Internet Access Is a Human Right. Should Prisoners Have It?

By Christopher Zoukis Internet and computer access dominates most people’s lives to a major degree in many countries around the world. More than 45 percent of the world population has an internet connection at home — that’s fast approaching 4

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What Saudi Arabia has done right in their penal system

By Christopher Zoukis It’s hard not to read the first paragraph of this article and not think it’s the script for a lost episode of Monty Python: “A total of 5,843 inmates in Saudi prisons, including a number sentenced to

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Louis Taylor Savors Freedom After 40 Years in Prison

By Dianne Walker

Through his tears Louis Taylor could hardly speak when he was interviewed by CBS News correspondent Bill Whitaker after being freed from prison after 40-years for something he did not do. “How did this happen?”  exclaimed Taylor. “We live in a country that is supposed to have the best criminal justice system in the world.”

In 1970 Taylor was only 16 years old when he was accused and convicted of 29 counts of murder.  How did this happen?  Taylor was working at the Pioneer Hotel in Tucson when the building perished in a fire that killed 29 people.  Originally, Taylor was regarded as a hero because he rescued people from the burning hotel. Taylor is a trained medical technician so in an emergency his training to save lives took over, but he believes because he is African American his status quickly went from hero to criminal.

Taylor was charged with 29 counts of murder and spent 40 years behind bars for a crime he claims he “did not do.”

Thanks to 60 minutes Investigation, Arizona Justice Project, and his legal team, Taylor is now a free man. Even though a shoddy investigation and racial bias was uncovered, Taylor had to take a plea bargain of “no contest” to 28 counts of murder before being released from prison, but the plea was no bargain for Taylor. He was forced into the plea agreement to avoid a retrial.   The Pima County prosecutor said, “His release doesn’t mean exoneration. His conviction still stands.”

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The Rebecca Project for Human Rights

The Rebecca Project for Human Rights is a national legal and policy organization that advocates for public policy reform, justice and dignity for vulnerable families. Their mission is to improve the status of women and girls who may live on the margins of acceptable society. They wish to help train mothers and girls to help educate policymakers for sensible criminal justice, child welfare and economic policy reforms.

The Rebecca Project for Human Rights is helping to improve conditions of confinement for female prisoners and well as improving conditions for pregnant inmates and seeking to provide alternatives to incarceration for mother inmates.

 

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Why on Earth Should We Bother Educating Prisoners?

An Australian named John Braithwaite wrote a book titled Prisons, Education and Work.  His book was published in 1980.  In his book, Braithwaite presented a number of very cogent and persuasive ideas concerning prisoners and education. 

At the time Braithwaite wrote, the general consensus in Australia was that prisoners should not receive any benefits greater than those given to the lowest and poorest people in Australian society.  In other words, if poor people didn’t have it, then prisoners certainly shouldn’t have it.

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