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DRAFT

UN SDG Target 16.3.3 & TAP 29

29. Plan to end massive incarcerations, humanely reform the criminal justice systems and prisons using timely restitution, truth and reconciliation, restorative justice and rehabilitation and eliminate punishment for all crimes and confinement for non-violent crimes

(Updated January 1, 2017)


Please provide refinements and additions to PeopleNow.org by

email to: RefineThePlan@PeopleNow.org or fax 703-725-0849

 

29.1    Introduction


Numerous studies, books and articles describe the deplorable conditions in our prisons and criminal justice system, including the Criminal Justice Commission Act, which Senator Jim Webb introduced in March 2009 and reintroduced in 2010 and 2011, Yet, despite numerous petitions, phone calls and demonstrations very little has been done and Senator Webb’s proposed legislation for a Criminal Justice Commission was blocked by 43 Senators threatening to filibuster against it and voting against cloture.


To have meaningful reform we must have honest, caring public servants


This plan and these humane restorative justice principles and practices do not excuse crimes, nor do they permit the release of someone who is a threat to society. The primary purposes of criminal justice are to protect the public from perpetrators of crimes and rehabilitate perpetrators. As part of restorative justice, perpetrators of crimes are expected to provide appropriate restitutions to victims and be apologetic and contrite. The best way to get them to do this is not by punishment, confrontations, public embarrassments or threats, none of which work Perpetrators must be led to understand the damages, suffering and misery that their injustices have caused and are causing and to encourage them to decide that they want to be productive, cooperative members of society.


This Plan is described on www.HumaneJustice.org.


The following below Table of Contents outlines the major elements of this plan. Each item in the plan can be accessed by clicking on the page number for that item.


Table of Contents


 

29.1    Introduction

 

Executive Summary

 

29.2    Purpose

 

29.3    Objectives

 

29.4    Actions:

           29.4.1 Prevent criminal activity and markedly reduce additional violence, crimes and incarcerations

           29.4.2 End Massive Detention: Screen detainees, incarcerated, civilly committed and those detained while awaiting trial and release those who can safely be released and initiate individual rehabilitation and reentry plans for all others while keeping them under supervision

           29.4.3 Make comprehensive and timely preparations for the reentry into society of those released and each of those remaining incarcerated including employment opportunities at living wages, health care, affordable shelter, counseling a network of supporters, etc.

           29.4.5 Ensure Rights of Victims, the Accused, Defendants and Incarcerated and Civilly Committed Are Strictly Protected.

           29.4.6 Treat the Accused, Defendants, Incarcerated and Civilly Committed Humanely.

           29.4.7 Ensure Just Investigations and Adjudication

           29.4.9 Provide opportunities for the accused, defendants, incarcerated and civilly committed to apologize, pay appropriate restitution and reconcile with their victims

           29.4.10           Phase Out All Privately Owned Prisons

           29.4.11           Phase out all "Special Housing Units," "Communications Management Units”, "Supermax" Prisons and “ICE Detention Facilities”

           29.4.12           Repudiate Any Notion of Immunity or Impunity of Senior Private and Public Sector Officials

           29.4.13           Prohibit the Use of “State Secrets” or Executive Privilege in Criminal or Civil Cases.

           29.4.14           Educate and Train All Prosecutors, Judges, Prison Officials and Guards in All Aspects of the above

           29.4.15           Humanely and privately investigate, negotiate and/or prosecute public and private sector officials who directly or indirectly violate the rights of anyone, including those incarcerated or civilly-committed to prison

           29.4.16           Congress Provide the Funding to Support These Actions.

 

29.5    Background on U.S. Criminal Justice and Prisons

           29.5.1 The Proposed National Criminal Justice Commission Act

           29.5.2 Different justice for senior public and private sector officials and the middle class and poor.

           29.5.3 Statement on prison reform

           29.5.4 Additional problems with criminal justice and prisons

 

29.6    Definitions

 

29.7    Opinions and Recommendations of Authorities on Criminal Justice

           29.7.1 Alfred Adler

           29.7.2 Clarence Darrow

           29.7.3 Peter Joseph, Roxanne Meadows and Jacque Fresco

 

29.8    Examples of Successful "Restorative Justice" Programs

 

29.9    Conclusions

 

29.10  CREDITS:

 

29.11  Thoughts of the Compiler


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Executive Summary


This plan outlines required actions to reform criminal justice and prison systems using humane, constitutional, rehabilitative, restorative justice and modern psychology principles and practices.


Many organization and individuals have worked on this for years and collectively know what needs to be done.


However, these organizations and individuals are not working nearly well enough together and have had no overall strategy or plan until now.


In his book, the Sane Society, Eric Fromm states: Change must be a simultaneous change in economic, education, political and cultural spheres. Changes restricted to one sphere are destructive of every change.


For example when non violent offenders are released, there must be:

 

      Jobs at living wages for them

 

      Funds for these  jobs

 

     Job training

 

     Honest, dedicated public servants that will enact and enforce the necessary legislation

 

     Essentially full employment at living wages for everyone


Otherwise, releasing prisoner alone will increase unemployment, drive down wages and destroy efforts to end wars and disarm and enact immigration and labor reform legislation and many other changes as Eric Fromm stated


This does not imply that we should not release non-violent offender immediately. It means that we must plan ahead and have the jobs, funds, training, legislation, materials, available when needed.


To accomplish this plan, the plan to reform criminal justice will be refined and their primary features ultimately employed in all state, federal and international criminal investigations and prosecutions.


It covers the entire spectrum of criminal justice from prevention, protecting society from criminal acts through timely restitution and reparations for victims and rehabilitation and reentry of perpetrators back into his family, community and society with the perpetrator having the opportunity to feel like he never left then.


It is intended to hold perpetrators of crimes accountable and to rehabilitate and restore both victim(s) and perpetrators of crimes as effectively and quickly as possible while reducing the impact on the victims and others involved and minimizing the direct and indirect costs to society.


As soon as there is probable cause that someone has committed a crime, protection of potential victims, preventing the alleged individual from committing additional crimes and restorative justice and rehabilitation should begin. All the rights of the victims and perpetrators must be observed. In particular, the perpetrator’s right to not be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself and to not be entrapped.

 

     Outlines required long and short term actions to reform criminal justice and prison systems using humane, constitutional, rehabilitative, restorative justice and modern psychology principles and practices. Many of these principles and practices could be put in place today.

 

     Covers the entire spectrum of criminal justice including: prevention, prompt investigation of crimes, adjudication, sentencing, holding perpetrators of crimes accountable, rehabilitation and reentry into society with restorative justice opportunities throughout the entire process for both victims and perpetrators of crimes.

 

     Once implemented, will reduce the impact on victims and communities and decrease the total costs of crimes to society.

 

     As soon as there is probable cause that someone has committed a crime, preventing the individual from committing additional crimes and restorative justice and rehabilitation should begin. The individual should not be entrapped.

   

     Supplies a framework, for those interested, to list additional problems and solutions and work with others to accomplish the solutions.

 

     Calls for correcting the underlying causes of criminal behavior, in particular lack of a normal family, lack of employment and education opportunities, poverty, hopelessness and despair.

 

     Addresses misconceptions about crimes and punishment. Neither Alfred Adler nor Clarence Darrow believed corporal punishment or any other form of punishment worked. Of course there must be consequences for criminal behavior.

 

     Provides procedures, principles and practices for the Plan to Humanely and Privately Prosecute Lawbreakers With Restorative Justice Opportunities For Victims and Lawbreakers which is TAP #31 of the Common Agenda.


Organizations and individuals interested in work with others as part of a working group to help refine and implement can send an email to Volunteer@wethepeoplenow.org Recommendations can be made and items added by emailing RefinethePlan@wethepeoplenow.org or faxing 703-521-0849.

