Hundreds of women suing state over alleged sex abuse in prisons

Hundreds of women are suing the state of New York for its alleged role in prison sex abuse under the newly-passed Adult Survivors Act, which allows sexual abuse victims to file civil lawsuits after the statute of limitations has expired, according to the New York Times.

The law, passed in May, grants victims of abuse at state-run facilities including prisons a one-time opportunity file civil lawsuits after the statute of limitations has passed, according to the New York Times. At least 750 civil lawsuits will be filed on behalf of incarcerated women by Slater Slater and Schulman, a law firm that pursued sexual abuse lawsuits against Boy Scouts of American and the Catholic Church, and other law firms will likely follow.

The law firm reached potential victims through television ads and said the response was overwhelming.

“Once we recognized the overwhelming number of survivors, we decided to reach out in different ways — and the response has been pretty unbelievable,” Adam Slater, a partner at the firm, told the NYT.

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Four States Voted to End Slavery — But Not Louisiana. Here’s Why.

Voters in Vermont, Tennessee, Oregon and Alabama amended their state constitutions to abolish slavery and indentured servitude this week — but a similar initiative failed in Louisiana, garnering embarrassing headlines for a former slave state that remains infamous for modern mass incarceration and forced prison labor.

Louisiana voters rejected an amendment to the state constitution aimed at outlawing slavery and involuntary servitude on Tuesday, underscoring the challenges faced by a growing movement to abolish slave wages and coerced labor inside prisons nationwide. Activists campaigning to end prison slavery say the vote was mired in confusion and misinformation after Rep. Edmond Jordan, a Black Democrat and sponsor of the amendment in the state legislature, advised voters to reject its compromise language and send it back to the drawing board.

However, Amendment 7’s passage would have been at least a symbolic victory for formerly and currently incarcerated organizers in a state known for the Louisiana State Penitentiary, home to the notorious Angola prison farm located on a former antebellum plantation. Activists cite Angola as a well-known example of “modern-day slavery,” although coerced and extremely low-paid prison labor is pervasive far beyond rural Louisiana.

“We knew the amendment didn’t go far enough, but we need to start somewhere,” said Morgan Shannon, director of partnerships at the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, in an interview. The social justice group is one of several that campaigned in support of the amendment.

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UK Man Sent To PRISON For 6 Months For Serving Snacks At Club During Lockdown

A 72-year-old man has been sentenced to six months in prison for the crime of serving mince pies with wine at his shooting club in 2020 while the area was under a lockdown.

The BBC reports that “Maurice Snelling broke tier three restrictions at Cloudside Shooting Grounds in 2020,” by allowing people to sit in at his premises rather than take away.

Mr Snelling pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice, but argued that his club was in an area where restrictions stated visitors could sit inside and consume drinks if they were accompanied by food.

The judge presiding over the case was not convinced, however, and said “I find it hard to believe that Mr Snelling didn’t know which lockdown tier he was in.”

Police disrupted the gatherings at the time after residents in the area reported Snelling.

He reportedly refused to provide police CCTV from the club and allegedly attempted to have the footage destroyed, prompting the contractor company hosting it on a hard drive to hand it over to authorities.

The lawyer representing Snelling told the BBC that he has suffered ill health since the case began and “This has tarnished his reputation. He believed he was targeted by neighbours and this built up resentment of a man with good character.”

The report also notes that the Judge believed Snelling to be “anti-establishment, especially to the police. He doesn’t like being told what to do. He treated police with resentment.”

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Biden’s Marijuana Pardons Did Not Free a Single Federal Prisoner or Deliver the Expungement He Promised

Edwin Rubis has served more than two decades of a 40-year federal prison sentence for participating in a marijuana distribution operation. Taking into account “good time” credit, he is not scheduled to be released until August 2032.

Rubis is one of about 3,000 federal prisoners whose cannabis-related sentences were unaffected by President Joe Biden’s mass pardon for low-level marijuana offenders. A protest at the White House today called attention to their predicament.

