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The Fire This Time: Aryan Prison Syndicates, For-Profit Prisons, Government-Sponsored Drug Trafficking and “Austerity”

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash drive that can be obtained here. (The flash drive includes the anti-fascist books avail­able on this site.)

COMMENT: We’ve done a number of posts about some recent murders which may or may not have been committed by white supremacist prison syndicates, which, as we have seen, work with various other groups. Some of the (occasionally) collaborating elements include prison guards and people with links to the intelligence community.

Some of America’s burgeoning for-profit prisons appear to be using them as enforcers.

Prison-based Islamists may also be working with some of them. (Some of the Islamist prison chaplains have been trained by the Saudi-financed Operation Green Quest.)

An article that is as frightening as it is prescient was penned by a former inmate in the corrections system who wrote anonymously.

Noting the antediluvian nature of contemporary correctional systems in this country, a former inmate who had interacted with some of the Aryan prison syndicates has noted not only their large numbers, but the fact that our prisons do not rehabilitate, tending to exacerbate rather than ameliorate the inmates’ difficulties.

In addition, we should note a number of considerations brought up here:

  • Elements of the white supremacist movement appear to have achieved a degree of geographical and functional autonomy, as indicated by the reference to Mountain Home, Idaho.
  • One should note the explosion in the U.S. prison population since 1980. That was when Ronald Reagan assumed office. His administration was, essentially, a front for the Underground Reich.
  • Note also that Aryan Brotherhood elements quoted here discuss having been imprisoned for drug offenses. The Reagan administration was deeply complicit in the drug trade, at the same time as it introduced draconian sentencing for first time offenders.
  • The Reagan administration also dramatically accelerated the shipping of jobs offshore, increasing the pressure on working people to supplement their incomes by selling drugs–not unlike what happened during the Great Depression with bootleg alcohol in the prohibition era.
  • We have also seen a dramatic increase in “for-profit prisons,” giving the powers that be added incentive to “lock ’em up and throw away the key.”
  • It is searingly ironic that many of the members of the Aryan prison syndicates hate black folks. The for-profit prisons are not all that unlike the slavery that was imposed on Africans in the U.S.
  • The cocaine epidemic caused by the massive importation of drugs during the Reagan years also victimized the very African-Americans so despised by these Aryan syndicate members.
  • As budgetary strains brought about by the “austerity” dogma and related phenomena like “sequester” increase, the pressure to release brutalized inmates will increase. This bodes very poorly for the future. 

“Why I Fear the Aryan Brotherhood—and You Should, Too” by Anonymous; The Daily Beast; 4/1/2013.

EXCERPT: Law enforcement officers may have a real problem on their hands. They’re being tight-lipped about it, but it’s something they should have been aware of for decades. They had to see it coming.

Four people have been killed since the beginning of the year in a series of shootings that appear to be connected to the homegrown jihadists of the Aryan Brotherhood. Mike McLelland, the district attorney of Texas’s Kaufman County, and his wife, Cynthia Woodward, became the latest victims this past weekend. Before that, McLelland’s former colleague Mark Hasse was shot in January. Colorado prisons chief Tom Clements was gunned down in mid-March.

The Brotherhood, also known as The Brand, AB, and One-Two, was formed during the 1960s by a group of white convicts serving time at San Quentin. They allegedly were fed up with white prisoners being victimized by the two predominant gangs, the Black Gorilla Family (BGF) and the Mexican Mafia and decided to form a gang of their own for self-protection. While initially closely associated with Nazism ideologically, many adherents belong to the group for the identity and purpose it provides. The ironclad rule for entrée into the Brotherhood is simple: kill a black or a Hispanic prisoner. The other rule, which is just as ironclad, gave rise to their motto: “Blood In/Blood Out.”

Quitting isn’t an option. There’s only death. . . .