 

Most aspects of the entire Justice System must be revamped, reformed and improved. Criminal Justice and Prisons has been given a high priority for accomplishment because of its horrendous, unjust impact on so many lives and because of the need for a reformed justice system to humanely and privately prosecute senior public and private sector officials.

 

29.2       Purpose

 

Revamp, reform and improve all aspects of America's criminal justice system and prisons using constitutional, humane, restorative justice, reconciliation, rehabilitation, deferred prosecution, and modern psychology principles and practices to hold perpetrators of crimes accountable and rehabilitate and restore both victims and perpetrators of crimes.

 

29.3       Objectives

 

29.3.1    Prevent and markedly reduce crimes, violence, recidivism, prison populations and ultimately markedly reduce the overall cost of criminal justice.

 

29.3.2    Screen all prisoners and detainees and pardon those who can safely be released. Provide individual rehabilitation and reentry plans for those remaining in prison. Compensate those who have been wrongfully convicted.

 

29.3.3    Treat victims, defendants, prisoners and detainees humanely, ensure their rights are strictly protected and provide restorative justice opportunities for all.

 

29.3.4    Address the long-term consequences of incarceration.

 

29.3.5    Eliminate overcrowding and the deplorable conditions in our jails and prisons

 

29.3.6    Recalculate who goes to prison and for how long. (See below paragraph IV. B. Different Justice for Senior Public and Private Sector Officials and the Rich Versus Low Level Officials and the Poor.)

 

29.3.7    Cease militarizing and demilitarize all of America’s police forces including military equipment, procedures and practices.

 

29.3.8    End indefinite detention, torture, extraordinary rendition, ensure fair trials and utiize Article III courts for criminal trials including In the case of terrorism suspectsnd

 

29.3.9    Reform surveillance policies and practices at the federal, state, and local levels to restore personal privacy, and protect the right to dissent

 

29.3.10  End the profiling of and discrimination against and help build the voices of, Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian individuals and communities in the United States

 

29.3.11  Curb excessive government secrecy and expand government oversight, and hold government officials and private actors to account for abuses in particular committed in the name of national security and promote national security and counterterrorism policies that respect human rights, civil liberties, and the rule-of-law

 

29.3.12  Provide strategies, procedures to humanely and privately (not secretly) prosecute lawbreakers using restorative justice as outlined in the Plan to Humanely and Privately (Not Secretly) Investigate, Negotiate and/or Prosecute Lawbreakers With Timely Restitution For Victims, Rehabilitation for Lawbreakers and Restorative Justice For Both which is outlined in www.HumaneProsecutions.org

 

29.4       Actions:

 

29.4.1    Prevent criminal activity and markedly reduce additional violence, crimes and incarcerations

 

29.4.1.1 Teach caring for, cooperating with and encouraging one another to all age groups, in particular very young children, inmates and anyone who exhibits non-social traits. This can be taught “by example,” with games and group sessions. It should be exercise and practiced to be fully developed.

 

29.4.1.2 As rapidly as possible:

 

29.4.1.2.1     Provide Both Jobs at Living Wages and Affordable Necessities of Life for All (TAP #1) including those being released from and in prisons. Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants (CURE) has a detailed approach to prisoner employment at http://curenational.org/prison-employment.html.

 

29.4.1.2.2     Provide Both Expanded and Improved Medicare and Strengthened Social Security For All (TAP 11 of the Common Agenda) including behavioral health and group therapy for the accused, defendant and those incarcerated,

 

29.4.1.2.3     Parents to use encouragement techniques and end corporal punishment of children

 

29.4.1.3 Stop “sending the mentally ill to prison. Nearly all mentally ill persons can and should be treated on the outside, not in cages that exacerbate their problems. Community treatment, . . . could save millions every year Footnote .

 

29.4.1.4  Prevent crimes and keep ongoing crimes from getting worse. Anyone having knowledge of the planning of a crime should take appropriate actions to prevent it.

 

29.4.1.5 If the government has probably cause of all the elements of a crime, a judicial authority should issue a summons or arrest warrant. Otherwise the government must cease all spying on the people, infiltrations of families and groups, entrapment actions and collection of data on individuals or organizations.               

 

29.4.1.6 Provide opportunities for individuals alleged to have committed crimes to voluntarily apologize and pay appropriate restitution to their victims, the victims’ family members and communities without admitting guilt.

 

29.4.1.7 Hire additional counselors and rehabilitation and probation officers.

 

29.4.1.8 End the war on drugs. Legalize appropriate drugs and control their production, sale and distribution while providing jobs, encouragement, drug education, counseling and appropriate treatment in lieu of criminal justice procedures.

 

29.4.2    End Massive Detention: Screen detainees, incarcerated, civilly committed and those detained while awaiting trial and release those who can safely be released and initiate individual rehabilitation and reentry plans for all others while keeping them under supervision.

 

Clarence Darrow provides an outstanding strategy for this screening: All of those who for any reason cannot or do not adjust themselves to important rules [e.g. commit a crime(s)] should be examined by experts to find out why it is and what can be done; They should be helped in every way possible. Regardless of what they have done they should be released when it seems safe; meantime they should be kept under supervision in kindness and sympathy instead of harshness. It is entirely possible that a person guilty of homicide could safely be set free in a short time, and that a sneak-thief or a beggar could never be changed or cured or released. Each individual should be considered by himself. Because many psychopaths and sociopaths can be very manipulative, charming and glib, examiners must have a good understanding of and qualified to determine and take heed of this behavior.

 

29.4.2.1 Counsel and release those who are not a threat to society as outlined in Paragraph H below. Insure that all released have a reentry plan with, health care, affordable shelter, counseling and a network of supporters. Mentally ill persons who have committed crimes should be treated in facilities designed for the safe treatment of the mentally ill while guaranteeing the safety of society. Releasing individuals from prisons that are not a threat to society will allow more attention to be applied to those that cannot yet be released.

 

29.4.2.2 Keep those that are threats to society “under appropriate supervision” as outlined in Paragraph G below. Counsel them, ensure that they are taught to be cooperative and how to be interested in and helpful to their fellow human beings. Provide them with the opportunity to be employed at a living, in particular in work with others that benefits their community. Provide them the opportunity to pay restitution and sincerely apologize to the victim(s) of their crime(s).

 

Regardless of the length of sentence for violent crimes:

 

29.4.2.3 Release prisoners with diagnosed mental disorders to secure mental health treatment centers. Ensure psychological and medical care and rehabilitation services for mentally ill prisoners.

 

29.4.2.4 Release all prisoners who are too old and/or infirm to pose a threat to society to less expensive, community-based facilities.

 

29.4.2.5 Treat substance abuse and all crimes as a medical/mental health problem, not a criminal problem. Free all non-violent incarcerated prisoners of the drug war. Provide treatment to parolees and probationers who fail a drug test instead of re-incarceration. Endnote

 

For all others on a case by case basis, while observing all their rights discern, understand and consider:

 

29.4.2.5.1     The individual's background and accomplishments, the mitigating and extenuating circumstances of alleged crime(s) and the individuals physical, health, educational, psychological, financial and social needs

 

29.4.2.5.2     Why they exhibit inappropriate behavior

 

29.4.2.5.3     What should be done to help correct such behavior

 

29.4.2.5.4     Identify those individuals who can safely be released and those that should be kept under supervision/confined, to protect the public from their criminal behavior.

 

29.4.3    Make comprehensive and timely preparations for the reentry into society of those released and each of those remaining incarcerated including employment opportunities at living wages, health care, affordable shelter, counseling a network of supporters, etc.

