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Michael Mead
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Michael Mead had dedicated his life to helping and mentoring youth and convicts into warriorship.
"Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty." Albert Einstein.

3 Reich's, you're out. Prop.184 should be locked up

Ella Seneres Staff writer Cabrillo Voice
A mish-mash of anti crime bills like Prop. 184, is sweeping 30 states. Three-strikes-and you’re-out casts the net wide on the poor, even though the American Correctional Association and the Judicial Conference of the United States, representing federal judges, opposes it, according to Prison Legal News. $30.2 billion will be spent to enforce laws that will scapegoat and massively accelerate incarceration of the down-and-out who have struck out because of illiteracy, joblessness, drug, alcohol abuse and decaying cities. Nine hours after the California “three strikes law” took effect on March 7, Charles Bentely was charged with stealing 50 cents. He faces 25 to life. Keith McHenry of Food Not Bombs faces 3 strikes and one of the counts is for having milk crates.

In contrast, corrupt officials who loot funds and endanger public health get nil. In 1989, the Federal Sentencing Guidelines Commission tried to increase liabilities for corporate criminals. Corporations pressured, so the amendments died. Chronic varieties of repeat professional criminals like Jeb Bush who gutted the S&L or Oliver North & Company who lied to congress go from one criminal deal to the next, recidivists bilking the government promising to mend their ways. General Electric was busted 16 times for false billing, money laundering and bribery. A 10 year study by a George Washington University professor found that two thirds of the Fortune 500 were involved in one or more “significant illegalities.” Since 1986, the federal government tried to use the False Claim Act to collect $588 million from corporations who chiseled moneys, but corporations cried that it was unfair, so it was killed. A mugger in a suit gets unlimited strikes, getting richer and richer, the poor get prison.

Climbing out of poverty looks dim, with Blacks facing poverty rates of 32.7% (or 10.2 million) Latinos 28.7% and whites 11.3%. (Bureau of Census.) Blacks were the only racial group to suffer job loss during the 1990-91 economic downturn, Wall St. Journal reported. In May 1994, unemployment of Black teens was 40%, said the Washington Post. This creates an underground economy in order to survive.

States who ‘lock ‘em up and throw away the key” will go bankrupt. Prison costs for 1992 were $24.9 billion. Prison contractors will get $79 billion worth of new business with $54,209 to build a one bed cell and $20-30,000 to keep an inmate, or a $1 million if they serve 35 years. With 1.3 million in prison now, if the trend continues, by 2053 more people will be in jail then out, noted Warren Cikins, a criminal justice specialist.

Instead of helping inmates, they are released into illiteracy, joblessness and poverty. In prison the endemic of violence, brutalization, overcrowding, and idleness only destroys humans. The few vocational and rehabilitation programs now available are being cut, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy, manifesting more three strikers. As for three strikes, two previous offenses and a conviction of a violent federal offense gets life with no parole, with the two prior counts of either a violent crime, or a federal or state law violation of two separate convictions of possession of a small bit of crack, less then 2 pennies weight wise, or 2 ounces of marijuana. In 1992 it cost $6.1 billion to keep drug users imprisoned. The Federal Bureau of Prisons said by 1995, more than 70% of federal prisoners will be drug users. The majority of crack users are Blacks; the majority of powder cocaine users are white. 92.6% of those arrested for federal crack charges were Blacks, 91% were powder users, the Department of Justice reports.

 The disparity of crack and coke sentencing is 100 to 1. Three times as many people use coke, but crack users are prosecuted far more often. (United States Sentencing Commission). USA Today reported that the majority of drug users are white. A recent National Household Survey on drug abuse concluded that 74% of users are white, 13% are Blacks and 10% Latinos. As for death of the poor, the crime bill is big on death. The Supreme Court discontinued the death penalty in 1972 because of discrimination in its enforcement's, but it returned in 1976. The General Accounting Office evaluating 28 death penalty studies and found “pattern of evidence indicating racial disparities in the charges, sentences and imposition of the death penalty.” The NAACP found in Bay County, Florida, between 1975-1987, that 40% of those murdered were Blacks; the death penalty was required only when the victims were white.

The travesty of the drug war is a farce, as documented by John Stockwell, the highest case officer to leave the CIA and Danny Sheehan, the chief council of the Christic Institute. The majority of traffickers are the US military personnel who funnel the drugs to cities. The drug war is a pretense to impose draconian laws to suspend the Constitution and the Bill of Rights according to Stockwell.

Clinton commissioned the Rand Corporation to study the drug issue, but ignored and rejected the recommendation to divert $3 billion from law enforcement to drug treatment. Rand advised that treatment is seven times more cost effective that drug enforcement in reducing cocaine use and 15 times more cost effective in reducing the social costs of crime and lost productivity. (USA Today.)

The Governor of California, Mr. Wilson wants a one strike law. To nip crime, preventative medicine is paramount in wiping out the spawning grounds of poverty, but instead expect more goose stepping of 100,000 additional cops to the tune of $8.8 billion. Dispose with niceties; let the nets of justice snag crooks like Bush, North and their partners in crime. Their crimes do more damage and killing then all the junkies put together. Let us come together to solve this grave drug epidemic that affects us all.