Sioux Falls Free Thinkers

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The Truth About American Prison Camps
History Movies Endorsed by Sioux Falls Free Thinkers

Sioux Falls Free Thinkers recommend the movies below on the Truth About American Prison Camps.

Case in point. Americans murdered about 3 million innocent civilians in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. The people there were basically farmers who lived in bamboo huts and bamboo houses and whose great dream was to get a water buffalo to ease their labor in the their rice paddies and rice fields. They had no defense against our bombs, and especially not against our napalm bombs which we used to burn entire villages sending every man, woman, child, elderly person and baby to a horrible death. Once napalm lands on you it just burns through you. Imagine the horror and pain of a innocent child whose arm or leg is burning off in front of his or her eyes. We also murdered without trial 25,000 of the Vietnamese people as spies in operation Phoenix. We even lined up villagers in ditches and slaughtered women and children just like the Nazi's did in Europe. The people of Vietnam couldn't tell the difference between us and the Nazi's. We did many of the same things.

To the above atrocities add Agent Orange, unexploded bombs and artillery shells, and the cluster bombs for kids. Agent Orange is still causing birth defects and birth deformities in South East Asia forty-five years later. Unexploded ordnance still buried makes it impossible to use much of the best farm land, and children still pick up the cute little toys with the Mickey Mouse faces and get their hands or faces blown off. If this happened to us in America do you think we'd ever forgive and forget? Not likely!

These people were not a threat in any way to the United States or our interests. What were they going to do? Ride across the Pacific Ocean on their water buffalo and invade us? But we had the power to murder them in large numbers so murder them we did. All in the name of stopping the spread of communism, which was hardly going to spread to America across the Pacific. We never seem to learn that mass killing of a people stiffens their resolve. The Nazi's learned that in Russia. The South East Asians would rather have all died than give in to the likes of us. And who would blame them. And how stupid can we be?

And that's just recently. Add to that Iraq, a completely unjustified war. The Philippines in the early 20th century, with it's own set of American atrocities there. The support of the South American dictatorships and the training of their death squads by the CIA run School of the Americas. And much much more which will be documented on this website with many books and movie documentaries. You just have to open your eyes and mind and say "No More!" because if you don't America will do it all again to more innocent people someplace else.

12-6-18 Study: Half of US adults have had close family member jailed
Nearly half of all US adults have had an immediate family member incarcerated at some point in their lives, according to a new study. Researchers also reported one in seven adults have seen immediate family incarcerated for over a year, with minorities most impacted. The study by criminal justice non-profit FWD.us and Cornell University surveyed over 4,000 American adults. Over 2 million Americans are currently in prison in the US. The report estimates 64% of US adults have had someone in their family spend at least one night in jail or prison. The study's authors said it pointed to a nationwide "incarceration crisis". "These numbers are stunning, all the more so if you think of them not as numbers but as stories like mine," Felicity Rose, FWD director said in a foreword to the report. "One of the worst parts of growing up with a father in and out of prison was the isolation and shame I felt," she added. One in five US adults has had a parent incarcerated, according to the study, resulting in serious financial and emotional consequences. The study said that 113 million US adults have had an immediate family member incarcerated. At the time of the research, 6.5 million adults said an immediate family member was currently in jail or prison. One in seven adults have had a spouse incarcerated; one in eight have had a child locked up. And only one in four are ever able to visit an incarcerated family member. There was no difference in incarceration rates along political lines, but the researchers did find that people of colour were most negatively impacted. African American adults were 50% more likely than white Americans to have had a family member jailed, and three times as likely to have family jailed for 10 years or more, found the research. Latino adults were 70% more likely than white Americans to have a loved one incarcerated for over a year. Low income families were also disproportionately affected, with adults making less than $25,000 (£19,000) a year 61% more likely to have family incarcerated than those earning over $100,000 a year. And 54% of jailed parents were the breadwinners of their families. Incarceration rates were highest in the southern and western states, with residents 60% more likely to experience family incarceration than people in the northeast. (Webmaster's comment: Maybe they should stop breaking the laws and start leading decent lives!)