 

29.4.3.1 “Make reduction of recidivism a primary goal of parole. Treat parole as a time of reintegration into the community, not as a continuation of sentence. Before their release, provide community reentry programs Endnote , group therapy, in-prison training, work-release programs, continual assessments and increased visitation and internet contact access. “Provide access to education, addiction and psychological treatment, job training, work and housing upon their release. Provide counseling and other services to the members of a parolee's family, to help them with the changes caused by the parolee's return. Prevent unwarranted search without reasonable cause to parolees and their homes. Endnote

 

29.4.3.2 There shall be a presumption of parole at the earliest release date. Release decisions shall be based upon validated, dynamic risk assessments and performance (including therapy) while incarcerated. The nature of the offense of conviction and criminal history shall not be a factor other than the impact they may have on the outcome of a risk assessment.

 

29.4.3.3 Lack of programming staff shall not be used as rationale to delay release. Based upon validated risk assessment results, persons who have not completed programming through no fault of their own shall be released to the community where they shall receive community treatment and monitoring to ensure their successful re-entry.

 

29.4.4    Everyone past his or her minimum release date shall have an opportunity for release annually.

 

29.4.4.1 No one shall be denied release because of a pending appeal or for lack of a home placement. If the individual is not able to live with family members, adequate housing shall be provided outside of the prison system

 

29.4.4.2 Counsel and release all those who are not a threat to society. Insure that all released are afforded employment opportunities, health care, affordable shelter, counseling and a network of supporters. Mentally ill persons who have committed crimes or commit crimes should be treated in facilities designed for the safe treatment of the mentally ill while guaranteeing the safety of society. Releasing individuals from prisons that are not a threat to society will allow more attention to be applied to those that cannot yet be released.

 

29.4.4.3 Anyone released from a prison shall have had access to a re-entry program for assistance with housing, transportation, job searching, health care, and other needs.

 

29.4.4.4 All persons leaving prison shall have:

 

29.4.4.4.1     Their birth certificate, social security card, and state ID card

 

29.4.4.4.2     Access to earned benefits: Social security, veteran's benefits, pension payments, disability payments, etc.

 

29.4.4.5 Licensing restrictions shall be imposed only if there is a strong correlation between the crime(s) committed and the activity being licensed.

 

29.4.4.6 Incarceration shall not be extended through mechanisms such as civil commitment, lifetime parole, or home confinement.

 

29.4.4.7  No individual shall be subject to residency restrictions.

 

29.4.4.8 Community supervision, in the form of probation, parole, or registration shall be imposed only if a dynamic risk assessment indicates it is warranted. No fee shall be charged by the state for probation or parole services. This is the responsibility of the state government.

 

29.4.4.9 There shall be no public registry and persons shall be not be listed on police registries unless they screen high risk on a dynamic risk instrument. .

 

29.4.5    Ensure Rights of Victims, the Accused, Defendants and Incarcerated and Civilly Committed Are Strictly Protected. Ensure rights of all are strictly protected as guaranteed by the Constitution (Salient Rights), the International Covenants on Human Rights and other laws during all phases of the criminal justice process including:

 

29.4.5.1 Amendment VI of the U.S. Constitution includes: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right ...to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.”

 

“Shall enjoy” mandates that this right may not be waived by the court, the accused or anyone else. The counsel providing the assistance must have the qualifications, resources, and time to thoroughly explore the circumstances surrounding the crime and advocate for the defendant whether the crime is considered violent or nonviolent and whether it is resolved by trial, plea agreement, Alford plea, deferred prosecution, etc..

 

29.4.5.2  Privacy rights to keep the name(s) of the defendants, the victims and the documentation being prepared for their prosecution private (not secret) and not revealed or “leaked” to the public until after they are actually indicted. The defendants does of course have a right to a public trial.

 

29.4.5.3 Evidence of someone's innocence, must be considered regardless of when that evidence becomes available and whether or not the court process or representation was flawed.

 

29.4.5.4 Abolish/eliminate:

 

29.4.5.4.1     The death penalty

 

29.4.5.4.2     Felony murder statutes

 

29.4.5.4.3     Arrests, searches, and wiretapping without warrants

 

29.4.5.4.4     Extraordinary renditions

 

29.4.5.4.5     Indefinite detentions

 

29.4.5.4.6      Children being tried and sentenced as adults, three strikes laws, mandatory-minimum sentences, sentences without parole and restore judicial discretion in sentencing.

 

29.4.5.5 Establish and fund programs to strengthen self-help and community action through neighborhood centers that provide legal aid, alternative dispute-resolution practices, mediated restitution, community team policing, and access to local crisis/assault care shelters.

 

29.4.5.6 Establish elected or appointed independent civilian review boards with subpoena power to investigate complaints about prison guard and community police behavior. Sharply restrict police use of weapons and restraining techniques such as pepper spray, stun belts, tasers and choke holds.

 

29.4.5.7  Abolish commercial bail bonding Determining suitability for pre-trial release should not be based on how much money a defendant can pay, but by using evidence-based practices to determine who can and cannot be released under supervision, while providing for necessary intervention to protect public safety.

 

29.4.5.8 Provide parole violators appropriate counseling, jobs, treatment, training and supervision. Do not automatically return them to prison.

 

29.4.5.9 Establish civilian oversight boards comprised of community leaders, prison reform advocates and penal specialists to ensure prison management and staff do not violate the civil rights of prisoners and that prisoners re-entering the community are prepared to do so and are provided with the kinds of support needed to successfully re-integrate, such as job training, job prospects, housing and drug treatment. Prisons exist in communities and are not separate from them.

 

29.4.6 Treat the Accused, Defendants, Incarcerated and Civilly Committed Humanely.

 

  The legal definition of “humane”: Kind, tender, compassionate. Disposed to eliminate the cause of suffering of man or beast. Humane differs from the ordinary use of “merciful,” in that it expresses active endeavors to find and relieve suffering, and especially to prevent it

 

29.4.6.1 Create a humane, rehabilitative criminal justice and prison system with individual, rehabilitation and reentry plans that emphasize rehabilitation and restorative justice and upholding the civil rights of prisoners while protecting the larger society from those who are not yet rehabilitated Footnote

 

29.4.6.2 “Never house juvenile offenders with adults. House violent and non-violent juvenile offenders separately. Continue the education of juveniles while in custody. Substantially decrease the number of juvenile's assigned to each judge and caseworker to oversee each juvenile's placement and progress in the juvenile justice system. Endnote

 

29.4.6.3  Encourage and give incarcerated, individuals responsibilities and every opportunity possible to made decision and utilize their talents at meaningful work. These opportunities may be in the form of facility operation and maintenance, tutoring, mentoring and helping one another with rehabilitation and reentry plans, or providing public services. Where it is possible for an individual to gain certification in an area of expertise that shall be encouraged. Those who are incarcerated shall receive adequate compensation for the work they perform and be paid a minimum wage up to a living wage with a portion going to child support, victim restitution, fines, fees and savings for use upon reentry into society. To the degree possible, community service programs shall be available for interested persons.

 

29.4.6.4  Programs, policies, and tools shall ensure that individuals are able to inexpensively maintain their social networks through fair and friendly telephone, surface mail, email, Skype and visitation services including private family visits. Restrictions shall be imposed only if needed to protect specific victim(s). Family members shall be able to visit any and all incarcerated family members. Subject to security screening, there shall be no limit to the number of persons on a visiting list or call list. At the very least, persons who are indigent shall be provided with postage and writing materials to facilitate contact by surface mail and at least one call per week to family or friends.

 

29.4.6.5 Every effort shall be made to compensate for lack of education that may have contributed to a person's criminal behavior. GED classes shall be standard and provided free by the state to all prisoners without a diploma or GED. Aptitude testing and vocational training shall be provided to ensure job readiness upon release.

 

29.4.6.6 Provide access to earned benefits (e.g. retiree health insurance, veterans health care, veteran's educational benefits, etc.) in cases where the department of corrections cannot or will not provide comparable services.

