2012 at DeafInPrison.com

By BitcoDavid

Although our brief hiatus for the holidays isn’t officially over until Wednesday, I wanted to get this post up before the end of the year. I would like to begin by wishing all our contributors, guest posters, readers and commentators the happiest of holidays. 2012 was a great year for us, and I truly hope that 2013 proves to be orders of magnitude better, not just for us, but for all of youyou who have made DeafInPrison.com possible.

DeafInPrison.com was founded in December of 2011 by our Publisher, Joanne Greenberg. It was at the behest of one of our contributors – Dr. McCay Vernon – after he was moved by the Felix Garcia story. I became Editor and Administrator in January of 2012. We spent about 2 months developing the format and launched on March 4th.

Solitary Confinement by Stan MoodyImage: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/12/03/18701671.php

Solitary Confinement by Stan Moody
Image: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/12/03/18701671.php

During the past 9 months we’ve covered a number of subjects including Deaf culture, Deaf education, the School to Prison Pipeline, prison health care, the mentally ill in prison, prison rape and sexual abuse, overcrowding in our prisons and the War on Drugs.  We’ve managed to bring together some excellent minds as contributors and guest columnists, and enjoyed over 700 comments.

We’ve peppered these great articles with some truly wonderful artwork. Artwork which – speaking as a content creator – is a source of pride for me. We’ve undergone a number of upgrades and format changes since our launch. First and foremost, our ability to embed videos. This feature allowed us to bring you the entire Felix Garcia Interview. And since we weren’t dependent on a hosting site, we could insert those videos fully captioned. I caption my videos manually. That guarantees an error free and accurate representation of what’s being said. Sadly, I have seen other captioned videos – those that rely on autocaptioning software – that look like the mess you get when you let your cell phone autocorrect your text messages.

Our ability to embed videos, in fact, was what gave Jim Ridgeway the confidence to allow us access to the Felix videos, in the first place. An action that resulted in my deepest gratitude and indebtedness to him. He was quite reticent to put these videos up on YouTube, where they would have been unprotected and vulnerable to abuse.

Felix and me 10/28/2012 Image Courtesy of Pat Bliss

Felix and me 10/28/2012
Image Courtesy of Pat Bliss

And DeafinPrison.com has done a lot more for Felix’s all important cause, than simply putting up a few videos. Our contributor, Pat Bliss, has been working tirelessly – for several years now – to obtain Felix’s well deserved freedom. She visits him as often as possible, and corresponds with him constantly. (He calls her Mom.) She has become the go to expert on the case, and has written about it extensively on DeafInPrison.com.

We created a petition site at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/453/783/026/felix-garcia-should-be-granted-a-full-pardon/ and we plan to deliver those signatures to the Governor and several cabinet members in Florida. Unfortunately, over the past few weeks, we haven’t been getting the attention to this petition that it requires. Felix’s clemency hearings are going on now . We need 700 more signatures before we can present this, and we want it to work in conjunction with the hearings.

Please! Please! If you haven’t signed this petition, do so now. And please share it to all your friends.

Felix has already served more time than many guilty people serve for similar crimes – and he’s innocent. He deserves justice.

juvenile girl in prison PBSNewsHour/YouTube Photo by Richard Ross

juvenile girl in prison PBSNewsHour/YouTube Photo by Richard Ross

Other upgrades have included the ability to embed non-video media, such as PDFs and Excel files, and our awesome sidebars – another source of pride for me. Through our sidebars, we’ve been able to provide you with bleeding edge coverage of the latest posts by a host of Web sites and Blogs. Our sidebars are an ever expanding source of additional information and interactive content, and a good percentage of my work on the site is in maintaining and adding to them. I hope you find them useful and enjoyable, and moreover, I hope you will gain a greater appreciation for them as they grow.

We’ve also begun adding interactive tag links to all our stories, as well as related content links to the bottom of each post.

During this first 9 months, we’ve made some wonderful contacts and partnerships. I would like to extend my gratitude to each of them, and extend the hand of friendship to all others who would like to be a part of the DeafInPrison.com experience. Here’s the honor roll:

Human’s in Shadow, National Assn. of the Deaf, Glenn Langohr, Jim Ridgeway, Mad Mike’s America, Charlie Swinbourne, Shanna Groves , PrisonMovement’s Weblog , Marsha Graham, DeafRead.com, CrimeDime, Talila Lewis and HEARD, Diane Lane Chambers, ImageWorksLLC, Maria Dollhopf, Cynthia Dixon, Prison Enquirer, Curi56 and Thousand Kites.

I hope I got everybody, but if I missed you, please accept my apology and feel free to backlink to yourself in a comment. A lot of you have multiple sites, and I, obviously can only create one link per name. You can also backlink to one of your other sites.

Randy Garber Blue Jay Blues. Image courtesy of Jean F. Andrews.

Randy Garber Blue Jay Blues. Image courtesy of Jean F. Andrews.

Now, on to the Stats:

We received 31,000 views in 2012. We created 240 posts and uploaded 493 pictures. Our busiest day was October 25th with 451 views. Our most popular piece that day was Angela McCaskill Speaks Out. That piece was our fourth most popular of all time, with the first three installments of the Felix Garcia Interviews edging it out for the #1,2 and 3 slots.

Our top 5 referrers were FaceBook, Networked Blogs, WordPress, Blog Catalog and DeafRead. We had views from 84 countries.  Our videos – 16 of them, altogether – received 1897 views. We got 778 comments.

I’ve been involved with the Blogosphere and Citizen Journalism since it first started back in the ’90s, and everybody has always told me it takes at least a year to get a site off the ground. Based on that, I have to say DeafInPrison.com is doing exceptionally well. I’m proud of our success, but I’m looking to 2013 to make this past year, pale by comparison. Remember, we’re only 9 months old. That’s still infancy – at least in dog-years.

Now, I don't really get why somebody would want this painted over, but... http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/09/14/tribute-to-graffiti-50-beautiful-graffiti-artworks/

Now, I don’t really get why somebody would want this painted over, but…
http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/09/14/tribute-to-graffiti-50-beautiful-graffiti-artworks/

Here’s some of where I see us going. I could die and go to Heaven, if Felix got full clemency, and was finally released. Perhaps we could convince him to share some of his experiences with us, as a contributor or guest blogger. I want to see us at least double - if not triple our posting for this coming year. I also want to add more videos and more non-video embedded media. I want to see our side bars grow further, packed with more interactive attractions. I want more input from our existing contributors, and I would like to bring as many more on board, as possible. I also want to see more guest posts – and of course, I would love the opportunity to guest post on your blog. Shoot me a line or comment if you think that might be something you’d be interested in.

Again, thank you all for being a part of the DeafInPrison.com project and here’s to wishing you all a happy and prosperous 2013.

English: Visitors entrance to the Utah State P...

Visitors entrance to the Utah State Prison in Draper, Utah. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

Job Opportunity

By BitcoDavid

This comes to us from DeafNetwork.com. I hope some of our readers may be interested.

