Archive for the tag “prisons”

Not so civilized: Preying on prisoners

Eric Metaxas writes on BreakPoint:

When it comes to illegal immigration, there’s one thing all Americans should agree on.

Three years ago, a woman I’ll call “Mary” was stopped by a policeman for what initially appeared to be a run-of-the-mill moving violation. What followed was anything but routine, though.

“Mary” descended into a kind of hell that is all-too-familiar for the most vulnerable among us.

Mary’s descent started when the policeman discovered that she was in the country illegally. This, along with a ten-year-old warrant for bouncing a $230 check, caused her to be remanded into the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.

Now, stick with me here. We Christians can disagree about our immigration laws and how they should be applied, but we should be outraged at what happened next to Mary.

ICE sent Mary, a Canadian citizen and the mother of four underage American citizens, to a facility in Willacy, Florida. There she was raped by a male guard. When Mary complained to a female guard, the guard replied “nobody’s going to believe you” and said that complaining would only make matters worse.

“Mary’s” story was not an isolated incident: in the episode of PBS’ Frontline that told her story, a former guard at Willacy called sexual abuse of inmates and cover-ups of the assaults there “pervasive.”

And that’s not just at Willacy. The Department of Justice estimates that “over 216,000 people are sexually abused in its prisons, jails, and juvenile detention facilities every year.”

Read the rest here.

His judge became his mentor

Kurt Streeter reports for the Los Angeles Times:

In 1996, when Michael Banyard was arrested with what was literally a sliver of crack, California’s unforgiving three-strikes law kicked in. Convicted of his third felony, Michael received the mandatory sentence: 25 years to life.

His last chance came down to an appeal filed in federal court that landed on the desk of Judge Spencer Letts. Federal judges are inundated with such appeals and almost never reverse convictions. But Letts, then near 70, isn’t known for following the pack. In 2004, calling the punishment “cruel and unusual” for such a small amount of drugs, he ordered Michael freed.

The judge did something else too: He asked Michael to meet with him in chambers. Letts wanted to know more about the man he’d pulled from prison. The upshot: Letts became Michael’s mentor.

What a bond they formed. White and rich, Letts has the look of a professor emeritus at Harvard. Black and poor, Michael was a former Compton Crip with a barrel chest and a body scarred by bullets.

Read the rest of the story here.

Learn more about the Los Angeles Dream Center here.

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