 

29.4.6.7 Individuals who are incarcerated shall be able to access Pell grants and other similar aid programs to facilitate their pursuit of a college education.

        

29.4.6.8 Provide:

 

29.4.6.8.1   Detention in a facility as close to family members and friends as possible, which helps with reentry into society. Prohibit individuals being held over a hundred miles away from families and friends closer if possible

 

29.4.6.8.2   Liberal visitation arrangements

 

29.4.6.8.3   Employment opportunities

 

29.4.6.8.4   Exercise facilities and equipment

 

29.4.6.8.5   Adequate natural and artificial sunlight

 

29.4.6.8.6   Nutritious food that meet prisoners' dietary requirements

 

29.4.6.8.7   Timely and competent free health care and prescribed drugs

 

29.4.6.8.8   Books

 

29.4.6.8.9   Drug treatment

 

29.4.6.8.10   Job training

 

29.4.6.8.11   Exercise

 

29.4.6.8.12   Personal safety during incarceration.

 

    This all would help greatly with the ability to re-enter society as a law abiding person.

 

29.4.6.9 Eliminate/Cease

 

29.4.6.9.1   Abuse and torture. United States ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT) and set up mechanisms that will prevent abuse and torture in the country's confinement facilities.

 

29.4.6.9.2   Retributive punishment

 

29.4.6.9.3   Housing juveniles in adult facilities

 

29.4.6.9.4   Loss of voting rights as a result of a criminal conviction

 

29.4.6.9.5   Physical or psychological abuse of any kind

 

29.4.6.9.6   Bullying, threatening and confrontations.

 

29.4.6.9.7   Solitary confinement (defined as torture by the UN Commission on Human Rights)

 

29.4.6.9.8   Held in isolation for a nonviolent infraction.

 

29.4.6.9.9    Held in isolation for a total of more than four hours for a violent infraction

 

29.4.6.9.10    Overcrowding, since that contributes to inhumane treatment.

 

29.4.6.9.11   Group punishment

 

29.4.6.9.12    Prolonged lock-downs

 

29.4.6.9.13   The use of abusive prisoner extraction techniques

 

29.4.6.9.14   The use and tolerance of rape and sexual coercion.

 

29.4.6.9.15   The use of shackles, restraints, or demeaning jail "uniforms" should be minimized and should not be used when the defendant appears in court

 

29.4.6.9.16   Withholding of medical treatment and food as punishment. In particular, confinement on bread and water/reduced rations as a punishment should be removed from the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

 

29.4.6.9.17   The use of military tribunals for other than U. S. Military personnel.

 

29.4.6.9.18    Those incarcerated having administrative, disciplinary or supervisory power over others who are incarcerated.

 

29.4.6.10 Establish and enforce prison policies that discourage and prohibit racism, sexism, homophobia and rape.

 

29.4.6.11 Set aside the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) which makes it much harder for prisoners to file lawsuits in federal court and violates prisoners right to equal protection under the law.

 

29.4.7 Ensure Just Investigations and Adjudication

 

29.4.7.1  Prevent crimes and keep ongoing crimes from getting worse. Anyone having knowledge of the planning of a crime should take appropriate actions to prevent it.

 

29.4.7.2 Cease warrant less searches, arrests, spying on and infiltrations of families and groups and entrapment actions.

 

29.4.7.3  In lieu of incarceration:

 

29.4.7.3.1   “Encourage and support positive approaches that build hope, responsibility and a sense of belonging. Detention under supervision should be the sentence of last resort, reserved for violent criminals. Those convicted of non-violent offenses should be handled by mentoring, alternative, community-based programs including, work, community service, electronic monitoring only if necessary, restitution, and rehabilitation programs Endnote

 

29.4.7.3.2   Provide opportunities for individuals who have committed crimes to apologize and pay appropriate restitution to their victims, the victims’ family members and communities and make an Alford plea without admitting guilt.

 

29.4.7.3.3    Forfeit all gains in particular from economic crimes

 

29.4.7.3.4    Pay fines and fees based upon ability to pay.

 

29.4.7.4 Allow individuals who are contrite and pay restitution to Ensure plea agreement are only done with an engaged and competent attorney in a manner that does not result in harm to any other defendant and involves the judge.

 

29.4.7.5  Ensure anyone tried and convicted who refused to negotiate a plea agreement is not sentenced to a longer term than was offered in negotiations.

 

29.4.7.6  Ensure deprivation of an individual's liberty shall be decided based upon the beyond a reasonable doubt standard of all of the elements of the action.

 

29.4.7.7 Ensure voting rights are not lost as a result of a criminal convictions.

 

29.4.7.8 Ensure evidence of someone's innocence, is considered regardless of when that evidence becomes available and whether or not the court process or representation was flawed.

 

29.4.8 Eliminate Sentencing and Keep Individuals Who Are a Threat to Others Under Appropriate Supervision and Care and Keep Them Busy Working Until they Can Safely be Released

 

29.4.8.1 Vacate All Sentencing Laws as null and void

 

29.4.8.2 Prohibit sentencing anyone to a prison term

 

29.4.8.3  Limit time for detention for offense to only long enough to complete an appropriate, evaluation ad well-defined, treatment and training program

 

29.4.8.4  Do not give significant weight to prior criminal history over the current evaluation

 

29.4.8.5  The cost of the sentence shall be identified at the time of sentencing.

 

29.4.9 Provide opportunities for the accused, defendants, incarcerated and civilly committed to apologize, pay appropriate restitution and reconcile with their victims, the victims family member and communities during every phase of the criminal justice process. These opportunities should commence as soon as practicable after a crime is committed, an arrest or summons is made and before a grand jury is impaneled if possible.

 

This could allow a truly contrite perpetrator who is not a threat to others or himself to make amends, apologize and pay restitution to his/her victim and make an Alford’s Plea (a plea of guilty that may be accepted by a court, normally as part of a plea bargain when the defendant does not admit guilt). In this way, the need for lengthy indictments and trials could be reduced. Hence the victim and perpetrator could get on with their lives sooner and decrease the size and cost of the prison population.

 

  29.4.10  Phase Out All Privately Owned Prisons. A recent ACLU report on the private prison industry, "Banking on Bondage: Private Prisons and Mass Incarceration," is available online at: http://www.aclu.org/prisoners-rights/banking-bondage-private-prisons-and-mass-incarceration.

 

  29.4.11  Phase out all "Special Housing Units," "Communications Management Units”, "Supermax" Prisons and “ICE Detention Facilities”. Many injustices occur in these types of facilities.

 

  29.4.12  Repudiate Any Notion of Immunity or Impunity of Senior Private and Public Sector Officials

 

29.4.12.1 Set aside or eliminate any laws, regulations or practices that grant immunity to any public servant who violates civil rights of anyone or commits any crime.

 

   29.4.13  Prohibit the Use of “State Secrets” or Executive Privilege in Criminal or Civil Cases.

 

  29.4.14  Educate and Train All Prosecutors, Judges, Prison Officials and Guards in All Aspects of the above. Those in disagreement with this humane approach should be reassigned to different work.