Here’s the link, the text will be posted below.

http://deafnetwork.com/wordpress/blog/2012/12/20/job-opportunity-executive-director-at-rocky-mountain-deaf-school/

Job Opportunity: Executive Director at Rocky Mountain Deaf School

Employment

Rocky Mountain Deaf School (RMDS) is a bilingual charter school located in the shadow of the beautiful Colorado Rocky Mountains in Golden, Colorado. This high performing school is founded on the belief that deaf children can and should succeed. The driving force behind the school is a theme of excellence in research-based academic programs. Each student’s potential is maximized as teachers continue to instill in each child the joy of living and learning.

Executive Director Rocky Mountain Deaf School

December 11, 2012

Position: Executive Director of a bilingual charter school

Nature of Work:

Provide innovative leadership to guide RMDS in its vision and assume responsibilities of work to ensure accountability of school’s rigorous academics, finances, and overall school management.

Looking down on Silverton, Colorado

Imagine getting paid to live here. And at the same time helping Deaf children. Looking down on Silverton, Colorado (Photo credit: J. Stephen Conn)

Responsible for building partnerships with parents and community; supervising and establishing working relationships with staff, the general public and other government agencies; and implementing new and current research in the field of Deaf education. Represents and advocates on behalf of the school with governmental bodies, private agencies, and the community about issues pertaining to Deaf education. Accountable for annual School Improvement Plan and other documentation required by the district and state.

Qualifications

Master’s Degree with licensure in Deaf Education required. Administrative and leadership credentials, such as Director of Special Education or Principal license, preferred. Proficiency in American Sign Language and written English; excellent communication skills; knowledge of Bilingual Education practices, financial manage- ment, and applicable Special Education laws, codes, regulations and procedures; experience in leadership roles, public relations, fundraising and recruitment.

Salary

Commensurate with education and experience (11 month administrative position).

To apply

Interested persons should submit a letter of application, resume or curriculum vitae, official transcripts, and three recent employment references to:
Search Committee Rocky Mountain Deaf School 1921 Youngfield St., #204 Golden, CO 80401

Closing date

Completed applications must be received on or before February 1, 2013. Applications will be pre-screened before candidates are invited for an interview.

Rocky Mountain Deaf School is an Equal Opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, disability, or genetic information.

For Further Questions, contact:
Alison Talbert, Business Manager
Rocky Mountain Deaf School
Email: alison@rmdeafschool.net
303-984-5749 (v)
720-235-0565 (VP)

SEND APPLICATION PACKETS TO:
Nancy Bridenbaugh, Interim Director
Rocky Mountain Deaf School
1921 Youngfield St #204
Golden, Colorado 80401

 

http://www.rmdeafschool.net/

For a related story from Denver’s CBS affiliate, go here:

http://denver.cbslocal.com/2012/08/04/some-lakewood-residents-want-to-stop-deaf-school-from-being-built/

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

 

What’s Going On?

By BitcoDavid

Well, I’m feeling pretty good about myself. Today, December 19th, the New York Times reported on the city of Oaxaca, Mexico’s use of Deaf officers to monitor the city’s surveillance cameras. But DeafInPrison.com reported on this story on Oct. 25. That’s right. The Gray Lady – the paper that broke Watergate and the disaster in Kampuchea – has been officially scooped. We here at the massive DeafInPrison Plaza complex, are elated at this turn of events.

Here’s the link:

www.nytimes.com/2012/12/19/world/americas/deaf-officers-keep-watch-over-crime-in-oaxaca.htm

***

According to San Antonio TV’s Kens5.com, Texas is rethinking their policy on sentencing offenders to state jails.

A new report argues that state jails aren’t meeting their goal of helping to reduce crime by intensively treating short-term, nonviolent inmates, and it recommends that judges no longer be able to sentence felons to state jails without a rehabilitation plan.

The report, published Monday by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank, says that those convicted of nonviolent felonies and normally sentenced to months in a state-operated jail should instead be released with community supervision. That can include treatment programs, community service, strictly enforced probation conditions and the threat of incarceration if certain conditions are violated. The report’s suggestions were based on recent data concerning the number of felons who commit crimes after being released from state jails.

http://www.kens5.com/news/Report–181883611.html

***

In their Science section, Dec. 12, the NY Times published the stories of 4 inmates who were serving life without parole – all for drug related charges.

Of the 140,000 prisoners serving life sentences in the United States, about 41,000 have no chance at parole, a result of laws that eliminated parole in the federal system and for many state prisoners. These rules, along with the mandatory sentences decreed for some crimes and some repeat offenders, were intended to make punishment both stricter and fairer, but judges complain that the rigid formulas too often result in injustice. Here are four prisoners sentenced to life without parole by judges who did not believe the punishment fit the crime.

www.nytimes.com/2012/12/12/science/life-without-parole-four-inmates-stories.html

***

AnotherBoomerBlog posted some bad news and some good news. Marsha Graham will be closing her law office, but she won’t be giving up on helping the Deaf and the wrongly convicted.

Among other projects, she plans on starting a blogsite that will compliment and augment DeafInPrison.com.

We welcome her efforts and look forward to tons of informative and enlightening posts.

Readers of DeafInPrison.com are already familiar with Marsha’s work, and know she’s already done great things for this site. Her new site promises to be amazing, and I can’t wait to be of any help to her I can.

Go here to read her post, and it wouldn’t kill ya to give her a “Like.”

http://anotherboomerblog.wordpress.com/2012/12/19/when-good-things-happen-to-bad-people

***

Speaking of Marsha Graham, she sent me the following via e-mail:

The unseen world of pretrial detention – in which most local jail inmates are held because they can't afford bail – is the cover story topic of the Dec. 17, 2012 issue of The Christian Science Monitor Weekly magazine. Richard Ross/AP/File

The unseen world of pretrial detention – in which most local jail inmates are held because they can’t afford bail – is the cover story topic of the Dec. 17, 2012 issue of The Christian Science Monitor Weekly magazine.
Richard Ross/AP/File

In Jailed Without Conviction – Behind Bars for Lack of Money, the Christian Science Monitor reports:

About 10 million people are jailed each year for crimes large and small. Most – two-thirds of the 750,000 in jail on any given day – stay long periods without conviction at great cost to the public and to themselves because they can’t afford bail.

Here’s the link. http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2012/1216/Jailed-without-conviction-Behind-bars-for-lack-of-money

Also in their op-ed section was a piece on relieving the overcrowding in our prisons:

http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2012/0118/Four-ways-to-relieve-overcrowded-prisons/Revamp-habitual-offender-laws

***

And Finally, there’s this. Also via Marsha Graham, from the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Myth: Mass shootings are on the rise.
Reality: Over the past three decades, there has been an average of 20 mass shootings a year in the United States, each with at least four victims killed by gunfire. Occasionally, and mostly by sheer coincidence, several episodes have been clustered closely in time. Over all, however, there has not been an upward trajectory. To the contrary, the real growth has been in the style and pervasiveness of news-media coverage, thanks in large part to technological advances in reporting.

Myth: Mass murderers snap and kill indiscriminately.
Reality: Mass murderers typically plan their assaults for days, weeks, or months. They are deliberate in preparing their missions and determined to follow through, no matter what impediments are placed in their path.

