable... product and appeared to be moving forward to acquire state and federal law enforcement contracts... so we decided to continue to assist in the effort”. Court records show that Agent Smith requested assistance from Mr. Hillberry on January 11, 2005). Hillberry's letter is dated January 18, 2005. The raid on occurred on February 9, 2005. (D. Ct. No. 1:09-CR-00266-CMA).
“CILC offers over 40 features with other modules that include Confidential Informant Management, Operations Planning, Crime Scene Management, Tips management and more”, says Walker. “Information sharing, collaboration and security capabilities offered by CILC are unprecedented”, Walker adds. “The CILC Persons Management module is built for the mass collection and organization of intelligence information related to terror suspects as well as traditional suspects”, says Walker.
“CILC was tailor-made for the FICMS and CEE initiatives and would have minimized or solved many of the information sharing and collaboration impediments and current IT shortfalls faced by law enforcement today”, says Banks.
“Me and the other IRP Solutions executives look forward to the day that we can help make our country safer”, says Walker. “I know that CILC can help with the issues we consistently hear about. Our federal agencies need a capability that works and I believe I can help”, concludes Walker.
For more information about the story of the IRP6 or for copies of the legal filings go to http://www.freetheirp6.org.

Safe Streets Arts Foundation presents "From Prison to the Stage" at the ...

Safe Streets Arts Foundation presents "From Prison to the Stage" at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. www.SafeSreetsArts.org.

Presented as part of the Kennedy Center’s Page-to-Stage Festival. Saturday, August 30, 2014, 8:00 PM.

Words and Music from the Creative Minds of Incarcerated Playwrights & poets Don W. Johnson, Jevon Jackson, Clarence McCants, Stephen Knight, A.D. McCoy, Robert Michael Reagan, John Raley, Jevon Jackson, Patricia Prewitt, Harlan Richards, Antonio Hart, David Perryman, Marc Estes, Robert Beau Meadows III and Robert Graham, Jr. (Adapted and Compiled by Betty May).

Special Appearances by formerly incarcerated prisoners Roach Brown, Performing highlights of "Laughing and Learning"; Maurice Davis, Exhibiting and selling his original art; Perry Redd, Performing his multi-media one-man show; Dennis Sobin, Playing Scott Joplin rags and original blues guitar.

Director: BETTY MAY. Cast: Raoul Anderson, Lorena Berger, La Tasha Do'zia-Earley, Miriam Ferguson, Ed Higgins, Lauren Jackson, Jesse Milliner, Briana Ortiz and John Raley.

Contact: Staff@SafeSreetsArts.org

Grandmother of Aiyana Jones back on the witness stand

Grandmother of Aiyana Jones back on the witness stand

Brutality At Rikers: Teen Solitary Confinement To End

New York City Officials and Advocates Push for Change to the “Culture of Brutality” on Rikers Island

What I Saw on Rikers Island

Cecily McMillan on Brutality and Humiliation on Rikers Island

Rikers: Where Mental Illness Meets Brutality in Jail

Justice for Mark Duggan

This Saturday 4th October, the Justice 4 Mark Duggan Campaign will be holding a public meeting, 5pm North London Community House. Carole Duggan, Shaun Hall, Stafford Scott and Fidel Santigi will be introducing MARK DUGGAN - THE COMPLETE PICTURE in advance of the outcome of the judicial review into the inquest verdict of "lawful killing" - we are calling on you for your support. Please see the attached leaflet for more details.

The Justice 4 Mark Duggan campaign would also like to make an appeal to our friends and supporters for funds. Donations can be made on-line here http://justice4mark.com - donate button on the right,  or by sending a cheque payable to “Justice for Mark Duggan” and post to J4M, BM Box 4390, London, WC1N 3XX.
We are beginning the process of establishing a foundation in Mark’s name to initiate projects. These activities require funds. Not all family members live in London, for example, so funds need to be raised for every visit or meeting that takes place.  
Please support us by making a donation no matter how big or small.
Justice for Mark Duggan Campaign 
More information:
A motion for trade unions is also available here: http://justice4mark.com/category/motions/ 
The campaign aims can be read here: http://justice4mark.com/2014/08/04/justice-for-mark-duggan-an-appeal-for-witnesses/ 
A short film from the vigil is available here: http://justice4mark.com/2014/08/29/video-of-the-3rd-vigil-for-mark-duggan/ 
In the next few weeks we will be attending and supporting:
United Family and Friends Annual Memorial March, Saturday 25th October, 12noon, Trafalgar Square:http://www.uffc-campaigncentral.net/ 