 

  29.4.15  Humanely and privately investigate, negotiate and/or prosecute public and private sector officials who directly or indirectly violate the rights of anyone, including those incarcerated or civilly-committed to prison in particular those who:

 

29.4.15.1 Indefinitely detain, torture, utilize extraordinary renditions, or fail to ensure fair trails;

 

29.4.15.2 Violate personal privacy, or security, or punish dissent;

 

29.4.15.3 Profile or discriminate against anyone, race, or group;

 

29.4.15.4 Implement excessive government security, or limit government oversight;

 

29.4.15.5 Promote national-security or counterterrorism policies that fail to respect human rights, civil liberties, or the rule-of-law;

 

29.4.15.6 Assists, aids or abets, votes to provide funds for, or conspires with others to violate rights;

 

29.4.15.7 Conduct warrant-less arrests;

 

29.4.15.8 Promote prison agendas based on ideology, not science or fact;

 

29.4.15.9 Create and disseminate faulty prison legislation.

 

  29.4.16  Congress Provide the Funding to Support These Actions. Ample funding sources are outlined in Funding Sources.

 

 

29.5  Background on U.S. Criminal Justice and Prisons:

 

  29.5.1 The Proposed National Criminal Justice Commission Act

 

Senator Jim Webb introduced proposed legislation for the National Criminal Justice Commission Act on March 26, 2009 and reintroduced it in 2010 and 2011. The original bill included:

 

America's criminal justice system ... is a national disgrace.

   Its irregularities and inequities cut against the notion that we are a society founded on fundamental fairness.

   Our failure to address this problem has caused the nation's prisons to burst their seams with massive overcrowding, even as our neighborhoods have become more dangerous.

   We are wasting billions of dollars and diminishing millions of lives.

   We need to fix the system. Doing so will require a major nationwide recalculation of who goes to prison and for how long and of how we address the long-term consequences of incarceration.

 

Senator Jim Webb provided the following additional information about his proposed National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2009

 

On February 8, 2011, I reintroduced the National Criminal Justice Commission Act (S. 306), which will create a blue-ribbon commission to look at every aspect of our criminal justice system with an eye toward reshaping the criminal justice system from top to bottom. I believe that it is time to bring together the best minds in America to analyze the criminal justice system in its entirety, to examine its interlocking parts, to learn what works and what does not, and make recommendations for reform.

 

Why We Urgently Need this Legislation [Reform]:

 

   With 5% of the world's population, our country now houses 25% of the world's reported prisoners.

   The number of incarcerated drug offenders has soared 1200% since 1980.

   Four times as many mentally ill people are in prisons than in mental health hospitals.

   Approximately 1 million gang members reside in the U.S.

   Post-incarceration re-entry programs are haphazard and often nonexistent, undermining public safety and making it extremely difficult for ex-offenders to become full, contributing members of society.

 

Irregularities and inequities in America’s criminal justice system challenge our notions of fundamental fairness. Even with historically large numbers of people in prisons and jails, the percentage of Americans who believe crime is worse than the previous year has steadily increased over the last decade, rising to 74 percent last year. Americans depend on the criminal justice system to maintain our safety and security. Our nation’s citizens expect it to be reliable and fair, in addition to being effective at deterring crime and punishing offenders. Enacting the National Criminal Justice Commission Act will take the long-overdue step of undertaking a comprehensive review of the criminal justice system, producing recommendations for changes in oversight, policies, practices, and laws designed to prevent, deter and reduce crime and violence, improve cost-effectiveness, and ensure the interests of justice at every step of the criminal justice system Footnote .

 

Despite its urgency, on October 20, 2011, passage of Senator Webb's National Criminal Justice Commission Act was blocked in the Senate by 43 Senators who threatened to filibuster and voted against closure. Senator Web left the Senate, at the end of December 2012.

 

Even if the National Criminal Justice Commission Act had been enacted, it would have been months before the Commission was formed, eighteen months before the commission made any recommendations and many more months, probably years if ever, before the recommendations were acted upon.

 

The severe problems in criminal justice and prisons cannot wait.

 

Many organization and individuals have worked on this for years and collectively know what needs to be done. For example, Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants (CURE), has outlined just about everything that needs to be done on their web site at http://curenational.org, ACLU has a National Prison Project. There are scores of Restorative Justice programs

 

These interested organizations and individuals are requested to work together, form an oversight board for this plan, and add everything that they know that needs to be done to it. Recommendations can be made and items added by emailing Fisher@wethepeoplenow.org or faxing to 703-521-0849.

 

29.5.2 Different justice for senior public and private sector officials and the middle class and poor.

 

Senator Webb’s words about irregularities and inequities and the need for a major nationwide recalculation of who goes to prison are extremely important

   

Our criminal justice system has failed to hold senior public and private sector officials accountable despite the numerous official reports, books, articles which describe the illegal, immoral, wasteful U.S. wars, assassinations, drone attacks, torture and abuse of detainees and devastating financial crimes.

 

White-collar criminals have damaged many more Americans and government institutions than drug dealers or violent criminals - yet they act with impunity and are seldom punished financially or incarcerated.

 

Michael Haas, in his book George W. Bush, War Criminal? alleges that members of the G. W. Bush administration committed 269 war crimes, which are described on Haas' website www.USWarCrimes.com. Haas' newer book, America's War Crimes Quagmire From Bush to Obama, provides descriptions of alleged war crimes by the Obama administration. Not one high level official has been indicted for any of these crimes.

 

Human Rights USA and American University Washington College of Law International Human Rights Law Clinic recently released a report, Indefensible: A Reference for Prosecuting Torture and Other Felonies.

http://www.prosecuteofficials.org/indefensible_a_reference_for_prosecuting_torture.pdf

 

This report serves as a practitioner’s reference addressing the domestic and international laws implicated by the actions of certain former high-ranking government officials. The report lays the groundwork for litigation against those responsible for approving and using illegal interrogation techniques that was the official policy of the Bush Administration Endnote . Not one torture survivor has succeeded in holding high ranking government officials accountable in a U.S. court for torture and ... and the government has been to date . Endnote

 

Charles Ferguson, Director of the Oscar Winning Documentary “Inside Job” and Author of “Predator Nation,” in a Huffington Post Article, states: Endnote

 

It is no exaggeration to say that since the 1980s, much of the American (and global) financial sector has become criminalized, creating an industry culture that tolerates or even encourages systematic fraud. The behavior that caused the mortgage bubble and financial crisis was a natural outcome and continuation of this pattern, rather than some kind of economic accident.

 

  It is important to understand that this behavior really is seriously criminal.

 

There have been very few prosecutions and no criminal convictions of large U.S. financial institutions or their senior executives.

 

the mortgage bubble and financial crisis were facilitated not only by deregulation but also by the prior twenty years' tolerance of large scale financial crime. ... [T]he absence of prosecution gradually led to a deeply embedded cultural acceptance of unethical and criminal behavior in finance ... and ... generated a sense of personal impunity; bankers contemplating criminal actions were no longer deterred by threat of prosecution.

 

(Emphasis added.)

 

William Simon, Economics Professor at MIT in a review of Ferguson’s book: “Predator Nation states:

 

Predator Nation provides a roadmap for prosecution, systematically covering the banks involved, the names of culpable executives, the obvious crimes, the precise laws broken, and the evidence hiding in plain sight. No doubt it will be widely ignored by our legal officials.

 

Not only do our legal officials ignore the Wall Street crimes, they blessed them with the recently completed, so called “$26 billion settlement between the federal government and 49 state attorneys general with major banks.” This agreement:

 

•Whitewashes the criminal fraud, robo-signing and changing income and job history on mortgage applications without the applicant’s knowledge, perpetrated by these institutions

 

•Provides minimal if any compensation for the hundreds of thousands of families who have literally had and are having their homes stolen

 

•Will not prevent or stop one foreclosure but will instead, it allowed the banks to accelerate the pace of foreclosures. In 2011, 2.7 million foreclosure filings were reported in the U.S. (RealtyTrac, Jan. 12) and will likely rise significantly this year.

 

•Contains a broad release of the banks' conduct related to mortgage loan servicing, foreclosure preparation, and mortgage loan origination services. Claims based on these areas of past conduct by the banks cannot be brought by state attorneys general or banking regulators.

 

•Will be subsidized in part by U.S. taxpayers via a clause in the provisional agreement, which makes most of the $26 billion settlement in fact a bailout for the banks.

