BOOK REVIEW: THE NEW JIM CROW: MASS INCARCERATION IN THE AGE OF COLORBLINDNESS, IS AN ENLIGHTENING READ

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The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, By Michelle Alexander (The New Press, New York, N.Y., 2010, 290 pages.)

 

Book Review by Dennis Moore

 

October 8, 2010 (San Diego) -- Michelle Alexander, former director of the Racial Justice Project of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in Northern California and a former law clerk for Justice Harry Blackmun on the U.S. Supreme Court, has written a provocative and thought-provoking book about race and incarceration, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.

She created a buzz in San Diego on October 1st and 2nd, bringing her book and message to a reception at the Jacobs Center and St. Stephens Cathedral. This scholar, wife and mother challenges the civil rights community, and all of us, to place mass incarceration at the forefront of a new movement for racial justice in America.

Alexander states, “The fact that more than half of the young black men in any large American city are currently under the control of the criminal justice system (or saddled with criminal records) is not – as many argue – just a symptom of poverty or poor choices, but rather evidence of a new racial caste system at work.”

My own son was one of those young black men. To see my high school “Honor Roll” and star athlete son, who had received a scholarship in architecture to Syracuse University, being brought into court in chains from an Illinois prison, was painful beyond belief, for it conjured up images of us as a people being brought to this continent from Africa in chains. Thankfully, my son was ultimately sentenced to 4 months in a “boot camp,” and not the 30 years in prison that he was facing. A lot of African-American parents would not be that fortunate. Still, the stigma and residue of incarceration hangs over him, despite the fact that he has been gainfully employed and leading a model life since being released from “boot camp” more than five years ago. My son, Damien, proudly wears a tattoo on his arm that says: “Only God Can Judge Him!” One of the first things he did after coming home, my Christmas present, was to go to our Church the Apostolic Church of God in Chicago and get baptized. President Barack Obama actually gave his famous Father's Day speech at this Church, where I and two of my children were baptized, and which is down the street from the Obamas' Chicago home.  See speech  here.

Alexander states in the introduction of her book: “Knowing as I do the difficulty of seeing what most everyone insists does not exist, I anticipate that this book will be met with skepticism or something worse. For some, the characterization of mass incarceration as a ‘racial caste system’ may seem like a gross exaggeration, if not hyperbole.” She further states that “Jim Crow and slavery were caste systems. So is our current system of incarceration.”

The author offers statistics to support her thesis, stating, “The United States now has the highest rate of incarceration in the world, dwarfing the rates of nearly every developed country, even surpassing those in highly repressive regimes like Russia, China, and Iran. In Germany, 93 people are in prison for every 100,000 adults and children. In the United States, the rate is roughly eight times that, or 750 per 100,000.” Statistics also show that in some states, black men have been admitted to prison on drug charges at rates twenty to fifty times greater than those of white men. ( Human Rights Watch, Punishment and Prejudice: Racial Disparities in the War on Drugs, HRW Reports vol. 12, no. 2 [New York, 2000]). Alexander also states in her book that if there are significant differences in the surveys to be found, they frequently suggest that whites, particularly white youth, are more likely to engage in drug crime than people of color. (See, e.g., Howard N. Snyder and Melissa Sickman, Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 2006 National Report, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention).

Perhaps, most profound is the introduction to Alexander’s book: “Like Jim Crow (and slavery), mass incarceration operates as a tightly networked system of laws, policies, customs, and institutions that operate collectively to ensure the subordinate status of a group defined largely by race.” She further states, “Since the nation’s founding, African Americans repeatedly have been controlled through institutions such as slavery and Jim Crow, which appear to die, but then are reborn in new form, tailored to the needs and constraints of the time.”

To more fully comprehend and follow along in Alexander’s book, it would help to understand the history and concept of “Jim Crow.”

Jim Crow was the name of the racial caste system which operated primarily between 1877 and the mid-1960s. Jim Crow was more than just a series of rigid anti-Black laws. It was a way of life. Under Jim Crow, African Americans were relegated to the status of second class citizens. Jim Crow represented the legitimization of anti-Black racism. As I was born near the end of the Jim Crow era, I am painfully aware of the signs that would state: “No Dogs, Negros, Mexicans,” and signs stating; “Colored Served In Rear,” as well as the drinking fountains designating separate for whites and colored.

As I was born in Charleston, Missouri, shortly before William Shatner of “Star Trek” fame starred in a movie made there by Roger Corwin about race relations titled “Shame” (The Intruder), I am even more painfully aware of the vestiges of Jim Crow, as pointed out in Alexander’s book. In this movie, which can be obtained from Blockbuster and other media outlets, it actually shows friends of mine that I grew up with some 45 years ago, along with the Jim Crow customs. See attached video here.

Alexander eloquently states in her book: “I argue that the shame and stigma of the ‘prison label’ is, in many respects, more damaging to the African American community than the shame and stigma associated with Jim Crow. The criminalization and demonization of black men has turned the black community against itself, unraveling community and family relationships, decimating networks of mutual support, and intensifying the shame and self-hate experienced by the pariah caste.” I can’t argue her point either, for I have seen and lived through both sides of the issue, being born in the Jim Crow era, and ministering to incarcerated inmates in Illinois and California.

It is hard to imagine this “shame and stigma of the ‘prison label’ being more damaging to the African American community than the shame and stigma associated with Jim Crow, as Alexander states, especially when you examine the horrible legacy of slavery and Jim Crow, as graphically depicted in another book, Without Sanctuary, by Hilton Als and James Allen. It depicts the numerous lynching of African American men.