Myth: Enhanced background checks will keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of these madmen.
Reality: Most mass murderers do not have criminal records or a history of psychiatric hospitalization. They would not be disqualified from purchasing their weapons legally. Certainly, people cannot be denied their Second Amendment rights just because they look strange or act in an odd manner. Besides, mass killers could always find an alternative way of securing the needed weaponry, even if they had to steal from family members or friends.

Myth: Restoring the federal ban on assault weapons will prevent these horrible crimes.
Reality: The overwhelming majority of mass murderers use firearms that would not be restricted by an assault-weapons ban. In fact, semiautomatic handguns are far more prevalent in mass shootings. Of course, limiting the size of ammunition clips would at least force a gunman to pause to reload or switch weapons.

Myth: Greater attention and response to the telltale warning signs will allow us to identify would-be mass killers before they act.
Reality: While there are some common features in the profile of a mass murderer (depression, resentment, social isolation, tendency to blame others for their misfortunes, fascination with violence, and interest in weaponry), those characteristics are all fairly prevalent in the general population. Any attempt to predict would produce many false positives. Actually, the telltale warning signs come into clear focus only after the deadly deed.

Myth: Widening the availability of mental-health services and reducing the stigma associated with mental illness will allow unstable individuals to get the treatment they need.
Reality: With their tendency to externalize blame and see themselves as victims of mistreatment, mass murderers perceive the problem to be in others, not themselves. They would generally resist attempts to encourage them to seek help. And, besides, our constant references to mass murderers as “wackos” or “sickos” don’t do much to destigmatize the mentally ill.

Myth: Increasing security in schools and other places will deter mass murder.
Reality: Most security measures will serve only as a minor inconvenience for those who are dead set on mass murder. If anything, excessive security and a fortress-like environment serve as a constant reminder of danger and vulnerability.

Myth: Students need to be prepared for the worst by participating in lockdown drills.
Reality: Lockdown drills can be very traumatizing, especially for young children. Also, it is questionable whether they would recall those lessons amid the hysteria associated with an actual shooting. The faculty and staff need to be adequately trained, and the kids just advised to listen to instructions. Schools should take the same low-key approach to the unlikely event of a shooting as the airlines do to the unlikely event of a crash. Passengers aren’t drilled in evacuation procedures but can assume the crew is sufficiently trained.

Myth: Expanding “right to carry” provisions will deter mass killers or at least stop them in their tracks and reduce the body counts.
Reality: Mass killers are often described by surviving witnesses as being relaxed and calm during their rampages, owing to their level of planning. In contrast, the rest of us are taken by surprise and respond frantically. A sudden and wild shootout involving the assailant and citizens armed with concealed weapons would potentially catch countless innocent victims in the crossfire.

Myth: We just need to enforce existing gun laws as well as increase the threat of the death penalty.
Reality: Mass killers typically expect to die, usually by their own hand or else by first responders. Nothing in the way of prosecution or punishment would divert them from their missions. They are ready to leave their miserable existence, but want some payback first.

In the immediate aftermath of the Newtown school shootings, there seems to be great momentum to establish policies and procedures designed to make us all safer. Sensible gun laws, affordable mental-health care, and reasonable security measures are all worthwhile, and would enhance the well being of millions of Americans. We shouldn’t, however, expect such efforts to take a big bite out of mass murder. Of course, a nibble or two would be reason enough.

James Alan Fox is the Lipman Family Professor of Criminology, Law, and Public Policy at Northeastern University and the author of Violence and Security on Campus: From Preschool Through College (Praeger, 2010).

So, all this should keep you busy for a while. Enjoy.

DEAF NOT

DEAF NOT (Photo credit: Deaf RED Bear)

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

 

 

 

I am Adam Lanza’s Mother

By BitcoDavid

I’ve got just 2 words for Liza Long, who published this brilliant piece in the Blue Review.

Nailed it.

“They told me I could wear these,” he insisted. “You’re a stupid bitch. I can wear whatever pants I want to. This is America. I have rights!”

“You can’t wear whatever pants you want to,” I said, my tone affable, reasonable. “And you definitely cannot call me a stupid bitch. You’re grounded from electronics for the rest of the day. Now get in the car, and I will take you to school.”

I live with a son who is mentally ill. I love my son. But he terrifies me.

Ms. Long is parent to a mentally ill child. In her case, the child suffers extreme mood swings, going from sweet and contrite to vicious and violent. The beautiful little boy in the picture above has attacked her with a knife, and threatened to jump from a moving car.

A few weeks ago, Michael pulled a knife and threatened to kill me and then himself after I asked him to return his overdue library books. His 7 and 9 year old siblings knew the safety plan—they ran to the car and locked the doors before I even asked them to. I managed to get the knife from Michael, then methodically collected all the sharp objects in the house into a single Tupperware container that now travels with me. Through it all, he continued to scream insults at me and threaten to kill or hurt me.

That conflict ended with three burly police officers and a paramedic wrestling my son onto a gurney for an expensive ambulance ride to the local emergency room. The mental hospital didn’t have any beds that day, and Michael calmed down nicely in the ER, so they sent us home with a prescription for Zyprexa and a follow-up visit with a local pediatric psychiatrist.

We still don’t know what’s wrong with Michael. Autism spectrum, ADHD, Oppositional Defiant or Intermittent Explosive Disorder have all been tossed around at various meetings with probation officers and social workers and counselors and teachers and school administrators. He’s been on a slew of antipsychotic and mood altering pharmaceuticals, a Russian novel of behavioral plans. Nothing seems to work.

Due to a career sacrifice, “Michael” at least receives treatment. Ms. Long was forced to abandon her plans as a freelancer and take a job that offered mental health coverage. Care that Adam Lanza, Harris and Klebold, Jason Holmes and countless others never got. It is for this reason, and this reason alone, that we may never have to worry about Michael growing up to become the next Trenchcoat Mafia killer.

Here’s the link to her profound and extremely well written article:

http://thebluereview.org/i-am-adam-lanzas-mother/

While we’re struggling to come to grips with the tragedy of Sandy Hook – and again beating the dead horse of gun control – we need to begin to examine how we deal with this nation’s mentally ill. Now I’m not going to say that we don’t need some kind of sensible legislation regarding our national obsession with guns, and the fact that anyone can obtain what is essentially a weapon of mass destruction with less effort than adopting a dog. I’m merely saying that the guns are a symptom of something bigger. Our complete unwillingness to help each other – to work together for the common good.

Our approach to mental illness is to either pickle their brains with chemical lobotomies, ignore them altogether, or warehouse them in our prisons. These people need help. Help is expensive. Help is costly. But until they get our help – unconditionally and unilaterally – we’re going to have a lot more Sandy Hooks.

An Intratec TEC-DC9 with 32-round magazine; a ...

An Intratec TEC-DC9 with 32-round magazine; a semi-automatic pistol formerly classified as an Assault Weapon under Federal Law. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

 

Nowhere Man In Nowhere Land

By Jean F. Andrews

John Lennon’s sad lyrics in “Nowhere Man In Nowhere Land,” resonate in the life of Junius Wilson (1908-2001). Wilson was a Black Deaf man who was incarcerated for a rape he did not commit. His first six years at the State Hospital for the Colored Insane developed into a total of 76 years. During this time, he was surgically castrated . Back then, deaf and disabled people in jails and mental hospitals were considered “undesirables.” Even when Wilson was found to be mentally competent in the 1960’s, he was still held in the mental hospital because hospital staff did not know where to send him.

