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Jailing Americans for Profit: The Rise of the Prison Industrial Complex

bar code prisoner graphic
© n/a
"Mass incarceration on a scale almost unexampled in human history is a fundamental fact of our country today - perhaps the fundamental fact, as slavery was the fundamental fact of 1850. In truth, there are more black men in the grip of the criminal-justice system - in prison, on probation, or on parole - than were in slavery then. Over all, there are now more people under 'correctional supervision' in America - more than six million - than were in the Gulag Archipelago under Stalin at its height." - Adam Gopnik, The Caging of America.

In an age when freedom is fast becoming the exception rather than the rule, imprisoning Americans in private prisons run by mega-corporations has turned into a cash cow for big business. At one time, the American penal system operated under the idea that dangerous criminals needed to be put under lock and key in order to protect society. Today, as states attempt to save money by outsourcing prisons to private corporations, the flawed yet retributive American "system of justice" is being replaced by an even more flawed and insidious form of mass punishment based upon profit and expediency.

As author Adam Gopnik reports for the New Yorker:
[A] growing number of American prisons are now contracted out as for-profit businesses to for-profit companies. The companies are paid by the state, and their profit depends on spending as little as possible on the prisoners and the prisons. It's hard to imagine any greater disconnect between public good and private profit: the interest of private prisons lies not in the obvious social good of having the minimum necessary number of inmates but in having as many as possible, housed as cheaply as possible.
Consider this: despite the fact that violent crime in America has been on the decline, the nation's incarceration rate has tripled since 1980. Approximately 13 million people are introduced to American jails in any given year. Incredibly, more than six million people are under "correctional supervision" in America, meaning that one in fifty Americans are working their way through the prison system, either as inmates, or while on parole or probation. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the majority of those being held in federal prisons are convicted of drug offenses - namely, marijuana. Presently, one out of every 100 Americans is serving time behind bars.

Eye 2

International market for child snuff movies thriving

Britain is a key link in the biggest ever international investigation into the production and supply of paedophile 'snuff' movies - in which children are murdered on film - an Observer investigation can reveal.

The key suspect in the inquiry, a Russian who was arrested last week in Moscow for distribution of thousands of sadistic child porn videos and pictures, was traced following the seizure of his products from British paedophiles.

Dmitri Vladimirovich Kuznetsov, a 30-year-old former car mechanic in Moscow, was identified after British Customs and police traced the origin of violent child porn videos found in the UK back to Russia.

Last week Italian police seized 3,000 of Kuznetsov's videos on their way to clients in Italy, sparking an international hunt for paedophiles who have bought his products. The Italian investigators say the material includes footage of children dying during abuse. Prosecutors in Naples are considering charging those who have bought the videos with complicity in murder. They say some may have specifically requested films of killings.

Cult

Largest online paedophile ring uncovered, 184 arrested

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Europol: making Europe safer? Or distracting the masses by targeting the low-level pedophiles?
International police led by a UK team say they shut down the largest internet paedophile ring yet discovered.

The global forum had 70,000 followers at its height, leading to 4,000 intelligence reports being sent to police across 30 countries.

The operation has so far identified 670 suspects and 230 abused children.

Detectives say 184 people have been arrested - 121 of them were in the UK. Some 60 children have been protected in the UK.

The three-year investigation, Operation Rescue, was led by investigators from the UK's Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop).

Speaking at a news conference at The Hague in the Netherlands, investigators said the network hid behind a legal online forum which operated out of the country - but its members came from around the world.

Cult

Actor Corey Feldman says pedophilia is Hollywood's biggest problem

Corey Feldman was one of the biggest child stars of the 1980s, and he's talking about being young and in Hollywood in an interview on ABC's special, Underage and Famous. Feldman says that child fame can be damaging, and attributes the harm caused to kids in the business to a large, unspoken problem -- pedophilia. "I can tell you that the No. 1 problem in Hollywood was and is and always will be pedophilia. That's the biggest problem for children in this industry. ... It's the big secret," Feldman said.


Camcorder

Ex-Reporter Sues After Alleged Police Brutality Deleted Off Camera

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© New Mexico Corrections Dept
Former KOB anchor and reporter Cristina Rodda.
US - A former reporter is suing the city of Albuquerque, N. M., and a police officer for allegedly deleting evidence of police brutality and tampering with evidence during a story she was covering.

Cristina Rodda, a former anchor and reporter for the Albuquerque NBC affiliate station KOB, is suing Officer Stephanie Lopez of the Albuquerque Police Department. In her federal court filing this week she cited violation of the first, fourth and fourteenth amendments, intentionally spoiling evidence, violation of the New Mexico Tort Claims Act against Lopez. She also cited negligent hiring, training, supervision and retention against the city.

"We just filed this week so the city will have 20 days to answer the lawsuit," B.J. Crow, Cristina's attorney told ABC News.com.

On April 29, 2011 the reporter was sent by KOB to Tumbleweeds night club in Albuquerque, following a tip about a "rave" party where underage people were allegedly allowed, according to the lawsuit.