This scholarly examination and critique of race, The New Jim Crow, clearly states in the introduction of the book: “It justifies a legal, social, and economic boundary between ‘us’ and ‘them.’ Chapter 5 also explores some of the differences among slavery, Jim Crow, and mass incarceration, most significantly the fact that mass incarceration is designed to warehouse a population deemed disposable – unnecessary to the functioning of the new global economy – while earlier systems of control were designed to exploit and control black labor.” Try to explain that to the mostly black and brown brothers that I regularly visit and minister to at RJ Donovan Prison in San Diego County, and those that I once ministered to in Illinois jails and prisons!

These incarcerated African American men that Alexander speak of in her book are not nameless and faceless men. They are a Christopher Greene, a young black man with a documented history of mental illness, that I have visited with and correspond with regularly; They are Andre Harrison, who has served timed in RJ Donovan Prison, and is now out trying to maintain a job, that I mentor; they are “Eddie,” still serving time at RJ Donovan Prison, who recently pleaded with me at a worship service at the prison to continue coming out there to visit and participate in the services; they are a Reggie McMillin, who is attempting to escape the unfair and misapplied designation of his being a sexual predator, now that he has been out of prison for a number of years; they are my own three paternal brothers, who were once incarcerated at the same time; they are a “Dwight,” a young black man formerly at RJ Donovan that I had befriended, serving triple-life; What’s up with that, as if a life sentence is not sufficient?

They are a Mustafa Abdullah, a longtime and childhood friend of mine, that recently got released from prison due to changes to sentencing guidelines (crack cocaine), as Alexander refers to in her book; They are a Rev. Dennis Malone, now the director of the San Diego chapter of “All of Us or None,” a support organization of formerly incarcerated men, that Alexander also refers to in her book. In anticipation of my interviewing the author of The New Jim Crow, Rev. Malone indicated to me: “Exposing those exploiting the incarcerated for private economical gains within our community is more harmful than outside exploitation.”

Surprisingly to me, the author states that “Clinton – more than any other president – created the current undercaste.” In her book, Alexander states: “To the contrary, in 1992, presidential candidate Bill Clinton vowed he would never permit any Republican to be perceived as tougher on crime than he. True to his word, just weeks before the critical New Hampshire primary, Clinton chose to fly home to Arkansas to oversee the execution of Ricky Ray Rector, a mentally impaired black man who had so little conception of what was about to happen to him that he asked for the dessert from his last meal to be saved for him until the morning. After the execution, Clinton remarked, ‘I can be nicked a lot, but no one can say I’m soft on crime.’”

In further regard to the incarceration and subsequent execution of this mentally ill black man in Arkansas, in a one-on-one interview with the author of The New Jim Crow on October 1, 2010, in the offices of the United African American Ministerial Action Council (UAAMAC) in San Diego, I asked Ms. Alexander her viewpoint on the incarceration of men with a documented history of mental illness. She said that she felt it was a human rights violation, suggesting that these men should be given treatment at an alternative facility, other than prison, where the inherent conditions of prison might exacerbate the mental illness. That position seems to be embraced by the Education Director of the San Diego office of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Anita Fisher.

Lest anyone gets the impression from reading Alexander’s book that she might be “soft on crime,” there may even be disagreement within her own household  as she indicates that her husband Carter, a federal prosecutor, does not share her views about the criminal justice system, but his different world view has not, even for a moment, compromised his ability to support her. After all, it is his job to prosecute those that Alexander profiles in this book to the fullest extent of the law.

That might be the crux of the matter, for there has been widespread instances of prosecutorial misconduct in regard to blacks accused of crimes, which might explain to some extent the disparity between the aforementioned statistics of blacks and whites incarcerated. In a celebrated case in my hometown of Chicago, a former police detective (John Burge) was convicted recently of torturing many blacks into confessions, which landed them on death row. The current mayor of Chicago (Richard Daley) was the prosecutor on that, and many others of these cases involving the tortured confessions of blacks. Also, just recently, another black man (John Thompson) was released from prison and death row, after it was discovered that a prosecutor had hid evidence that would have exonerated him. The Supreme Court is currently reviewing a case of prosecutorial misconduct, which has resulted in numerous blacks being sent to prison.

Further in our interview in regard to affirmative action, which she repeatedly addresses in The New Jim Crow, I mentioned to her the findings of the “SCENDIS Report” which I had been a part of while a buyer at Cingular Wireless (AT&T) in Chicago. This report, commissioned by Cingular Wireless (AT&T) in 2001, had white management specifically stating: “Affirmative action will hurt the company.” This damning document and declaration was put under court seal due to its sensitivity, which was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit in Chicago. (See Moore v. Cingular Wireless No. 06-1928).

In the context of Ms. Alexander being the former law clerk of Supreme Court Justice Blackmun, and her formerly directing Civil Rights Clinics at Stanford Law School as an associate professor, also as a lawyer who had litigated numerous class-action employment-discrimination cases, she respond to me that she was all for the aggressive pursuit of affirmativeaAction for remedial results, as she indicated that she had greatly benefitted from it in her education. Arguably, in the 7th Circuit maintaining the aforementioned “SCENDIS Report” under court seal, they see things differently, which harkens back to an earlier pronouncement made by the late Supreme Court Justice Roger Taney: “A black man has no rights a white man is bound to respect.”

Alexander sums up her book by stating: “Once you’re labeled a felon, the old forms of discrimination – employment discrimination, housing discrimination, denial of the right to vote, denial of educational opportunity, denial of food stamps and other public benefits, and exclusion from jury service – are suddenly legal. As a criminal, you have scarcely more rights, and largely less respect, than a black man living in Alabama at the height of Jim Crow. We have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.”

