National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty
Death sentencing and executions in the United States have steadily been declining in recent years. Despite these trends, death sentences continue to be imposed in a handful of states while the flaws and failures of this system are more apparent than ever. Those flaws and failures include Racial discrimination that pervades the U.S. criminal justice system, the numerous cases of individuals who have been executed despite serious doubts about their guilt, the cost savings by eliminating the death penalty, would free up millions of dollars a year to invest in programs that are proven to prevent violent crime and the ongoing emotional toll on families of victims and the convicted as well as those tasked with the executions.
Host Craig Lubow talks with Gregory Joseph, program director at the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty about their efforts to eliminate the death penalty in the USA and abroad. We will open the phone lines for your questions and comments. 816-931-5534
Letter from CrossRoads Correction Center
On July 19th Representative Brandon Ellington, Charles Johnson of My Brother’s Keeper, Latahra Smith of the KC Freedom Project and Jeff Humfeld of Consolidated Social Work Services met with Representatives of the Department of Corrections and a committee of inmates at Crossroads Correctional Center. There was a survey handed out to the inmates present to take back so the concerns and complaints of those on their block could be brought to the Department and the citizens groups involved.
While the results of the surveys that were filled out have yet to be given to the citizen groups involved I did receive a letter from one of the inmates on the panel with concerns from the inmates on his block. This is some of what he had to say.
The most pressing concern that was presented to me concerned the mass punishment of the general population for the actions of a few. Inmates are quick to realize that in certain situations it is necessary to lockdown the entire population in order to ensure that order is restored, and that those responsible for any disturbance are placed in Ag Seg and removed from General Population. What they don’t understand and are concerned about is the trend that seems to be developing with the current administration which is not to lockdown just to restore order, but rather an extended lockdown with the deprivation of the basic human necessities as punishment for something they had absolutely nothing to do with and had absolutely no control over.
While many inmates agree that correctional officers and other DOC employees do deserve higher wages as well as better working conditions, they are very concerned about the deliberate indifference exhibited by the administration to the basic human needs and constitutional rights of the inmates to achieve this goal. Some wonder, is that the real reason for the extended lockdown or is there more to the story.
Inmates are concerned about the fact that petitions are being presented by some correctional officers and their representatives stating that if inmates are let off lockdown without all correctional officer vacancies being filled, they will call in sick.
While correctional officers claim they are in fear of their lives and safety, Crossroads Correctional Center has one of the lowest rates of inmate assaults on staff of any level 5 institution in the state. Inmates would like to see this addressed and some sort of guidelines established so that mass punishment for long periods of time does not become the norm.
This except has been edited to fit our time frame, it is only a bit more than page one of the five pages I received. One of the most important concerns is that they are still receiving boxed meals that are neither nutritional nor edible in some cases. They are also very concerned that the lack of exercise, especially for older inmates, is leading to “ a dramatic loss of body mass, as well as muscle mass” and that those inmates may not be able to recover their full health when hot meals are resumed. The dramatic weight loss has also been expressed by the few family members who have been able to visit their loved ones and may be the reason they were not allowed to take pictures with their loved ones when they visited.
Jaws of Justice Radio asks that you tune in next Monday September 3rd at 9 AM when we bring family members, professionals that can address the effects of the lockdown on the inmates and voices of some of the inmates affected. We hope you will take part of your Labor Day to find out what is happening and how you might help.