10/10/14 is World Homeless Day

10/10/14 is World Homeless Day and as many cities criminalize peoples’ rights to exist, we feel it is necessary to rally in remembrance of those who have died on the streets from lack of shelter, to raise awareness for the .need for more shelter as the upcoming winter approaches, and to put out a call to action to establish safe harbors.” Aaron Elijah Coyler, Marine Corp veteran. http://32beachproductions.blogspot.com/2014/09/world-homeless-action-day.html

Don't give up on #Schapelle #JusticeforSchapelle

she is by no means free! Back her, until all those responsible are brought to justice! #JusticeforSchapelle for the TRUTHwww.expendable.tv Kaz Cook

The Unknown History of Latino Lynchings

The following is a summary & analysis of Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review article, "Law of the Noose: A History of Latino Lynching" Richard Delgado.
Delgado attempts to shed light on a largely unknown history of Latinos, particularly Mexican-Americans in the Southwest U.S., who were lynched between the years of 1846 and 1925. This is roughly the same time that many Blacks were lynched in the U.S., as well. While many know of the ominous and horrific fate that Blacks and African-Americans saw in the U.S., few know of the lynchings that Latinos were met with. Delgado challenges scholars and institutions by trying to unveil the truth on this shameful past, while exploring the history of these lynchings and explaining that "English-only" movements are a present-day form of lynchings.
Although research on Latino lynchings is relatively new, circa 2006-2009, lynchings have a deep rooted history. Such acts can be described as mob violence where person(s) are murdered/hanged for an alleged offense usually without a trial. 
Through reviewing of anthropological research, storytelling, and other internal & external interactions, there is believed to have been roughly 600 lynchings of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans beginning with the aftermath of the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo (this document essentially ended the Mexican-American war, where Mexico surrendered half of its land to the U.S.). 
This grim fate of Blacks & Mexicans in the U.S. was intertwined; both groups were lynched by Anglos for reasons such as "acting uppity," taking jobs away from Anglos, making advances toward Anglo women, cheating at cards, practicing "Witchcraft," and refusing to leave land that Whites coveted. Additionally, Mexicans were lynched for acting "too Mexican;" for example, if Mexicans were speaking Spanish too loudly or showcasing aspects of their culture too defiantly, they were lynched. 
Mexican women may also been lynched if they resisted the sexual advances of Anglo men. Many of these lynchings occurred with active participation of law enforcement. In fact the article reiterates that the Texas Rangers had a special animus towards persons of Mexican descent. Considering that Mexicans had little to no political power or social standing in a "new nation," they had no recourse from such corrupt organizations. Popular opinion was to eradicate the Southwest of Mexicans.
Many of these lynchings were treated as a public spectacle; Anglos celebrated each of these killings as if the acts were in accordance with community wishes, re-solidifying society and reinforcing civic virtue. Ringleaders of such lynchings often mutilated bodies of Mexicans, by shooting the bodies after individuals were already dead, cutting off body parts, then leaving the remains on display perhaps in hung trees or in burning flames.
These lynchings took place in the Southwest U.S., in present-day Texas, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Nevada, amongst other states. The killings were carried out by vigilantes or other masked-men, as a form of "street justice." These killings became so bad that the Mexican government lodged official complaints to the U.S. counsel in Mexico. Given that this region of the U.S. was at one time Mexican land, and it was shared with Indian/Indios, Mexicans, and Anglos, protests against the lynchings emerged. 
As legend has it, Joaquin Murrieta took matters into his own hands by murdering the Anglos responsible for the death of mythical figures Juan Cortina and Gregorio Cortes. Such acts were short-lived and perpetuated the conflict between Mexicans and Anglos.
Delgado goes on to cite that only some U.S. historians have written about these Latino lynchings and have pointed out that they occurred due to racial prejudice, protection of turf, and Yankee nationalism left over from the Mexican-American War. 
However, it has been concluded that such lynchings are a relatively unknown history due to a global pattern of shaping discourse as to avoid embarrassment of the dominant group. Those in power often have the ability to edit official records.
Further exploration reveals that these lynchings were not only edited & minimized outright, but were also ignored or misrepresented due to primary accounts in community newspapers being written in Spanish. Since very few mainstream historians read Spanish or consulted with these records, they were left to flounder. 
Also, many Latinos knew of these lynchings; their accounts were maintained, shared, and solidified as Mexican lore through ritualistically songs (corridos, actos, and cantares). Many oral cultures have equivalences of such interpretations. 
Today, Latino scholars are not surprised by history's ignoring of such events; postcolonial theory describes how colonial societies almost always circulate accounts of their invasions that flatter and depicts them as the bearers of justice, science, and humanism. 