12-6-18 America has a rare chance at prison reform. We can't let it slip away.
The First Step Act is not the stuff of criminal justice reformers' dreams. The bill, which was designed in part by President Trump's son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, is accurately named — a limited but not unimportant stride toward making our prison system more reasonable, humane, and just. The bill's main concern is sentencing reform, giving judges greater discretion in sentencing for some future convictions. It also makes retroactive a prior sentencing reform law and slightly expands the circumstances under which inmates can, through good behavior and participation in educational programs, earn earlier transfer to pre-release custody, which can help them better reintegrate into society and avoid recidivism. If passed, First Step will only apply to the federal prison system, which means about nine in 10 of America's 2.1 million inmates won't be affected. That incrementalist approach has earned First Step wide support, including that of President Trump, which means we currently have a narrow window of opportunity for meaningful, if admittedly limited, criminal justice reform at the federal level that may never open again for the next two to six years of the Trump presidency. The trouble now is Trump's interest appears to be waning. This is not especially surprising. It has been months since Kim Kardashian West appeared at the White House in all her celebrity glory to beg Trump's mercy for Alice Marie Johnson, whose life sentence for a nonviolent drug offense he later commuted. Football players kneeling to protest police misconduct have largely faded from the headlines. Kushner may be doing his best to keep the old man on track here, but from Trump's reality TV perspective, the prison reform story arc is just about played out. If there is any drama left in the plot, it is unfortunately to be found in opposition to the First Step Act from the right. The most strident — and dishonest — voice here is Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), a Trump administration ally with an authoritarian streak rivaled only by his enthusiasm for war.

12-6-18 America has a rare chance at prison reform. We can't let it slip away.
The First Step Act is not the stuff of criminal justice reformers' dreams. The bill, which was designed in part by President Trump's son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, is accurately named — a limited but not unimportant stride toward making our prison system more reasonable, humane, and just. The bill's main concern is sentencing reform, giving judges greater discretion in sentencing for some future convictions. It also makes retroactive a prior sentencing reform law and slightly expands the circumstances under which inmates can, through good behavior and participation in educational programs, earn earlier transfer to pre-release custody, which can help them better reintegrate into society and avoid recidivism. If passed, First Step will only apply to the federal prison system, which means about nine in 10 of America's 2.1 million inmates won't be affected. That incrementalist approach has earned First Step wide support, including that of President Trump, which means we currently have a narrow window of opportunity for meaningful, if admittedly limited, criminal justice reform at the federal level that may never open again for the next two to six years of the Trump presidency. The trouble now is Trump's interest appears to be waning. This is not especially surprising. It has been months since Kim Kardashian West appeared at the White House in all her celebrity glory to beg Trump's mercy for Alice Marie Johnson, whose life sentence for a nonviolent drug offense he later commuted. Football players kneeling to protest police misconduct have largely faded from the headlines. Kushner may be doing his best to keep the old man on track here, but from Trump's reality TV perspective, the prison reform story arc is just about played out. If there is any drama left in the plot, it is unfortunately to be found in opposition to the First Step Act from the right. The most strident — and dishonest — voice here is Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), a Trump administration ally with an authoritarian streak rivaled only by his enthusiasm for war.

10-27-18 Do American prisoners have free speech?
Prisoners' rights are in jeopardy all across the country. "One of the biggest concerns we have as inmates is that our voices are being suppressed," prisoner Eugene Ross, 41, told a meeting at the Thompson Center in Chicago. Ross, who was arrested as a juvenile and is serving life without parole, was speaking to a press conference organized to demand the return of the weekly debate club at Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill, Illinois. The conference was organized by the debate club's adviser, Katrina Burlet, and Bill Ryan, co-founder of the prison newsletter Stateville Speaks. Addressing reporters from prison via his sister's cell phone, Ross was protesting the prison administration's decision to suspend the club without official explanation after the club held a public debate on March 21st about the virtues of parole. Soon after addressing the press conference, Ross inadvertently gave a live example of how prisoner's voices are suppressed: His phone call was cut off, and, as he tells it, 20 minutes later the assistant deputy director and a group of correctional officers "came to my cell door and extracted me from my cell and took me to solitary confinement." Ross says he remained in solitary overnight, and was released back into the general population the following day. It was only because people who had heard his press conference barraged Stateville with calls, Ross says, that he was released from solitary so quickly. Worrying about free speech in prison will strike some readers as an oxymoron. Prison is a place expressly designed to restrict people's freedom. Convicted criminals are punished for their crimes by having their movement restricted and their actions monitored. When people have so little freedom anyway, restrictions on freedom of speech might seem relatively inconsequential. In fact, it's because prisoners are so unfree that freedom of speech for them is especially important. Prisoners can often be punished and abused with impunity; they have little recourse to protect themselves from unjust treatment. "There's no one who can share about how bad prison is better than the people who are in there," says Stateville debate coach Katrina Burlet. "So I think that their voices should be heard in every forum possible."