Alexander wanted this book, The New Jim Crow, to be the start of an honest and frank dialogue on race and the ramifications of mass incarceration. I believe that she has done just that in this book, which I highly recommend.

Dennis Moore is a member of the San Diego Writers/Editors Guild. He has written for LifeAfter50 Magazine in Pasadena, California, and the Baja Times Newspaper in Rosarito Beach, Mexico. He is the President of Bethel A.M.E. Prison Ministry in San Diego, and a member of the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office Reentry Roundtable. Mr. Moore can be contacted at contractsagency@gmail.com or you can follow him on Twitter at: @DennisMoore8.

 

 


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Comments

SCENDIS Report

This Same SCENDIS report was the reason AT&T wanted to Settle
In judge Plunket's Court room. This report is an embarrassment for AT&T because
It reveals what black employees endure at the hands of their white managers
Who's numbers as compared to black managers within AT&T is 10 to 1. There is a caste system
At AT&T where blacks are placed in a holding pattern and tatics are used to keep them
In the lower non-management class of employees, a foot on the neck attitude.
Except for the untouchables (AT&T's white privileged employees) if you speak up at AT&T you
Will pay as I have experienced the attitude can be related to or reflect "JIm Crow Type Tactics"
I remember a Chicago Suntime reporter told us that the reason there would be reluctance to
Print a negative story about AT&T and its discriminatory practices is because AT&T pay them too much money for advertising. The same problem exists unlike the Suntimes in some case of no choice with some black organization who battle with
Standing up against the Telecom Giant because they get money from AT&T for education and other seemingly good issues. But at what cost give us money for educational programs and charity but AT&T will not hire us or promote us in the work place as I have experienced here for almost 18 years it reminds me of Jim Crow tactics with a touch of Natzism for taste. The batch is bitter and undivestable AT&T needs new cooks in the kitchen, blacks are banned from kitchen according to the SCENDIS report.

Discrimination continued

I have been an AT&T Mobility/Cingular/CellularOne employee for the past 17 years. There is not enough space on this blog for me to explain or list my experience of discrimination/retaliation/harassment/and intimidation against me by my employer.

However, after listening to Ms. Alexander speak not only on the issues of Discrimination and bias within the prison system and the courts but in general she spoke about racism and discrimination and how it affects black people.

I needed to respond, I could only convey my experiences the acts of discrimination I have endured at my present employer AT&T.

I should have suspected a pattern and a culture of racial discrimination and a hostile work environment within AT&T when Walter Payton (Chicago Bears) walked into our Field Service office in Schaumberg in 1993, when he saw me he said to management “you guys finally hired a black man” because Mr. Payton was a jokester I did not pay much attention to his comments at the time. I was working at Cellular One less than a year when this happened, I was surprised to meet one of the greatest running back in person for the first time but was also surprised at his comments, Payton’s comments did cause me to become aware of the treatment by Cellularone/AT&T of their black employees.

Before Mr. Payton made his comments, I did notice some difference in treatment for me and the other black employees like Ron Foster where we were treated less favorably than white employees, then It was as if Mr. Payton’s comments turned on the discrimination awareness switch that was dormant within me, now it seemed that the white management had become offended at Mr. Payton’s comments.

In 1993 not long after Mr. Payton’s comments, I was offered a position at another company making $15000.00 more than my present pay at Cellular One/ AT&T my manager at the time Mr. Taylor called me in his office after a white employee overheard the my conversation for the new job offer, my white manager threatened to black list me if I was to leave the company, he did not provide any explanation or reasons for his threats. Taylor did not do this to the white technician Mark who left the company to pursue other endeavors.

Shortly after I applied for a position in the Field Operations department as a Field Technician. Although the new job was a higher position AT&T made it a lateral shift regarding my salary, I later found out that less qualified whites also hired on as Field Technicians were being paid as much as $5000.00 more than what I was being paid, this is why our pay were kept a secret until the ratification of the CWA union contract in or around 2002.

It became more obvious that there was a culture of disparate treatments for blacks within AT&T. After being provided less training than my similarly situated white coworkers and being pass over numerous times for promotions which were given to less qualified white workers including those who I had trained, it became painfully obvious that AT&T had a serious problem with race bias.

I would endure this treatment for the next 8 years while complaining to management or inquiring as to why blacks were being treated less favorably. I was finally exposed to what AT&T was all about, preventing blacks from leadership positions within the company while keeping us in lower menial job categories.

I have sued AT&T twice now out of three possible suits for discrimination my first EEOC RTS (Right to Sue) letter was taken from the EEOC without my knowledge by LMB and it seem that this law firm negotiated with AT&T to walk away from the case, we suspected that LMB (Leeds Morelli and Brown) got paid by AT&T to walk away from the case. Leeds Morelli and Brown a New York law firm who had represented over 30 AT&T workers in Chicago were sued by other former clients for taking under the table payouts to stop discrimination law suits from going to trial.

ABC Sarah Wallace reported: (New York- WABC, May 10, 2006) (WABC) – “There is a victory for former employees of Prudential Insurance. They have for years claimed that the law firm they hired to represent them against Prudential, instead sold them out. Now, documents are about to be unsealed and they will get their day in court. What these men and others say they didn't know is that Prudential and LMB entered into a separate secret agreement, which we obtained. The law firm got $5,000,000 from Prudential up front. The companies deny that was improper. Plaintiff sent a certified letter and also verbally notified Lenard Leeds and James Vagnini partners of LMB firm that he would take action holding them responsible for their illegal actions that destroyed his case and denied him due process. Plaintiff did not leave the company (AT&T) on the record Plaintiff believes AT&T’s actions are purposed to discourage, wear him down destroy his spirit to dissuade him and other employees in the protected class from opposing discrimination.