Conversely, the natives were depicted as primitive, bestial, and unintelligent. Subsequently, colonialists must civilize the natives, use the land & its resources in a better fashion, and enact a higher form of justice. The "official history" is written by the conquerors, thus showing them in the best possible light.
Delgado questions whether such remnants of Latino lynchings may still be present in society today. 
This can best be exemplified through movements to make English the official language of the U.S., forcing immigrants to assimilate to the dominant Anglo culture. Such actions can be illustrated in movements to end bilingual school opportunities and enforce English-only speaking at jobs, businesses, etc. 
Postcolonial scholars argue that such movements facilitate children to reject their own culture, acquire English, and forget their native language. These actions have far dire [documentable] consequence, like social distress, depression, and crime. As such, Delgado ventures to say that these actions are an implicit form of lynching.
Delgado ends the piece by saying that hidden histories of aggression, unprovoked war, lynchings, and segregation are corroborated/proliferated today by the mass media and entertainment industry. 
These groups, along with other scholars, have the opportunity to redress this history and reject further practices against Latinos. Otherwise, marginalized groups find themselves in a position where they are alienated from their family/identity/culture, co-opted, and unable to resist further oppression.
Such history is imperative to the framework of Americana and for acknowledgement purposes, not only because it is a matter of fact, but because this history is relevant to the ancestors of the land. 
History has always been exploited to benefit those who are in power, so to maintain their structures. However, today, I would argue that current powerbrokers would gain more respect & credibility by being honest with themselves and the actual history. Continuing to deny or ignore the history does an injustice to all. 
Current Chicanos, Mexican-Americans, and Americans alike would most benefit from this restoration for a few reasons.
First, a corrected version of history helps the people better understand themselves. Americans, Mexicans, the fusion of the two, in addition to people of the world, would recognize a better sense of their true identity & culture. 
The exploration of such history can perhaps allow for analysis of current rates of depression, crime/incarceration, and socioeconomic status(es). If we, the people, want to understand ourselves, we need to know the truth.
Secondly, if we want to understand why things are the way they are today, we can look to history. This shameful past can assist us in the interpretation of Mexican/American relations. 
Additionally, I believe that this understanding will help both groups reach a common ground with current relations. Since the year 2000 alone, the FBI has reported over 2,500 hate crimes against Latinos based on race and ethnicity. The U.S. is marred with a nasty & stalled immigration battle that is masked for hatred against Mexicans. 
In 2014, there is a continued, on-going crisis at the Southwest border affecting many children and families. With the history of these lynchings, it is now time for the "greatest country in the world" to make the wrong things right.
Again, we know that history can repeat itself, but only if we let it. Thus, the entire world needs to be educated on the true history of these lynchings. The more we are educated on such atrocities, the less likely we will allow them to happen again. 
Attacking the access of this knowledge is the third reason to explore this history. Ignoring the disastrous past does not make the history go away. With the knowledge of the truth, the Latino people can empower themselves to conquer stereotypes and achieve further greatness. 
Most Chicano/Latino studies programs in schools allow students to learn about their past while achieving higher marks. But in states like Arizona, educational officials have banned Chicano/Latino Studies in schools, and as a result have not allowed students to know the true history of the land they currently inhabit. 
This is not only a further atrocity, but it reaffirms Delgado's point that current lynchings, lynchings of the mind, are happening today.  This is blatant lying and it is unacceptable; when we lie to our government, we go to prison. When our government lies to us, it's no big deal.
Furthermore, for those who are tired of people of color in the U.S. raising points of contention about racial issues in this country, you now see the justification. 
This is why we won't be quiet about racism, racial prejudice, discrimination, etc. This is why we'll march in the streets for the Trayvonn Martin's, reject the school to prison pipeline, and continue to spread awareness until administrative action is taken on a grand scale. Today's generation is a bi-product and reflection of this history; not only are these "lynchings" continuing to happen, but the masterplan has worked. 
In order to achieve our full capabilities, we need to reject a fragmented history and seek a personal revolution, which starts with ourselves. And we can achieve this revolution through education & knowledge.
Be empowered.
Maximo Anguiano is a scholar, activist, and creative. 
  • The Law of the Noose: A History of Latino Lynching. R. Delgado (2009). Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, 44, 297-312. 
See Also: 

