The Allegheny College Student Alliance for Prison Reform chapter will be hosting its first ever prison reform conference on April 8, 2017. In a collaborative effort with other social justice organizations on campus, the conference will address a variety of issues within the judicial system. The denial of hormonal treatment for and sentencing of transgender people, racial disparities in sentencing, and private prisons will be discussed. Activist Ashley Diamond will be presenting on her experiences within a correctional institution in Georgia and her current efforts surrounding prison reform. Shane Bauer will be the keynote speaker, presenting on an investigative piece he published for Mother Jones on going undercover for four months as a private prison guard. If you are interested in learning more or plan on attending, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
TOMORROW IS THE DAY! Before you head to the polls, we've got some important news coming to you from the Student Alliance for Prison Reform and Strong Returns:
To help you consider the implications of this election on the future of our criminal justice system, we've worked hard to create a MILLENNIAL REFORM AGENDA.
The representation we elect - from county prosecutors, state supreme court justices, and senators to the next President of the United States will have monumental effects on the policies, practices, and very essence of justice within our country. This essence translates into a real impact on each and every one of our lives..
Enjoy the product of our efforts and make educated decisions tomorrow; your voice really does make a difference. Please, let it stand for positive change, safer communities, equal enforcement of the law and equal treatment under it, reconnected families, a devotion to human dignity, and an end to mass incarceration.
CHECK OUT THE AGENDA: millennialprisonreform.org
There is a debate about criminal justice across the country, and the support for reform is growing. What can make our justice system more just? The Student Alliance for Prison Reform is proud to promote Incarcerating US, a feature-length documentary that exposes America's prison problem and explores ways to unshackle the “land of the free” through vital criminal justice reforms. Get your campus informed, involved, and ready to demand change, and help build momentum for real criminal justice reform with a campus screening from Bullfrog Communities by reaching out to schedule a screening in your community! Click here for more information http://incarceratingus.bullfrogcommunities.com/
After partnering with the ACLU to petition the Attorney General back in April 2015, we have finally won the fight against solitary confinement for juveniles. On January 25, 2016, President Obama announced a ban on solitary confinement for juveniles in federal prisons. Additionally, the President outlined a series of executive actions, one of which dictates that the maximum amount of time a prisoner can be punished with solitary confinement for a first offense is 60 days, rather than the current maximum of 365 days. Obama's move to ban solitary for juveniles will hopefully lead to even greater restrictions on solitary confinement for the larger prison population.
The fight for justice is not easy, but this gives us proof that the work being done for criminal justice reform is valuable and does not go unnoticed. Just this past April, we held a number of 7x9 demonstrations to bring awareness to the issue of the increasing number of youth placed in solitary confinement. We would like to thank advocates at the ACLU and around the country for their tireless work with the campaign to end solitary.
Tonight, the Student Alliance for Prison Reform chapter at Ohio State University, with the support of the ACLU in Ohio, the Campaign for Youth Justice, the Ohio Student Association, YouthMOVE Ohio, and the Juvenile Justice Coalition, will be holding a public demonstration to stop the unnecessary shackling of youth in Ohio during court proceedings. Hallie Israel, who is the SAPR Outreach Director and is the founder and president of the OSU SAPR chapter, will be heading the event.
THE ISSUE AT HAND: Children appearing in Ohio's juvenile courts may be shackled for any reason, or for no reason at all. In some counties, youth can appear in juvenile court restrained by handcuffs, chains, leg irons, and waist belts. This practice of shackling is carried out routinely, automatically, and without justification.
By international standards, the routine shackling of children who pose no danger to themselves or others during juvenile court proceedings is cruel and unnecessary. Unnecessary shackling has been shown to hinder healthy identity development, unfairly label, demean, and stigmatize the child, and can even result in serious mental health and trauma disorders. Additionally, unnecessary shackling interferes with the child's right to a fair trial by creating the presumption that the child is delinquent of the charges brought against them before a legal determination of guilt or innocence has ever been made. This policy undermines the rehabilitative focus of juvenile court and is clearly contradictory to the goals of youth justice, especially considering that juveniles are much more likely to have further involvement with the justice system if delinquent behavior is met with retribution, as opposed to rehabilitation. Additionally, minority groups as well as children affected adversely by zero tolerance policies are disproportionately victims of shackling within our communities.
Recognizing their potentially prejudicial effect, courts across the nation (including Ohio) have ruled that restraints may NOT be used on ADULT defendants during the guilt phase of trial. In 23 states (and the District of Columbia), legal action has been taken to ensure that youth have the right to the same procedural entitlement to appear free of restraints in court. Nonetheless, Ohio juveniles are denied this right.
THE DEMONSTRATION: OSU SAPR and other activists will gather on the sidewalks at the east plaza of the Ohio Union from 6-8 pm tonight, December 7, 2015, as they take a stand against this policy. During the demonstration, activists wearing glow-bracelets will stand with their wrists together in solidarity with the Ohio youth who have been adversely affected by indiscriminate, unjustified shackling. Students will also distribute further information about shackling in Ohio, as well as possible alternatives, and an ACLU of Ohio link will be distributed so that activists can send a pre-written letter to the Ohio Supreme Court to advocate that the current policy be changed.
We at SAPR believe that every child should go unrestrained, unless written findings possess that he or she presents a risk of flight or a risk to the safety of courtroom staff and visitors. Additionally, we believe that there should be standardized state guidelines to help states make this important determination.
Check out https://www.facebook.com/events/748296811969305/ to RSVP and keep updated on the event!
To submit a public comment to support the passage for Rule 5.01, which would protect the due process rights of children, and stop the automatic shackling of Ohio's children, click here.
Today, the ACLU Action team sent out an email from Kelly McCarron, the Education Director of the Student Alliance for Prison Reform to hundreds of thousands of ACLU subscribers.
Kelly, who is formerly incarcerated, documented her experiences seeing solitary confinement practiced at Barnstable House of Corrections.
Next week, students on campuses around the country will launch a week of action petitioning the Attorney General to end solitary confinement for youth held in juvenile detention facilities.
RSVP to the Week of Action here and sign the petition at aclu.org/bansolitary4youth.