10-19-18 American Prison: A Reporter’s Undercover Journey Into the Business of Punishment
Just two years ago, the private prison industry was in serious trouble, in part because of the work of Shane Bauer, said Gabriel Thompson in the San Francisco Chronicle. In 2014, the young journalist had gone undercover as a guard in a Louisiana prison, and after his 35,000-word exposé was published in Mother Jones and he shared his findings with federal officials, the Justice Department announced it would begin phasing out privately run federal prisons. “Change seemed to be on the horizon.” But then the White House changed hands, Attorney General Jeff Sessions reversed the decision, and with the surge in the detention of undocumented immigrants, “the private prison industry is booming once again.” If you care to learn what that means for the prisoners, detainees, and underpaid guards most affected, “American Prison is the place to begin.” “Bauer brings a unique perspective to incarceration,” said Aram Goudsouzian in Nashville Scene. Before applying for work as a prison guard in Louisiana, he had spent two years in an Iranian prison after he and two other American hikers wandered off course into Iran and were arrested and charged as spies. He arrived home wanting to investigate how U.S. prisons treated inmates. When he landed a job at a medium-security facility run by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), “Bauer saw scenes that came straight out of hell.” In his four months on the job, he witnessed a dozen stabbings. Inmates set protest fires and made constant threats. One mentally ill prisoner starved himself down to 71 pounds before committing suicide. And the $9-an-hour, poorly trained guards responded—when they responded at all—with pepper spray and anger of their own. American Prison shares many of the conversations Bauer secretly recorded while inside, and “the sheer number of forehead-slapping quotes from Bauer’s superiors and fellow guards is alone worth the price of admission,” said Nate Blakeslee in The New York Times. Still, Bauer places most of the blame for the deplorable conditions in corporate-run prisons on the pressure to generate profit, a feat usually accomplished by slashing costs on niceties like inmate counseling and dependable cell locks. Not much is likely to get better in private federal lockups now that the industry has been given a pass on past failures. But at Bauer’s old place of employment, some things have changed. LaSalle Corrections, the company that replaced CCA, no longer accepts payment from the state of just $34 a day per prisoner. “LaSalle agreed to do the job for $24.”

9-13-18 Hurricane Florence: Prisons in hurricane's path not evacuated
"Storm of a lifetime" hurricane Florence is predicted to bring deadly disaster to large parts of the eastern US coast when it makes landfall on Thursday. But as millions are under order to flee, some are being told they have to stay put. On Monday, South Carolina officials announced they would not remove inmates from at least two prisons inside mandatory evacuation zones. "In the past, it's been safer to leave them there," a spokesman for the South Carolina Department of Corrections said. One of those facilities is no longer in those zones but remains in Florence's path. In Virginia and and North Carolina, some prisons have already been evacuated. Many on social media are drawing parallels with the devastating hurricane Katrina, in 2005, when thousands of inmates endured terrible conditions in a facility that had not been evacuated. "Almost 1,000 inmates were left to die in Orleans Parish Prison during hurricane Katrina," said PhD student Bedour Alagraa in a widely shared tweet, which was also popular on Facebook. "The [prison officers] evacuated themselves and inmates spent five days in chest-high water, with no food or water. "The generator had blown leaving them in pitch blackness - 517 were never found." (Webmaster's comment: Setting up a mass execution of men in prison!)

