Cognitive Dissonance

"Democracy! Bah! When I hear that I reach for my feather boa!" - Allen Ginsberg

Posts tagged criminal justice

22 notes

Accused Tucson shooter mentally fit, pleads guilty

Jared Lee Loughner pleaded guilty Tuesday to going on a shooting rampage at a political gathering, killing six people and wounding his intended target, then-Congresswoman Gabriele Giffords, and 12 others.

Loughner’s plea spares him the death penalty and came soon after a federal judge found that months of forcibly medicating him to treat his schizophrenia had made the 23-year-old college dropout competent to understand the gravity of the charges and assist in his defense.

Under the plea, he will be sentenced to life in federal prison without the possibility of parole.

The outcome was welcomed by some victims, including Giffords herself, as a way to avoid a lengthy, possibly traumatic trial and years of legal wrangling over a death sentence.

"The pain and loss caused by the events of Jan. 8, 2011, are incalculable," Giffords said in a joint statement with her husband, Mark Kelly. "Avoiding a trial will allow us — and we hope the whole Southern Arizona community — to continue with our recovery."

Experts had concluded that Loughner suffers from schizophrenia, and officials at a federal prison have forcibly medicated him with psychotropic drugs for more than a year.

Wow. We forcibly make him competent in order to incarcerate him for life — just like how we forcibly make people competent in order to execute them. Will the treatment continue in prison? It’s likely, but not guaranteed. 

While I’m glad he is being sentenced to life without parole, and I’m also happy victims are receiving closure, I still have serious issues with the forcible drugging of people who commit crimes in order to render them competent for trial or plea agreements. To me, that just speaks to the fact that the court is tacitly admitting the person was incompetent at the time of the offense, but since we can maybe restore competency long enough, meh

That’s just my thoughts. Again, I don’t think he WASN’T guilty, but I’m a little skeptical about forcibly medicating people.

Filed under Jared Lee Loughner Tucson Gabrielle Giffords politics civil liberties civil rights mental illness criminal justice

66 notes

Hanging in the criminal justice department at UW. The title reads: “What is the sequence of events in the criminal justice system?” As an undergrad, I’ve memorized this chart. And it’s damned hard to follow every branch – especially when every stage has a chance for a subjective decision that can mean the difference between prison or freedom. Is it any wonder so many people, particularly working class people and/or people of color get railroaded? (Taken with Instagram at Arts and Sciences Building)

Hanging in the criminal justice department at UW. The title reads: “What is the sequence of events in the criminal justice system?”

As an undergrad, I’ve memorized this chart. And it’s damned hard to follow every branch – especially when every stage has a chance for a subjective decision that can mean the difference between prison or freedom.

Is it any wonder so many people, particularly working class people and/or people of color get railroaded? (Taken with Instagram at Arts and Sciences Building)

Filed under politics race criminal justice injustice inequality racism classist

64 notes

Sheriff Saves $1 Million By De-Privatizing County Jail

Sheriff Michael Page of Hernando County, Florida, is the latest in a line of Sheriffs to inherit the headache that is the county jail. After being operated by CCA for 22 years, the facility had fallen into exceptional disrepair, after CCA had neglected to perform millions of dollars worth of required maintenance. The county took over the facility a little more than a year ago and started the long process of upgrading the security, staff, and conditions of the jail.

Initial projections by then-Sheriff Richard Nugent hypothesized that the county could save up to $200,000 compared to what CCA would have charged. It turns out that de-privatizing the jail has actually saved Hernando County taxpayers more than $1,000,000 this year. Maybe Ric Scott and JD Alexander ought to reconsider their bullheaded push to privatize half the state’s prison system.

Imagine that…

Filed under Privatization Privatization is not the answer politics economy Corrections Corporation of America Florida you're doing it right criminal justice jail