Monday, 29 September 2014

Mutulu Shakur - U.S. Parole Commission Rejects Examiner's Recommendation

U.S. Parole Commission Rejects Examiner’s Recommendation

To: My comrades, family and extended family- please distribute to all those who have given support and resources to this process may (Allah) God bless them.  In the spirit of our ancestors, I deeply thank you.
Written: September 16, 2014
On September 15, 2014, I received a notice of action from the national appeals board rejecting the parole examiner’s recommendation to advance my release to April 2015. This denial or rejection of the examiner’s onsite opinion and recommendation is not the first time that we have had this experience dealing with the national parole commission. We obviously, as per required historical practice, will appeal this rejection as it indicates we have rejected the basis of their decision and conclusion. The attorneys and I, and our administrative support group, are already on task.
We are very, very excited and in awe of how our mobilization carried out this parole hearing. There has been a ground swell of various people living up to their commitments and words by responding to our request for specific support, contacts, resources and finances that gave this hearing character, integrity and principles that history will charge the parole decision was not justified or warranted.
Lets look at where we are; the advance April 2015 date in actuality would advance my release date by 6 months, according to their faulty calculations* (I was supposed to be released in 2011). Six months is very important, and we do not take the denial of this relief lightly, but I am political prisoner. Our expectation for justice is not the paradigm, we seek relief and we wait for justice. Do to their undo process in their calculations, 2016 will be my presumptive release date if I continue as i have for these last 30 years. Evade the traps, set-ups, and tolerate the political targeting there should be no legal or policy rationale to deny that release date which is February 2016. Using this date as a process start, I should be seen by the parole commission 9 months from said date, which will be May 2015. As I told all of you before I am an old alligator, I will survive in mud and water, with your duwahs and prayers.
In the interim, we have been in the parallel mode building for a pardon application that is not based upon procedure but on tact, strategy, political capital and timing. This is not the place to divulge every nuance, but I am requesting all those who have supported me for the many parole request to now support me for the pardon unless you have formed a political objection!! This pardon is based upon a Truth and Reconciliation Commission narrative, and as far as I can tell this will be the first opportunity for the movement of our era to apply and request such. Most of our support has been based on this narrative; we stand on principled ground. Many of the present events are suggesting such relief, and we surely can support other political prisoners of our movement by advancing the strategy.
I hope during this extended time period all those that can help me to get published the various books in our struggle, that I have the information in history to present, also to allow me to build on the cultural genres that will help uplift our future generations. I am committed to this task; I want to thank my family for their sacrifices in my struggle.
In closing, do not feel discouraged, we have done a great job; it has the making and capability to advance a new paradigm. Let’s stay busy. Let’s stay encouraged, let’s be creative and have the audacity to put into the ether a just cause, deserving just results. I thank every single one of you; everyone’s contribution was exactly what we needed. When we said that we did the best we could, we meant every word. Plan on hearing from me in the very near future.
Aim high and go all out.
Stiff resistance
Dr. Mutulu Shakur
(Thank you all!!!)
Freedom Archives

Appeals Court Overturns Denial of Parole for Sundiata Acokli

Breaking: Freedom for Sundiata Acoli!

Posted on September 29, 2014 by denverabc
A man convicted in the shooting death of a New Jersey state trooper in a crime that still provokes strong emotion among law enforcement more than 40 years later was ordered released on parole by a state appeals court Monday.
Sundiata Acoli was known as Clark Edward Squire when he was convicted of the 1973 slaying of state trooper Werner Foerster during a stop on the New Jersey Turnpike. Now in his mid-70s, he was denied parole most recently in 2011, but the appellate judges reversed that ruling Monday.
In a 28-page opinion, the panel wrote that the parole board ignored evidence favorable to Acoli and gave undue consideration to past events such as a probation violation that occurred decades earlier.
One of the three people in the car when it was stopped was Joanne Chesimard, who also was convicted of Foerster’s slaying, but eventually escaped to Cuba and is now known as Assata Shakur. Last year, state and federal authorities announced a $2 million reward for information leading to her capture, and the FBI made her the first woman on its list of most wanted terrorists. She and Acoli were members of black militant organizations at the time.
At the news conference last year announcing the increased reward for Shakur, Col. Rick Fuentes, superintendent of the New Jersey state police, called the case “an open wound.”
“I am both disheartened and disappointed by the appellate decision in this matter,” Fuentes said through a spokesman Monday. “The mere passage of time should not excuse someone from the commission of such a horrendous act. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Foerster family whose lives have been deprived of a father and son.”
According to court documents, Acoli’s gun went off during a struggle with Foerster, who had responded as backup after another officer pulled over the car for a broken tail light. The state contended Chesimard shot Trooper James Harper, wounding him, then took Foerster’s gun and shot him twice in the head with his own gun as he lay on the ground. A third man in the car, James Costen, died from his injuries at the scene.
Acoli has claimed he was grazed by a bullet and blacked out, and couldn’t remember the exact sequence of events. He was sentenced in 1974 to life plus 24 to 30 years, and was denied parole in 1993 and 2004. He is currently in prison in Cumberland, Maryland, about 75 miles northwest of New York City.
The appellate judges wrote Monday that the parole board ignored a prison psychologist’s favorable report on Acoli and the fact that he had expressed remorse for the trooper’s death and had had no disciplinary incidents in prison since 1996. They also faulted the board for giving too much weight to Acoli’s past criminal record and an unspecified probation violation, which occurred several decades before the board’s decision.
“Make no mistake, we are completely appalled by Acoli’s senseless crimes, which left a member of the State Police dead and another injured, as well as one of Acoli’s associates dead and the other injured,” the judges wrote. “But Acoli has paid the penalty under the laws of this State for his crimes.”
Christopher Burgos, president of the state troopers’ fraternal association, called the court’s decision “unbelievably insane.”
“Once again the families affected who have lost loved ones in service to their state and country, law enforcement in New Jersey and the US have had wounds ripped open again 40 years later, and sadly we have seen the failure of our justice system to keep these violent offenders behind bars for the rest of their lives,” he wrote in an email.
Through a spokesman, the state attorney general’s office said it would appeal the decision and could seek a stay that, if granted, would postpone Acoli’s release.

