Tag: Prisons

Mentally ill and disabled people held in Territory prisons for years without a sentence – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

A picture of the four family members outside

Apparently Doctors get in the way of politics medicine mental illness is no excuse for being accused  and unable to stand trial or even be judged. Incarceration at the governments pleasure is what keeps us safe. Mentally ill are kept on Manus for over 5years and children only released before an election and  what was legislated a secret got out. Is this another example of why doctors can’t be trusted? (ODT

Justin Walker has been in prison in Darwin for over six years without a sentence.
Key points:

At least 13 people are in NT prisons because they have been found unfit to stand trial or not guilty by reason of mental impairment
A criminal lawyer says they are in prison because there is nowhere else for them to go
He says some clients plead guilty to avoid indefinite detention

His family is afraid he will not come out alive.

The NT Attorney-General’s office is under fire for allowing mentally ill or disabled people to languish inside already overcrowded prisons for years, simply because there are no other places to put them.

The Territory Government’s handling of indefinite detention for people with a cognitive, psychiatric or physical impairment often leaves individuals locked up for years with no conviction.

Mr Walker, 36, is one of at least 13 people currently in the custody of the NT Correctional Services Commissioner after being found unfit to stand trial or found not guilty by reason of mental impairment.

via Mentally ill and disabled people held in Territory prisons for years without a sentence – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Report: 7,000 Palestinians held in Israeli jails | +972 Magazine

Journalists, scientists, human rights activists and even a clown are among the Palestinians currently sitting in Israeli jails. By Yael Marom The vast majority of Israelis are not interested in Palestinian prisoner statistics. After all, for them, Palestinians are not human beings but “terrorists,” and as such it’s perhaps preferable that as many as possible sit behind bars. But for the thousands of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails at any given moment, they are subject to a system of occupation and oppression that pursues, threatens and jails as a matter of daily routine. Journalists, scientists, human rights activists and even a clown are among the prisoners.…

Source: Report: 7,000 Palestinians held in Israeli jails | +972 Magazine

Julie Bishop: Australia will use private firms like Coca-Cola to deliver aid ; Scott Morrison wants the same for Social Welfare. The Privatisation of everything.

Julie Bishop speaks at the Liberal party federal council at the Sofitel hotel in Melbourne on Saturday.

The Australian government will partner with private companies such as Coca-Cola to distribute medical aid, foreign minister Julie Bishop has said.

Speaking at the Liberal federal council on Saturday, Bishop said she was not satisfied with the way Australia had distributed aid in the past, saying there was, “too much duplication, too much waste, not enough of a focus, spending money, doing what we’ve always done and not coming up with a better result.”

Bishop said move toward private sector networks was part of a focus on the “economic security for the recipients of our aid.”

The foreign aid budget is set to lose $4bn a year over the next four years. The cuts, outlined in the 2015 federal budget, will put Australia’s foreign aid spend relative to income at the lowest levels since a formal aid program was introduced 40 years ago.

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“One problem that remote villages and regions in the Pacific face is getting access to essential medicines and I’ve visited places where these villages and health centres have been without fundamental supplies for weeks, they just can’t get it through,” Bishop said.

“But it was observed that Coca-Cola is available everywhere throughout the Pacific. Any remote village, any hill top, Coca-Cola is there. So we’ve decided to partner with the private sector to use their distribution networks, their supply chains, to get essential medicines to where they are needed.”

Coca-Cola already uses its distribution networks to deliver drugs for HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and malaria in a number of African nations, in partnership with the Global Fund, supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

In a statement on its website, the Global Fund says the global soft drink company has the “specific expertise” required to get essential medicine into isolated areas.

“It is widely recognised that the Coca-Cola Company has unparalleled expertise in distribution and supply management worldwide,” it says.

“In Africa in particular, its network of local bottlers is critical to reach consumers.”

The program ran as a pilot in Tanzania in 2010, and was found to reduce lead time in delivering medicine by 25 days and increase the availability of medicine by 30%. It is set to expand to 10 countries in Africa by 2019.

Privatising prisons ensures increased reasons to incarcerate victimising the poor for profit. Cutting costs and enslaving labour.

St. Louis Suburbs Ferguson and Jennings Sued Over ‘Debtors Prisons’ Criminalizing Poverty

By Alice Speri

February 10, 2015 | 10:53 am

Two class action lawsuits filed on behalf of residents of St. Louis County on Sunday accuse the cities of Ferguson and neighboring Jennings of profiting off of poverty by running the modern-day equivalent of “debtors prisons.”

Eleven county residents sued the City of Ferguson and nine sued the City of Jennings, each lawsuit seeking class status on behalf of all persons jailed for non-payment of debt and fees from traffic violations and minor offenses. The plaintiffs claimed that they were held in jail indefinitely, denied court hearings, and not informed of their right to a lawyer or provided one while detained.

Both lawsuits were filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri by the ArchCity Defenders, a nonprofit organization serving the homeless and working poor, professors at St. Louis University Legal Clinic, and the DC-based group Equal Justice Under Law.

Debtors prisons are taking the US back to the 19th century. Read more here.

“The City’s modern debtors’ prison scheme has been increasingly profitable… earning it millions of dollars over the past several years,” the lawsuits claim about Ferguson and Jennings. “It has also devastated the City’s poor, trapping them for years in a cycle of increased fees, debts, extortion, and cruel jailings.”

“The families of indigent people borrow money to buy their loved ones out of jail at rates arbitrarily set by jail officials, only for them later to owe more money to the City… from increased fees and surcharges,” the complaints add.

