Saturday, November 21, 2009

'Criminal' Justice in Bush/Perry's Fascist Texas

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

Despite the state Board of Pardons and Parole voting to spare Robert Lee Thompson's life, Bush Jr's successor, Rick 'Hair Club of Men' Perry voted to kill him anyway. Why have a board when you have a dictator?
Even as the controversy over his execution of an innocent man goes unresolved, last night the Texas Governor rejected a rare clemency recommendation from the state Board of Pardons and Paroles for a man facing execution for a murder he did not commit.

Robert Lee Thompson was an accomplice in a violent convenience store robbery in Houston in 1996, when his co-conspirator fatally shot the sales clerk, a man named Mansoor Bhai Rahim Mohammed. Thompson himself fired shots that wounded Mohammed, but it was his partner, Sammy Butler, who pulled the trigger that would leave him dead. Butler was tried and sentenced to life. A different jury found Thompson guilty and sentenced him to death.

...

Numerous defendants who did not kill anyone have been executed under the Law of Parties; that Perry wouldn't hesitate to sign off on Thompson's execution should comes as no surprise. But yesterday Thompson was granted a recommendation for clemency by the state's Board of Pardons and Paroles -- an extremely rare move. The Board, whose members are political appointments, has only recommended clemency two other times in recent memory.

One of these was two years ago in the case of Kenneth Foster, Jr., who also faced execution under the Law of Parties. In his case, the murder took place while he was in a car, 18 feet away. A grassroots campaign rose up to stop Foster's execution and in August 2007, Perry took the Board's recommendation and spared his life.

--Out-of-Control Rick Perry Overrides Rare Clemency Vote, Executes Man Who Killed No One
Why do these state-sponsored crimes against humanity continue? The Carvellian quick response: there's money in it!

It may be 'legal'! So what? Under Nazi law, the Holocaust was legal! What's happening in Texas is an on-going, institutionalized crime against humanity.

Here's how the prison moguls in the gulag state of Texas make money killing people: they farm out the prison system to 'private enterprise'. When there are profits to be made warehousing and killing folk, what incentive is there to keep the crime rate down? What incentive is there to educate people? The geniuses in Texas figured out that not only is it cheaper to kill folk than educate them, there is more profit it. Education --'they figger' --is expensive and requires the suburban, GOP nouveau riche to pay their fair share of taxes.

It is no coincidence that as executions increase the number of people graduating high school in Texas declines. This gulag state now leads the nation, beating even Mississippi for dead last in high school graduations. To be expected: those not graduating high school make up the greater part of those finding their way into the so-called 'criminal justice system'.

There is a fascist incentive, then, NOT to educate people. There is a fascist incentive to murder people while they are behind bars for crimes that might have been prevented by a responsible, civilized state. There is a fascist incentive to thumb the Texas nose at humanity, outsource justice to corporations, make the quick buck and let society slide off into the sewers of fascism and neo-barbarism. I state Texas at least since Bush Jr has become Nazi/fascist state and should be held to account by the civilized world.

The outsourcing of prisons should be banned by international conventions. This is a U.S/GOP holocaust that must be stopped now!
The United States holds the dubious distinction of having the largest incarcerated population in the world, with 2 million people behind bars as of year-end 1999.2 With only 5% of the world's population, the US holds a quarter of the world's prisoners In the 1990s alone, more persons were added to prisons and jails than in any other decade on record.

...

In a continued examination of those states that lead the national trend in increasing levels of incarceration, the Justice Policy Institute turns a focus on the state of Texas. The Lone Star State's criminal justice system is particularly worthy of scrutiny at this time, as the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) reported in August, 2000 that Texas, for the first time, leads the nation in imprisoning its citizens: Texas now has the nation's largest incarcerated population under the jurisdiction of its prison system. Since 1990, Texas has lead the nation's 50 states with an annual average growth rate of 11.8%, about twice the annual average growth rate of other state prison systems (6.1%). Even more important to the national context, since 1990, nearly one in five new prisoners added to the nation's prisons (18%) was in Texas.

--An Analysis of Incarceration and Crime Trends in The Lone Star State

As the GOP "Enronized" the great state of Texas, an assembly line criminal justice system, in cahoots with a medieval, privatized prison system, proved to be an oxymoron. It was "criminal" but hardly "justice". Despite the GOPs "worst" efforts, crime in Texas, always a topic of much discussion and study, has gotten worse. Texas is big on capital punishment, but even its industrialized application of the death penalty just cannot kill off the criminals as fast as they procreate and multiply. The GOP may be seeking a "final solution".
...by year's end 1999, there were 706,600 Texans in prison, jail, parole or probation on any given day. In a state with 14 million adults, this meant that 5% of adult Texans, or 1 out of every 20, are under some form of criminal justice supervision. The scale of what is happening in Texas is so huge, it is difficult to contrast the size of its criminal justice systems to the other states' systems it dwarfs:
  • There are more Texans under criminal justice control than the entire populations of some states, including Vermont, Wyoming and Alaska.
  • According to Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates, one quarter of the nation's parole and probationers are in Texas. California and Texas, together, comprise half the nation's parolees and probationers.
  • The number of people incarcerated in Texas (in prison or jail) reached 207,526 in mid-year 1999. Only California, with 10 million more citizens, has more people in both prison and jail.
  • Texas has a rate of 1,035 people behind bars for every 100,000 in the population, the second highest incarceration rate in the nation (second only to Louisiana). If Texas was a nation separate from the United States, it would have the world's highest incarceration rate--significantly higher than the United States (682), and Russia (685) which has 1 million prisoners, the world's third biggest prison system. Texas' incarceration rate is also higher than China (115), which has the world's second largest prison population (1.4 million prisoners).
  • If the US shared the incarceration rate of Texas, there would be nearly three million Americans behind bars (2,822,300)--instead of our current 2 million prisoners.
  • The Texas prison population tripled since 1990, and rose 61.5% in the last five years of this decade alone. In 1994, there were 92, 669 prisoners in Texas. This number had increased to 149,684 by mid-year 1999.
  • The Texas correctional system has grown so large that in July 2000, corrections officials ran out of six digit numbers to assign inmates, and officially created prisoner number 1,000,000.

--An Analysis of Incarceration and Crime Trends in The Lone Star State

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