Oklahoma Mother Exonerated of Infant Son’s Death

Michelle Murphy and Cornelius Dupree
Photo: Michelle Murphy with exoneree Cornelius Dupree.

On September 12, with the consent of District Attorney Tim Harris, a Tulsa court exonerated Michelle Murphy of the murder of her infant son. Recent DNA testing of crime scene evidence points to an unknown male as the real perpetrator. In the course of representing Michelle, lawyers also uncovered other evidence pointing to her innocence that was known to the prosecution but never disclosed to the defense.
Michelle’s 15-week-old son was brutally stabbed to death on September 12, 1994. Michelle, just 17 at the time, was in her apartment with her son and two year old daughter on the night of the murder. Murphy later woke up and discovered her son’s body in the kitchen. She immediately went to a neighbor and called the police.
After hours of interrogation, Michelle, who was very young and had just learned that her son had been brutally murdered, was coerced into claiming that she accidentally killed her baby when she knelt down to pick up a knife following a confrontation with a neighbor. At her trial, the prosecution also falsely implied to the jury that blood recovered from the scene matched Murphy’s blood type. Michelle was convicted and sentenced to life without parole.
On the eve of being called to the witness stand to testify regarding what was known about the blood evidence at trial, the District Attorney moved to overturn Murphy’s conviction on May 30th, and she was released. Subsequent DNA testing found that blood evidence at the scene did not come from Michelle but from an unknown male. Based on this, and with the District Attorney’s consent, the court entered an order dismissing the charges based on a showing of actual innocence.

The Kids for Cash

Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr.: “The Kids for Cash scandal was a wakeup call for our justice system. We simply cannot accept a system that puts non-violent youth offenders on a on a path to a lifetime of incarceration. This legislation will take appropriate steps to reform the juvenile system, make it smarter, more just and fairer” Find out why Kids For Cash the movie has become a movement for change. Watch. Learn. Take Action.http://ow.ly/BQ3lH

Judge denies Officer Joseph Weekley's motion for a mistrial

Judge denies Officer Joseph Weekley's motion for a mistrial

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Exposing a national crisis in Black mental health behind bars

by Mark-Anthony Johnson
When Dr. Samuel Cartwright coined the term “drapetomania” in 1864, he advanced a historical agenda to secure Black subjugation in America. Cartwright’s diagnosis of the desire for freedom amongst enslaved Africans as a form of psychosis exposes two important realities about mental health in the United States.
On Aug. 12, Mark-Anthony Johnson and Lynwood social worker Kristina Ronnquist pause at the entrance of the United Nations in Geneva, where they submitted the Dignity and Power Now report, “Impact of Disproportionate Incarceration and Abuse of Black People with Mental Health Conditions in World’s Largest Jail System“ for review of U.S. compliance with the International Convention to Eliminate all forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD).
On Aug. 12, Mark-Anthony Johnson and Lynwood social worker Kristina Ronnquist pause at the entrance of the United Nations in Geneva, where they submitted the Dignity and Power Now report, “Impact of Disproportionate Incarceration and Abuse of Black People with Mental Health Conditions in World’s Largest Jail System“ for review of U.S. compliance with the International Convention to Eliminate all forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD).
First, the mental health of people of color in the United States, specifically Black people, is not a neutral arena. It is a critical battleground where racist ideologies have leveraged medical justifications for restricting Black people’s freedom.
Secondly, the mental health infrastructure in the United States, and lack thereof, is an expression of the historical agenda that Dr. Cartwright’s claim to fame represents. Promoting “drapetomania” as a clinical diagnosis only a year before the Emancipation Proclamation was signed posed strategic value to the Confederacy, which was being threatened by a civil war and needing to refine its justifications for chattel slavery in the United States.
The current crisis of criminalizing and incarcerating Black people with mental health conditions across the country is an extension of these two historical trends.
On Aug. 12, Dignity and Power Now launched its report, titled, “Impact of Disproportionate Incarceration and Abuse of Black People with Mental Health Conditions in World’s Largest Jail System.” We submitted the report in Geneva, Switzerland, to the United Nations as part of a two-day review of United States compliance with the International Convention to Eliminate all forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD).
Over a period of two days, the United States was questioned and challenged by 18 U.N. committee experts who critiqued the nation’s deficiencies in addressing racial disparities. Our shadow report was an intervention not only in the local county conversation, but also on an international stage to expose a national crisis of criminalizing Black people’s mental health in the United States.