 

Instead of making them pay the price for their actions, our public servants have given, loaned or guaranteed Wall Street $37 trillion, while everyday Americans are still struggling to make ends meet.

 

By pushing bad loans and peddling risky mortgage-backed securities as safe investments, these banks, aided by our public servants, have cost the world economy at least $7.7 trillion. Their widespread fraud and corruption also cost millions of hardworking Americans their jobs, their homes, and their shot at the American Dream. Endnote

 

Our public servants have not provided any meaningful responses to numerous petitions, letters, and requests for investigations, hearings, impeachments and special prosecutors to investigate and prosecute these crimes.

  

After ten years of these illegalities and despite numerous petitions, phone calls, demonstrations and now “occupations”, not one high-ranking official that authorized and planned these illegal acts has been indicted.

 

Yet during these ten years thousands have been imprisoned for possession of a few ounces of marijuana.

 

29.5.3 Statement on prison reform. The following is paraphrased from the work of Maria Allwine, a long-time community organizer and peace and justice activist and an organizer for the October 2011 End The Machine Occupation:

 

The Problem:

 

Prisons in the United States have never been places where prisoners had much of a chance to rehabilitate themselves. Those who did return to society as fully functioning members did so in spite of the harsh and inhumane conditions found there. Since the 1970s and the start of the failed “war on drugs,” the prison population in the U.S. has increased 400%. Almost two-thirds of those arrested were simple drug users, most of them African American or Hispanic. After 9/11 the rate of incarceration for Muslims in the US has increased significantly, indicating the widespread use of racial profiling for political purposes. According to the Center for Constitutional Rights, while Muslims account for six percent of the inmate population in federal prisons as a whole, in the nefarious Communications Management Units somewhere between 65 and 72 percent of the population is Muslim, indicative of an increase in the number of political prisoners. The US has 5% of the world’s population and 25% of its prisoners, figures surpassing those of any other country, including China and Iran.

 

Over the past 30 years prisons have become profit centers for large corporations like Corrections Corporation of America and Geo Group, as federal, state and local jurisdictions have privatized their prisons. Studies have shown that privately run prisons cost more than government run prisons. Private prisons have allowed jurisdictions to relinquish responsibility for the treatment of prisoners while falsely claiming cost savings. As a result, prisons are a growth industry, with the number of prisoners in private corrections facilities increasing by 33% at the state level and 120% at the federal level. Correction Corporations of America and GEO Group (formerly Wackenhut), made a combined $2.9 billion in revenue in 2010. According to the Justice Policy Institute, “as revenues of private prison companies have grown over the past decade, the companies have had more resources with which to build political power, and they have used this power to promote policies that lead to higher rates of incarceration.” This has led to the widespread torture and abuse of prisoners, including withholding medical care, at all levels of incarceration in the US, capped by the alarming use of “Special Housing Units,” “Communications Management Units” and “Supermax” prisons where prisoners are held in solitary confinement for years, with no access to family or lawyers. Prisoners are slowly driven insane and as much as murdered over a span of years within the US criminal "justice" system. [Emphasis added.]

 

The Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons (CSAAP), which is headed by a former U.S. Attorney General and a former Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals, found: “People who pose no real threat to anyone and also those who are mentally ill are languishing for months or years in high-security units.” The commission also stated,

 

“In some places, the environment is so severe that people end up completely isolated, confined in constantly bright or constantly dim spaces without any meaningful contact – torturous condition that are proven to cause mental deterioration.”

 

The US demands other countries uphold “human rights” while it tortures, abuses and kills its own in prisons akin to those in the countries with the worst human rights violation records.

 

The American Bail Coalition, which is the for-profit bail bond industry’s national organization and lobbying wing, and Corrections Corporation of America, the US’s largest private prison operator, are both members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a shadowy, extremely powerful lobby group that creates and distributes model legislation throughout state legislatures. This is a significant reason for the growth of the private prison industry. Since the late 1980s and 1990s, ALEC has created model bills that lengthen sentences, which have dramatically increased incarceration rates, and bills that privatize prisons, putting more of those inmates under the control of for-profit corporations.

 

  29.5.4 Additional problems with criminal justice and prisons:

 

29.5.4.1 Many Investigators, prosecutors and judges at every level.

 

29.5.4.1.1   Routinely violate the rights of defendants. They conduct searches, infiltrate families and groups and wiretap without warrants. They issue warrants without probable cause and entrap individuals with paid informants who unconstitutionally infiltrate families and small businesses and talk individuals into committing crimes.

 

29.5.4.1.2   Use practices that are unscientific and directly in conflict with modern psychology by threatening, humiliating and challenging defendants.

 

29.5.4.1.3   Provide few opportunities for individuals accused of crimes and prisoners to pay restitution, apologize and reconcile with their victims

 

29.5.4.2 At least 36,000 people in the U.S. criminal justice system are currently held in solitary confinement, with little or no human contact, usually in a windowless cell for 23 hours per day, being allowed to exercise only alone for an hour. Inmates in solitary confinement often experience paranoia, delusions, and long-term damaging mental effects.

 

29.5.4.3  Edna Harden, Chair, Missouri Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants (CURE), in a March 12, 2012, article, “A Second Chance For Inmate,” states:

 

We have too many people in prison for too many years, with too little hope. For parolees, there are too few jobs on the outside, and reentry is to the same sad streets full of poverty, racism and drugs.

 

In a recent public forum, Department of Corrections Director George Lombardi said that he has seen Missouri prisons become a de facto mental health system. Thousands of mentally ill people who had no help or treatment on the outside make prisons often seem like madhouses.

 

There's a big attitude problem in society. Besides the "us vs. them" of the haves vs. the have-nots, there's the attitude of those on the outside vs. those inside. Crime itself is viewed with skewed lenses. By far, the most expensive crimes are committed by white-collar criminals, especially the high rollers. Yet these high-class criminals rarely go to prison. If they do, it's for shorter periods and in less restrictive venues.

 

For the underclass, powerlessness often leads to crime. Being born into poverty, with poor education, with no expectation of living the "American dream," witnessing violence from a young age, too many precious young lives are lost. Children who grow up victims of drugs, gangs and violence too often spend their lives in cages isolated from society. The loss is tragic for these young people and their families. The loss to society is devastating. Instead of bright creative minds contributing to the progress of our communities and our world, we pay big bucks to build more cages and pay more people to guard those inside.

 

Extremely long sentences are unproductive. Those that require 85 percent of the time be served before eligibility for parole provide no incentive for prisoners to strive for improvement until they get close to that 85 percent mark.

 

There is a desperate need for reform.

  

• The longer the sentence, the higher the recidivism rate.

     

• The constitutional rights of so called “undocumented aliens” are violated routinely by racial profiling and arrest and detention without warrants.

 

Many organization and individuals have worked on this for years and collectively know what needs to be done. For example, Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants (CURE), has outlined just about everything that needs to be done on their web site at http://curenational.org, ACLU has a National Prison Project. There are scores of Restorative Justice programs

 

These interested organizations and individuals are requested to work together, form an oversight board for this plan, and add everything that they know that needs to be done to it. Recommendations can be made and items added by emailing Fisher@wethepeoplenow.org or faxing to 703-521-0849.

 

29.6  Definitions

 

Justice is the administration of law according to the principles of just behavior and treatment.

