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New Report Examines Damage of Mass Incarceration

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 Mass Incarceration, democracy behind bars, common cause

New Report Examines Damage of Mass Incarceration

*Common Cause issued a new report examining how mass incarceration, felony disenfranchisement and prison gerrymandering undermine democracy. Democracy Behind Bars looks at our broken criminal justice system and how it is manipulated for the benefit and profit of the prison industry. The report goes on to examine the work going on in the states to restore voting rights to citizens who have served their time and to curb mass criminalization and incarceration.

“Americans expect and deserve a true participatory democracy, but millions of citizens have found themselves stripped of their right to vote even after they have served their sentences,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, Common Cause President. “Mass criminalization and incarceration, and those who profit from it, continue to undermine our democracy.

But at the state level, voters and legislators are taking the initiative and moving to reform the system and repair the damage it has done to our democracy.”

A video highlighting the report’s findings is available here. As the report emphasizes, the American criminal justice system “is influenced by many of the same political forces that distort and corrupt other areas of government policy and action: the influence of special interest money in elections and lobbying of our elected officials, partisan disputes over voting rights and redistricting, abuses of power, and ethical breaches.”

“Mass incarceration has risen to levels that break our democracy,” said Aleks Kajstura, Legal Director, Prison Policy Initiative. “The report rightly highlights issues such as prison gerrymandering – the practice of counting incarcerated people at the location of the prison rather than at home for redistricting. This means that representation is granted based on the size of the prisons rather than the number of actual residents. Through prison gerrymandering, mass incarceration creates pervasive vote dilution that extends to cover most Americans.”

“With the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world, the mass criminalization of our citizens is a defining issue of our time,” said Keshia Morris, Common Cause Census & Mass Incarceration Project Manager. “One in thirty-five adults in this country have been under correctional supervision, but that number swells exponentially in our nation’s poorest regions and neighborhoods. Prison industry influence, felony disenfranchisement and prison gerrymandering are part of how we got here.”

One in thirty-five adults in this country have been under correctional supervision, prison industry influence, felony disenfranchisement and prison gerrymandering are part of how we got here.

Democracy Behind Bars examines a variety of factors that contribute to including:

  • Felony Disenfranchisement
  • Prison Gerrymandering
  • Corrections Industry Money in Politics
  • Incentives for Over-Policing
  • The Opportunities for Influence-Buying in Prosecutorial & Judicial Elections
  • The Adverse Impacts of Industry Influence on the Prison Population

The report release featured a panel of advocates and experts including Marc Howard, director of the Prisons and Justice Initiative at Georgetown University, Aleks Kajstura of the Prison Policy Initiative, Nicole Porter of The Sentencing Project and Davon Woodley, who has devoted his life since his release from prison to helping former incarcerated persons readjust to society. The event will be livestreamed on the Common Cause Facebookpage at 10 a.m. today and a recording will be available after.

The report was written by Joe Maschman, Common Cause Legal Fellow, with editing and other assistance from Keshia Morris, Census & Mass Incarceration Project Manager; Paul S. Ryan, Vice President for Policy and Litigation, and Dale Eisman, Senior Writer/Editor. Research assistance was provided by Common Cause interns Alex Brown, Sam Genova, Raulston Tiger Li, Nadja Linke, and Lily Oberstein. Kerstin Diehn was responsible for layout and design, Jack Mumby, Common Cause’s deputy digital director, for website development and Kenneth Campell for video support.

To view the full report, click here.

To view a video highlighting the report click here.

To view the report release panel discussion, click here.

To view this release online, click here.

Common Cause is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. We work to create open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard in the political process.

 

 

 

 

source:
David Vance
[email protected]

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** FEATURED STORY **

The Virtual United Negro College Fund Tour Heads to NY, DC & NJ on Fri & Sat-Nov. 20 & 21 (EUR EXCLUSIVE!)

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*African American students interested in going to college can attend the United Negro College Fund’s (UNCF) Fall 2020 virtual Empower Me Tour. Set for this Friday and Saturday (November 20 & 21, 2020), New York, District of Columbia, and New Jersey will be repped. (This year’s tour kicked off earlier this month in Wisconsin and Illinois). To register, go here.

The Empower Me Tour is an extension of the goals of the UNCF. Founded in 1944, the UNCF, a non-profit, has raised more than $5 billion and helped more than 500,000 students attend 37 private historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

The EUR caught up with Stacey Lee, the tour’s director for four years, who discussed the importance of the event.

“The UNCF is the nation’s largest provider of education support to minority students,” said Lee. “The Empowerment Tour has been executed for the past 12 years and last year along we offered over $12 million dollars in scholarships.”

MORE NEWS/RELATED: BMEE Authors: Urgent Steps Are Necessary to Address Implicit Bias in Early Education  

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Stacey Lee, director of the Empower Me Tour. (Photo credit: UNCF)

Lee continued, “I think the great thing is that during these times, even with COVID-19, is that a number of corporations (Wells Fargo/P&/FedEx/Disney/Goldman Sachs) and donors have really been providing opportunity and financial access to our schools and students.”

The tour is packed with information and resources so that students and parents have the right tools to make informed decisions.

“It’s a free event that provides educational support, scholarships, interviews with colleges, empowerment, and information on how to get to and through college. We also provide this information for parents as well. We have a parent section that focuses on financial aid and the things you need to get your students to college.”

