Monday, November 19, 2007

Prison and Hate Crimes! (Get your attention?)

Scroll down to the bottom if you just wanna see how many Klan members might be in your backyard...

According to Reuters today:

THE number of Americans in prison has risen eight-fold since 1970, with little impact on crime but at great cost to US taxpayers and society, researchers said in a report calling for a major justice-system overhaul.

To make its case for reducing the US prison population the report cites examples ranging from former vice-presidential aide Lewis "Scooter" Libby to a Florida woman who was sentenced to two years' jail for throwing a cup of coffee.

Produced by the JFA Institute, a Washington criminal-justice research group, the report recommends shorter sentences and parole terms, alternative punishments, more help for released inmates and decriminalising recreational drugs as steps that would halve the prison population, save $US20 billion ($A22.3 billion) a year and ease social inequality without endangering the public.
You can see the whole Reuters article HERE

Now, what does that have to do with hate crime? Well, according to The Ass. Press,

"Hate Crimes Up Nearly 8 Percent in 2006
Monday November 19, 2007 6:46 PM

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - Hate crime incidents in the United States rose last year by nearly 8 percent, the FBI reported Monday, as racial prejudice continued to account for more than half the reported instances.

Police across the nation reported 7,722 criminal incidents in 2006 targeting victims or property as a result of bias against a particular race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnic or national origin or physical or mental disability. That was up 7.8 percent from the 7,163 incidents reported in 2005.

Although the noose incidents and beatings among students at Jena, La., high school occurred in the last half of 2006, they were not included in the report. Only 12,600 of the nation's more than 17,000 local, county, state and federal police agencies participated in the hate crime reporting program in 2006 and neither Jena nor LaSalle Parish, in which the town is located, were among the agencies reporting. ..."

You can read more on this at
Guardian UK (why is it the Brits grab them stories so fast?)

You can get a 2 year sentence for assault with a coffee cup in a traffic jam. but around here and in other states, burn a cross and laugh your ass off. It doesn't seem to be of great interest to run down hat crimes, perhaps because it's still a sore spot with people who believe a crime is a crime. If that were true, we'd have Murder and nothing else for that crime. Why nuance it? Because people themselves commit the crimes for various reasons. As is noted later in the article, "What is not reported, however, is the lack of prosecution and serious investigation by the Justice Department to counter this increase in hate crimes."

Is that true? I know cops have a hell of a job in this country, but FBI should seem to have more figured out. Or maybe not. They are a gov't agency.

To find out how your state or area stacks up in terms of potential hate crimes, go to The Southern Poverty Law Center's hate Map. It's a revelation.

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