Crime

Menstuff® is actively compiling information, books and resources on the issue of crime.

Is Wanting to See McVeigh's Execution Voyeuristic?
Use a Gun, No More Fun
Go Directly To Jail, Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200
There Are No Criminals, Just Broken Souls
"3-Strikes"? Why Not "2nd Chance"?
Hate Crimes
Chicken Soul of the Prisoner's Soul
Prison
Prisoners
Prison Rape
Prison Rape Basics
Prison Rape Elimination Act
Volunteering in Prison
Newsbytes

Resources

Is Wanting to See McVeigh's Execution Voyeuristic?


We're told that televising Timothy McVeigh's execution would appeal only to the public's most base and voyeuristic instincts. That may be the case, but your parents and grandparents were regularly shown graphic government film of how Uncle Sam once put his enemies to death. TSG has dug up that footage and it's at: www.thesmokinggun.com

Use a Gun, No More Fun


In California, if you're 14 years or older and use a gun in conjunction with a crime, you'll get 10 to life. Life if you shoot someone with it. 20 years if you fire and miss. And 10 years just for using it without firing it. In Oregon, Measure 11 that went into effect April 1, 1995 says: If you are 15 or older and if you do any of 21 crimes in Oregon, you must go to prison for a long time! Murder is just one of the crimes. Some of the others are done everyday. Here are some examples.

Here is a list of all the Measure 11 crimes and how long you will stay in prison if you are found guilty. No probation!  No parole!  No early release!  Just prison. (Yrs/Mos):

Think first!  Remember, no probation, no parole, no early release!  Just prison.

There Are No Criminals, Just Broken Souls


People wouldn't abuse others if they hadn't been abused. We tend to forgive women criminals easier, often using the abuse that happened to them as an excuse, and give them probation more often or shorter sentences for the same crimes. There seems to be more tolerance for women abusing men (slapping, hitting, ridiculing, shaming) and it plays out in our movies and on our school playgrounds. (See TV Violence). We also tend to label people rather than their behaviors. You're an abuser, molester, alcoholic, bad person. Some women (and men) writers believe that all men are rapists. (For the men that say this, thank goodness they are admitting that they are rapists so that we know to protect the women that come around them.) The mere statement says that no matter what I do, how much work I do as a man, I'm still seen as a rapist in their eyes. It doesn't give me permission to become a better man. Versus acknowledging the behavior as unacceptable and noting that it is separate from their soul. Shame doesn't bring about healthy change. Acknowledging that the person is good and that a behavior is not acceptable, changes the way people think about themselves and the possibility for change becomes easier. This process of shaming starts at a very early age when parents, religions, schools and society tell children they are bad. While many of us received this in childhood, and it takes a lot of awareness to not pass it on, we must stop our shaming process of our children, and teach our children not to shame and make fun of other children that appear different than them. (Don't Laugh at Me.) In actuality, adults and children who shame others are really telling us all how inadequate they are and the lengths they will go to to deflect these weaknesses off on others.

"3-Strikes"? Why Not "2nd Chance"?


Why we're attached to baseball terms to look at the punishment of criminals, I don't know. Giving the message to a first time offender that they may have two more opportunities to continue criminal acts (and how many people will be taken advantage of or be killed by the time this criminal is apprehended), the "Three Strikes and your Out" analogy seems to be at least one too many strikes for society's good and to impact the dramatic increase in crime that society is experiencing.

Understandably, there are crimes that are an immediate "out" with no chance of parole. However, there are crimes where we hope the criminal has learned a lesson and won't repeat that or another criminal offense. I think it would even be a great idea to reestablish a felons voting privilege after successfully completing their time. Sort of a bonus. We're willing to put other people's safety and even lives at stake hoping that the criminal has been rehabilitated. However, if they are a repeater, why not stop there. They had a "2nd Chance" and blew it. That's it. No more chances. No more danger to society. And voting privileges are then gone forever.

I think a "2nd Chance" concept would make potential criminals more aware that they'd better get it together the first time out because there isn't going to be another opportunity to commit a crime and get out.

2006 Saw Leap in U.S. Prison Population


The U.S. prison population rose 2.8 percent in the 12-month period ending on June 30, 2006, ensuring that the United States continues to have more people in prison than any nation on Earth.

The U.S. Department of Justice reported that prisons added more than 62,000 new inmates, for a total of roughly 2.245 million people behind bars. The increase was the largest reported in the last six years.