Rodda was filming the entrance of the club from the parking lot, when Officer Lopez allegedly pushed a young patron to the ground while working crowd control for the police department. Lopez has reportedly been disciplined for similar conduct in the past.

Rodda was soon asked to leave by a club employee and two officers, including Lopez, who demanded the camera tape, which Rodda refused and tried to leave.

Lopez frisked and searched Rodda's purse without consent, later admitting Rodda was compliant throughout the whole process, according to the suit. The officer took the camera.

Pharoah

Formula One race to go ahead despite ongoing bloodshed in Bahrain

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© EPA
Relatives of late 22-year-old journalist Ahmed Ismail, with some of them wearing shirts with his picture react whille attending his funeral procession in the Salmabad village, south of the Bahraini capital Manama
A teenage mourner shot by police in Bahrain was in intensive care on Saturday as Formula One bosses said next week's Grand Prix will proceed as planned.

The 15-year-old youth was shot by anti-riot police while attending the funeral of a citizen journalist, who was killed at the end of March during a protest in the Gulf kingdom.

Mohammed Ahmed Abdel Aziz was among several people wounded during the funeral ceremony for Ahmed Ismail, 22.

Opposition activists said the young man was hit in the chest as police fired tear gas and live rounds at mourners.

Formula One's governing body the FIA (Federation Internationale de l'Automobile) and commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone both said in Shanghai, venue of Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix, that the April 22 Bahrain event would take place.

Human Rights Watch said the decision to go ahead with the race would be exploited by the ruling Sunni dynasty.

Comment: Apparently not all revolutions are created equal:

Formula One's fascism fetish should not surprise anyone


Eye 2

Couple sentenced for involvement in French pedophile ring

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Thierry Delay Myriam Badaoui went to prison, but the 'large number' of names they named went free.
One of France's highest-profile sex abuse case in years has ended with guilty verdicts against 10 people, but with accusations of an even wider paedophile ring not proved.

Thierry and Myriam Delay (also known as Myriam Badaoui) have been found guilty of abusing their own four children and getting their relations and neighbours on a French housing estate involved, sometimes abusing their children.

A wide range of local people were implicated by the Delays, as well as by the other couple at the centre of the case, their next-door neighbour David Delplanque and his partner Aurelie Grenon, and the children involved.

The Delays, Delplanque and Grenon had confessed to raping the Delay couple's four children in Outreau, northern France from 1995 until 2000, when social services raised the alarm.

Comment: See also: Something rotten in France? Trial of 70 parents caught prostituting and raping their own children in Idyllic Angers


House

Family Flees 'Haunted House,' Sues Landlord


A New Jersey couple is suing their landlord for a refund after they said paranormal activity caused them to flee their rental home.

Michele Callan and her fiance, Josue Chinchilla, moved into the home in Toms River, N.J., with Callan's two children on March 1 and were immediately spooked.

"Three taps on the TV, taps on the shoulder..." Chinchilla told ABC News.

At first they chalked it up to the adjustment period of moving into a new home.

But things only got spookier, they said.

Doors opened and closed. The family even claimed they recorded strange voices whispering, "Let it burn."

Eye 2

100,000 children go missing every year in UK

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The face of Madeleine McCann was among more than 10,000 images held up at Wembley to raise awareness of the tens of thousands of children who go missing every year in the UK.

Members of the Rock Choir, a community singing phenomenon that is sweeping the country, filled the London stadium with posters of some of the 100,000 children who go missing each year.

The move comes after Prime Minister David Cameron told Kate and Gerry McCann their ordeal was "every parent's worst nightmare" as Scotland Yard pledged to lend its "particular expertise" to the search for their daughter.

Madeleine went missing aged three on holiday in Portugal in May 2007.

Caroline Redman Lusher, director of the Rock Choir, said: "If we can help just one missing child be brought home to safety, it will all have been worthwhile."

Martin Houghton-Brown, chief executive of Missing People, which helped organise the event, said: "By actively joining the search for missing children, and raising funds for the search to continue, Rock Choir has created a truly innovative partnership."

Heart - Black

Man Tasered by Edmonton Police Dies

Taser
© Unknown
Canada - A man who was shocked by a Taser stun gun while in custody this week at Edmonton police headquarters has died.

Jeff Oatway, 34, had been in a coma on life support after he was taken to hospital on Wednesday.

Doctors declared him dead on Friday, said his father, Cliff.

The head of the Edmonton Police Association, Sgt. Tony Simioni, said Oatway "snapped" and became violent when officers were trying to get him ready for a bail hearing around 4 p.m. MT on Wednesday.

About a dozen officers were called to the scene as TV monitors were torn from the walls, computers were destroyed and desks overturned, Simioni said.

The Taser was used on Oatway after two officers were injured, Simioni said Thursday. He then suffered what police described as a "medical episode."

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team has taken the lead in the investigation. ASIRT looks into incidents or complaints involving serious injury or death that may have resulted from the actions of a police officer.