137 entries

Category: Law & Justice

One Year Later, Phillip Watkins Deserved to Live

On the one year anniversary of when 23-year-old Phillip Watkin's life was cut short by two San Jose Police officers, his mother Sharon speaks about that day, the lonely road that follows, and how she is standing together with other families to organize, heal, and stop police brutality.

San Jose Ramping Up Efforts for Citizenship

With an election year upon us, the Bay Area, and San Jose in particular, is aiming to eliminate the barriers eligible legal permanent residents face to become U.S. citizens and enjoy exercising their rights and benefits that come with citizenship. From Gilroy to Napa there are free workshops on a monthly basis to guide people every step of the way and help demystify the citizenship process that is no longer something that takes years but can be a reality in about 6 months.

In Michigan, Petitioning Against The Government Lands You a Prison Sentence

As all eyes are on Michigan’s poisoned water crisis, Reverend Edward Pinkney continues to serve a prison sentence for effectively organizing against the first Emergency Manager put into place in the entire country in Benton Harbor, Michigan. There, the Emergecy Manager legally suspended the local city government and appointed himself supreme ruler of the city. Pinkney visited San Jose in 2011 warning us about the dangerous experience just beginning then and now has created the humanitarian disaster in Flint. We need to do everything in our power to free Reverend Pinkney so he can continue to speak out against this draconian law.

'Tis the Season... To Kick Out ICE

In the spirit of the holiday season, this past Dec. 11th children wrote "Dear Supervisor" letters to the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. The children wrote to ask the board to refrain from proposing harmful policies that entangle ICE with local law enforcement and create stress and worry in our families. This action was part of the FIRE Coalition's ongoing work to ensure that local jails will not respond to ICE's detainer or notification requests.

#WhenICECame Video Series: "Police Took Me Away In Front Of My 5 Year Old Son"

This is the second installment of the #WhenICECame video profile series of immigrants in Santa Clara County caught in the crosshairs of police-ICE entanglement. As Santa Clara County is considering whether our local law enforcement agencies should notify ICE about individuals going through the criminal justice system, hear from our community members who are most affected when local police become entangled with ICE. This video series, produced by Silicon Valley De-Bug, is done in coordination with the Santa Clara County Forum for Immigrants Rights (FIRE) Coalition. For more information, check out www.iceoutofscc.org. In this video, a mother enduring years of domestic violence recounts the moment with police that separated her from her son. Undocumented, she always felt the fear of deportation, and even when she called police, it was her that was taken into custody. Her story is particularly poignant as Santa Clara County recognizes October 2015 as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

On Mental Health Issues, Gun Control, and Child Incarceration

The recent Oregon mass shooting at a community college by a student stirs up memories of one too many tragedies involving guns, mental health and child incarceration. Writer Shaunn Cartwright writes, "It seems all too common that people with mental health issues have access to guns... and this seems to me the real issue that our elected officials need to address."

Do More Than Just Hope for a "Not Guilty" -- 6 Participatory Defense Steps for Effective Trial Monitoring

Have a loved one facing trial? Here are a few things your community can do to have impact on the outcome of the process.

The ‘Torment of Isolation’ – Ending Solitary Confinement for Juveniles

After years of litigation and protests, earlier this month California’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation agreed to drastically reduce the use of solitary confinement in state prisons. But as prison and human rights advocates celebrated the victory, the legislature put on hold a bill that would have curbed the practice in the state’s juvenile detention facilities.

No Sympathy for Those Labeled "Violent Criminal"

Tim Casarez writes from an inside view about the continuing push for reforming the criminal justice system and believes that more than merely punishing offenders labeled as "violent" they should be urged toward reform and earn their release. It is time for a change of thought toward incarceration, he says, the proposed reforms don't go far enough.

The Label of “Violent” Leaves Majority of Inmates Without a Road to Rehabilitation

As President Obama is moving on unprecedented prison reform, the national conversation has left out those with the most to gain – inmates with “violent” offenses, who make up the majority of prison inmates, but who will continue to see the least benefits. This possibility of ending mass incarceration has started and stopped with the limited focus on “non-violent” offenders.  Tim Casarez is currently serving a 22 year prison sentence for crimes committed at 18 years old. While serving his sentence he has been a model prisoner - focused on changing his life for the better. However, he says this is not the norm under the CDCR, where the majority of inmates with a history like his will return to society worse than when they walked into prison.
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