 

Just behavior is that which is morally right and fair, appropriate or deserved, well founded, done very carefully. Origin Latin justus, from jus 'law, right'

 

Constitutional means that it is in accordance with, agreeable to, consonant with, not in conflict with, the constitution and so guaranteed as to prevent legislative interference. This includes observing all constitutional rights of the accused. Salient Constitutional Rights are listed at http://www.humanejustice.org/salient_constitutional_rights.htm

 

The legal definition of “humane” is: Kind, tender, compassionate. Disposed to eliminate the cause of suffering of man or beast. Humane differs from the ordinary use of “merciful,” in that it expresses active endeavors to find and relieve suffering, and especially to prevent it, while “merciful” expresses the disposition to spare one the suffering which might be inflicted. The Geneva Convention requires that the people of an occupied country, detainees, and prisoners of war be treated humanely. Obviously, harsh interrogation techniques, abuse, torture and extraordinary rendition does not constitute humane treatment.

 

Discreet means judicious in one's conduct or speech.

 

Restorative justice is a natural, proven form of justice that seeks to restore victims and offenders to whole, contributing members of society. It emphasizes preventing additional harm and repairing the harm caused or revealed by criminal behavior. It is best accomplished through humane cooperative processes that include all stakeholders. Paraphrased from “Restorative Justice web site, www.RestorativeJustice.org” which provides additional information about restorative justice and Prison Fellowship International http://www.pfi.org.

 

Rehabilitation means to restore to useful life, as through therapy and education or to restore to good condition, operation, or capacity.

 

The assumption of rehabilitation is that most people are not permanently criminal and that it is possible to restore a criminal to a useful life, a life in which they contribute to themselves and to society. A goal of rehabilitation is to prevent habitual offending, also known as criminal recidivism. Rather than punishing the harm out of a criminal, rehabilitation would seek, by means of education or therapy, to bring a criminal into a more normal state of mind, or into an attitude which would be helpful to society, rather than be harmful to society.

 

Read more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rehabilitation_(penology)

 

The dictionary definition of “reconciliation” includes the restoration of friendly relations, making or showing to be compatible or making someone accept a disagreeable thing. ORIGIN Latin reconciliare, from conciliare 'bring together'.

 

Retribution means punishment inflicted in the spirit of moral outrage or personal vengeance.

 

Humane, discreet, restorative and reconciliation approaches to criminal justice should be used now, because this:

 

•Is the right and proper thing to do

 

•Will not in any way detract from the severity of crimes committed, excuse or exonerate anyone who has committed a serious crime or cause the criminal justice system to fail to protect the public

 

•Can be utilized to reduce the huge number of people the US has in its prisons

 

•Will greatly improve America’s criminal justice system

 

29.7  Opinions and Recommendations of Authorities on Criminal Justice

 

  29.7.1 Alfred Adler. The following is from What Life Could Mean to You Footnote . Alfred Adler (1870-1937), is the renowned psychologist and founder of the School of Individual Psychology.

 

Individual Psychology can help us recognize all the various types of human beings and understand that, despite this variation, human beings are not remarkably different from one another. We find, for example, the same kind of failures exhibited in the behavior of criminals as in that of problem children, neurotics, psychotics, suicides, alcoholics and sexual deviants. They all fail in their approach to the problems of life; and, in one very definite and noticeable area .. in precisely the same way: every one of them fails in social interest; they are not concerned with their fellow human beings. Even here, however, we cannot distinguish them from other people. No one can be held up as an example of perfect cooperation or perfect social feeling, and criminals only differ from the common run in the severity of their failure.

 

Corporal punishment is ineffective because it only confirms to criminals that society is hostile and impossible to cooperate with. Something of this sort happened to individuals who became criminals, perhaps, at school. They were not trained to cooperate and so they did their work badly, or misbehaved in class. ... They feel that people are against them. ... The children lose whatever shreds of confidence they had. They are not interested in their schoolwork, their teachers or their school friends. They begin to play truant and to hide where they cannot be found. In these places they find other children who have had the same experience and have taken the same road. ... , since they are not interested in the social demands of life, they see these other children as their friends and society in general as their enemy. These people like them and they feel better in their company. It is in this way that thousands of children join criminal gangs, ... if in later life, we treat them in the same way, this will only bear out their view that we are their enemies and only criminals are their friends.

 

There is no reason at all why such children should be defeated by the tasks of life. We should never allow them to lose hope and we could prevent this very easily if we organized our schools so that such children were given confidence and courage.

 

Corporal punishment is ineffective for other reasons too. Many criminals do not value their lives very highly. Some of them are very near suicide at certain moments of their lives. Corporal or even capital punishment holds no terrors for them.

 

... No one need be defeated by the problems of life. Criminals have chosen the wrong way of dealing with them; we must show them where they have made the wrong choice and why, and we must develop in them the courage to be interested in others and cooperate.

 

I would like to emphasize that this ability to cooperate must be learned. There is no question of its being hereditary. There is a potential for cooperation, and this potential must be regarded as inborn, but it is common to every human being, and to be developed it must be trained and exercised. All other points of view about crime seem to me irrelevant, unless we can produce evidence of people who were trained in cooperation but still became criminals.

 

The value of cooperation can be taught in the same way that geography can be taught, for it is a truth and we can always teach the truth. ... All our problems require a knowledge of cooperation.

 

... We know, therefore, exactly what we must do: we must train criminals in cooperation.

... we ought to make it possible for everyone who wants to work to secure a job. This would be the only way to realize the demands of life in our society so that a great part of humankind would not lose the last remnants of their ability to cooperate. There is no question at all that if this were done the number of criminals would go down.

We should also avoid in our society everything that can act as a temptation to criminals or to poor and destitute people. If great extremes of poverty and luxury are apparent, it offends those who are badly off and incites them to envy. We should, therefore, cut down on ostentation: it is not necessary to flaunt one’s wealth.

 

It would be very helpful if we increased our efforts to improve our crime-solving record. As far as I can see, at least forty per cent of criminals, and perhaps far more, escape detection, and this fact is always at the back of every criminal’s mind. ...

 

... Criminals should never be threatened. It is also important that criminals should not be humiliated or challenged either in the prison itself or after they leave prison.

It would be much better if we were more discreet and did not mention the names of criminals or give them so much publicity. This implies that before indictments are made public, criminal proceedings and the documentation should be kept private and discreet – not revealed or “leaked” to the public.

 

An increase in the number of probation officers would be useful, if the right type of person is appointed; and probation officers themselves should be taught about the problems of society and the importance of cooperation.

 

  29.7.2 Clarence Darrow provided the following in his book, The Story of My Life Footnote . Clarence Darrow (1857-1938), is one of the most famous American lawyers, civil libertarians and advocates of the downtrodden.

 

On my return from Europe I was deeply grieved and somewhat surprised to see the cruel results of the steady and unscientific campaign against crime. The whole movement was directly in conflict with modern psychology and, in fact, with all the teachings of science.

 

Darrow provides an outstanding strategy for restorative justice: All of those who for any reason cannot or do not adjust themselves to important rules [e.g. have committed a crime] should be examined by experts to find out why it is and what can be done; They should be helped in every way possible. Regardless of what they have done they should be released when it seems safe; meantime they should be kept under supervision in kindness and sympathy instead of harshness. It is entirely possible that a person guilty of homicide could safely be set free in a short time, and that a sneak-thief or a beggar could never be changed or cured or released. Each individual should be considered by himself. To subject every inmate of prisons to the same treatment is like giving every hospital patient the same doses of medicine, or the same surgical operation, and, of course, however absurd this might seem to those who do not think, the time will come when something like this will take the place of the archaic, costly, and pernicious system that has long since been outworn.

 

  29.7.3 Peter Joseph, Roxanne Meadows and Jacque Fresco provided the following in chapter 7 of The Zeitgeist Movement - Observations and Responses, February 2009:

 

The legal system today is a massive social distortion that does not take into account the environmental influences of a supposed “criminal”. Human behavior is a product of the environment. It is the environment that really creates our values and behavior. There is no fixed, predetermined ‘human nature’. Our values, methods and actions are developed and derived from our experiences. Therefore, since it is the environment that influences our behavior itself, if we find patterns of behavior in our society that are socially offensive and abusive, we should look to the environment to figure out why those behaviors manifest to begin with.

