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Posts tagged ‘inmates’

Killing Frenzy In Gambia

Dear Gabriel,

The Gambian President has decided to execute all death row inmates in just a matter of days, despite the serious concerns over whether the inmates received fair trials at all. There’s no time for appeals or questions.

And to prove President Yahya Jammeh means every word — the executions have already begun. This past weekend, nine individuals were dragged from their cells without warning or good-byes and executed. Just like that.

The prisoners were lined up and shot by firing squad. Now 38 others are at extreme risk of meeting the same end.

Don’t let Gambia kill one more prisoner – stop the execution spree!

President Yahya Jammeh has set mid-September 2012 — that’s no more than 3 weeks from now — as a deadline for carrying out this sickening plan. But he’s already proven that he’s not willing to wait long.

The only thing close to an explanation the President has given was during the televised speech in which he announced these plans, claiming that he wants “to rid the country of all criminals”.

This is no way for a justice system, or a President for that matter, to operate. The death penalty in Gambia is often used to punish political dissent, disguised as “treason”. President Jammeh has a history of making these kinds of cruel and outrageous remarks. He’s recently threatened to behead all homosexuals and has urged Gambians to stop buying newspapers so that journalists would starve to death.

The insanity stops here — no more executions in Gambia!

What’s more shocking — the executions Gambia carried out last week were the first in 27 years — effectively ending an unofficial moratorium! Gambia is now the first West African country to execute prisoners in recent history.

These executions are a major blow to the global movement to abolish the death penalty. They violate international and regional human rights standards to which Gambia is a party. We can’t let Gambia take a giant leap backwards for human rights — stop the executions now!

In Solidarity,

Emily Helms
Country Specialist, Gambia
Amnesty International USA

Dogs Go To Jail For Good

From SF Gate
by Carolyn Jones
31 July 2012

Inmates Rehabilitate Problem Pooches

Couch-eaters, barkers, escape artists, leash-haters and other bad dogs got a reprieve from canine jail Tuesday, thanks to a cadre of trainers who know a thing to two about bad behavior.

The dogs, who were near death row at the Peninsula Humane Society because of their misdemeanors, graduated from an eight-week intensive training program that transformed them into the world’s most lovable pets.

The miracle workers behind the metamorphosis? Fellow inmates – of the two-legged variety.

A collaboration between the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office and the Peninsula Humane Society pairs problem dogs with prisoners in the minimum-security Maple Street Complex Facility in Redwood City.

Inmates gain skills

The dogs move into the jail, sleep in crates at night, and spend roughly 16 hours a day with their inmate handlers. They learn how to sit, stay and not chew shoes, as well as get along with people and other dogs.

In short, they are rehabilitated into contributing members of society.

As for the inmates, they learn a few new tricks as well. Humane Society staff instruct them how to train and groom dogs, giving them some job skills for when they’re released. And as a side benefit, the inmates get plenty of slobbering and trusting love in a place not usually known for its cheerful ambiance.

“It’s a big stress reliever. It makes you feel good,” said Mark Karwowski, 49, of Emeryville, who is serving 3 1/2 months for drunken driving. “You get to be normal for a while.”

‘Hard to say goodbye’

Karwowski bid farewell Tuesday to Belle, a 2-year-old pit bull-rottweiler mix who had “socialization issues” when she arrived at the cell block two months ago. Among other transgressions, she had a penchant for attacking other dogs.

Karwowski worked with her slowly, introducing her gradually to one, and then two, then three other dogs, rewarding her with treats when she was friendly and removing her from the dog party when she raised her hackles.

On Tuesday, Belle was a model of affability, sitting calmly throughout the graduation festivities with nary a sideways glance at her four-legged classmates.

“It feels good to see her do so well,” Karwowski said. “But it’s a little sad. It’s hard to say goodbye. It makes me miss my dog at home.”

The program originated three years ago from a sheriff’s deputy who had heard of a similar program in another state. It’s been so successful in San Mateo County that numerous other jails, including San Francisco’s, are considering it.

In all, 79 inmates have participated, training 40 dogs. All 40 have been adopted, many by their inmate handlers after they’re released or by guards, deputies and other jail staff who became smitten with the canine convicts.

Potential as pets

The dogs are mostly strays whom Humane Society staff deem to be good candidates for rehabilitation. They’re too poorly behaved to be adopted, but with some schooling and love they have the potential to become good pets.

“These are dogs that aren’t thriving in the shelter, for whatever reason,” said Maria Eguren, the Humane Society’s director of training and behavior. “But over here, it’s like they’re in a home. They do much better. Everyone’s morale goes up.”

