On Wednesday July 16th, 2014 California’s death penalty system was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge. U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney declared the system arbitrary and in violation of the 8th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. Read Carney’s official ruling of Jones vs. Chappell at http://www.scribd.com/doc/234138113/Jones-vs-Chappell.
In an Open Letter to the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), UC Berkeley researcher Christopher Petrella asks the CCA to stop citing the 2013 Temple Study; a study which is not only misleading and inaccurate, but was also commissioned and funded by the CCA and two other for-profit private prison companies.
Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow, writes in the July issue of Sojourners Magazine that when it comes to the U.S. system of mass incarceration, “We face a profound moral and spiritual crisis, not merely a social, political, or economic one.” Alexander references the newly released book by Prison Studies Project Director Dr. Kaia Stern regarding our moral and spiritual obligation to dismantle the U.S. penal system, i.e. the New Jim Crow. As excerpted from the article: “The system of mass incarceration is rotten to its core. As Kaia Stern eloquently explains in her book Voices from American Prisons, the quintupling of our prison populations in a few short decades and the relegation of tens of millions of people to a permanent second-class status is a reflection of the fact that we in the United States are captive to a ‘spirit of punishment.’ She writes, ‘There is no more pressing human rights issue, no more urgent spiritual crossroads or threat to democracy, than the current penal crisis.'” You can read the full article by purchasing a short- or long-term subscription to Sojourners, or look for the issue in your local bookstore or public library.