 

If 120,000 people can come together to build a nuclear bomb, as was done with the Manhattan Project in the late 1930s, there is no reason why we cannot come together and use human ingenuity to accomplish incredible social achievements for the betterment of humanity. It is time we unleash our ‘Weapons of Mass Creation’ (WMCs) unto the world. It is time we take responsibility for each other and ourselves. We have the knowledge, means and initiative to devise an entirely new social architecture that can create a world we actually enjoy and flourish in.

 

29.8  Examples of Successful "Restorative Justice" Programs

 

29.8.1.1 The Community Conferencing Center of Baltimore, which boasts a 95% compliance rating once a consensual agreement is reached (agreements are reached 98% of the time), http://www.communityconferencing.org Meetings among perpetrators, victims and members of the community that was damaged by the crime are called conferencing.

 

29.8.1.2 The Conflict Resolution Center of Montgomery County: http://www.crcmc.org which also does community conferencing, as well as mediation and more general facilitation. (Thanks to the Criminal Justice Issue Group at the DC Freedom Plaza, End the Machine Occupation for the above examples and for providing the link to Professor Zehr's Blog).

 

29.9  Conclusions

 

29.9.1.1 America's criminal justice system practices are unscientific and directly in conflict with modern psychology according to Clarence Darrow.

 

29.9.1.2 Human beings are not remarkably different from one another. In general criminals fail in their approach to life, in that they have not learned to be empathetic and cooperate with and help care for their fellow human beings. They only differ from the average person in the severity of their failure to learn these things, according to Alfred Adler.

 

29.9.1.3  “Society must get over the concept that ‘violent criminals’ must be banished from society forever. If you stole something as a child, does that forever label you a thief? Violence is something that happens, not a state of mind. If someone gets in a fight, does that mean s/he is forever a violent person? A person convicted of a violent crime is still a person, one who is serving time as punishment for that act. Decades later s/he is a different person, not a ‘violent criminal’ because of what happened in his/her youth. The parole board needs to start using its intelligence to do its job rather than kowtowing to this phony societal labeling Footnote .

 

29.9.1.4 Cooperation and caring for others should and can be taught to criminals and all others and in particular to very young children. To fully develop cooperation and caring, this training must be exercised and practiced.

 

29.9.1.5 Human behavior is a product of the environment. It is the environment that really creates our values and behavior. The wealth divide and great extremes of poverty and luxury offends those who are badly off and incites them to envy. Our society, institutions and politicians are, in part, indirectly and directly responsible for continuing criminality. Everyone should have employment opportunities at living wages. No one should ever feel that they cannot cope with the problems of life. Our governments must eliminate poverty and the increasing property divide. Politicians who claim to be tough on crime and swear by the death penalty must not be elected or reelected. Studies clearly show that the death penalty does not reduce murders.

 

29.9.1.6 Retributive justice, punishment, threatening, humiliating and challenging criminals, children or anyone for that matter does not work and counterproductive to rehabilitation. These approaches should be replaced with encourage productive work training, where the individual learns how to cooperate and work and learn with others.

 

29.9.1.7 Individuals accused of crimes and prisoners in the U.S. are, in general, not being treated humanely and have few opportunities to pay restitution, apologize to and reconcile with their victims

 

29.9.1.8 Crimes should not be given publicity. The names of the individuals and the documentation being prepared for prosecutions should be kept private (not secret) and not revealed or “leaked” to the public until after official indictments are made.

 

29.9.1.9 By perpetrators being able to make amends, apologize, pay restitution and make an Alford’s Plea, the need for lengthy indictments and trials could be reduced and the perpetrator and the victim could get on with their lives sooner.

 

29.9.1.10 Humane, discreet, restorative and reconciliation approaches to criminal justice should be used, because this:

 

29.9.1.10.1   Is the right and moral thing to do

 

29.9.1.10.2   Will not in any way detract from the severity of crimes committed, excuse or exonerate anyone who has committed a serious crime.

 

29.9.1.10.3   Will help identify those individuals who are a threat to society or themselves and must be kept under supervision. and better protect the public from criminal behavior than current criminal justice programs do.

 

29.9.1.10.4   Can be utilized to reduce the huge number of people the US has in its prisons.

 

29.9.1.10.5   Will greatly improve America’s criminal justice system

 

29.9.1.10.6   Will save the taxpayers many millions of dollar, by decreasing crime and incarceration.

 

29.9.1.11 We have the knowledge, means and initiative to devise an entirely new social architecture that can create a world we actually enjoy and flourish in. Footnote

 

 29.9.1.12    The following conclusions are from CURE's Expectations for a Justice System Endnote

 

29.9.1.12.1   No one deserves to be measured only by the worst thing she or he has ever done.

 

29.9.1.12.2   Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and have his or her human rights preserved.

 

29.9.1.12.3   Justice systems should be restorative rather than retributive.

 

29.9.1.12.4   There is no way to create a perfectly safe world. Expecting that of our justice systems leads to policies that are counterproductive.

 

29.9.1.12.5    Detention must be justified by a legitimate public safety concern.

 

29.9.1.12.6    Those who should have all of the resources they need to turn their lives around.

 

29.9.1.12.7    No one should be incarcerated for his or her immigration status.

 

29.9.1.12.8   National and international human rights documents provide a sound basis for ensuring that justice systems meet these goals.

 

29.9.1.12.9   The politics of fear should not be allowed to influence sentencing practices or parole policies.

 

29.9.1.12.10  All efforts should be made to de-politicize justice system offices.

 

29.9.1.12.11  Drug use should be decriminalized and treated as a public health issue.

 

29.9.1.12.12  All juvenile cases should be handled in the juvenile system that is geared toward rehabilitation and education rather than incarceration.

 

 and qualified to determine and take heed of this behavior.

 

29.10  CREDITS:

  

Credit for at least a third of the Section X Actions to reform criminal justice goes to Ms. Kay Perry, who led the efforts and Charles Sullivan, Charles and others at Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants (CURE) who compiled and edited “CURE's Expectations for a Justice system” which is posted at http://www.curenational.org.

 

Several of these actions are from the 2012 Green Party Platform, Section II. H., Adopted July 2012, Baltimore, Maryland, http://www.gp.org/committees/platform/2012/social-justice.php

 

Credit for outlining and describing other key items goes to several others. However, since different individuals have suggested the same items and I have been very working on the other 32 plans and lists actions I have not been able to keep up with who suggested what. Thanks to all.

 

29.11  Thoughts of the Compiler

 

In my early years in the Navy while serving on a destroyer, I served as a Court Martial Officer, Defense Counsel, Trial Counsel (prosecutor) and Summary Court Martial Officer, who is essentially the "judge" prosecutor, and defense attorney for minor offenses, all as collateral duties

 

As the trial counsel in a special court martial, I prosecuted two young sailors who were both awarded the maximum sentence allowed – six months at hard labor, forfeiture of all pay and allowances for six months, reduction to the lowest rank and bad conduct discharges.

 

Having helped raise four sons, studied the criminal justice system and the works of Alfred Adler, Clarence Darrow and others, I now realize that the I failed those two young men who had not had the opportunities I had. I also realize that our government and we the people are failing the several million individuals in our prisons and on parole, their victims and their families.

 

Sincerely,

 

Ron Fisher

Captain US Navy (retired)

Compiler

Chair, Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington, VA Global Peace Through Justice Group

Chair, Veterans for Peace VFP Democracy/Constitution/War Powers Working Group

Co-Chair, VFP Prosecute War Criminals Working Group

WeThePeopleNow.org

PO Box 1310, Falls Church VA 22041

703-725-7849 Fax: 703-725-7849

Fisher@peoplenow.org

 

Endnotes