I am on my third case presently still fighting to stop AT&T from discriminating, harassing and retaliating against black employees like me who decide to speak up.

The SCENDIS report that is under seal in the Federal Courts proves AT&T’s guilt of ignoring obvious bias and shows in their own words their white management’s dislike for black people.

I hope to bring awareness to black people as Reckless Beckless once asked “Does Cingular Deserve our Business” for this black employee at this time AT&T Do Not Deserve Our Business, until they recognize the problems and fix them similarly to how Coke repaired their discrimination problems. Right now AT&T is stating that they are perfectly innocent when it relates to discrimination charges. “And pigs fly” I make these statements based on my experiences at the hands of my employer and have sworn to my above statements as being absolutely true to the best of my knowledge “So help me God”.

"The New Jim Crow"

I, too, met and talked with the legendary NFL Hall of Fame football player Walter Payton. We were actually on an elevator together in a suburb of Chicago, and he playfully tried to get me to vouch to something to another person. This was several months before I would start my employment with CellularOne/AT&T, as a customer service representative in their Shaumburg, Illinois office. Walter Payton was one of the nicest persons that I had ever known or met. I recall the actual day that he died, which was several months before I was promoted to a Buyer with CellularOne/AT&T. During my less than two years as a Buyer with the company, I would issue more than $40 million dollars in purchase orders to support their wireless network, yet it wasn't sufficient to get the promotion to Purchasing Agent. Instead, it went to a less-senior white female that I had assisted in training to be a Buyer.

Discrimination

There is nothing more awakening than to experience racism or discrimination
and to find out that the very laws created to defend you against racism
seem to work against you.

I am one of only two black technicians working for AT&T in my department in
the Chicago market. My employer have attempted to fire me for speaking up
Or complaining about discrimination I have suffered over the past 17 years of my
employment.
White techs who I trained were promoted before me, I was told by my manager
who suggested that giving him oral sex would speed up my promotion,
Kill The Nigger sign was posted on a site in my work area where the two black
workers serviced, one of my coworker told me that he was interrogated for 5 hours
Because he went to the EEOC, he was also told by a white coworker how would you like
Me to "F--k" your wife.

Sealed SCENDIS report in federal court, Leeds Morelli& Brown undertable
Payments? AT&T recently lost discrimination case in Texas?

One way or another the truth must come out. My former coworker Mr. Moore
Has great insights on the subject since he has suffered like I have.

My employer who have always known about this type of problems within
their ranks but have refused to fix the problems which we would have welcomed
Instead they continue to fight us in court to down play the issues and divert embarrassment

LMB Leeds Morelli & Brown under the table payoff? The SCENDIS report sealed in Federal court
In Chicago
the Discrimination law suit AT&T recently lost in Texas, my present case against AT&T

Dennis, You have done a great

Dennis, You have done a great service to the American Public in reviewing Michelle Alexander's book "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness." I read Michelle Alexander's book after having read "Slavery by Another Name" by Douglas Blackmon which Michelle frequently reference when laying down the foundation of how mass incarceration came to be a social crises of such epidemic proportions today.

She traces the common thread that started with slavery and was reinvented after the Civil War as the Convict Laws became the popular among Southerners. She mentions that the Convict laws are usually not considered to be part of the "Black Codes" which were laws that severely restricted the movements and employment of newly freed blacks as well as forbidding gatherings of more than two people of the street. Under the Convict Laws, newly freed blacks became targets, and were picked up for minor violations such as loitering, being unemployed and other misdemeanors. Not being able to pay the fines, they were leased out to local businesses, mining companies and railroad companies. Jim Crow followed with segregation, underemployment, poor educational facilities and threats of violence and actual violence.

After Brown v. Board of education, segregation ended but the mindset did not. Politicians scrambled to restrict the freedom of black people and re-establish the status quo. Nixon came up with the idea of the "War of Drugs" but it was Reagan that implemented it. (You'll have to read the book to see how this happened). The new war was waged in predominately black communities. The idea of drug dealer being a young black man with his pants hanging down is a media created image that started with "crack babies" and "welfare queens" as propaganda to justify this new system of control over black lives. Michelle's book is a must read for anyone interested in the "Human Rights Crises" on our door stop that has destroyed so many families and communities.

Dennis, you have done as excellent job covering the topics of profit and the expansion of prisons and the ever-lengthening prison terms now given to non-violent offenders. Michelle covers these horrifying statistics as well.

I read Stockley Carmichael some years back; he invented the term "Institutional Racism" and expressed the dangers and insidious nature of such a creature and talked about how difficult it would be to root out and deconstruct once it was established. That is covered in depth in "The New Jim Crow." Throughout Michelle Alexander's book you hear the voice of Mr. Carmichael echoing throughout the pages.

"The New Jim Crow"

TJ Dunnivant, a Staff Writer for the San Diego Voice & Viewpoint, referenced Michelle Alexander's book in her recent story of a community forum on human exploitation and sex trafficking at Porter Elementary school.

"The New Jim Crow"

Thank you Cynthia, I was given great material to work with, in my review of Michelle Alexander's book. There are actually a lot of dynamics involved in the mass incarceration of African-American men, not to mention your reference to Stokeley Carmichael. I grew up in the Stokely Carmichael era, when he and "H" Rap Brown were stating that "violence was as American as apple pie." Unless we find some humane way of dealing with the inherent inequities of the mass incarceration of people of color, we may find the ravings of Carmichael and Brown to be prophetic, and the findings revealed in Michelle Alexander's book to be falling on death ears. The author has started a dialogue, a discussion, that we as a civilized society needs to heed.