. . . . It was from Luke that I first heard of Mountain Home, Idaho, when he said, “If I coulda just made it back to Mountain Home, I’da been OK.” The trouble he was referring to was his last bank robbery for which he was now awaiting sentencing, where he and his crew had kidnapped a bank-branch manager and strapped 10 sticks of dynamite around her chest and wired it to a remote detonator. He was not some little desperate punk-assed note passer; the crew he worked with would, after months of planning, take over the whole bank and, in his words, “take all of the goddamn money.” They felt it was unprofessional to leave one dollar bill behind.

He was the only one of the four captured and flat out told the FBI that he “didn’t know shit.” When they threatened him with a longer sentence, according to him his response was “rush it and you won’t owe it.” I believed him, since these were among the most standup dudes I’d ever encountered.

I gradually learned (from men who had no need to embellish their deeds as some armchair neo-Nazi pseudo-tough guys are prone to do) of Mountain Home and other pockets of armed resistance situated in rural areas of three or four western states where federal authorities are reluctant to enter to enforce the law.

“They know we’re up in there,” I remember Luke saying, “but it ain’t worth riskin’ getting their asses blown off to come in and try to take us out. They want to go home too, and they know we ain’t fucking around. We ain’t trying to overthrow the government or nothing. We’re just fighting to protect our wives, kids and our way of life, and them coward motherfuckers know it. All we’re asking is to be left alone.” He conveniently forgot about all the banks he’d robbed to be able to afford all of the expensive, high-end toys he once possessed.

Unlike David Koresh and his sheeplike followers (and other sects based on religious fanaticism), these are battle-hardened and death-tested men (many of them, like Big Red, with extensive military experience) who are not set on dying for some kind of religious cause; their thing is that, when the situation calls for it, they’re killers. They’re not into dying—except to protect the honor of the Brotherhood.

And they’re also sincere in their belief that many members of law enforcement are kindred spirits, right-wingers who understand their hatreds, loss of hegemony, and rabid determination to protect whatever power the white man has left in America. And those who don’t buy into their hateful rhetoric they perceive as being weak-kneed sob sisters who will willingly mongrelize and sell out their proud white heritage. Truly, everyone who is not with them is against them.

I never spoke to this dude again for the next 18 months, until the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was bombed in downtown Oklahoma City about a week before I was slated to exit prison for the last time. Standing in front of the TV in the day room he turned to me and said, “This ain’t shit, just wait until we get started. They done took me from my family for over 30 years because of some of punk-assed drug-conspiracy bullshit, and eventually they’re going to have to pay … We’re going to make them pay.”

If these recent killings represent the Brotherhood’s twisted form of retribution, the fact that it has taken so long to begin is all the more chilling. To me this would demonstrate a hard-nosed determination that all citizens should find frightening. We shouldn’t be whistling past the graveyard on these killings.

These are men with a huge ax to grind. While few of them would argue they deserve no time behind bars for their crimes, virtually all of them feel the amount of time handed out under federal sentencing guidelines is far, far too punitive … way out of proportion; that punishments don’t fit the crimes, and some legal scholars actually agree.

America’s harsh judicial system, coupled with a growing national affinity for utilizing complete isolation at super-max prisons as a corrections tactic of first choice, in many cases turns men into monsters. And, truth be told, there is no such thing as truly locking away the gang leaders so they can no longer call the shots on the prison yard … or even on the streets.

Someone has to feed these case-hardened convicts three times a day, and who might you think carries this duty out? If you’re thinking it’s the guards, you’re wrong. They’re not about to be turned into waiters for men they often view as the scum of the earth no matter what. Instead, that duty falls to other prisoners known as “trustees.” And these trustees smuggle all of the messages the guards are not bribed (or threatened) into carrying back and forth. Hey, everyone’s got families, you know.

The true terrorist wins because of his or her willingness to die for what they believe in—history has taught us that over and over again. Many of the first men locked up when our nation embarked on a policy of for-profit mass incarceration near the end of the last century are now returning into society. And, as predicted by numerous professionals, they are sicker and more dangerous than when they went behind bars.

