Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Judicial Injustice

Here are two items of interest for us to ponder. First, the Rosenbaum Foundation and the Open Society Institute have issued a report on the US “Injustice System” (my phrasing) showing that, “the US prison population has risen eight-fold since 1970, with little impact on crime but at great cost to the taxpayer”. “There are more than 1.5 million people in US state and federal jails” and “inmate numbers are projected to rise by 192,000 in five years, costing $27.5bn to build and run jails”. The report goes on to state, “There is no evidence that keeping people in prison longer makes us any safer”.

The second item concerns juvenile offenders. A study, titled Sentencing Children to Die in Prison, by the University of San Francisco's Centre for Law & Global Justice, found that the United States has far more juveniles serving life terms than any other country — 2387. Israel, the only other country that imprisons juveniles for life has seven — and has not issued such a sentence since 2004. In California, black juveniles are 20 times more likely to receive such sentences. In the US, life terms have fallen disproportionately on non-white children, who are 10 times more likely than white children to be given life without parole, the report found.

The above statistics are a national disgrace. Our judicial system rivals that of Saudi Arabia as the most punitive and archaic in the world. And why should this be? I would suggest it’s due to the influence of the Bible-thumping miscreants who rule the roost in this country, insisting on imposing their vindictive, punitive medieval ideology on the rest of us.

As our Draft Statement of Principles says, “We categorically oppose all forms of capital punishment, torture and our system of punitive judicial injustice.” I urge one and all to contact your representatives to demand they begin to address these issues and bring our penal system in line with civilized 21st century norms. The US system of judicial injustice is a hideous and painful reminder of our vengeful Judeo-Christian heritage.

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