The CARDIA Study of Young Black and White Adults

Dr. Nancy Krieger, Associate Professor at Harvard University, wrote a study on Racial Discrimination and Blood Pressure, along with Dr. Stephen Sidney, in which their study examined associations between blood pressure and self-reported experiences of racial discrimination and responses to unfair treatment, that relates to Michelle Alexander's book, "The New Jim Crow."

"The New Jim Crow"

At a San Diego County Urban League reception for Allison Moore, formerly incarcerated and author of "I Was...I Am," along with being the Founder/CEO of "In His Presence Ministries," a parallel was made in the discussion of Reentry.

"The New Jim Crow" author discusses book on "Smiley & West" show

Michelle Alexander's new book, "The New Jim Crow," is generating a lot of talk and attention, resulting from her appearance on the Tavis Smiley & Cornel West show. Bloggers are continually weighing in on the various viewpoints generated from Michelle Alexander's book, and her appearance on the show.

Kairos at RJ Donovan Prison

Kairos (Gods Special Time) was observed at RJ Donovan Prison yesterday, which I participated in, which is a contrast to Michelle Alexander's message of the mass incarceration of African American men.

San Diego Voice & Viewpoint: Recy Taylor

Recy Taylor was one of many black women attacked by white men during an era in which sexual assault was used to informally enforce Jim Crow segregation, as reported in a front page story in the San Diego Voice & Viewpoint, October 21, 2010. Taylor, now 90, was a 24-year-old wife and mother at the time that she was brutally gang raped by six white men in Abbeville, Alabama, and dumped on the side of a rural road. An all-white, all-male grand jury(s) refused to indict the men, even after they admitted to authorities that they assaulted Taylor.

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindnes

Dennis, thank you for this great book review. I just have to look within my own family and friends to validate the premise of Michelle Alexander's book. Was I surprised by what I read, no, but to see it actually laid out in this book frightens me. I look at all the young African American males aspiring towards the American Dream, and one minor legal infraction turned into a felony, can forever erase their ability to reach those goals.

Now that we all know what's going on, how do we stop it?

"The New Jim Crow"

Anita, I don't know the answers, but Michelle Alexander certainly has us all thinking about this subject ever since she brought her book and message to San Diego. I have to admit, that I have lived with this quandary my entire life, as I am a product of the Jim Crow era, and have seen firsthand the impact and effect of mass incarceration on the lives of African Americans in America.

It might be interesting to note, that the San Diego Voice & Viewpoint newspaper, in their edition of October 14, 2010, reported in a front page story, that; "More Black People Jailed In England and Wales Proportionally Than in the United States." The story further indicated that a new study finds seven times more black people per population are in prison - in the United States the number is just four times as many.

This landmark report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, reveals that there is a disparity in sentencing between blacks and whites all over the world. The Voice & Viewpoint story indicated that experts and politicians said over-representation of black men was a result of decades of racial prejudice in the criminal justice system and an overly punitive approach to penal affairs.

United African American Ministerial Action Committee (UAAMAC)

As a prelude to author Michelle Alexander being hosted at a reception and Town Hall Meeting for her book, "The New Jim Crow," the United African Amerian Ministerial Action Committee (UAAMAC) made "A Call to Arms...Disempowering the Prison Industrial Complex," by being part of a "Judicial Reform Town Hall Meeting" at St. Stephen's Church in San Diego, on September 26, 2010. A distinguished panel presented a passionate description of their responsibilities as guardian of the community while describing how they are limited by the legal restrictions that bind them. The presenters included The Honorable David Danielson, Criminal Supervising Judge San Diego County, Mack Jenkins, Chief Probation Officer San Diego County, David Greenberg, Deputy Chief, San Diego County District Attorney Office, Robert Robinson of UAAMAC. Under the direction of Bishop Ikenna Kokayi - Rev. Robert Ard, the program offered impassioned comments from the audience who pointed out the inequities of the judicial system and the negative affect that it has on the community.

"A Plague of Prisons" by Ernest Drucker

Ernest Drucker has written a parallel to "The New Jim Crow," published by the same, The New Press, "A Plague of Prisons: The Epidemiology of Incarceration in America." It is described as a paradigm-shifting look at our criminal justice system that sees our prisons as the problem, not the solution.

10-10-18 Request an Honest and Effectual 2010 UN Report on US

Please voice your concerns!
Thanks to Zena for compiling this email list, including the "Troika", which would lead the 2010 UPR of the United States - Cameron, France, and Japan.
I believe that the choice of the Troika is a promising start for an honest and effectual 2010 UPR report.
jz
_______________
.
Date: Mon, 18 Oct 2010 18:08:03 +0300
To: infodesk@ohchr.org, letters@hutchison.senate.gov, Mission.cameroun@bluewin.ch, Paul_Foldi@foreign.senate.gov, Mission.france@ties.itu.int, Brad_Middleton@durbin.senate.gov, Mission@gv.mofa.emb-japan.go.jp, Courtney_Dozier@warner.senate.gov, upr_info@state.gov, Phil_Bosse@collins.senate.gov, askdoj@usdoj.gov, sascha.thompson@mail.house.gov, phyllis.thomas@usdoj.gov, john.mautz@mail.house.gov, gina_semenza@boxer.senate.gov, paul.taylor@mail.house.gov, Nick.Ciofani@mail.house.gov___________________
From: joseph zernik
Subject: 10-10-18 Request for an Honest and Effectual 2010 UPR Report on the United States
_____________________
Human Rights Alert
PO Box 526, La Verne, CA 91750
Fax: 323.488.9697; Email: jz12345@earthlink.net
Blog: http://human-rights-alert.blogspot.com/
Scribd: http://www.scribd.com/Human_Rights_Alert
October 18, 2010

