A new study from the Vera Institute of Justice suggests that mass incarceration, typically focused in urban centers, is growing fastest in suburbs and rural areas.
The U.S. already has a massive imprisonment problem — despite having 4 percent of the world’s population, the U.S. has 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. And now, the problem is spreading beyond cities. In 2014, densely-populated counties had 271 inmates in jail per 100,000 people, whereas sparsely-populated counties had 446 inmates per 100,000 people — nearly double the amount.
I forgive my dad for walking out on his only son
I forgive the people who think they get over
When they assume that I’m dumb
I forgive life for dealing me this hand
I forgive my inner boy for not becoming a man
I forgive the man who bumped me
Because he couldn’t see
I forgive ...
But I can’t forgive everything
Because I’ve yet to forgive me ...
Steven is an active member of the Free Minds Book Club.
A 28-year-old black woman driving from Naperville, Ill., to Prairie View, Texas, for a job interview ended up dead in jail, ABC7 reports.
Sandra Bland was pulled over in Waller County, Texas, for failing to signal while changing lanes. Video footage from the scene of the arrest shows two police officers restraining her on the ground, then taking her into custody. Three days later she was found dead in her jail cell. Police say her death appears to be self-inflicted.
According to ABC7:
In a press release from the sheriff's department, authorities say they applied CPR, but Bland was pronounced dead shortly after she was found.
"I do not have any information that would make me think it was anything other than just a suicide," says Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis.
Bland's friends disagree.
...Longtime friend LaNitra Dean tells the I-Team that Bland "was a warm, affectionate, outspoken woman" who spoke out about police brutality often on her Facebook page and was critical of injustice against African Americans.
..."The Waller County Jail is trying to rule her death a suicide and Sandy would not have taken her own life," Dean said. "Sandy was strong. Strong mentally and spiritually."
Texas State Rangers are now handling the investigation. Read the full story here.
Leslie Zukor was a 19-year-old student at Reed College studying prison rehabilitation programs when something jumped out at her.
“Not all prisoners are religious, and I wanted them to know that to turn your life around and be a good and productive member of society does not require a belief in God,” she said. “I just thought, wow, it is time to see about getting other perspectives in there.” While there were programs tackling drug abuse, physical and sexual abuse, technical training, and more, all of them were offered by faith-based organizations. Where were the options for those behind bars who are atheists, like her?
So Zukor launched the Freethought Books Project, collecting books about atheism, humanism, and science and sending them to interested prisoners. She estimates that since her first book drive in 2005, she has given out 2,300 books, magazines, and newspapers to perhaps hundreds of prisoners across the country.
What struck me as he spoke was the sheer human potential of this my client, wasted. That matters for all of us because of an unflinching Scriptural text about how we can enter the kingdom of God: “for I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me….just as you did it to the least of those who are members of my family, you did it to me.” (Matt. 25:35-40)
That’s the test. Not beliefs or intentions. Actions.
Specific actions: Jesus tells us to visit people considered the worst among us, those accused of breaking the law.
It’s not just innocent prisoners we are to see; it’s prisoners. They are all Jesus.
From WOAI-TV in San Antonio, Texas:
She's been living on the streets to bring attention to homelessness, but Sunday night a local pastor stayed behind bars.
The Rev. Lorenza Andrade Smith had a warrant out for her arrest, because she was cited for sleeping on a park bench, which she says proves her point, that the homeless have few places to lay their heads. Along her journey the pastor has discovered what she calls an unjust judicial system for the poor.
She said, “This will be the second time I’m in jail for that same ticket and I’m just trying to survive out in the streets like hundreds of others here in San Antonio.”
According to CNN:
ATLANTA, Ga. – With a calm voice and collected manner about her, a 15-year-old girl called Fayette County 911 to report that her father assaulted her. The call led police to the suburban Atlanta home of megachurch pastor Creflo Dollar and ultimately resulted in a night behind bars on Friday.
The audio from the phone call was released Tuesday.
“I just got into an altercation with my father. He punched me and threatened to choke me,” the girl told a 911 dispatcher. “Um, this is not the first time that this has happened. I feel threatened by being in this house. Um… I don’t know, I don’t know what can be done. But I’m scared, I’m shaking.“
Dollar publicly denied punching or choking his teenage daughter during Sunday service at World Changers International Church, but in the police report, he admitted emotions ran high very early Friday morning and he attempted to “restrain” his daughter when she became “disrespectful.”
In the 911 tapes, the teen explained to the dispatcher that her father attacked her because of grades and a dispute about a party that she wanted to attend.
Read more HERE.
Pastor Walter is experiencing firsthand the effects of a broken immigration system. Walter migrated to the United States from Colombia when he was young, petitioned by his parents, who were Lawful Permanent Residents. Walter's parents wanted for their son to enjoy the opportunities that the United States had to offer.
Earlier this month, the nice folks over at The Washington Post's Outlook section asked me to write an essay about what I thought the worst religious idea of the past decade was. I ended up giving them two essays, as I couldn't quite decide which I thought was "worse."