As a “nowhere man” invisibility surrounded Wilson for his whole life with hearing people. Born deaf in 1908 to a hearing family, his parents did not know how to communicate with him. They struggled with their deaf son’s anger and frustration.

But Wilson’s “nowhere man” status changed in 1916. At this time, at the age of 8, he entered the North Carolina School for the Colored Deaf and Blind in Raleigh, the first school for Blacks in the U.S. Here he learned a language—the Black deaf sign language or “Raleigh Black signs.” Through storytelling, folklore, humor passed down from deaf peers and adults in the Black deaf community, he acquired language. Here he learned and used “black signs” that are different than “white signs,” as Black deaf persons were segregated from White Deaf persons.

At the Black Deaf school, Wilson was “Somewhere.” He found his Black Deaf identity as he was immersed in a community of people like him. He found his “home” at the deaf school. Now he was “visible” to his peers and the adults around him. He could express his wants, desires and feelings.

But all this abruptly changed in 1924. As a student, he went to the fair in town and did not come back when he was supposed to, disobeying his supervisors. He was a teenager, expressing his independence and rebelling against the tight rules of the school. For this infraction, the school’s response was harsh. Wilson was expelled.

http://ifp.nyu.edu/category/history/page/3/

North Carolina State Hospital for the Negro Insane
http://ifp.nyu.edu/category/history/page/3/

His “nowhere man” status returned as he was back home with his family. Being an independent teenager, he frequently rebelled. He exploded in anger and frustration because none of his family knew sign language or understood him.
In 1925 he was accused of attempting to rape his cousin and found to be insane at a lunacy hearing. There was no interpreter present to get his side of the story. No one was there to assess his mental competence. He entered “nowhere land,” again when he was committed to the North Carolina’s State Hospital for the colored insane in 1925. The hearing hospital culture and community did not recognize Wilson’s language or Black deaf culture.

Indeed, Wilson’s deafness and disability made him the “nowhere man in nowhere land,” his status for much of his life. He was forced to work on the farm at the State hospital doing for decades doing what others wanted him to do. His education, his potential, everything he had to create his own life with his own aspirations and dreams were taken from him. While incarcerated, he could not hear what the others were ordering him to do. He could not communicate with the other inmates. His deaf cultural behaviors of touching and tapping people may have been misunderstood.

Chart showing number of sterilizations in North Carolina From 1928 to 1983.http://www.uvm.edu/~lkaelber/eugenics/NC/NC.html

Chart showing number of sterilizations in North Carolina From 1928 to 1983.
http://www.uvm.edu/~lkaelber/eugenics/NC/NC.html

In 1932, he was surgically castrated as many other inmates who were considered criminally insane, mentally deficient, sexually perverted and deaf and dumb. Institutions were practicing eugenics. Thus the stereotypes of people with disabilities as being “oversexed,” or “animalistic,” were prevalent, as explained by Susan Burch and Hannah Joyner, in their book, “Unspeakable: The Story of Junius Wilson.”

In 1960, the staff at the hospital realized that Wilson was not insane but they did not know how to bring him back into society. His lifetime at the hospital had made him dependent and vulnerable without language or an education. Finally, in the 1990’s, the social worker John Wasson found out that he was not insane and lawsuits resulted.

The lawsuits resulted in a house, a driver and a pension for Wilson. According to Wilson’s biographer’s Burch and Joyner, he lived out his life still at the hospital but in his own private cottage with his own private chauffer to take him shopping and to town.

Given an education, opportunity, language and immersion in the Deaf community, Wilson may have made a very different life than the one he lived out at the mental hospital. He may have been a “somewhere man” is a “somewhere land.” He could have learned a trade, got married, had children, and developed hobbies. He could have “had a point of view,” and his world could have been “under his command.” He would have reaped the benefits all of us do such as having an education, interests, opportunity, and support networks of family, friends and community to realize our potential.

Even though Wilson lived during a different historical time faced with such issues as Jim Crow segregation, eugenics and institutionalization, injustices for deaf inmates are still prevalent today. Indeed, there are many deaf inmates who are “nowhere man”, deprived of their Deaf culture, community and language during their arrests, bookings and incarcerations. They are in “the “nowhere land” of police stations, jails and prisons without have the same access to information and services that hearing inmates have.

Source: Susan Burch & Hannah Joyner (2007). Unspeakable: The Story of Junius Wilson. Chapel Hill, The University of North Carolina Press.

Jean F. Andrews is a Reading Specialist and Professor of Deaf Studies/Deaf Education at Lamar University.

Further Reading:

https://www.google.com/search?q=Unspeakable%3A+The+Story+of+Junius+Wilson

 

The Cost of Solitary Confinement – From NY Times

By BitcoDavid

* A moment to mourn the victims of today’s school shooting in Connecticut. *

The New York Legislature greatly improved the treatment of mentally ill inmates in 2008, when it required the prison system to place seriously mentally ill inmates who violate rules into a treatment program instead of solitary confinement, where they were more likely to harm themselves or commit suicide.

www.nytimes.com/2012/12/14/opinion/the-cost-of-solitary-confinement.htm

Solitary confinement

Solitary confinement (Photo credit: Chris.Gray)

When it comes to the science of torture, there is no nation as expert as North Korea. They literally wrote the book on the subject, during the 1950s. The North Koreans regularly used systematic torture on American POWs during that conflict.  What the North Koreans discovered was that no form of punishment was more effective in breaking the minds and spirits of their victims, than solitary confinement.

Men who could withstand electric shock, beatings and other forms of coercion that sane people can’t even comprehend, would cry like babies after only a few weeks of solitary.

The Times article continues:

A lawsuit filed last week by The New York Civil Liberties Union, however, suggests that the system is still misusing punitive isolation, not just for some of the mentally ill, but for a broad range of the system’s 55,000 inmates.

Most prison systems use isolation selectively, singling out violent people who present a danger to guards and other inmates. The lawsuit asserts that New York uses isolation as routine punishment for minor, nonviolent offenses — more than any other system in the country.

Regardless of how horrific a form of punishment this is, I chose this article because the only way to get Americans to stop doing something bad, is to hand them the bill. This lawsuit does just that.

The plaintiff in the suit, Leroy Peoples, is a 30-year-old with a history of mental illness who was twice sentenced to solitary confinement. In 2005, he was sentenced to six months for “unauthorized possession of nutritional supplements” that were available for sale in the prison commissary. In 2009, he was sentenced to three years in isolation for having unauthorized legal materials.

According to court documents, between 2007 and 2011, the state imposed 70,000 isolation sentences for offenses like having an “untidy cell or person,” or for “littering,” “unfastened long hair” or an “unreported illness.” On any given day, about 4,300 of the system’s inmates are locked down for 23 hours a day in tiny concrete cells, many of them destined to remain there for years. As additional punishment, prison officials can deny food, exercise, bedding or showers.