While the U.S. population grew 2.8 times since 1920, the U.S. prison population grew more than 20 times, and most dramatically since 1980. The fear among law enforcement is (or at least should be) is that now we have dozens upon dozens—if not hundreds (who knows, maybe even thousands)—of murderous chickens finally coming home to roost.

Discussion

7 comments for “The Fire This Time: Aryan Prison Syndicates, For-Profit Prisons, Government-Sponsored Drug Trafficking and “Austerity””

  1. Thanks Dave. Now it is up to each of us to get this information out to as many people as possible.

    Posted by David | May 6, 2013, 4:54 pm
  2. Just FYI, if you’re a conservative Senator trying to live down your prostitution-scandalrelated shenanigans and you want to rebrand yourself as a tough, noble champion of virtue, proposing amendments that make you look like a callous sadistic monster probably isn’t the rebranding “theme” you want to go for.

    On second thought, it looks like looking like a callous sadistic monster is the popular thing to do:

    Salon
    Friday, May 24, 2013 11:16 AM CST
    David Vitter’s hypocritical, punitive, horrible new amendment
    Senator’s new measure denies food stamps for life to certain classes of ex-convicts (solicitation not included)

    By David Dayen

    In a sleepy moment on the Senate floor Wednesday, Senate Democrats accepted an amendment to the long-delayed farm bill that, if passed in its current form, would represent another step in turning previously incarcerated Americans into a permanent underclass. Certain classes of ex-convicts would be denied food stamp benefits for life, under the amendment offered by Sen. David Vitter (cannily, the crime of soliciting prostitutes is exempted from this ban). While the amendment may sound like common sense, it’s actually a harshly punitive, counterproductive policy that will only increase crime and trap people in the criminal justice system.

    The amendment was clearly created as a wedge issue, a perennial Republican effort to get Democratic senators to vote for something that can get used against them later in attack ads. Tom Coburn is a master of this; during the healthcare bill he offered an amendment banning sex offenders from receiving health insurance benefits for Viagra.

    Vitter presented the bill as prohibiting “convicted murderers, rapists, and pedophiles” from food stamp benefits. And in general those are the categories – murder, rape, aggravated sexual assault, domestic violence where sexual assault is involved, child molestation, and so on. No senator would vote to “give” violent offenders federal benefits, and in this case they didn’t have to. Rather than put the amendment up for a vote, the manager of the farm bill, Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Sen. Debbie Stabenow, merely accepted the amendment into the base bill. The amendment was agreed to by unanimous consent, which is to say that nobody objected to it on the floor. In reality, it’s unlikely that most senators even knew the amendment’s contents.

    “Some people say these are unsavory crimes, and I agree,” said Bob Greenstein, founder and president of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, one of the first to notice the amendment’s passage. “But there’s a broader principle here. Suppose you did something terrible when you were 19, and you were straight the rest of your life, you paid your debt to society, now you’re 82 and living in poverty, should you be stripped of food stamps? Is this the right thing to do?”

    47.8 million Americans are enrolled in the food stamp program, and some subset of them may have a criminal past, even a violent criminal past. By making the lifetime food stamp ban retroactive, you just cut an indeterminate number of ex-convicts off from what has become a primary safety net benefit. In addition, under the amendment, any dependent children or family members would also lose benefits. Because the standard is merely “conviction,” you’re going to get people convicted of a violent crime who may have been innocent – perhaps African-Americans from the south convicted decades ago by segregated juries, Greenstein suggested – caught up in this ban. Given crime statistics, we know that minorities would be disproportionately affected. And once you establish this principle in law, Greenstein adds, “the inevitable question would be, should you add other crimes?”