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights
c/o infodesk@ohchr.org
U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison
c/o letters@hutchison.senate.gov
Rapporteur of Cameroon
c/o Mission.cameroun@bluewin.ch
U.S. Senator Richard Lugar
c/o Paul_Foldi@foreign.senate.gov
Rapporteur of France
c/o Mission.france@ties.itu.int
U.S. Senator Richard Durbin
c/o Brad_Middleton@durbin.senate.gov
Rapporteur of Japan
c/o Mission@gv.mofa.emb-japan.go.jp
U.S. Senator Mark Warner
c/o Courtney_Dozier@warner.senate.gov
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
c/o upr_info@state.gov
U.S. Senator Susan Collins
c/o Phil_Bosse@collins.senate.gov
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder
c/o askdoj@usdoj.gov
U.S. Representative Hank Johnson
c/o sascha.thompson@mail.house.gov
Deputy Attorney General Thomas Perez, Chief
Civil Rights Division, Department of Justice
c/o phyllis.thomas@usdoj.gov
U.S. Representative Howard Coble
c/o john.mautz@mail.house.gov
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer
c/o gina_semenza@boxer.senate.gov
U.S. Representative F. James Sensenbrenner
c/o paul.taylor@mail.house.gov
U.S. Representative Steven C. LaTourette
c/o Nick.Ciofani@mail.house.gov
Via Email Transmission Only
______________________________
RE: Request for an honest and effectual UPR report on the United States by the Human Rights Council of the United Nations

Greetings:

I, the undersigned, Joseph Zernik, a citizen of the United States, read with great hope the news regarding the first ever, 2010 Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Human Rights in the United States. On behalf of Human Rights Alert (NGO) I also filed a stakeholder submission, which was later incorporated into the staff report of the Human Rights Council with a reference to "corruption of the courts and the legal profession and discrimination by law enforcement in California".

We hope that the final 2010 UPR report would likewise reflect the urgent need for the United States government to address the corruption of its justice system. We, who live in the United States, suffered substantial deterioration in the safeguard of our Human, Civil, and Constitutional Rights, particularly in the past decade.

The UPR process of the United Nations is a unique opportunity for the truth in this matter to be finally heard - loud and clear. An honest and effectual 2010 UPR report on the United States is likely become a historic landmark for Human Rights in the United States.

Truly,

Joseph Zernik, PhD
Human Rights Alert (NGO)Human Rights Alert is dedicated to discovering, archiving, and disseminating evidence of Human Rights violations by the justice systems of the State of California and the United States in Los Angeles County, California, and beyond. Special emphasis is given to the unique role of computerized case management systems in the precipitous deterioration of integrity of the justice system in the United States.
http://www.scribd.com/Human_Rights_Alert
http://human-rights-alert.blogspot.com/
http://josephzernik.blog.co.uk/
http://menchenrechte-los-angeles.blogspot.com/
http://droitsdelhommealertelosangele.blogspot.com/
http://inproperinla.com/
http://pressroom.prlog.org/Human_Rights_Alert/
http://ireport.cnn.com/people/HumanRightsA?numResults=10&view=documents

Financial Management Fraud at the Los Angeles Superior Court

High Level Financial Management Fraud at the Los Angeles Superior Court and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department - A Call for Action by US Law Enforcement
Los Angeles, October 13 - Human Rights Alert (NGO) called for action by US law enforcement regarding mounting evidence of high-level financial management fraud at the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
Secret bank accounts, controlled by the judges of the LASC were exposed over a decade ago in a series of reports by the Washington DC Insight Magazine [1]regarding secretive corporations, controlled by the judges of the Los Angeles Superior Court, and inexplicable fund movements in and out of such corporations.
Regardless, no report of actions by IRS, FBI, or US Dept of Justice in this regard was ever found.
Last time it was checked (around 2009), such corporations were still listed by the California Secretary of State.
Additionally, Human Rights Alert documented the designation of all court fees in certain cases of the Los Angeles Superior Court as "Journal Entry", whereas in other cases such fees are recorded as "Filing Fees", "Motion Fees", "Stipulation Fees", etc.[2] Presiding Judge Charles McCoy and Clerk of the Court John A Clarke, denied repeated requests to disclose the ultimate designation of such funds. [3] Accountancy textbook consider the misuse of "Journal Entry" as a cardinal sign of high-level financial management fraud. Of note, until recently the LASC never permitted public access to its financial reports, and today it publishes unaudited financial reports.
The online publication of false records pertaining to bail amounts, which were collected from prisoners by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, was likewise documented by Human Rights Alert. The Sheriff's Department refused to this date to answer on complaints on the matter, which alleged corruption and large-scale financial fraud in bail/bond operations of the Department. [4]
United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) staff report, [5] which was recently issued as part of the 2010 Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Human Rights in the United States, referred to: "...corruption in the courts and the legal profession, and discrimination of US law enforcement in California. 69"... "69 HRAlert, pages 1-5. See submission for cases cited." The statements were based on the April 2010 submission by Human Rights Alert. The evidence provided by Human Rights Alert pertained to large-scale false imprisonment at the criminal courts, and real estate fraud in collusion with large financial institutions and law-firms at the civil courts. The submission was based on media, expert, and official reports from the last two decades, as well as analysis of court records in a series of cases opined as fraud and perversion of justice by the courts.
The reference in the HRC report to "discrimination of US law enforcement in California", pertained to documents provided by Human Rights Alert showing discrimination by US law enforcement for at least two decades against Los Angeles County, California, through refusal to address overwhelming evidence of racketeering by judges of the Los Angeles Superior Court. In its report, Human Rights Alert called upon the US Congress to enact Federal Rules for Public Access to Electronic Court Record, Case Management, and Electronic Court Fling, as quintessential for restoration of integrity of the courts in the United States, for restoration of the Rule of Law, and for the safeguard of Human Rights in the digital era.
Human Rights Alert also called upon the United States to effectively engage in a cooperative effort with internationally charged observers and rappeurtors, as part of the ongoing UPR process from 2010 to 2014.
Human Rights Alert is dedicated to discovering, archiving, and disseminating evidence of Human Rights violations by the justice systems of the State of California and the United States in Los Angeles, California, and beyond. Special emphasis is given to the unique role of online public access and computerized case management systems in the precipitous deterioration of integrity of the justice system.
Human Rights Alert expressed its confidence that the outcome of the first ever international review of Human Rights in the United States, would be a landmark event, and that the United Nations HRC would vote on an effectual Human Rights report on the United States in its November 5, 2010, UPR session in Geneva, Switzerland.
Human Rights Alert is dedicated to discovering, archiving, and disseminating evidence of Human Rights violations by the justice systems of the State of California and the United States in Los Angeles, California, and beyond. Special emphasis is given to the unique role of computerized case management systems in the precipitous deterioration of integrity of the justice system.
LINKS
[1] 99-04-11 Washington DC Insight Magazine - LA Superior Court Judges 'Slush' Fund - Is Justice for Sale in L.A.?
http://www.scribd.com/doc/39177872/
[2] 10-02-13 Galdjie v Darwish (SC052737) at the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles: Alleged racketeering by judges and attorneys in Los Angeles, California - Requesting Jerry Brown's comments http://www.scribd.com/doc/26837352/
[3] 10-02-05 Mysterious Finances of the Los Angeles Superior Court
http://www.scribd.com/doc/26419078/
[4] 10-02-12 Complaint #4 filed with Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca Re Corruption of Bond Bail Services
http://www.scribd.com/doc/26807342/
[5]10-01-10 United Nations Human Rights Council Records for 2010 Review (UPR) of Human Rights in the United States:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/38566837/

