America prides itself on being the land of the free, but over the past four decades our prison population has risen tenfold. We have by far the highest rate of incarceration in the world, and as a consequence, at least 2.7 million children have at least one parent in prison. Some fathers have abandoned their children, but others have been locked away from them.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the federal prison population is 37 percent black, 32 percent Latino, and 28 percent white. Professor Michelle Alexander of Ohio State University went so far as to compare this trend to the legal discrimination in the American South in her book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in an Age of Colorblindness. Even if one rejects the slightly conspiratorial tone of the book, the racial composition of the prison population is very alarming. Further, there is no question that most prisoners remain marginalized by society even after they are freed.
No sane person would question that some criminals absolutely belong behind bars; we do not want rapists and murderers out on the street. But according to a study by the Center for Economics and Policy Research, 60 percent of America's 2.3 million prisoners are non-violent offenders. Many prisoners may be guilty of crimes as minor as shoplifting or marijuana use. There is no doubt that our society must protect property rights and discourage the use of illegal substances, but are extended prison sentences the answer for these kinds of crimes? more >>
Text messages sent by the teenage missionary who reportedly admitted to raping children at a Kenyan orphanage surfaced this week revealing his belief that he was possessed by a demon named "Luke" at the time of the offenses.
Evidence brought by the Assistant US Attorney cites text messages from the indicted rapist Matthew Lane Durham, 19, to a friend. Those messages include threats to the Kenyan orphanage founder.
Michael Worthington, the man who admitted to raping and killing a 24-year-old girl in Missouri was executed early Wednesday morning, bringing closure to the parents of the young girl.
He was executed by the State of Missouri by lethal injection at the state prison and was pronounced dead at 12:11 a.m. He was sentenced to death after admitting to raping and killing Melinda "Mindy" Griffin during a burglary of her condominium. Her parents were present for the execution and hoped that it would bring a sense of closure to the case that has haunted them for 19 years.
"I figure I'll wake up in a better place tomorrow," Worthington told the Associated Press in an interview on Tuesday. "I'm just accepting of whatever's going to happen because I have no choice. The courts don't seem to care about what's right or wrong anymore." more >>
The family of Eric Garner, the man killed in a police officer's choke-hold, gathered in New York over the weekend and offered thanks to Jesus.
Garner's mother Gwen Carr expressed her gratitude for the medical examiner ruling her son's death a homicide last week following his death last month.
"When I heard the coroner's report, I tell you," Garner's mother said during a rally in Harlem, New York on Saturday, Aug. 2, according to CBS News. "I was downtown Brooklyn and I was in a store, and when I got the telephone call I guess people thought I was crazy. I just started saying 'Thank you Jesus.'" more >>
A California pastor who said he "didn't want to die in the pulpit" is now being sued by a deacon for trying to sell the church and parsonage without the consent of his congregation, which weren't even aware that their leader was trying to relieve them of their place of worship.
"He claims that the properties were gifted to him by the board. The church belongs to the members," said Deacon Arthel Coleman, who filed the lawsuit reported by the Palo Alto Online. Palo Alto Attorney Stephen Pappas is representing Coleman.
Coleman filed the lawsuit with the support of members of the Born Again Christian Center on Monday, July 28 in San Mateo County Superior Court. The church's angry members feel as if the pastor and his family tried to hoodwink them out of property valued at more than $1 million. more >>
Results of an autopsy conducted by the New York City medical examiner's office revealed Friday that Eric Garner, the 43-year-old Staten Island man who died after a struggle with police last month, was killed by a chokehold administered by an officer.
A report in the New York Times noted that the autopsy showed Garner died as a result of "compression of neck (chokehold), compression of chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police."
The city is now examining the use of the maneuver it banned more than 20 years ago. more >>