Record numbers of drug offenders, as well as strict sentencing laws and high crime rates, were factors in the increase, experts said. The Bureau of Justice Statistics said that the state prison population rose 3 percent, while jail populations rose 2.5 percent. In federal prisons, the population rose 3.6 percent.
Source: www.jointogether.org/news/headlines/inthenews/2007/2006-saw-leap-in-us-prison.html

Why Over 200,000 African-Americans Could Not Vote in Florida


While charges fly over the handful of votes that will declare our next president, there is scant commentary about the 647,100 U.S. citizens who were denied the right to vote in Florida in the last and still contested election.

Our fierce belief in the unalienable right of citizens to select their own leaders is one of the great hallmarks of American Democracy. And, like many noble visions, it has taken a lot of sacrifice and courage to bring that vision forth. Since the American Revolution our small tent of democracy has steadily grown. Granted at first solely to the white male Founders, the vote has since been extended to former slaves, Native Americans, women, the less literate, the landless, the poor, and others initially denied citizen enfranchisement.

In Florida today, however, over 5 percent of the adult population are not allowed to vote. This largely covert repeal of suffrage rights includes roughly one-in-three African-American men. Florida undercuts their constituency more severely than any other state. Following Governor Jeb Bush's Florida, Governor George Bush's Texas has the nation's second largest group of disenfranchised voters. Between these two states alone, over 1.2 million citizens, including more than a 1/3 of a million African Americans, are banned from the voting booth because of felony convictions on their records, most for small quantity drug crimes.

Disenfranchisement practices, like sentencing guidelines, vary widely from state to state. Some citizens regain their right to vote in time, but in Florida many lose that unique herald of democracy for life. In many states even felons only sentenced to probation or those honorably discharged from parole can be stripped of their civil rights. The American Revolution was fought over similar injustices perpetrated against the "unrepresented" colonial subjects of King George.

Nationwide, almost 4 million adults today, a third of them African-Americans, are subjected to this statutory gerrymandering. Many elections are decided by smaller margins. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall noted that disenfranchisement laws originated, "in the fogs and fictions of feudal jurisprudence." But most of us imagine that 21st century American Justice could evolve beyond the European norms of the Middle Ages. Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist observes that, historically, these laws were deliberately "enacted with the intent of disenfranchising blacks." Given that most African-Americans voted Democratic in the last election, the face of American politics would dramatically shift were these barriers to voter participation finally torn down.

We are the only industrial democracy to disenfranchise massive voting blocks from the electorate. Rather than leading the free world today, we now trail it by a shocking distance on this account. The few nations that do practice voter disenfranchisement do so only toward those few who, through acts of terrorism, treason or other such crimes, demonstrate contempt for the democratic process itself. South Africa, for example, another nation with a troubled history of black and white race relations, does not deny the vote to felons or even to incarcerated prisoners. By comparison, it seems grotesque to sentence an American youth caught with fifteen dollars worth of drugs to lifelong exile from a participatory government. The practice of disenfranchisement does not encourage the marginalized to ever embrace the system or attempt to work within it. If anything, it breeds contempt for the law and cynicism about our capacity for justice and a truly representative democracy. Let us resolve to do something before the next election to restore our nation to one in which the people, all the people, decide who will rule and how.

(Statistical sources for this article include: The Human Rights Watch; The Sentencing Project and The ACLU).

Dr. Aaron Kipnis is a psychology professor in Santa Barbara and author of Angry Young Men: How Parents, Teachers, and Counselors Can Help, Bad Boys Become Good Men." For more information please visit www.malepsych.com

Gender Bias Okayed by Circuit Court


The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals puts it stamp of approval on bias against men in sentencing. A district judge had earlier concluded that prosecutors treated men more harshly than women when both were accused of being drug couriers. One Arizona study showed that prison sentences for men are longer and that 35% of women got probation without prison, compared to only 11% of men. Nevertheless, the Appeals Court said prosecutors should be given "extreme deferences" and "appropriate respect" when they decide to charge one person (men) and let another (women) off. The court told the district judge that the sentences he gave three men were too low. He had given them lower sentences to make them comparable to the sentencing of women. The court ordered him to raise the sentences. So much for equal protection under the law.

Most murder cases cleared


In 2004, law enforvement agencies nationally "cleared," or resolved, 46.3% of violent crimes through arrests. Violent crimes cleared, by type:

Source: USA Today 12/6/05

2007 Statistical Abstract The National Data Book


Crimes and crime rates
Source: www.census.gov/compendia/statab/law_enforcement_courts_prisons/crimes_and_crime_rates/

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Here in the U.S. you are 50 times more likely to be killed by a cop than by a terrorist. The cops are armed to the teeth. 95% of prosecutions are won by the prosecutors, 90% of which are won without a trial. We are 5% of the world's population, but house 25% of the world's prisoners.

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Commit a crime, and the earth is made of glass. There is no such thing as concealment. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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