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Source: Empower Me Tour

Lee continued, “Sometimes we have students that don’t realize that they can attend college. They can receive scholarships. Some of them don’t even know what an HBCU is. So, it’s inspirational for me to see these students receive this information and the excitement that’s around this tour.”

In addition to college information, panel sessions on issues affecting the community will also take place. Legendary rapper Bun B will be part of a special My Black Is Beautiful panel. The panel will have discussions with girls and boys and the MC will lead the male portion.

“It’s about empowerment,” Bun B told the EUR. “It’s vital for us to lift each other up and amplify each other’s voices. We just talk about now what that role is in this COVID world. And with everything that we are seeing with young Black men on television, we want to keep them motivated and centered. We want to make sure that they are not discouraged in this moment.”

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Legendary rapper Bun B is a panelist at the Empower Me Tour. (Photo credit: UNCF)

Ever since Kamala Harris threw her hat into the presidential race and elected vice president of the United States, a spotlight has shined on the fact that she’s an HBCU grad (Howard University) and member of the African American sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha. These facts are not lost on the UNCF.

“Kamala has really boosted people’s awareness about HBCUs and (African American sororities) and the type of people that come out of HBCUs. HBCUS have also provided so many people from science, mathematics, and engineering programs (STEM).”

Bun B added, “We have more than enough examples to show you how beneficial an education from an HBCU can be. So, there is no reason to not be a part of an HBCU because the world is just as available to you as it is for anyone else attending any other type of university.”

Register for the virtual Empower Me Tour on November 20 & 21, 2020 here. Spring tour dates will be announced soon. For general information on the United Negro College Fund, go here.

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(Photo credit: UNCF)

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New Music Buzz: Jazzy Rita Shelby’s ‘Goodbye 2020’

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Goodbye 2020 Jazzy Rita Shelby

After all that’s happened this year, it’s time to say Goodbye 2020. New single available by Jazzy Rita Shelby at most digital platforms.

*SB Music presents “Goodbye 2020” a new single for the times we are in.

“Goodbye 2020” is performed by Jazzy Rita Shelby and written by Miss Shelby (ASCAP) and Eddie Lawrence Miller (BMI).

It’s the perfect anthem to end a year that has impacted the globe.

Jazzy Rita Shelby Goodbye 2020 looking up - Copy

Jazzy Rita Shelby is fed up with this year and elated about her new single “Goodbye 2020.” Avail now from SB Music (Written by L. Shelby & E. Miller)

EURweb’s Jazzy Rita is also a prolific lyricist who has teamed up with Eddie Miller for “Goodbye 2020” because it was timely and convenient for the birth of a song such as this.

Eddie Miller is a coveted keyboardist & vocalist who performs regularly with Brian Culbertson and he’s the Rhodes Festival musical director. Jazzy Rita rose to notoriety as host & performer at The Starlight Jazz Serenade, an annual benefit concert in North Hollywood with an A list of stars.  As a teen Miss Shelby was inspired to write songs by the legendary David Porter.

This year has been a year like no other.  “Goodbye 2020” is an ode to the world for the year that we have seen and the hope that lies ahead.  Radio Programmers click here for adds.

MORE NEWS: THE REAL: The Ladies’ Experience With Stereotypes in Hollywood. Plus, Cheryl Hines Is Here!

“Goodbye 2020” is released on the SB Music label and was recorded at Wishing Wells Studio in Canoga Park, CA.  Willie Daniels and Mildred Black perform background vocals along with Jazzy Rita.  The video is produced & directed by Jazzy Rita (LaRita Shelby), filmed & edited by Reggie Simon of Simon Vision Media, with wardrobe styling by Jazzy Rita and Poet Roni Girl’s Army Couture.  “Goodbye 2020” is available on most digital platforms.  Click here to listen on Spotify.

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Celebrate Halloween with ‘Spell’ Starring Omari Hardwick, Loretta Devine and John Beasley / WATCH

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*Today/TONIGHT is Halloween and what could be a more perfect way to celebrate than with the release of SPELL? Enjoy the clips below to get you in the spooky spirit!

Omari Hardwick (“Power,” Sorry to Bother You), Loretta Devine (“Black-ish,” Crash) and John Beasley (The Sum of All FearsThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks) star in the terrifying thriller SPELL, coming to Premium Video-On-Demand and Digital today October 30 from Paramount Home Entertainment.

While flying to his father’s funeral in rural Appalachia, an intense storm causes Marquis (Omari Hardwick) to lose control of the plane carrying him and his family.  He awakens wounded, alone and trapped in Ms. Eloise’s (Loretta Devine) attic, who claims she can nurse him back to health with the Boogity, a Hoodoo figure she has made from his blood and skin. Unable to call for help, Marquis desperately tries to outwit and break free from her dark magic and save his family from a sinister ritual before the rise of the blood moon.

WHOA! READ THIS: Disabled Siblings Found Living with Dead Body of Mother Decomposing Under Pile of Clothes


DIRECTED BY | Mark Tonderai

SCREENPLAY BY | Kurt Wimmer

STARRING | Omari Hardwick, Loretta Devine, John Beasley

AVAILABLE ON DIGITAL PLATFORMS | Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, DirecTV, VUDU, Xfinity, FandangoNOW and more.

Rating | R – violence, disturbing/bloody images, and language
#WatchSpell

 

 

 

 

 

 

source:
Paige Theall
TeamClick.com

 

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