Tagged prison

Eric Holder Announces New Justice Department Policy That Cuts Federal Drug Prison Sentences

MAR 13, 2014 – US Attorney General Eric Holder has announced that the US Justice Department will adopt new policies that will result in shorter sentences, shaving off as much as 25% of the mandatory minimum sentences they were subjected to before. JTMP does applaud this, but we feel we need to go even further and treat drug issues like the health problem issues they are, and not with handcuffs, courts and prison. Read more about this exciting development on HuffPO here.

Ai Weiwei Brings New Exhibition to Brooklyn Museum

FEB 26, 2014 – Chinese activist-artist-musician Ai Weiwei will be bringing his new activist-art exhibit, "Ai Weiwei: According to What?" from April 18 through August 10, 2014 to the Brooklyn Museum. His exhibit will speak out about his illegal incarceration by the Chinese authorities for 81 harsh days with six iron boxes, and other pieces not seen in North America, and some pieces have never been seen before. Read more about the exhibit on the Brooklyn Museum website here.  (photo credit: Hafenbar/CC)

Eric Holder: US Justice Department to Stop Pursuing Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Low-Level Non-Violent Drug Offenses

August 12, 2013 – Justice Through Music has been blogging about justice recently, and how it is hard for American citizens to move on with their lives after making mistakes, and Eric Holder came out today with something JTMP wants to applaud him for. Speaking to the American Bar Association's House of Delegates in San Francisco, he announced that the US Justice Department will no longer pursue mandatory minimum sentences for low-level non-violent drug offenses. For those of you who do not know what mandatory minimum sentencing is, it is a stupid idea the US Congress came up with years ago to take away the power of a judge to impose sentences and have automatic jail time for offenders that has caused our prison population to soar and ruin millions of people's lives; often for non-violent drug offenses which are a health issue not a criminal one. Addicts not only have to face battling their demons of addiction, but then they have an albatross around their neck with a criminal charge and a prison record, which interferes with them finding a job and moving on with their lives.

Eric Holder said we as a nation "cannot prosecute or incarcerate" our way to safety, and JTMP wholeheartedly agrees; addicts need health care and treatment, NOT incarceration. Holder added that the stupid "war on drugs" has been "ineffective and unsustainable" and also pointed out the injustice of disproportionate arrests and prosecutions of African-Americans and called it "shameful". Another important and significant thing he is implementing is that he is having prosecutors leave out the amount of drugs involved, thereby stopping the "trigger" of mandatory jail sentences kicking in; but we need the US congress to get rid of the law. JTMP urges our supporters to contact your congress members and tell them you support Holder's move, and ask them to get rid of mandatory minimum sentencing laws for non-violent drug offenders. Tell them we need more funding for treatment, not more prisons. Also, only 10% of low-level non-violent drug offenses are in the federal justice system; we need to work at the state level and get rid of this Draconian practice at the state level too, so contact your state delegates, representatives and state senators and tell them you want treatment for low-level non-violent drug offenses, NOT prison.  Read more on CNN.com here.   (Photo credit: US Dept. of Justice)

Second Chance Act Provides Help for People Returning to Communities

August 2, 2013 – JTMP strongly supports helping those in need in our communities, and one group often overlooked and facing real hurdles are people returning to the community after being incarcerated. We supported the "Second Chance Act" (P.L. 110-199) that was passed by the US Congress in 2007 and signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2008. This act establishes a National Adult and Juvenile Offender Reentry Resource center to help those reentering society. This act requires the Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons to assist those leaving incarceration in obtaining a Social Security Card, driver's license, or other official photo identification prior to release, and also help them apply for benefits such as veteran's benefits, SS benefits and more. JTMP wants to point out that the Attorney General and the Federal Bureau of Prisons can "implement these provisions at their discretion", so the "required to" is not really a requirement, so JTMP asks our supporters to contact their elected officials and the US Department of Justice and let them know you want the community to help these individuals as much as possible. Tell them you support the Second Chance Act, and hope it is being executed to its fullest extent. Read more about the Second Chance Act here. (Photo credit Clearly Ambiguous/Flickr)

Free Pussy Riot Rallies Worldwide – Court Hands Down Guilty Verdict and 2-year sentences

AUG 17, 2012 – Even though there were worldwide protests calling for the release of Pussy Riot, such as the Russian Embassy here in DC that JTMP attended (see pic to right, and video coming soon), the Russian court handed down a guilty verdict and 2 year prison sentences to the 3 women activist musicians from the punk activist band Pussy Riot. The charge was "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred", and it has caused an uproar from people appalled by the decision. The White House, Sting, Sir Paul McCartney, and many, many people have come out and spoken against this verdict and harsh sentence.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the Obama administration is "disappointed with the Pussy Riot verdict. While we understand the group's behavior was offensive for some, we have concerns about the way these young women were treated by the Russian judicial system."

Sting on Amnesty International's website said, "Dissent is a legitimate and essential right in any democracy and modern politicians must accept this fact with tolerance. A sense of proportion – and a sense of humour – is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness."

Everyone is hoping for Putin to step in and reverse these charges and free these women, which are even putting a strain on Russian-European relations. To sign the petition to Free Pussy Riot, go to Amnesty International's petition here.This leads us to why this is all really happening: The powerful Russian Orthodox Church is behind the pressure to come down hard on these 3 women for their free speech action. So, JTMP believes we shouldn't be protesting in front of the Russian Embassy, but at the Russian Orthodox Church, where the blame lies for this injustice that is happening. We call for boycott and protest of the Russian Orthodox Church until these women are freed and this travesty of justice is reversed. Starting with the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Washington, DC. It is located at 4001 17th Street NW.

More info and video on all of this coming soon, so check back daily!

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