Large scale false imprisonments - corrupt justice system in LA

10-10-02 Corruption of the courts and the legal profession in Los Angeles County, California, was noted by the United Nations // La corrupción de los tribunales y los abogados en Los Angeles, California, fue señalada por las Naciones Unidas

Los Angeles, October 10 - United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) staff report, [1] issued as part of the 2010 Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Human Rights in the United States noticed: "corruption in the courts and the legal profession, and discrimination of US law enforcement in California. [69]"... "[ 69]: HRAlert, pages 1-5. See submission for cases cited." The notice was based on the April 2010 submission by Human Rights Alert (NGO). The evidence provided by Human Rights Alert pertained to large-scale false imprisonment at the criminal courts, and real estate fraud in collusion with large financial institutions and law-firms at the civil courts. The submission was based on media, expert, and official reports from the last two decades, as well as analysis of court records in a series of cases opined as fraud and perversion of justice by the courts.
The reference in the HRC report to "discrimination of US law enforcement in California", pertained to documents provided by Human Rights Alert showing discrimination by US law enforcement for at least two decades against Los Angeles County, California, through refusal to address overwhelming evidence of racketeering by judges of the Los Angeles Superior Court. Discrimination against a region of the country is a violation of Human Rights, in and of itself, pursuant to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Human Rights Alert report to the United Nations provided evidence of such discrimination through conduct of KENNETH KAISER - FBI Assistant Director for Criminal Investigations, and KENNETH MELSON - former Director of US Department of Justice, Office of US Attorneys.
Human Rights Alert also provided evidence of patronizing of the conduct of the Los Angeles Superior Court by the United States courts - National Tribunals for Protection of Rights pursuant to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - from the US District Court, Central District of California, through the US Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit, to the Supreme Court of the United States.
While the report by Human Rights Alert (NGO), a young organization with minimal resources, got a notice and a reference by the HRC, reports by much larger organizations, and even Joint Reports of consortia of Human Rights organizations got no mention at all.
The HRC report was issued as part of the UPR process, established in 2006 by the General Assembly of the United Nations. In April 2010, over 100 organizations filed stakeholders' reports as part of the first ever review of Human Rights in the United States. In August 2010 the US State Department filed its response. Albeit, the State Department report simply ignored the reports of stakeholders and the HRC staff. Instead, the US State Department issued a report that was largely self-congratulatory. Review session regarding Human Rights in the United States is scheduled for November 5, 2010 in Geneva, Switzerland.
In its report, Human Rights Alert called upon the US Congress to enact Federal Rules for Public Access to Electronic Court Record, Case Management, and Electronic Court Fling (PACER & CM/ECF), as quintessential for restoration of integrity of banking regulation and the courts in the United States, for restoration of the Rule of Law, and for the safeguard of Human Rights in the digital era. [2] [3] Human Rights Alert also called upon the United States to effectively engage in a cooperative effort with internationally charged observers and rappeurtors, as part of the ongoing UPR process from 2010 to 2014.
Human Rights Alert (NGO) is dedicated to discovering, archiving, and disseminating evidence of Human Rights violations by the justice systems of the State of California and the United States in Los Angeles, California, and beyond. Special emphasis is given to the unique role of computerized case management systems in the precipitous deterioration of integrity of the justice system.
LINKS
[1] 10-01-10 United Nations Human Rights Council Records for 2010 Review (UPR) of Human Rights in the United States:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/38566837/
[2] Peer-reviewed paper published by Dr Zernik, opining fraud in the electronic prisoners' registration system of Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department:
10-08-18 Zernik, J: Data Mining as a Civic Duty – Online Public Prisoners’ Registration Systems, International Journal on Social Media: Monitoring, Measurement, Mining 1: 84-96 (2010)
http://www.scribd.com/doc/38328591/
[3] Peer-reviewed paper published by Dr Zernik, opining fraud in the online public access and electronic case management systems of the United States courts (PACER & CM/ECF):
10-08-18 Zernik, J: Data Mining of Online Judicial Records of the Networked US Federal Courts, International Journal on Social Media: Monitoring, Measurement, Mining, 1:69-83 (2010)
http://www.scribd.com/doc/38328585/