    Actually, we have experience with this, and the data show that banning convicted criminals from federal benefits has tremendously negative effects for society. The 1996 welfare reform law imposes a lifetime ban from food stamps, as well as welfare benefits, on anyone convicted of a drug-related felony, allegedly to prevent the trade of food stamps for drugs. The law included an opt-out for the states, which co-manage the program. And many states have taken advantage of that, altering the law to exempt those who have completed probation or parole or enrolled in a drug treatment program. Other states end the ban a certain number of years after the completion of the sentence. And 16 states, along with the District of Columbia, opted out of the ban entirely. In 10 states – Alabama, Alaska, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia, Wyoming – the full ban remains in effect. So we have a natural experiment, where we can see the effects of denying benefits to ex-convicts, who already are stigmatized in ways that make it hard to find steady work and adapt back into society.

    The results are really awful. One study shows that convicted felons denied food assistance have higher rates of HIV than their counterparts; the ban pushes people into the sex trade to make a living. Those denied benefits also, as you might expect, have higher rates of return to drug use and crime, leading to higher rates of recidivism. Far from reducing costs for states, the law just shifts those costs from the food stamp program to prison management programs.

    Punitive post-sentencing laws like this create a permanent underclass out of the largely minority ex-convict population, a situation that attorney Michelle Alexander described in her 2012 book “The New Jim Crow.” Benefits like food stamps are crucial in the early stages of transitioning ex-felons into community living. Without public assistance in this critical stage, drug offenders tend to remain trapped in the criminal justice cycle, which disadvantages both their lives and the broader society. It also diminishes the citizenship rights of an entire group of millions of Americans. As Celia Cole of the Center for Public Policy Priorities in Austin, Texas, puts it, “Who are we to say, ‘You made a mistake. You paid your debt to society. We’re letting you reenter society, but you can’t eat?’”

    And states have begun to understand this. New Jersey, Delaware and South Dakota recently softened their bans on denying public assistance to drug offenders. With strained state budgets and the explosion of spending on prisons, state legislators are moving in the direction of questioning the value of the ban. Lawmakers in Missouri and West Virginia have proposed lifting it.

    So just as the states start to recognize how counterproductive this all is, here comes the federal government with another ban. Perhaps denying benefits to violent crime offenders sounds more logical than denying them to nonviolent drug offenders (though when you consider that criminals are fed through public resources in prison, the logic starts to collapse). But the dynamic is the same – these ex-felons will end up without enough support to survive outside prison, and in many cases return to a life of crime. So in the name of moral preening, bans like this only endanger society more, to say nothing of the social and economic costs. “The principle should be, if you were convicted, did you pay your debt, serve your sentence, comply with probation?” said Bob Greenstein of CBPP. “If you’ve done everything right, it doesn’t seem to me years later that we ought to be doing this.”

    You have to wonder if we’ll ever figure out that the whole “turning the other cheek”/Golden Rule approach to public policy actually create better policies with better results for everyone. Forgiveness isn’t just a nifty slogan. It actually works. There’s really no excuse for being a monster.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 26, 2013, 7:33 pm
  3. The new “King Alfred” plan

    I tried to post this under the Misc. archive “King Alfred” post section, but I don’t think there was a written post area for it at the time it was produced.

    Senator Mark Kirk (R,IL.) has called for a “King Alfred” solution to “the black problem”:

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/05/30/rep-rush-blasts-rep-kirks-elitist-white-boy-plan-to-jail-18000-black-men/

    Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) on Wednesday accused Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk (R) of proposing an “elitist white boy solution” to gang violence with his plan for the mass arrests of 18,000 gang members in Chicago.

    Earlier on Wednesday, Kirk had joined with fellow Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) in calling on Illinois attorney general nominee Zachary Fardon to focus on street gangs and gun violence. But in an interview earlier this month, Kirk had gone even further with a plan to target members of the Gangster Disciples.

    “My top priority is to arrest the Gangster Disciple gang, which is 18,000 people,” Kirk told WFLD. “I would like to a mass pickup of them and put them all in the Thomson Correctional Facility.”

    The senator proposed that federal agencies — like the ATF, DEA and FBI — work together to charge members of the gang with “drug dealing” and “murdering people, which is what they do.”