The suit charges that New York’s system is arbitrary and, therefore, unconstitutional. It also suggests that African-American inmates are more often banished to isolation, and for longer periods of time, than inmates from other racial groups. However the court decides this case, it seems clear that New York’s isolation policy is inhumane and counterproductive, requiring clearer guidelines from the Legislature as to when isolation can and cannot be used.

See the original article here:

www.nytimes.com/2012/12/14/opinion/the-cost-of-solitary-confinement.htm

The notorious "Block 15" in the 1950...

The notorious “Block 15″ in the 1950s. Built before the war as a military prison, it became the camp’s strict solitary confinement building. Cramped conditions, absence of basic sanitation, isolation from the outside world and the guards’ brutality affected the inmates’ health and sanity. (Greek) Haidari Municipality: Block 15 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

Help End the Felony Murder Rule

By BitcoDavid

A Follower on FaceBook brought this petition to our attention.

http://www.causes.com/actions/1696694

They bring up the following points:

The felony murder rule operates as a matter of law upon proof of the intent to commit a felony to relieve the prosecution of its burden of proving intent to kill, which is a necessary element of murder.

The intention to commit a felony does not equal the intention to kill, nor is the intention to commit a felony, by itself, sufficient to establish a charge of murder.

The felony murder rule erodes the relation between criminal liability and moral culpability in that it punishes all homicides in the commission, or attempted commission, of the proscribed felonies, whether intentional, unintentional, or accidental, without proving the relation between the homicide and the perpetrator’s state of mind.

Under the felony murder rule, the defendant’s state of mind is irrelevant. Because intent is a characterization of a particular state of mind with respect to a killing, felony murder bears little resemblance to the offense of murder except in name. First-degree murder is an arbitrary assignment.

Holding one or many criminally liable for the bad results of an act which differs greatly from the intended results is based on a concept of culpability which is totally at odds with the general principles of jurisprudence.

It is fundamentally unfair and in violation of basic principles of individual criminal culpability to hold one felon liable for the unforeseen and un-agreed to results of another felon’s action.

The basic rule of culpability is further violated when felony murder is categorized as first-degree murder because all other first-degree murders (carrying equal punishment) require a showing of premeditation, deliberation and willfulness, while felony murder only requires a showing of intent to do the underlying felony.

The purpose of creating degrees of murder is to punish with increased severity the more culpable forms of murder, but an accidental killing during the commission or attempted commission of a felony is punished more severely than a second-degree murder.

While the felony murder rule survives in Tennessee, Virginia, Florida, Massachusetts, North Carolina, West Virginia, Indiana, California and other states, the numerous modifications and restrictions of it by some states’ courts and legislatures throughout the United States reflect dissatisfaction with the basic harshness and injustice of the doctrine and call into question its continued existence.

The felony murder rule can be used by prosecutors in a manner so as to cause grossly disproportionate sentencing, depending on the circumstances of each individual case.

The felony murder rule is probably unconstitutional because presumption of innocence is thrown to the winds. The prosecution needs only to prove intent to commit the underlying felony; that
done, first degree-murder becomes part and parcel of the underlying felony because intent to commit murder does not have to be proved.

The felony murder rule is probably unconstitutional because in some cases it violates the Eighth Amendment: cruel and unusual punishment, grossly disproportionate to the crime(s) actually
committed.

The felony murder rule holds unequally involved parties equally accountable and punishable. Again, cruel and unusual punishment if you’re only the lookout for a robber who happens to kill in the process of the robbery.

they deserved it

they deserved it (Photo credit: Will Lion)

The felony murder rule violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of due process because no defense is allowed on the charge of first-degree murder, only the underlying felony.

The felony murder rule bears no rational relationship or equity in its two penalties, with the penalties of other murder laws, including, at times, the charge of first-degree murder.

It is no longer acceptable to equate the intent to commit a felony with the intent to kill.

Believe it or not, the American Justice System was created to keep people out of prison. The concept of innocent until proven guilty, The right to protection against self incrimination, and The 8th Amendment – all speak to the American concept of fair play, the dread of incarceration and our aversion to cruel and unusual punishment.

What could possibly be crueler than to Imprison a teenager for life – for merely being present at the scene of a crime. Maybe he was driving the car. Maybe he was the lookout. Should he be punished? Yes, of course. But can we, in good conscience, allow one stupid moment – one adolescent lapse of judgement – to cost him his entire life?

Please consider signing this petition at: http://www.causes.com/actions/1696694

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

 

A Plea for Sanity

By BitcoDavid

As writers, we become sensitive to certain words and phrases. Just ask me to go 12 rounds on the word folks, and you’ll see what I mean. One phrase that is increasingly starting to bother me is prison industry. It’s a sad commentary on the state of our union when we have to industrialize incarceration.

http://auschwitz-_-a-fading-memory.blog.klup.info/

http://auschwitz-_-a-fading-memory.blog.klup.info/
Artists rendering of one of the 8 crematoria that worked 24/7 at Birkenau. At the height of operations, Birkenau claimed to “process 10,000 units a day.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MagnitogorskA shot of Stalin's infamous Magnitogorsk foundry. 15 million died in the building of Magnitogorsk.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnitogorsk
A shot of Stalin’s infamous Magnitogorsk foundry. 15 million died in the building of Magnitogorsk.

During the Great Leap Forward, Mao Zedong oversaw the deaths of some 48 million Chinese peasants. Stalin – combining the Terror Famine and the Great Purges – was responsible for 30 million. Hitler and the 3rd Reich are credited with 14 million deaths, 6,000,000 of which were Jews. The only difference – and the true horror of the Holocaust – was that the Nazis industrialized murder. They actually built death factories. And they provided profit incentives to private corporations for facilitating these systems. People became units and murder became processing.

Industry is the wrong term – and the wrong mindset – to employ here. We are supposed to be the shining city on the hill – the bastion of freedom – the beacon of light that leads the world.

America – the world’s jailer – has 5% of Earth’s population, and 25% of her prisoners. Recently, the New York Times stated the following:

Indeed, the United States leads the world in producing prisoners, a reflection of a relatively recent and now entirely distinctive American approach to crime and punishment. Americans are locked up for crimes — from writing bad checks to using drugs — that would rarely produce prison sentences in other countries. [And] they are kept incarcerated far longer than prisoners in other nations.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/8911980/RoboCop-guards-to-patrol-South-Korean-prisons.htmlAlthough developed in South Korea, how long is it before we start seeing machines like this one in American institutions?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/8911980/RoboCop-guards-to-patrol-South-Korean-prisons.html
Although developed in South Korea, how long is it before we start seeing machines like this one in American institutions?

From manufacturing Robotic guards to dumping the problem in the laps of private corporations such as C.C.A., we’re creating an entire economic sector devoted to caring for those unfortunate enough to end up behind bars. At the same time, we’re creating an entire 4th class – a criminal class – beginning in early childhood and ending up in dotage. A grand social experiment is taking place, wherein people are raised and schooled for lifelong prison careers. This insatiable machine preys primarily on the poor, the disabled and people of color. It begins with the school to prison pipeline and ends in the graying of America’s prisons.