What does this crisis look like?

On any given day, Black people are six times more likely than White people to be incarcerated in the United States, and 63 percent of those Black people in local jails across the country have some form of a mental health condition (2006). Los Angeles makes key contributions to this trend, as Black people are 9 percent of the county population and 43.7 percent of its jail population diagnosed with “serious mental illness.”
Dignity & Power Now UN report cover 0814The factors that account for this disproportionate impact are numerous. Black people, for example, are more likely to be misdiagnosed and at the same time less likely to receive the most effective treatments. Black people with mental health conditions are two to three times more likely than people of other races to be incarcerated as limited access to services increases the risk of incarceration.
The lack of community services, barriers to accessing them and lack of quality treatment upon access results in a systemic equation whereby “treatment” for Black people means incarceration.
Los Angeles is the largest jail system in the world. Additionally, the three largest mental health “treatment” facilities in the country – Los Angeles’ Twin Towers, Chicago’s Cook County Jail, and Rikers Island in New York – are all jail facilities.
In fact the Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that California needed to reduce its overcrowding that was exposing prisoners to greater risks of violence, medical neglect and abuse, lack of mental health care, and death. The realization that jails operate as de facto mental health facilities has gained more traction in recent years; however, the response has not been comprehensive or substantial enough to remedy the problem.
The situation of the mentally ill in jail is so dangerous and oppressive that the Department of Justice found unconstitutional conditions for the mental health population in LA County Jail system (May 2014) and a high level of physical abuse and the violations of rights for adolescents in New York’s Rikers Island Jail – particularly those with mental health conditions (August 2014). That tells us that the crisis persists.
Samuel Adolphus Cartwright
Dr. Samuel Cartwright’s term “drapetomania,” coined in 1864, labeled the desire for freedom amongst enslaved Africans as a form of psychosis.
In fact, since the Civil Rights of Incarcerated Peoples Act was passed in 1997, the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division has found violations of the constitutional rights of people with mental health conditions in 35 correctional facilities across 25 states. Los Angeles is just one of the more recent exposures.
Despite these conditions, the Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics has no mechanism for the regular collecting of intersectional data based on the race and gender of incarcerated people with mental health conditions across the country. This creates serious barriers to monitoring the local and national trends.

Why is Los Angeles relevant?

As Los Angeles County develops plans for the diversion of people with mental health needs from the jails, it is also expanding jail capacity. It continues to stay the course despite the copious evidence and stories from our loved ones leaving the jails, that incarceration exacerbates mental health conditions.
In fact, in recent years there has been a movement for specialized detention facilities that are being couched as more responsive to the needs of prisoners. Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB) has been pushing back against the county and state push for “gender responsive” prisons and jails – the tagline for women’s facilities.
Though Los Angeles County claims to be planning to divert many mentally ill people from jail, its new jail plan is to tear down Men’s Central and erect a new “mental health jail” for the high number of mentally ill in the jail now.
Guest commentary in the LA Daily News by Patrisse Cullors-Brignac of Dignity and Power Now (DPN) and Diana Zuñiga of CURB explains why those of us fighting jail expansion think “A mental health jail is an oxymoron; diversion is what’s needed.
The push for category specific incarceration further entrenches our loved ones into a system that cannot protect their rights, safety or humanity. In fact, Assistant Sheriff Terri McDonald recently reported to the Board of Supervisors that there has been a 47 percent increase in use of force at Century Regional Detention Facility, Los Angeles County’s dedicated women’s jail facility.
Dignity and Power Now used this mic to present their report to the U.N.
Dignity and Power Now used this mic to present their report to the U.N.
She attributed this increase to the rise in the mental health population at the facility. The pursuit of both mental health diversion and jail expansion undermines any comprehensive effort to address the crisis at its root.
A comprehensive diversion program would make use of services that have already proven to be effective, including Full Service Partnerships and Aggressive Community Treatment. Additionally, it is important that we are imaginative in how we envision the services our people deserve.
Job training and permanent job placement, permanent housing, and supportive services that include the intimate networks of those directly impacted are key to the long-term sustainability of mental health diversion.
The logic underlying the continuation and funding of the mass incarceration of the disproportionately Black mentally ill and Dr. Cartwright’s medical breakthroughs is the same: Black people’s mental health cannot be achieved, so society has to maintain extreme and inhumane restrictions on their freedom.
Mark-Anthony Johnson is a member of Dignity and Power Now (DPN) (www.endsheriffviolence.org). DPN, a multi-racial grassroots organization in Los Angeles and a member organization of Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB), fights for the dignity and power of incarcerated people and survivors of sheriff violence and their families with the goal of ending state violence and mass incarceration. Mark-Anthony and DPN can be reached at endsheriffviolence@gmail.com and can receive mail at the CURB LA office: P.O. Box 73688, LA CA 90003.