6-14-18 Is research in jails the way to end wars over dietary guidance?
US researchers say studies in prisons could firm up evidence on salt intake and health. The doubters will still doubt, say Mike Lean and Alastair Campbell. The science of nutrition has been with us for a long time. So why are there so many apparent uncertainties over dietary advice today? The nutrients in our food may have inherent effects on metabolism, but proving so requires tightly controlled experiments in lab-like conditions that are difficult to conduct in groups of healthy people. Evaluating how diet influences diseases or defining the optimal diet for good health, where effects are small and long-term, can only occasionally be done under such conditions. Instead, most dietary studies involve large-scale observational research to identify associations – whether causal or not – between health and what we eat and drink, and research on the impact of dietary advice in people going about their daily lives. The problem is that adherence with dietary prescriptions is rarely perfect and many other factors can interfere to produce indecisive or conflicting results. Dietary guidelines can be issued only if the totality of evidence, including that from animal studies in which full control is possible, is sufficiently consistent. So how to provide more of the stronger, lab-like evidence? Some US researchers have come up with one possible way to resolve any remaining uncertainty about the harmful effects of dietary salt on blood pressure, heart disease and strokes. They suggest studying prisoners, whose diets and activity could be tightly controlled for long periods. Using prisoners in medical research is highly contentious, not just because of the appalling experiments on Nazi concentration camp inmates and Japan’s Chinese POWs during the second world war, but also because of inherent ethical and scientific problems. These include selection bias, uncertainties about the validity of consent in such a vulnerable group, the risks of harm from other inmates resenting their perceived preferential treatment, and the prevalence of mental health problems, concealed substance abuse and volatile behaviour among prison populations.

10-27-17 Inmates who fight fires
Inmates who fight fires
Women serving time in California prisons are routinely deployed to fight the state’s wildfires, said Jaime Lowe. For less than $2 an hour, they do strenuous and dangerous work with relatively little training. Shawna Lynn Jones climbed from the back of a red truck with “LA County Fire” printed on its side. Ten more women piled out after her, on the border of Agoura Hills and Malibu, in Southern California. They could see flames in the vicinity of Mulholland Highway, from a fire that had been burning for about an hour. Jones and her crew wore helmets and yellow Nomex fire-retardant suits; yellow handkerchiefs covered their mouths and necks. Each carried 50 pounds of equipment in her backpack. As the “second saw,” Jones was one of two women who carried a chainsaw. She was also one of California’s 250 or so female-inmate firefighters. Jones worked side by side with Jessica Ornelas, the “second bucker,” who collected whatever wood Jones cut down. Together they were responsible for “setting the line,” which meant clearing potential fuel from a 6-foot-wide stretch of ground between whatever was burning and the land they were trying to protect. If they did their job right, a fire might be contained. But any number of things could quickly go wrong—a slight wind shift, the fall of a burning tree—and the fire would jump the break.

10-23-17 How American women are left to rot in jail
How American women are left to rot in jail
When it comes to mass incarceration, men get most of the attention — and for obvious reasons. Men commit roughly 80 percent of violent crimes, and they make up over 90 percent of prisoners. However, by industrialized country standards, America's imprisonment of women is arguably even worse than it is for men — and as a new analysis from Aleks Kajstura at the Prison Policy Initiative shows, a great many of those women do not need to be behind bars. Kajstura did a lot of painstaking work to create a full picture of the state of women's incarceration in America. As usual with such studies, the underlying data is from several sources, and some of it is somewhat scanty or old — but America simply doesn't have rigorous, up-to-date information on all people under criminal supervision. Until data collection is overhauled, this is the best that can be done. Where this differs from the overall picture of Americans behind bars is in the much larger share of female prisoners in jails. Whereas the total prison population is roughly two-thirds in state prisons, women prisoners are about equally split between jails and prisons. (The Prison Policy Initiative has not yet done a male-only breakdown, but given that women are less than 10 percent of the total prison population, removing them from the overall chart would not change the result very much.) This matters because, as I have written before, a large majority of people in jails have not been convicted of a crime — they are either stuck in pre-trial detention, or simply can't afford bail. Fully 60 percent of women in jails have not been convicted of a crime — and due to the greater jail share of the total female incarcerated population, over a quarter of women behind bars have not been convicted.

7-19-17 Albert Woodfox: My 43 years in solitary confinement
Albert Woodfox: My 43 years in solitary confinement
Albert Woodfox spent 43 years in solitary confinement. He was released in February 2016, but says he is still adapting to life outside. He had been in solitary confinement in Angola prison, the state penitentiary of Louisiana, since April 1972 for the murder of prison guard Brent Miller. Along with Herman Wallace and Robert King, he was part of the group known as the "Angola 3". They had consistently denied their involvement over the killing. In February 2016, Mr Woodfox was the last of the three to be freed. He is now living in New Orleans near his daughter, grand-children and great grand-children. "I have been learning how to live as a citizen and a free individual, because of the length of time [in solitary confinement], everything is pretty much a first time experience," he says. (Webmaster's comment: The horror of our prison system from a man who was in it for 43 years.)