I would like to see us take the money that we’re spending on paying guards and private prison corporations. I would like to see us take the money we’re spending on prosecuting the insane war on drugs.  We can use that money to create paid – college level – training programs that could actually help some of these people break this cultural cycle and rebuild their broken lives. I’d like to see a national effort on the level of the 1960s Space Program, dedicated to ending prison recidivism. Above all, I’d like to see us actually put our money where our mouths are, and indeed become that beacon of hope and light that we claim ourselves to be. A country where we rehabilitate and educate our dwindling prison population while helping our lost and forgotten non-prison population build lives for themselves that don’t include – and in fact mandate – incarceration.

Dismantle the school to prison pipeline. End the abuse cycle that leads to violent crime. Disarm the drug market by using education and social intervention to help prevent addiction before it starts. Remove any kind of profit incentive from the incarceration of human beings and the destruction of families and communities. Make the educational minimum for prison guards a Bachelor’s degree. These people have jobs that are as demanding and complex as doctors or airline pilots. Any goon with a club and a hard-on shouldn’t be the bar we set.

We have a problem in this country, and its reaching epidemic proportions. If we don’t fix our overzealous need to imprison an entire class of Americans, it will eventually destroy us.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

An Enlightening FaceBook Exchange

By BitcoDavid

We received this message from a FaceBook follower who – for obvious reasons – asked that I don’t post their name.

Okay so I’m going to be a prison guard myself (maximum security male prison if I get what I want) and am going to be learning ASL over the summer (I have an aunt that is deaf and may be able to spend a month or so with her learning the language and a bit about the culture).

What are some of the things I should be told about before I enter in my career field (currently a student and have a year left until I get my degree in criminal justice). Please help me to prepare, I want to help them when no other guard can. I would also like to point out that I do not claim to understand (nor do I think I will ever) the culture nor mind set of a deaf person (let alone one in prison).

I also will not baby them, but will attempt to treat them in a way that will put them on as even a playing field as their fellow inmates. One thing I was thinking I could do was to flash a light in their cells when it’s time to wake up (they couldn’t hear the door unlocking) or to do something similar if they have a visitor or if they are not hearing a warning that is being verbally stated. Especially if there are multiple inmates that are deaf and a

South Korea tests world's first robot prison guard. Danger, Will Robinson. Danger.http://www.tomsguide.com/us/Prison-Guard-Robot-South-Korea,news-14852.html

South Korea tests world’s first robot prison guard. Danger, Will Robinson. Danger.
http://www.tomsguide.com/us/Prison-Guard-Robot-South-Korea,news-14852.html

limited amount of interpreter/s available. I think it wouldn’t hurt (I’m not going so far as to say that I’d be doing them a favor – which I’m not – but I’d be at least trying to restore some justice to the “justice” system if you know what I mean) if there was someone else on staff that could speak with them. Especially in cases where an interpreter is afraid of physical repercussions from other inmates if the interpreter were to translate an accusation or some such message that would incriminate another inmate.

Sorry about the length. Long story short: What are some of the things I should be told about before I enter in my career field as a prison guard (hopefully maximum security male) that will know (maybe not extensively, but a fair amount) ASL?

Here’s the short answer I replied with.

Well first off, sign up to follow http://deafinprison.com. Learning ASL is a great 1st step. You’ll be in the extreme minority of corrections officers. However – and you’re NOT going to believe this – but I have heard of cases where COs who DID sign, weren’t allowed to use it. Some institutions are afraid it can be used for secret code.The best short answer I can give you – and this applies to all your interactions with inmates, not just the Deaf – is be sensitive to the humanity of your charges. Inmates are people. Some of them may not be GOOD people, while others may possibly be unjustly incarcerated saints – but whichever, they’re still people. Treat people with dignity and respect, and they will always treat you with the same.

I closed by asking for permission to post our interaction, and this was the response.

Also, please ask the readers for their input and suggestions. I’m going to be writing a paper on the subject and would just looove (no sarcasm, I find the subject matter absolutely fascinating) to hear what others have to say. I’ve already spoken with a few interpreters and my thirst for knowledge is nowhere near quenched.

I’ve actually been reading some of the articles on your website and am disgusted that there are guards that would not report the rapes. This is part of the reason why I want to work with the men. There are more instances of rape. I want to be there as a fair guard. I look at corruption as a disgusting human flaw that I will attempt to stay away from. I don’t want to become that person. It makes me sad to think of such a thing.

I want to help in what small way I can, but I need your help to do it. I want to try to be as sincere and to best represent my mind set as best as possible (it was really late last night when I wrote that message). Also, you could just post this message as well, I’d be okay with that. I forgot to mention, I might consider, if I find working with the general population too stressful to work during the grave yard shift, when there are no interpreters and the most common time (or so I’ve been led to believe) for inmates to attempt to commit suicide. If there is no interpreter and one deaf inmate should commit suicide I would want to be there (as probably the only guard that can speak ASL) to get their last message, to see what last words for they may have for loved ones.

In closing this post, I’m going to do what she requested. That is, I put it to you, our readers. Please comment on areas where you believe this person can study that will help them to be the kind of CO they want to be, and someone who can make a difference in our badly broken prison system.

English: Folsom prison

Folsom prison (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

[Editor's note: While looking for artwork for this post, I discovered two very disturbing trends that I plan on looking into further for future posts. 1) The testing of robotic devices for use as prison guards. 2) Several sources report that becoming a prison guard - especially in California - is now seen as a more desirable career path than pursuing a professional career such as doctor or lawyer.]

 

 

Another Digest Post

By BitcoDavid

With all that’s been going on at DeafInPrison.com, I’ve been unable to keep up with regular news posts. Well, the world keeps on turning and news waits for no man. Now we’ve got a huge backlog that will be presented in one massive digest post. So, let’s get this done.

Apply head to desk, lift, repeat as often as necessary… Thanks to Bric123 for the graphic. (And we thank AnotherBoomerBlog for making it available to us.

On November 24th, AnotherBoomerBlog’s Marsha Graham posted the following on her site.

What Would You Do If…

In it, she poses the question that we’ve been grappling with all along.

Welcome to the world of the Deaf in the criminal justice system in America.  So far as I can tell, there are a significant number of the deaf – perhaps as many as 20% – who are so incapable of understanding English and the concepts of Miranda as expressed in English that they were actually incapable of participating in their own defense and should never have been brought to trial. I’m not saying that they didn’t do whatever it was – maybe they did, maybe they didn’t – but even if they did, they were not competent to stand trial based on a lack of understanding.

***

Image of Glenn Langohr

Image courtesy of Glenn Langohr http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00571NY5A . (Don’t get scared. Guy’s really a teddy bear.)

Our newest contributor, Glenn Langohr put up a great editorial on Ezine @rticles. In No Taxes For New Prisons, he makes the point that so called tough on crime sentencing policies and mandates, make for a situation where we’re actually creating a criminal class instead of offering people a hand-up to getting their lives back on track.

[In his books, Glenn speaks of a fellow inmate he calls "Giant." Well, if the guy in this picture calls another guy "Giant," let's just say I'd hate to get on the wrong side of that guy! :) ]

With further awareness that non violent inmates, most for drug related crimes, are becoming institutionalized, where an addiction is bred into an affliction much harder to escape, where gangs and tattoos become the answer, spitting displaced, alienated inmates back into the neighborhood without any job placement or a new skill set, equals the need for more and more prisons. The public has had enough on both sides of the party lines with the majority of Democrats and Republicans voting more than 60% for sentence modification for crimes like shoplifting and other petty offenses, rather than increase taxes to build even more prisons. 70% said they would have no problem with early releases without sentencing modifications for non violent offenders a poll from Washington.