The filings allege that the cities kept debtors in “squalid” and “inhumane” conditions, and that residents whose only crime is the inability to pay a debt owed to the city are held “in overcrowded cells; they are denied toothbrushes, toothpaste, and soap; they are subjected to the stench of excrement and refuse in their congested cells; they are surrounded by walls smeared with mucus, blood and feces; they are kept in the same clothes for days and weeks without access to laundry or clean undergarments.”

Adding insult to injury, the plaintiffs claim that guards at both jails “routinely laugh at the inmates and humiliate them with discriminatory and degrading epithets about their poverty and their physical appearance,” and that at the Jennings court “courtroom staff often walks down the hallway spraying Fabreze [sic] because the stench emanating from the inmates is unbearable.”

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The Ferguson government informed VICE News that the city does not discuss lawsuits that are pending in litigation. Jennings officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

“We believe this lawsuit is disturbing because it contains allegations that are not based on objective facts,” Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III said in a statement. “It is our hope that the suit will be handled according to the rule of law and the rules of procedure in the federal courts, and not through the media.”

Critics of the situation in and around Ferguson point to the impact on the community of what some refer to as “poverty violations” — citations that effectively criminalize poverty while providing municipalities with a considerable source of revenue. In 2013, Ferguson derived 14 percent of its revenues from fines and asset confiscation, amounting to $2.6 million. The city of 21,000 has been hard hit economically — a quarter of its citizens are under the poverty level, and 49 percent of its homes have underwater mortgages. Half of the houses in Jennings are also worth less than their owners owe on them.

Speaking to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Knowles denied that profit motivated the traffic stops and cycles of fines.

“Absolutely not. As far as the application of fines, the setting of bails, etcetera, that’s not something determined in conjunction with city budget demands,” he said.

The Ferguson jail is closed for renovation.

“I know that we just underwent a massive renovation of the police department, including the jail facilities,” Knowles said. “I can tell you the city has spent a lot of time and money investing in those facilities and when they reopen… they will be top of the line.”

In the aftermath of the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown at the hands of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, local residents denounced widespread harassment and profiling by police — including frequent traffic stops and heavy penalties for minor violations.

‘This is similar to the way Jesus was treated’: Letters to Missouri governor shed light on racial tensions in Ferguson aftermath. Read more here.

As people’s frustration at police erupted in the streets, the ArchCity Defenders published a scathing report, accusing St. Louis County — an intricate maze of some 90 municipalities — of heavily subsidizing city budgets by fining mostly poor and black residents.

“Although these practices are not new, many in the region just recently became aware of the ways in which municipal courts make people poor and keep them poor, especially in communities of color,” said Thomas Harvey, the group’s executive director. “These new lawsuits shine a light on the unlawful practices in these courts and the conditions the poor face when they are arrested and jailed for failing to pay fines because they do not have the means to pay them.

“Because they generate so much revenue, many towns in our region attempt to squeeze every dollar possible out of defendants and their families by jailing citizens who are not criminals, and who are not a threat to society,” he added.

Ferguson’s traffic revenue increased 44 percent since 2011. When residents fail to show up in court to pay, the municipalities issue arrest warrants — at a pace of 3.6 per household in Ferguson and 2.1 in Jennings, according to the lawsuits.

“When cities operate their police departments and municipal courts for profit, they ignore constitutional protections for defendants and jail them in squalid conditions in the hope those defendants will beg relatives and friends to pay their fines to obtain their release,” said Brendan Roediger, one of the St. Louis University Legal Clinic lawyers who filed the complaints. “These suits are another step in making the public aware of the abuses which result from for-profit policing and illegal practices in many municipal courts.

Herbert Nelson Jr., a Ferguson resident suing the city, told the New York Times that he was repeatedly jailed for failing to pay traffic tickets and court fines that kept piling up because he couldn’t afford to pay them off.

“I’ve been trying to imagine a way out of this for years,” he said. “Something has to happen where you separate minor cases from serious cases. You can’t keep treating normal people with traffic tickets like felons.”

His sister Allison was swept up in the same cycle, getting arrest warrants for failing to pay fines, continuing to drive to work in order to be able to pay those fines, and being stopped, jailed, and fined over and over again.

“You drive to work so you can pay the fines, but then you get pulled over, so you owe even more,” Allison, who makes $7.75 an hour, told the Times. “Anytime I go outside, I fear that I’ll be stopped by the police.”

) KEILEE FANT, ROELIF CARTER, ) ALLISON NELSON, HERBERT )  NELSON JR., ALFRED MORRIS, ) ANTHONY KIMBLE, DONYALE ) THOMAS, SHAMEIKA MORRIS, ) DANIEL JENKINS, RONNIE TUCKER, ) TONYA DEBERRY, et al., ) ) Plaintiffs, ) ) v. ) ) Case No. ________________ THE CITY OF FERGUSON ) ) (Jury Trial Demanded) Defendant. )  ___________________________________ )
1.The Plaintiffs in this case are each impoverished people who were jailed by the Cityof Ferguson because they were unable to pay a debt owed to the City from traffic tickets or other minor offenses. In each case, the City imprisoned a human being solely because the person could not afford to make a monetary payment. Although the Plaintiffs pleaded that they were unable to  pay due to their poverty, each was held in jail indefinitely and none was afforded a lawyer or the inquiry into their ability to pay that the United States Constitution requires. Instead, they were threatened, abused, and left to languish in confinement at the mercy of local officials until their frightened family members could produce enough cash to buy their freedom or until City jail officials decided, days or weeks later, to let them out for free.
Case: 4:15-cv-00253 Doc. #: 1 Filed: 02/08/15 Page: 1 of 55 PageID #: 1