7-12-17 Japanese-American internment: 'They came for me'
Japanese-American internment: 'They came for me'
A new exhibit on Japanese-American internment camps in WW2 warns of the dangers of ignoring history. (Webmaster's comment: During his campaign Trump already talked about forcing Muslims to wear a Muslim label, and having camps for Muslims "until we know what's going on." Those ideas are right out of the Hitler playbook.)

1-4-17 Donald Trump says Guantanamo Bay releases must end
Donald Trump says Guantanamo Bay releases must end
US President-elect Donald Trump says there must be no further releases of detainees from the Guantanamo Bay detention centre in Cuba. He said those left were "extremely dangerous people and should not be allowed back onto the battlefield". President Barack Obama had vowed to close the jail during his tenure and has transferred out many prisoners. Around 60 inmates remain and the White House said later on Tuesday it expected more transfers before 20 January. Mr Trump had opposed Mr Obama's closure plan during the presidential election campaign. Last February he said: "This morning, I watched President Obama talking about Gitmo, right, Guantanamo Bay, which by the way, which by the way, we are keeping open. "Which we are keeping open... and we're gonna load it up with some bad dudes, believe me, we're gonna load it up." (Webmaster's comment: American's very own torture and death camp. Trump and Hitler would be proud! Our nation's leaders will be beyond redemption!)

12-26-16 How Pearl Harbor changed Japanese-Americans
How Pearl Harbor changed Japanese-Americans
The attack on Pearl Harbor shaped the lives of Japanese-Americans long after World War Two ended. As Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visits Hawaii, the internment and treatment of Japanese-Americans during the war continues to resonate in today's political landscape. When US President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stood together in Hiroshima in late May, they made history: President Obama became the first sitting US president to visit the site of the US atomic bomb attack. On Tuesday they are set to reunite for another historic visit - Pearl Harbor. When Japanese attacked the US naval base on 7 December 1941, the rest of the world was already at war. Shortly after, the US joined the Allied forces. More than 50 million soldiers and civilians were killed, making it the deadliest military conflict in history. But after Pearl Harbor there were consequences for another group: American citizens of Japanese ancestry. "The Japanese race is an enemy race," wrote Lieutenant General John DeWitt in Final Report, Japanese Evacuation from the West Coast, 1942. "While many second and third generation Japanese born on American soil, possessed of American citizenship, have become 'Americanized,' the racial strains are undiluted." In February 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, sending 120,000 people from the US west coast into internment camps because of their ethnic background. Two-thirds of them were born in America. Exclusion orders were posted in California, directing removal of persons of Japanese ancestry. (Webmaster's comment: And in Racist America this could happen again for almost any reason, but mostly because of all the haters and losers in America and their deep feelings of inadequacy.)

7-18-16 America's inescapable debtor's prison
America's inescapable debtor's prison
Today, debt plays a near-constant role in American life: We are both a nation in debt and a nation of debtors, and so, to an extent, a nation that functions as a kind of large-scale debtor's prison. Perhaps nowhere is this reality more visible than in the way the American legal system has been able to turn debt into a kind of blunt instrument. A citizen's debt will reliably generate more debt, which will, in turn, generate a reliable profit for local law enforcement, or from the private companies that get in on the action. In an incendiary article in the Harvard Law Review, Shakeer Rahman recounted the story of Tom Barrett, whose experience of the American legal system's debt labyrinth began in 2012, when he was arrested for stealing a can of beer. The debtor's prison as discrete location may no longer exist as we once knew it, but this is only because our ability to punish debtors has now spread beyond prison walls. In Tom Barrett — and the countless other citizens like him — we find the story of a citizen not just controlled by debt, but forced to finance his own incarceration. This last detail, if not the story itself, would seem all too familiar to Dickens: Two hundred years ago, the debtors at Marshalsea had to pay for their own imprisonment as well.

5-30-16 Why is Guantanamo Bay detention centre still open?
Why is Guantanamo Bay detention centre still open?
The BBC's Aleem Maqbool reports from inside Guantanamo Bay detention centre, which is still open, despite President Obama vowing to shut it down eight years ago.