Seven reasons why mental health advocates should fight prison and jail expansion

People with mental illness are disproportionately criminalized

More than 50 percent of people in jail or prison have a history or symptoms of mental illness, compared with 6 percent in the general population.
  • Over 450,000 Americans with mental illness are incarcerated.
  • Local jails have the highest symptoms levels, with about 24 percent of prisoners displaying psychosis, 54 percent exhibiting mania, and 30 percent with major depression.
  • 65 percent of incarcerated individuals meet criteria for a substance abuse disorder.
  • Suicide is the No. 1 cause of death in local jails and in the top five for prisons.

Incarceration further damages mental health

People with mental illness do not get better behind bars; they get worse! Being locked up means they are trapped without control or safety, often creating conditions for violence, hypervigilance and hopelessness.
  • Imprisonment exposes people to threat of violence, rape and trauma; disconnection from loved ones; loss of purpose and dignity; and extreme racism. All of these factors exacerbate, and sometimes entirely cause, mental illness.
  • Solitary confinement is used with greater frequency in the U.S. than in any other country in the world. Experts suggest that it fits the “cruel and unusual punishment” conditions required for an Eighth Amendment violation.
  • Locking people up cuts off their access to benefits; when they get out, they don’t have proper meds and may end up with costly emergency room visits, homeless, unemployed, and at high risk for recidivism and/or deterioration. They also have a criminal record, causing more barriers and then symptom exacerbation.

Jails and prisons are ill-equipped to treat mental illness

People with mental illness receive inadequate treatment or none at all behind bars, yet politicians use this to justify increasing spending for mental health services in prisons and jails. People should not have to get locked up to get treatment!
  • Only approximately 1 in 3 state prisoners, 1 in 4 federal prisoners, and 1 in 6 people in local jails who had a mental health problem received any treatment behind bars.
  • Individuals with mental illness are too often incarcerated while awaiting trial before even being convicted, rather than referred to hospitals or treatment centers.
  • Treating mental illness in prison is not cost effective either. One report in Michigan found that the annual cost of community case management for mentally ill people is $2,165 per person and a more intensive program costs the state $9,029 per person per year. In contrast, the average Michigan inmate costs the state over $34,000.

Jails are becoming de facto mental health providers

The nation’s penal system has become the largest provider of mental health services and their treatment protocols are neither effective nor humane. People need treatment, not punishment!
  • The deinstitutionalization of psychiatric hospitals in the 1950s, originally designed to expand community mental health, has instead resulted in thousands of people with mental illness being locked up through prison and jail expansion. Now people with mental illness are three times more likely to be incarcerated than hospitalized.
  • Los Angeles Sheriff is proposing to build a $1.74 to $2.32 billion Integrated Inmate Treatment Center, or a “mental health jail.” This facility would have 4,860-5,860 beds for people with mental illness. This project promotes false solutions that the penal system can and should be responsible for mental health services. Research shows that, even with “good” treatment, people with mental illness don’t get better while locked up.

We need to increase community programs, not incarceration

Community treatment, unlike imprisonment, helps people maintain social supports known to be an essential factor in recovery. These agencies work from a prevention model and address issues that lead to crime, such as homelessness and unemployment.
  • Fewer than half of incarcerated people with mental illness ever received treatment prior to their arrest, showing that we need to improve meeting community needs.
  • The new Affordable Care Act requires parity for mental health and substance use disorder treatment in all insurance plans. We have no excuse for restricting these services to people in need.

There are alternatives to incarceration

Thousands of successful community alternative programs exist. Two California examples:
  • San Francisco’s Behavioral Health Court, started in 2002, aims to divert individuals with mental illness from incarceration by connecting them to outside treatment and wraparound services.
  • The Integrated Recovery Network in Los Angeles, which aims to help homeless people with co-occurring disorders find housing, treatment and income, has shown that their services cost $12,000 one time per client versus $96,000 per year in public costs to re-incarcerate repeatedly.