Biden’s October 6 proclamation applied only to U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents convicted of simple marijuana possession under the Controlled Substances Act or the District of Columbia Code, none of whom was still incarcerated. Although his pardons could benefit as many as 10,000 or so individuals, that represents a tiny percentage of all simple possession cases, which typically are charged under state law. And Biden’s action will not release a single federal prisoner.

According to a 2021 report from Recidiviz, “more than 3,000 individuals are
currently serving marijuana-related sentences in federal prison.” The report estimated that ending federal marijuana prohibition—a step that Biden has steadfastly resisted—would reduce the federal prison population by more than 2,800 over five years.

“Your recent executive order, while a great first step, did nothing to address the thousands of federal cannabis prisoners currently incarcerated in federal prison,” 16 drug policy reform groups noted in an October 10 letter to Biden. “While your recent executive order will help many, it will not release a single one of the nearly 2,800 federal cannabis prisoners.” Although “eighteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis,” the letter said, “there are thousands of Americans who are serving long-term prison sentences, including some life sentences, in federal facilities for conduct involving amounts of cannabis that are far less than what dispensaries routinely handle on a daily basis.”

The moral logic of Biden’s distinction between simple possession and other marijuana offenses is puzzling. He says marijuana use should not be treated as a crime. Yet he is willing to let individuals like Rubis languish in prison merely for helping people use marijuana, which today is recognized as a legitimate business in most states, 19 of which allow recreational as well as medical use.

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‘No One Wants These Laws’: Ireland to Jail ‘Hate Speech’ Offenders for Up to Five Years

Those who use so-called “hate speech” will soon be jailed for up to five years under new legislation published on Thursday.

Any individual found guilty of using “hate speech” in Ireland will soon find themselves facing up to five years in jail. The country’s Justice Minister, Helen McEntee, has been at the centre of the country’s push towards implementing effective “hate speech” legislation, with her department announcing on Thursday that the first draft of the new laws would soon enter the country’s parliament.

Under the rules as proposed, those found guilty of “any intentional or reckless communication or behaviour that is likely to incite violence or hatred against a person or persons because they are associated with a protected characteristic” would face up to five years in jail.

What’s more, any individual convicted of such an offence would be branded a “hate criminal”, a label which the minister says is designed to “follow an offender in court, in garda vetting, and so on”.

“[H]ate speech is not about free speech,” McEntee declared in a statement published by her department.

“Hate speech is designed to shut people down, to shut them up, to make them afraid to say who they are and to exclude and isolate them,” she continued. “There is nothing free about that, and there is, frankly, no place for it in our society.”

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Kamala Harris Dragged For Saying No One Should Go To Jail For Smoking Weed

Critics ripped into Vice President Kamala Harris over the weekend as video circulated of her claiming that no one should go to jail simply for smoking marijuana.

Harris’ remarks came on the heels of President Joe Biden’s Thursday pronouncement declaring mass pardons for thousands who have past federal convictions on drug charges — and flew in the face of her record as a prosecutor in California.

“And speaking of the system of justice,” Harris began. “We are also changing — y’all might have heard that this week — the federal government’s approach to marijuana.”

As the crowd cheered, Harris continued, “Because the bottom line there is nobody should have to go to jail for smoking weed.”

San Francisco Republican Party Chairman John Dennis — who is challenging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her seat in Congress — called out the vice president in a tweet, saying, “Shameless. As California Attorney General Harris sent people to jail for …smoking weed.”

“The hypocrisy is staggering,” actor Matthew Marsden added.

U.S. Senate Candidate Mark Meuser (R-CA) pointed out: “Clearly, Kamala has forgotten her legacy in California.”

“REMINDER: Kamala Harris has sent at least 1,560 people to prison for marijuana-related offenses,” Steve Guest, special communications advisor to Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) said.

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