6-10-16 Guantánamo’s ‘forever prisoners’
Guantánamo’s ‘forever prisoners’
President Obama came into office vowing to close the notorious prison at Guantánamo Bay. Why didn’t he succeed? There are still 80 “enemy combatants” being held at the Guantánamo Bay military detention center at the U.S. naval base in Cuba. That’s down from the total of 779 inmates imprisoned there since the Bush administration created the detention center as part of the “war on terror” in January 2002. When President Obama took office in 2009, 242 inmates remained, most of whom hadn’t been charged with a crime; days later, he signed an executive order requiring Guantánamo to be closed within the year. But Obama’s efforts to empty the facility and transfer remaining inmates to federal prisons have been stymied by adamant Republican opposition. Guantánamo correspondent Carol Rosenberg was assigned by The Miami Herald to cover the prison’s closure more than 12 years ago. “As it stands,” says Rosenberg, “it could be that we will just be waiting for the last guy to die before it closes.” (Webmaster's comment: In other words it's a DEATH CAMP just like the Nazi's had! What a travesty for a nation supposedly standing for freedom and liberty to have. Supported by your Republican legislators.)

5-27-16 The gobsmacking racism of America's criminal justice system
The gobsmacking racism of America's criminal justice system
Earlier this week the Supreme Court issued a near-unanimous ruling that the state of Georgia must retry Timothy Foster, a black death-row inmate convicted by an all-white jury of the murder of Queen Madge White, a 79-year-old white woman. Four potential African-American jurors were excluded from consideration by prosecutors, who happen to have recorded their anti-black bias in notes that came to light decades after Foster's conviction was handed down. The bigotry-in-action that these papers reveal should not, at this point in U.S. history, come as a surprise to anyone. The endemic, systemic racism that has always informed every aspect of the American criminal justice system has been documented by activists, human rights organizations, and the media in numbing detail (if to little effect). Consider for instance the fact that though African Americans comprise only some 12 percent of the general population, they make up about 42 percent of death row.

5-27-16 After a life in solitary
After a life in solitary
Albert Woodfox spent 43 years in a 6-by-9-foot concrete box, said Ed Pilkington in The Guardian (U.K.). He is one of the “Angola Three”—former Black Panther activists who were put into solitary confinement in 1972, after being convicted of fatally stabbing a prison guard at Louisiana’s notorious Angola prison. Woodfox, now 69, always insisted he was framed, and this February his conviction was overturned. Now free, Woodfox is adapting to his new life outside his cell. “Everything is new, no matter how small or large,” he says. He had a day out at a beach in Texas recently. “It was so strange, walking on the beach and all these people and kids running around. I’m not accustomed to people moving around me, and it makes me nervous. Being in a cell on my own, I only had to protect myself from attack in front of the cell, as I knew there was no one behind me. Now I’m in society, and I have to remind myself that the chances of being attacked are very small.” There are even, he admits, moments when he feels almost homesick for prison. “Human beings are territorial—they feel more comfortable in areas they are secure. In society it’s difficult, it’s looser. So there are moments when, yeah, I wish I was back in the security of a cell.” He pauses. “I mean, it does that to you.”

5-16-16 The grotesque criminalization of poverty in America
The grotesque criminalization of poverty in America
Money bail is a vast moral abomination. If you are arrested for a serious crime, you're supposed to be taken to jail and booked. Then there's some sort of hearing, and if the judge doesn't think you will skip town or commit more crimes, you are either released on your own recognizance, or you post bail, and you are free until a pre-trial hearing. After that, you either go to trial, or plead guilty and accept punishment. But for a great many people, this is not how it works. As a new report from the Prison Policy Initiative demonstrates, over one-third of people who go through the booking process end up staying in jail simply because they can't raise enough cash to post bail. For millions of Americans in 2016, poverty is effectively a crime.

5-11-16 Inside decaying US prison, former inmates are guides
Inside decaying US prison, former inmates are guides
At a 19th Century prison that pioneered the use of solitary confinement in the US, former inmates lead one-of-a-kind tours about the history of incarceration and their own experience within it. (Webmaster's comment: And we are still following these barbaric practices.)

4-28-16 Voting: The politics of including ex-felons
Voting: The politics of including ex-felons
When the racists who rewrote Virginia’s constitution in 1902 banned felons from voting, said The Washington Post in an editorial, “they made no bones about their objectives.” The changes, they said, would help “eliminate the darkey as a political factor in this State” and “ensure the complete supremacy of the white race.” More than a century later, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) has finally scrapped “the last vestige of that project”—using his executive authority to reinstate voting rights to more than 200,000 former convicted felons, the vast majority of whom are African-American. McAuliffe’s executive order, imposed over adamant opposition from Republicans, applies to all felons who have served their prison sentences and finished parole or probation. Let’s hope other states follow suit, said Janai S. Nelson in NYTimes.com. An estimated 5.85 million Americans who’ve served their time on felony convictions are banned from participating in our democracy because of discriminatory voting laws—when really we should be trying to reintegrate these people back into society. (Webmaster's comment: If you've done your time, paid for your crime, then ALL rights should be fully restored.)