People with mental illness deserve better

Mental Illness is not a choice and its symptoms can lead people to engage in behaviors they otherwise would not do. Violent crimes are not excusable, but our society needs a better system for treating mental illness than simply locking people up!
  • The Social Work Code of Ethics states that social workers “should advocate for changes in policy and legislation to improve social conditions in order to meet basic human needs and promote social justice.” The Marriage and Family Therapy code also mandates public advocacy.
For more information, contact Emily Harris at info@curbprisonspending.org, 510-435-1176, or CURB, 1322 Webster St., Suite 210, Oakland, CA 94612. For the full report with 19 footnotes, go tohttp://curbprisonspending.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/CURB-Mental-Health-Fact-Sheet-edits-5.22-2.pdf.

Gov. Jerry Brown signs SB 1135, Prison Anti-Sterilization Bill

by Misty Rojo
Sacramento – On Sept. 25, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law SB 1135, the prison anti-sterilization bill authored by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson and bi-partisan co-authors and sponsored by legal and human rights organization Justice Now. The bill proceeded to the governor’s desk after passing with unanimous floor votes out of both the Senate and Assembly, with support from organizations like ACLU Northern California and Black Women for Wellness.
Supporters of the bill along with those directly impacted by sterilization say not only is it long overdue, but it makes sense after so much evidence was presented outlining the abuses. “This bill not only affects those still inside prisons and the thousands of women who will go through prisons and jails in the near future, but most importantly it protects generations of children to come who otherwise might not have had an opportunity to exist,” says Kelli Dillon, who was sterilized in her early 20s while incarcerated at Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla.
Since the 1990s, at least 250 women prisoners may have been involuntarily sterilized in California – some 150 between 2006 and 2010. Finally, the barbaric practice has been outlawed.
Since the 1990s, at least 250 women prisoners may have been involuntarily sterilized in California – some 150 between 2006 and 2010. Finally, the barbaric practice has been outlawed.
However, says Kelli, “We still need an apology and acknowledgement of what was done to us.” While this bill comes a long way in addressing the abusive and coercive conditions under which sterilizations occurred, it is a reminder that work still needs to be done to properly address those who had their ability to have children so callously and egregiously taken away.
The discovery that upwards of 100 illegal sterilizations of pregnant people imprisoned at Valley State Prison for Women and California Institution for Women between 2006 and 2010 spurred lawmakers into action. A report by the Center for Investigative Reporting released last year revealed that at least 250 such sterilizations may have occurred since the late 1990s – a story based on years of research, documentation and advocacy by Justice Now in collaboration with people in California women’s prisons.
A state audit released in May of this year confirmed that the tubal ligations performed between 2006 and 2010 in some cases were done illegally, not meeting legal requirements for informed consent, and that prison is such a coercive environment that the ability to give consent could not be established. Therefore, tubal ligations should not be performed.
“When you go to bed 18 years later still crying over the memory of being seven to eight months pregnant, legs shackled, after prancing past the free world people waiting for their appointments, and you’re alone – ‘property of’ stamped on you asking for tubal ligation – and handed a paper to sign with no conversation explaining the decision. To then go back to a solitary confinement cell alone where you have nothing but a plastic chair to alleviate your back pain.
“Is that consent? Is that voluntary? Is that informed? Does removing the leg shackles remove the isolation and fear?” asks Misty Rojo, campaign and communications director at Justice Now, who experienced signing a consent form nearly 18 years ago in a Tulare County Jail.

“This bill not only affects those still inside prisons and the thousands of women who will go through prisons and jails in the near future, but most importantly it protects generations of children to come who otherwise might not have had an opportunity to exist,” says Kelli Dillon, who was sterilized in her early 20s while incarcerated at Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla.

California’s past includes performing an estimated third of sterilizations nationwide during the American Eugenics Movement and advising Nazi eugenic programs. In 2003, Gov. Grey Davis issued a formal apology for California’s part in sterilizing approximately 20,000 mentally disabled people and other vulnerable populations from 1909 through the 1960s.
California prisons are one front in the struggle to end the state’s horrifying legacy of eugenics. Advocates hope this bill will be a major move towards protecting others from the brutality suffered by those who have been targeted for sterilization abuse. This bill sends a clear message that all people should have the right to full self-determination over their bodies and family making – free from violence, coercive environments or threat of force.
This is a moment of great historical significance. The California Legislature has spoken against sterilization abuse – especially Sen. Jackson, who championed this bill tirelessly to ensure it would offer as much protection as possible to women still locked in prisons and jails across the state. Now Gov. Jerry Brown has agreed with the legislator and helped reverse some of California’s living legacy of eugenics by signing SB 1135.
Misty Rojo is campaign and communications director for Justice Now, 1322 Webster St., Suite 210, Oakland CA 94612, 510-839-7654, ext. 4, www.jnow.org.