    Rush reacted to that plan on Wednesday by insisting it was a “sensational, headline-grabbing, empty, simplistic, unworkable approach.”

    Rush told the Chicago Sun-Times that Kirk needed to “see the bigger picture” instead of proposing an “upper-middle-class, elitist white boy solution to a problem he knows nothing about.”

    “I am really very upset with Mark,” he said.

    In a follow-up statement, Rush explained that his colleague’s “current plan does not include the option to create jobs, provide affordable and safe housing, quality health care and improve schools in urban areas, BUT certainly a plan to incarcerate 18,000 black men is elitist.”

    —————–

    REX-84 anybody…anybody? Kirk?

    Posted by Swamp | May 30, 2013, 7:28 pm
  4. The more guns the merrier when you’re talking about a secret neo-nazi underground bunker with a 25 yard firing range:

    NBC Los Angeles
    Secret Stash of Illegal Weapons, White Supremacist Paraphernelia Found in Palmdale
    “I wasn’t quite expecting what we discovered,” Deputy James Moser said.
    By Samia Khan and John Cádiz Klemack
    | Thursday, Jan 9, 2014 | Updated 7:35 AM PST

    Three men have been arrested after authorities in Palmdale discovered a secret bunker hiding illegal guns, ammunition, and White Supremacist paraphernalia, according to the LA County Sheriff’s Department.

    “It’s not something that anybody we’ve ever worked with has seen in their careers in law enforcement,” Deputy Julia Vezina said.

    NBC4 got an exclusive look into the home that housed the secret bunker Wednesday, which is located on the 10000 block of East Avenue S-4, in the Littlerock area just outside of Palmdale.

    “When you open up the hatch, you look down and about 10 feet down, all concrete reinforced walls, soundproof with bars,” Vezina said of the bunker, which was home to a 25 yard underground firing range.

    Deputies began the investigation last month after four guns were stolen from a storage unit in Palmdale. The information gathered allowed them to issue a search warrant early Tuesday morning, which is what led them to the discovery.

    “Some of the weapons were illegal just on their face because of what they were, like machine guns. And then other guns were confirmed stolen,” Vezina said.

    Investigators found six pistols, 11 rifles, a WWII machine gun, more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition, more than 100 magazines, and several items of White Supremacist paraphernalia.

    “He had some Nazi flags and rebel flag, some other photos of himself wearing Nazi attire and giving the straight arm salute, stuff like that,” Vezina said.

    Deputies arrested 54-year-old Todd Hunt, 33-year-old Royce Gresham, and 62-year-old Larry Finnell, all residents of Littlerock.

    “Larry was a survivalist, he’s concerned about the direction our government is going now,” neighbor Dale Snide said of one of the suspects. “He was a good neighbor, never caused anyone any trouble out here as far as I know.”

    It’s worth pointing out that the youngest of the three men arrested, 33-year-old Royce Gresham, appears to have been quoted in a 2007 article about the negative long-term consequences of the “lock ’em up!” mentality. Gresham is characterized at the time as “a 26-year-old car thief who had the misfortune to be randomly stopped at a sobriety checkpoint while on parole” and describes the terrifying situation non-violent prisoners experience. It’s an anecdote that raises the question: Was Gresham already a white-supremacist before he went to prison or is that one of the useful life skills he acquired on the inside:

    The Weekly Standard
    California Behind Bars
    Overcrowding, unionization and other prison problems.
    Apr 9, 2007, Vol. 12, No. 29 • By DAVID DEVOSS

    Lancaster, Calif.

    Surrounded by subdivisions with names like Almond Valley and Sierra Vista, the California State Prison in Lancaster looks more like an industrial park than a maximum-security facility. But the lethal throb of high voltage electricity coursing through its double-perimeter fence leaves no doubt that this is a place one enters with trepidation.