2-8-16 This is what it's like to get in a prison fight
This is what it's like to get in a prison fight
Fighting in prison is bloody, brutal, and ubiquitous. A prison fight is nothing like the UFC or boxing. It's straight-up bedlam. Anything that can happen, will happen. Locks in a sock, shanks, and mop wringers are all game. You can't get a fair fight, but you can get a square one. You just have to know the rules. And the rules vary. The universal rule is that fighting is part of prison life. You either fight or lose everything. Heart checks are mandatory. It's called being "on the count" and if you aren't present, you'll get checked into the hole by your own boys.

American History is not what you've been taught in High School or even in College. Much of the truth has been hidden, skipped over, glossed over to the point of being unrecognizable, or spun to make Americans think we are the greatest nation on earth. Never mind that we perpetuated atrocities, crimes and theft against the American native population, against the slaves, against the peoples of South America, Africa, South East Asia and Asia proper, and the Middle East. Americans have killed more innocent people than all but four nations; Germany, Japan, Russia, and China. We seem to be obsessed with World Domination fully willing to support brutal dictatorships in order for our corporations to make profits at the expense of the people in the countries our corporations exploit. It's not a pretty picture.

2-19-16 Surviving solitary confinement
Surviving solitary confinement
Spending years in isolation can have a devastating effect on the mind. Writer Susie Neilson speaks to prisoners who survived, and even thrived, with the help of their imagination. Solitary confinement has been linked to a variety of profoundly negative psychological outcomes, including suicidal tendencies and spatial and cognitive distortions. Confinement-induced stress can shrink parts of the brain, including the hippocampus, which is responsible for memory, spatial orientation, and control of emotions. Prisoners often report bizarre and disturbing subjective experiences after they leave supermax. Some say the world regularly collapses in on itself. Others report they are unable to sustain ordinary conversations, or think clearly for any length of time. The psychiatrist Sandra Schank puts it this way: “It’s a standard psychiatric concept, if you put people in isolation, they will go insane.”

2-6-16 US military abuse scandal: Pentagon releases 198 prisoner photos
US military abuse scandal: Pentagon releases 198 prisoner photos
Nearly 200 photographs linked to allegations of abuse by the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan over a decade ago have been released by the Pentagon. The photos were released in response to a freedom of information request by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The images show mainly bruises and cuts on prisoners' arms and legs. The abuse scandal erupted in 2004 when shocking photos emerged of US soldiers appearing to sexually humiliate and torture detainees in Iraq's Abu Ghraib. About 14 of the allegations were substantiated - leading to the disciplining of 65 service personnel, ranging from letters of reprimand to life imprisonment. About 42 allegations were unsubstantiated, the spokesman said. The ACLU has been fighting for more than a decade for the release of what it says are 2,000 photos documenting abuse at US detention centres. It said it would continue to fight for publication of the remaining 1,800. "The still-secret pictures are the best evidence of the serious abuses that took place in military detention centers," ACLU deputy legal director Jameel Jaffer said in a statement.

12-18-15 Victims of U.S. Experimentation
Victims of U.S. Experimentation
The syphilis experiments in Guatemala were United States-led human experiments conducted in Guatemala from 1946 to 1948, during the administration of President Truman and President Juan José Arévalo with the cooperation of some Guatemalan health ministries and officials. Doctors infected soldiers, prostitutes, prisoners and mental patients with syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases, without the informed consent of the subjects, and treated most subjects with antibiotics. This resulted in at least 83 deaths. In October 2010, the U.S. formally apologized to Guatemala for conducting these experiments.(Webmaster's comment: Guatemala wants to compensate the families of the victims, but the U.S hasn't offered anything. Nor has it ever charged the U.S. officials and doctors involved with any crime. We'll do these crimes again too, just like Germany did them to the Jews.)