"The New Jim Crow"

Although Joseph Zemik focuses his comments on alleged large scale false imprisonments - corrupt justice system in LA, which was noted by the United Nations, the focus still remains on Michelle Alexander's thesis and theories of the mass incarceration of African American men. There is certainly something to be gained by looking into Joseph Zemik's assertions, especially as it relates to "The New Jim Crow."

The New Jim Crow

The New Jim Crow sounds like an interesting read. Yes, it true, there are so many of our youth being locked up in today's society. It makes me wonder, are people taking notice to this. I pray that Author Michelle Alexander book, gets the world wide attention that it deserve. Sheila L. Jackson, author of "The Enemy Within", and "Through The Eyes of God." www.sheilaljackson2.com, http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/sheilalj

"The New Jim Crow"

Yes, Sheila, "The New Jim Crow" is an interesting read. But, it is more than that! Michelle Alexander's book is a call to action. As I indicated in my review, Ms. Alexander wanted to start the dialogue in our communities, to address the causes and perception of African-American men being disproportionately incarcerated. That was what the Town Hall meeting in San Diego was designed to do. The book is a great read, that I strongly encourage you and others to read in its entirety. I also pray, as you, that Ms. Alexander's book gets the worldwide attention that it deserves.

Cingular/AT&T SCENDIS Report

Dennis, after reading you review I was remembering the times we were standing back to back fighting to obtain justice for the discrimination we suffered at Cingular AT&T in the early 2000s. I am the last man standing to quote Jeffery Silva of RCR Wireless. I have worked for CellularOne, Cingular now AT&T for over 17 years and I have seen case after case where AT&T Mobility has shown that it hates blacks so much that it copies the Jim Crow era in more suttle forms.

As you know we were in that SCENDIS meeting with a number of other black men who all told Cingular/AT&T that there is a pattern of discrimination at the Compnany, as a result of me participating in that meeting I was thrusted into my 10 year struggle to obtain justice as my eyes were opened to the fact that I was not the only one suffering discrimination at AT&T.

I remembered the time when you first stood up at an all company meeting and made your point regarding discrimination to the president of Cingular where there were hundreds of employees present. Leeds Morelli and Brown (LMB) criminal act and three law suits later I am still here fighting for some accountability from AT&T. I did listen to the interview with Santita Jackson (WVON) Chicago and Michelle Alexander and my ears were glued to the radio as Ms. Alexander explained the mechanics of the system that now opresses us, I was especially attentive when she explained how the Supreme Court handles Racial discrimination pleadings, since on my own I have recently sought the help of the Supreme Court on one of my cases against AT&T.

Great Job Dennis God had a plan for you when he allowed you to suffer the injustices at AT&T, I cntinue to pray for you, do not let anyone discourage you, talk to you soon

I have a lot more to say and documents to post but I need to go to Worship I will continue later...............

Cingular Wireless' (AT&T) SCENDIS Report

It is important to note that the SCENDIS Report, prepared at request of counsel, has one of the "Representative Comments" on page 7 of 26 stating: "If a film crew came to film the essence of Cingular it would be:"When the picture begins you are told that the movie is great with great benefits, opportunities, a real career, but by the end it is clear that you are not and never will be as a group in the movie as stars;"

"If Cingular is so involved in diversity, why are 98.9% of the people in Hoffman Estates White?"

"The New Jim Crow"

A number of people have contacted me, raving about my review of "The New Jim Crow," namely, the Education Director of the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) and the editor of "Indian Voices" newspaper. They have indicated to me that they will be registering their comments in regard to this review. Further contacting me in regard to this review was the Publicity Director of "The New Press," the publisher of the book.

Further, and specifically stated in Michelle Alexander's book, which more clearly explains her thesis: "Once again, vagrancy laws and other laws defining activities such as 'mischief' and 'insulting gestures' as crimes were enforced vigorously against blacks. The aggressive enforcement of these criminal offenses opened up an enormous market for convict leasing, in which prisoners were contracted out as laborers to the highest bidder. Douglas Blackmon, in 'Slavery by Another Name,' describes how tens of thousands of African Americans were arbitraily arrested during this period, many of them hit with court costs and fines, which had to be worked off in order to secure their release. With no means to pay off their 'debts,' prisoners were sold as forced laborers to lumber camps, brickyards, railroads, farms, plantations, and dozens of corporations throughout the South. Death rates were shockingly high, for the private contractors had no interest in the health and well-being of their laborers, unlike the earlier slave-owners who needed their slaves, at a minimum, to be healthy enough to survive hard labor. Laborers were subject to almost continual lashing by long horse whips, and those who collapsed due to injuries or exhaustion were often left to die."

Michelle Alexander further states in regard to "Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness;" Convicts had no meaning legal rights at this time and no effective redress. They were understood, quite literally, to be slaves of the state. The Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution had abolished slavery but allowed one major exception: slavery remained appropriate as punishment for a crime.

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