In California there are already 33 state prisons. The most in the nation. California also has the worst recidivism percentage in the nation with more than 70% of released inmates are back behind bars within three years. Nevada however, has the lowest rate of return for released prisoners because they have job placement into sanitation jobs upon their release.

***

English: Supermax prison, Florence Colorado Es...

Supermax prison, Florence Colorado (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the Denver Post, we get this:

http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_22064773/supermax-prison-officials-move-address-mental-health-after?

Officials at the highest-security federal prison in America have taken steps to address mental- health issues among the prison’s inmates, following a lawsuit that accuses the government of indifference.

The changes at the administrative maximum prison in Florence, known as Supermax, started last summer, shortly after attorneys filed a lawsuit in Denver federal court on behalf of several inmates who say their mental illnesses are not being treated at the prison.

***

AlterNet did a report on a Montana man who received 80 years for growing medical marijuana, in a state where medical marijuana is legal. according to the report, he also had guns in his home, which is the sticking point for the DOJ, but both are legal in Montana. This story is a complex web of 2nd amendment issues conflicting with 10th amendment issues.  Here’s the link to AlterNet’s coverage.http://www.alternet.org/80-years-medical-pot-montana-mans-potential-sentence-sparks-outrage?akid=9737.79351.5dpRx-&rd=1&src=newsletter752671&t=9

***

We also get this story from AlterNet, but I know that both Solitary Watch and PrisonMovement’s Weblog have covered it.

In Washington state, an elementary school’s use of a padded isolation room is sparking controversy.

Image courtesy of AlterNet

Apparently, some schools in Washington State are using what is essentially solitary confinement to discipline certain special needs kids. The schools maintain that these devices are therapeutic for kids with autism and other learning disabilities. They claim that parental permission is required before the booths can be used.

Some parents disagree, and several have stated that their kids were put in the booth – or threatened with it – without parental permission. Regardless of all that, I see this as a clear cut illustration of the School to Prison Pipeline in action. By inuring students to solitary as punishment, we set them up to anticipate receiving similar treatment when they embark on their inevitable prison careers.

We’ve also seen commonalities between mistreatment of disabled students, including the Deaf, and an increased likelihood that those disabled students will end up in the system as adults – or even as older juveniles.

Again, here’s AlterNet’s link:

http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/isolation-rooms-elementary-schools-are-they-treatment-or-punishment?akid=9737.79351.5dpRx-&rd=1&src=newsletter752671&t=13

***

Image courtesy of Solitary Watch

Once again, the People’s Republic of Massachusetts  is on the bleeding edge of Human rights issues. According to Solitary Watch, a Massachusetts court ruled against solitary confinement without due process. This would turn California’s system on its ear. On November 27th, an inmate named LaChance won a lengthy court case. He had been sentenced to 2 weeks in solitary as punishment for a minor offense, but after the 2 weeks were up, the COs didn’t release him. Instead, they waited for action status.  LaChance remained in solitary for 10 months.

Here’s that link:

http://solitarywatch.com/2012/11/30/massachusetts-court-rules-against-solitary-confinement-without-due-process/

***

Documentary film director, Ken Burns has just completed a movie about the Central Park Five, which discusses how New York railroaded a group of innocent teens in what was called at the time, the crime of the century. AlterNet covers the story, here:

http://www.alternet.org/media/central-park-five-new-film-how-police-abuse-media-frenzy-led-jailing-innocent-teens?akid=9744.79351.2CHMbs&rd=1&src=newsletter753630&t=21

***

Now famous WikiLeaks suspect, Bradley Manning, while in solitary confinement attempted to use exercise and other techniques to cope with the overwhelming monotony in his bare, windowless cell. The authorities deemed these activities as signs of an impending suicide, and…

That night guards arrived at his cell and ordered him to strip naked. He was left without any clothes overnight, and the following morning made to stand outside his cell and stand to attention at the brig count, still nude, as officers inspected him.

The humiliating ritual continued for several days, and right until the day he was transferred from Quantico on 20 April 2011 he had his underwear removed every night. The brig authorities later stated that in their view the exceptional depriving of an inmate’s underpants was a necessary precaution, in the light of his ominous comments about using his underwear and flip-flops to harm himself.

More on this – again – by AlterNet:

http://www.alternet.org/world/bradley-manning-how-keeping-himself-sane-was-taken-proof-madness?akid=9744.79351.2CHMbs&rd=1&src=newsletter753630&t=17

***

I received this via e-mail from James Ridgeway of Solitary Watch. The world’s only professional Deaf/blind theater troop performs a play while actually baking bread. They get up on stage and bake bread. Yes, you read that right. They bake bread – and while doing so – take the audience on a trip into the world of the Deaf/Blind. The show is receiving rave reviews. Here’s the link.

http://www.nyuskirball.org/calendar/notbybreadalone

***

MadMike’s America is my mentor site. When DeafinPrison.com get’s even 1/10th as big, I can die and go to Heaven. Here’s a post they did this week. A juvenile was driving under the influence, and had an accident. This resulted in the death of his passenger. The judge in the case ruled that the teen didn’t have to do time, but he would have to attend church every Sunday for the next 10 years. I’m not sure which is worse! Give me prison! Please!

Here’s MMA’s coverage:

http://madmikesamerica.com/2012/12/judge-sentences-convicted-felon-to-church-instead-of-prison/

***

Scientists are working on developing signs for some of their terminology, making it easier for Deaf students to learn. Prior to this, students and interpreters were forced to fingerspell out complex words like m-i-c-r-o-b-i-o-l-o-g-y. Now, there will be specialized ASL signs for those words. Here’s the link from the New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/04/science/sign-language-researchers-broaden-science-lexicon.html?emc=tnt&tntemail1=y

***

Still on top of things, Solitary Watch reports that the now infamous Tamms State Prison actually has more guards than inmates. Surprising in a country that is literally drowning in its immense prison population. Anyway, there are more guards than prisoners – and these guards are still racking up huge overtime. The end result is that Illinois is even broker than we previously suspected. The governor of the state has called for the closing of the facility, but he’s meeting resistance from AFSCME, the guards’ union. Here’s Solitary Watch’s link:

http://solitarywatch.com/2012/12/04/tamms-supermax-report-reveals-more-guards-than-prisoners-soaring-costs/

***

Whew! Well, that’s that. Let’s hope I can stay current with stuff, and not have to do this again.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

State Crime Data Log Is Lacking Due to Drug War

By Glenn Langohr

The criminal records system California relies on to stop child abusers from working in schools, and violent felons from buying guns, is so poorly maintained that it routinely fails to alert officials to a subject’s full criminal history. The other side of this issue is that a list of possible matches appears, denying work or gun ownership for those without a criminal history, or one that has been expunged. Imagine trying to get a job, in an already depressed economy, and the background check returns a bunch of possible arrest and convictions, that aren’t even accurate.