12-18-15 US President Barack Obama makes Guantanamo closure plan
US President Barack Obama makes Guantanamo closure plan
President Obama is delivering a year-end address before heading to San Bernardino to visit families bereaved by the terror attacks. The speech and the trip to California are his last scheduled appearances before going to Hawaii for holiday until the new year. Mr Obama said it was his expectation by early next year to have reduced the prison population at the camp in Cuba to below 100. He said he will present a plan to Congress to close it, keeping back the threat of using his executive powers if Congress rejects it. "Guantanamo continues to be one of the key magnets for jihadi recruitment." (Webmaster's comment: Close this example of American prison camps and torture atrocities!)

12-18-15 Is it fair to punish prisoners with horrible food?
Is it fair to punish prisoners with horrible food?
New York prisons are to stop punishing inmates with a type of food known as "nutraloaf" or "the loaf", in a change to the state's solitary confinement policy. But what's in a loaf, and is it ever fair to punish prisoners by downgrading their food? Nutraloaf. Disciplinary loaf. Prison loaf. Special management meal. The loaf. The blended and often baked block of food, served in some US prisons as a punishment for bad behaviour, comes in a number of guises. There is no single recipe. (Webmaster's comment: Americans do everything they can to assure that criminals that go into prisions will come out of prisons again as criminals!)

12-15-15 Life Behind Bars
Life Behind Bars
The padlocked, yet often productive, lives of prisoners in America. America has a prison problem. The land of the free is not only the world's largest jailer, but also dishes out sentencing lengths significantly longer than those in other developed nations. What happens between the time prisoners surrender their independence and take their next breath of freedom? Here, a look behind the bars and into the lives of America's inmates. (Webmaster's comment: Pretty pictures are not the truth. The sheer brutality of life in the American prison system is not in these pictures. Prison gangs, beatings, and rapes are not shown. Rehabilitation such as successfully used in Europe is almost unheard of. Revenge and Retaliation does not cure the crime problem, it only creates more dedicated criminals.)

12-2-15 Guantanamo Bay prisoner victim of mistaken identity, says US
Guantanamo Bay prisoner victim of mistaken identity, says US
A Guantanamo Bay prisoner locked up for 13 years has been found to be a victim of mistaken identity, originally thought to be a member of al-Qaeda. US officials said in a new report that Mustafa al-Aziz al-Shamiri was a low-level Islamic fighter rather than a significant member of the group. The 37-year-old Yemeni, who has been held without charge, appeared before a board on Tuesday. He is one of 107 prisoners at the base where nearly 50 are awaiting release. Captured in Afghanistan and imprisoned as an enemy combatant, his release has not been approved yet. (Webmaster's comment: Just another US war crimes victim.)

11-22-15 George Nakashima: Artisan imprisoned in US internment camps
George Nakashima: Artisan imprisoned in US internment camps
This week, one US mayor lauded the Japanese internment camps which imprisoned US citizens and residents during World War 2. A family that lived in such a camp responds. Mayor David Bowers of Roanoke, Virginia, doesn't want any Syrians resettled in his community. He even lauded the internment camps many Japanese Americans were confined to during World War 2. "President Franklin D Roosevelt felt compelled to sequester Japanese foreign nationals after the bombing of Pearl Harbour, and it appears that the threat of harm to America from Isis now is just as real," he wrote in a statement. Numerous people have decried the mayor for his words - including the fact that the Japanese interred in camps were US citizens, not foreign nationals. On Friday, Mr Bowers apologised. (Webmaster's comment: Just as I said only two days ago. Identified, labeled, and IMPRISONED, and all that follows. We have already moved from identifying and labeling to discussing putting innocent men, women and children in prisons based on their country of origin, race or religious beliefs. This is right out of the Nazi playbook. The Neo-Nazis, Klu Klux Klan, and other white supremacist hate groups must be getting ready to dance in the streets and start the killing. Many Americans seem to have no concept of human rights whatsoever.)

11-9-15 The US inmates charged per night in jail
The US inmates charged per night in jail
A widespread practice in the US known as "pay to stay" charges jail inmates a daily fee while they are incarcerated. For those who are in and out of the local county or city lock-ups - particularly those struggling with addiction - that can lead to sky-high debts. (Webmaster's comment: Outrageous! This is a FINE charged to a person without a court order or even necessarily being found guilty. Outrageous!)

Sioux Falls Free Thinkers enthusiastically endorse the 22 American History documentaries, 3 movies, 1 book, and 1 novel described on the following 25 pages:

The Truth About American Prison Camps
History Movies Endorsed by Sioux Falls Free Thinkers