Sheriff’s staff noticed benefits for inmates that reach far beyond dog training skills.

“A lot of the inmates have problems dealing with emotions. Working with dogs teaches them to let their emotions out in a positive way,” said Lt. Alma Zamora. “They get something to love.”

Overcoming flaws

It wasn’t hard to fall in love with Sierra, a 1-year-old Husky with pedigree looks but a few personality flaws, such as begging, whining and lack of housetraining.

Starfordshire Taimani, 27, of East Palo Alto turned her into a show dog. The fluffy pup was the star Tuesday, sitting proudly as several dozen county workers and other passers-by smothered her with affection.

Read entire story at SF Gate.

Stop State Killings

Dear friend,

We have a historic opportunity in California. We can shut down the nation’s biggest and most expensive death penalty system, with 720 death row inmates and a $4 billion price tag. But to be successful, we need to gather 750,000 voter signatures by February 15 (today).

We’re well on our way to gathering the signatures we need to put the measure on the ballot, but with only a few weeks left, we still need a lot of help. And we can only end the madness through another vote.

The SAFE California Act will replace California’s death penalty with a sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole as the maximum punishment for murder. This means convicted killers will remain behind bars forever, but with no risk of executing an innocent person.

California taxpayers will save well over $100 million every year without releasing a single prisoner.

Please sign up now to volunteer and help us collect the remaining signatures we need to qualify the initiative and shut down death row in California.

Click here to sign up:

http://www.moveon.org/r?r=271062&id=35593-1274818-jp4nDGx&t=1

Why replace the death penalty with life without parole?

1. With the death penalty we will always risk executing an innocent person. Since reinstatement of the death penalty in the U.S., 140 innocent men and women have been freed from death row.1 Franky Carrillo from Los Angeles was released from prison last March after 20 years behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit.2

2. Many people think that the death penalty costs less than life in prison with no chance of parole, but that’s just not true. California taxpayers would save well over $100 million every year, as well as hundreds of millions in one-time savings.3

3. Dangerous criminals must be caught and brought to justice, yet a shocking 46% of murders and 56% of rapes go unsolved every year in California, on average.4 We need to use our very limited public funds to get more criminals off our streets to protect our families. SAFE California would dedicate $100 million in budget savings to the investigation of open rape and murder cases.

4. While we cut our state budget for schools, violence prevention, and law enforcement, California spends millions of dollars on death row. We need more teachers in the classroom, not more lawyers in the courtroom.

Please join the SAFE California campaign. Volunteer to replace California’s death penalty.

Click here to sign up:

http://www.moveon.org/r?r=271062&id=35593-1274818-jp4nDGx&t=2

Thank you,

–Natasha Minsker, SAFE California

Norway’s “Cushy” Prison

Here is a very interesting article our son posted on Facebook today. I read it after returning from my weekly volunteering at a state penitentiary in Salinas, CA. A lot of it makes very good sense. Essentially, healthy respected people treat other people with respect and hurt people hurt people.

MailOnline
Norway’s controversial ‘cushy prison’ experiment – could it catch on in the UK? by Piers Hernu. 8th May 2011.

Can a prison possibly justify treating its inmates with saunas, sunbeds and deckchairs if that prison has the lowest reoffending rate in Europe? Live reports from Norway on the penal system that runs contrary to all our instincts – but achieves everything we could wish for

On a clear, bright morning in the tranquil, coastal town of Horten, just south of Oslo, a small ferry slides punctually into harbour. I am to take a short boat ride to the sunlit, green island of Bastoy shimmering on the horizon less than two miles away. It is a curious place. There are no secluded holiday homes or elegant hotels with moorings for passing yachts. The 120 people who live there never visit the mainland, but then why would they?

They spend their days happily winding around the network of paths that snake through the pine forests, or swimming and fishing along the five miles of pebble beaches, or playing on the tennis courts and football pitch; and recuperating later on sunbeds and in a sauna, a cinema room, a band rehearsal room and expansive library.

Their commune has handsomely furnished bungalows with cable TV. The residents eat together in an attractively spacious canteen thoughtfully decorated with Norwegian art. The centrepiece is a striking 10ft long model of a Norwegian merchant ship.

If it sounds like an oddball Scandinavian social experiment, you’d be right. Bastoy is home to Norway’s only island prison. I am here to scrutinize its hugely controversial approach to crime and punishment, and to do so with some knowledge; the last time I set foot in a prison was as a foolish 23-year-old man.

COMPLETE ARTICLE

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