Information from millions of records buried at courts and law enforcement agencies has never been entered in the system. This overwhelming amount of information is then haphazardly rushed into possible matches and isn’t accurate. Tough on crime platforms have destroyed the criminal justice system because for a District Attorney seeking to climb the ladder or enter politics a soft on crime look will stain their reputation or get them fired. In Orange County, California, a ninety nine percent conviction record is where the bar is set but look at the fact that six out of ten convicted cases that reach the Supreme Court are overturned for reasons like ineffective councel, leading the nation. This means justice has been thrown out the window and the right to a fair trial and the right to adequate defense is no longer viable. In other cases brought before the district attorney, police officers are trained to charge the suspect of a crime with as many possible charges relating to one charge as possible to make it easy for a plea bargain, also helping keep that ninety nine percent conviction ratio. Imagine just being released from jail or prison after not being defended properly or over zealously prosecuted, and now you are trying to find employment and the background check the employer runs shows a list of possible crimes not even committed!

Image courtesy Google Images - Public Domain photo.

Image courtesy Google Images – Public Domain photo.

Are we creating laws faster than good sense provides in the interest of tough on crime political stances? Are all these new laws creating a police state and only beneficial to people who have government jobs and unions to push even more law and early retirement benefits? When considering that unemployment in California is leading the nation at approximately ten percent and then realize even those numbers don’t show the percentage of released prisoners who aren’t even on the radar. The unemployment numbers are actually much higher and the result of too many petty laws putting too many people in jail or prison and completely forgetting about redemption or rehabilitation.

“I went from obsessively pacing my cell to realizing that if I find a way to write what’s in my head, I can find a way out of this hole.” — Glenn Langohr

The Complete Felix Garcia Interview by Links

By BitcoDavid

Video editor in digital linear suite. 2002.

Video editor in digital linear suite. 2002. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve received some requests to reintegrate all the Felix videos back into one single interview. The result of that would be a 2 hour long piece. In my experience as a video editor, I’ve come to realize that most people can’t endure watching a 2 hour video.

However, in the name of continuity, I have chosen to provide links to all the videos, in sequence. That way, those of you who haven’t seen the whole thing, will be able to do so – without having to search the whole site. I will also include these links in one of our sidebars, so you will always be able to quickly access them.

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4
Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8

This series represents a massive effort on the parts of all concerned. The Initial interview involved travel to Florida for Pat Bliss and Jim Ridgeway. They were only allowed one hour per month with Felix, so they did the first hour on the last day of one month, and the 2nd hour on the 1st day of the following month. Felix himself was having trouble getting his hearing aids repaired, and getting issued fitting clothes, and was only ready mere moments before the scheduled time.

English: A download symbol.

A download symbol. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our interpreter had to download the files from my private server, because they were too large to e-mail. She would then watch them and record an audio track with her interpretation. Finally, she would upload that file back up onto my server.

Then, I’d take the file, make it into a stereo mix, and sync it to the original audio track. Then I had to add a separate video track, and manually type in the captions. Autocaptioning software is too inaccurate.  And where most Autocaption applications work with one audio track, I was working with 4.

The finished files were over 5 Gb in size. I’d re-render them down to 50Mb, and upload them to the site.

The only actual editing of the original interview is at the end of the 8th segment. Here, Mr. Ridgeway gives Felix his personal contact info, and you can see why we needed to cut that out. Other than that, this is the interview in its entirety.

Again, these videos are the private copyrighted property of Jim Ridgeway and cannot be copied, duplicated, embedded or shared. You are however, welcome – and in fact, encouraged – to share links to DeafInPrison.com. We want as many people as possible to see this powerful and moving interview.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

November at DeafInPrison.com

By BitcoDavid

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

An audio engineer at an audio console.

Just thought I’d throw this in. The boards nowadays make this thing look like a table radio.

 

Adult & Teen Fiction

Read on and I will show you another world within this one....

Kev's Blog

Thoughts and Expressions

writing to freedom

a place to connect, inspire, and thrive

Tricks & the Town.

A younger more cynical version of Carrie Bradshaw in the UK... with a lot less to work with. "There's plenty of fish in the sea" - Yes, as well as Stingrays, Sharks & Sewage.

aslnerd

Teaching. Learning. Growing.

Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity

amplifying the voices of CA prisoners on hunger strike

Hearing Elmo

Living with Hearing Loss and Invisible Disability

I Was in Prison...

Official Blog of the Prison Entrepreneurship Program

LEXIE CANNES STATE OF TRANS

Rational thinking and reporting on all things transgender

Hands 2 Inspire

Giving Back Sharing Knowledge Raising Awareness

Do the Write Thing...Tampa

Improving Our Craft

Daniel Costigan

Turning snapshots of raw experience into something beautiful.

Truth- A Right to Fight For...

...Truth the Media Wont Cover... Police Brutality... Prison Industry... The War on "Drugs", Pro Abortion, Women's Rights...ETC....

Tracking the Words: a yearly cycle

The Maverick Writer -- Follow your own path

diaryofanegress

Observations of an Invisible Woman

moderate-severe/profound... quirky

Hearing aids, meltdowns and everything The Miracle Worker didn't teach me about raising a deaf child

Digestible Politics

Politics Made Easy!

Crates and Ribbons

In pursuit of gender equality

Gotta Find a Home

The plight of the homeless

We Minored In Film

Film, Television, And All Things Geek

Bonnie's Blog of Crime

My Life of Crime, Murder, Missing People and such! Above all else, never forget the victim, that the victim lived, had a life and was loved. The victim and their loved ones deserve justice, as does society.

Step One to Solving any Problem is Admitting a Problem Exists

A Life Aesthetically Inclined. (Because I'm deaf, not blind.)

Book Hub, Inc.

The Total Book Experience

Marcela De Vivo

Inbound & Integrative Online Marketing

clarkcountycriminalcops

A look at Police Misconduct in Clark County, Nevada and Across the U.S.

Rumpydog

I'm cute. I'm funny. And I'm committed to animal welfare.

Life In Color With Closed Captions

Just another WordPress.com site

Lockup Reform

News, reports and other resources on prison reform and the Prison Industrial Complex

terry1954

inspirational stories that touch your heart and soul

endsolitary

This site has moved to http://prisonreformer.com

Kendall F. Person, thepublicblogger

Where writing is a performance art and every post is a show.

Wefitu

See you in the gym!

BitcoDavid's BoxingBlog

Fight Hard and Protect Yourself at All Times

Carpenter's Cabin

Random Thoughts & Musings Of A Jack of All Trades...

Just Kids Storybank Blog

Stop the automatic prosecution of youth as adults in Maryland

Social Action

https://www.facebook.com/darcy.delaproser?fref=ts

Donnatella's Space

My space, my opinions and my views on life, celebrities, news and current topics. Just about any and everything. Nothing's off bounds!

undergradwoman

Just another WordPress.com site

Food 4 The Soul 93

Live, love, laugh, grow...

Thought Snax

Food for thought . . . in small tasty bites.

The Law Office of Tori Ludwig

Special Education, Guardianship & Disability Law

Just Cruisin 2

Where Intellectuals and Rednecks foregather.

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