prison industrial complex

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U.S.: Town Hall With Dr. Angela Davis Will Look At Ending America's Obsession With Prisons

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Live Interview with Drug Policy Alliance’s asha bandele

Opportunity for Public to Listen In & Ask Questions: RSVP Required

Dr. Angela Davis, political activist and Distinguished Professor Emerita from the University of California, Santa Cruz, will join the Drug Policy Alliance’s asha bandele on Monday, April 11 from 4–5pm EST, for a discussion about America’s obsession with punishment and prisons and how to heal from the policies that have destroyed families and communities after nearly 50 years of the Drug War.

As Democracy Now describes Angela Davis: "For more than four decades, the world-renowned author, activist and scholar has been one of most influential activists and intellectuals in the United States. An icon of the 1970s black liberation movement, Davis’ work around issues of gender, race, class and prisons has influenced critical thought and social movements across several generations. She is a leading advocate for prison abolition, a position informed by her own experience as a fugitive on the FBI’s Top 10 most wanted list more than 40 years ago."

Angela Davis’s talk is the seventh in a series of quarterly telephone town halls sponsored by the Drug Policy Alliance. The conversations seek to bring some of the most learned and influential people working in the field of drug policy before the general public so that together we can create an ever-more informed and shared understanding about drugs and society.

U.S.: Controlled By Prison Lobby? Hillary Clinton Unlikely To End War On Drugs

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

More and more Americans have come to realize that the War On Drugs is a colossal failure -- but presidential contender Hillary Clinton doesn't seem to be one of those. Hillary seems unlikely to end that futile war and the mass incarceration which results from it, due to her ties to the prison lobby.

The pattern of mass incarceration triggered by the Drug War has resulted in the arrests of millions of otherwise law-abiding Americans, and has unfairly targeted the economically disadvantaged and people of color, reports Romain Bonilla at Marijuana Politics.

Clinton has stayed mostly silent on the failures of current drug policies during her presidential campaign. She has historically been opposed to marijuana decrim, and despite voters confronting her on multiple occasions, has failed to clarify her current stance on cannabis policy.

The the 1990s, Hillary favored harshly punitive sentences to deter people from violating drug laws, including "Three Strikes" measures which proved both disastrous and unconstitutional.

U.S.: At Least 67 People Are Serving Life Sentences For Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

At least 67 people are serving life sentences in prison right now for marijuana in the United States.

The plight of marijuana lifers has received new attention since the release last week of Jeff Mizanskey, who had been one of them, reports Tony Dokoupil at MSNBC.

"Man, I feel great," Mizanskey, now a great-grandfather after serving more than 20 years in prison, said as he looked at his first weekend as a free man in two decades. His sentence was commuted in May from life without parole to simple life, and last week he walked out of a maximum security prison in Missouri.

Mizanskey was sentenced in 1996 for trying to distribute six pounds of Mexican weed. There was no violence involved, but he had two previous convictions for the possession and sale of marijuana totaling 10 ounces.

That meant, under Missouri law at the time, that he was a "persistent" drug offender, subject to any punishment short of the death penalty. That law is no longer in effect, but similar policies continue to fill American prisons.

More than 20 states have now legalized cannabis for one purpose or another, and with $22 billion in legal sales expected by 2020, marijuana is becoming another consumer product. But these new laws don't help people with past marijuana convictions, including some with sentences harsher than those for rape or murder.

U.S.: Slammerbooks Creates Opportunity For Prisoners, Promotes Drug War Reform

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What do you get when you mix a medical marijuana activist, now a federal prisoner of the War On Marijuana, together with a federal white collar prisoner who was once a narcotics officer and a medical marijuana activist outside of prison together into a creative stew and simmer for 18 months? How about slammerbooks.com, an enterprise that creates genuine opportunity for thousands of current and former prisoners, and promotes justice, drug war and prison reform!

"Slammerbooks.com was created to show that prisoners can be a force for positive change in the law, justice and in the way offenders are rehabilitated," reads a Thursday press release. "Slammerbooks.com achieves this goal through showcasing the literary talent of prisoners."

Slammerbooks.com is the brainchild of Dustin Costa, a former Marine, union organizer and president, and medical marijuana/cannabis reform activist and Jack Straw, a white collar prisoner and former head of a major drug task force in the Midwest. They took their vision to Joe Grumbine, creator of the The Human Solution, a medical marijuana court support non-profit. Grumbine has now turned their vision into a reality with the creation of slammerbooks.com

Slammerbooks.com launched on April 18 with a half-dozen books by prisoners now being developed for publishing. Since launching, Slammerbooks.com has already received nearly a hundred inquiries from prisoners seeking to have their books published. "As more prisoners learn about us, that number will grow into the thousands," the company's press release predicts.

U.S.: Hillary Clinton Calls For End To 'Era of Mass Incarceration'

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2016 Presidential Candidates United on Need for Major Criminal Justice Reforms

From Rand Paul to Hillary Clinton, Candidates Seek to Reduce Number of People Behind Bars

Hillary Clinton on Wednesday became the latest Presidential candidate to embrace criminal justice reform. In her first major policy speech since announcing her candidacy, Clinton called for an end to the “era of mass incarceration.”

“There is something wrong when a third of all black men face the prospect of prison in their lifetimes, and an estimated 1.5 million black men are ‘missing’ from their families and communities because of incarceration and premature death,” Clinton said. “The consequences are profound. … It’s time to change our approach,” she added, citing the fact that 1 out of every 28 American children have a parent locked up behind bars.

“The fact that the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee for president chose the subject of mass incarceration as the focus of her first major policy address since she announced her candidacy is of great significance politically,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of Drug Policy Action. “So is the fact that all of the other Democratic candidates and most of the Republican ones agree that something needs to be done to reduce incarceration in our country.”

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