    “This prison opened in 1993 with a capacity of 2,200, but today we have 4,300 prisoners, 468 of which are in temporary beds,” says warden William Sullivan as we stroll across a common monitored by marksmen in looming guard towers. “I get 200 new inmates a week and 8,000 more are waiting in L.A. County jails for room to move in here.”

    The extent of the crowding becomes apparent when we enter a gymnasium filled with rows of bunks stacked three high. More than 120 prisoners wander through the maze of beds waiting assignment to other prisons. That they live in relative peace is due to the small platoon of grim-faced guards arrayed about the room like Stations of the Cross.

    “Right now everybody’s getting along, but things could turn in a minute,” confides Royce Gresham, a 26-year-old car thief who had the misfortune to be randomly stopped at a sobriety checkpoint while on parole. “It’s scary,” he whispers. “People with light sentences are mixed with lifers coming through here with nothing to lose.”

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 9, 2014, 10:25 pm
  5. Birds of a feather flock together. It makes crapping on everyone else so much easier:

    TPM Livewire
    Rick Scott Fundraiser Founded Drug Clinic Closed Due To Abuse Reports

    Daniel Strauss – April 1, 2014, 3:12 PM EDT858

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) is hosting a fundraising event on Thursday in which the host committee includes the founder of a substance abuse boot camp that closed because of charges of serious abuse, Mother Jones reported on Tuesday.

    The fundraiser in question is Mel Sembler, who founded Straight Inc. in 1976. Over 17 years the Straight Inc. drug treatment facilities were repeatedly accused of abuse. As Mother Jones notes, there was at least one Straight Inc. staffer accused of kidnapping adult patients and abusing them in mental, physical, and sexual ways. There were two state investigations that backed up that charge.

    Mother Jones reported in 2006 that “hundreds” of patients said they had been abused at Straight Inc. facilities. Samantha Monroe said she had been raped and starved and locked in a closet.

    Monroe also said that after she escaped from the program Straight Inc. staff put her in a “timeout room” and “hog-tied her,” according to Mother Jones.

    Straight Inc., officials said those accusations were not true.

    The California Department of Social Services in 1990 ordered one of Straight Inc.’s facilities, in Yorba Linda to close after investigators confirmed allegations of abuse. A year later, state officials in Virginia took away the Straight Inc. facility’s license there, causing it to move to Maryland.

    Thus far Sembler has donated $25,000 to the Florida governor’s re-election efforts.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 2, 2014, 7:54 am
  6. With California on track to go up in flames from drought-induced wildfires it’s no surprise that state officials might be placing a high priority on maintaining the state’s firefighting capabilities. Still, there’s a bit of a “the ends don’t justify the means” issue with the state’s approach since the means involves intentionally keep people in prison in order to provide a large supply of cheap labor to fight wildfires:

    Think Progress
    California Tells Court It Can’t Release Inmates Early Because It Would Lose Cheap Prison Labor

    by Nicole Flatow Posted on November 17, 2014 at 4:53 pm Updated: November 18, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    Out of California’s years-long litigation over reducing the population of prisons deemed unconstitutionally overcrowded by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010, another obstacle to addressing the U.S. epidemic of mass incarceration has emerged: The utility of cheap prison labor.

    In recent filings, lawyers for the state have resisted court orders that they expand parole programs, reasoning not that releasing inmates early is logistically impossible or would threaten public safety, but instead that prisons won’t have enough minimum security inmates left to perform inmate jobs.

    The dispute culminated Friday, when a three-judge federal panel ordered California to expand an early parole program. California now has no choice but to broaden a program known as 2-for-1 credits that gives inmates who meet certain milestones the opportunity to have their sentences reduced. But California’s objections raise troubling questions about whether prison labor creates perverse incentives to keep inmates in prison even when they don’t need to be there.

    The debate centers around an expansive state program to have inmates fight wildfires. California is one of several states that employs prison labor to fight wildfires. And it has the largest such program, as the state’s wildfire problem rapidly expands arguably because of climate change. By employing prison inmates who are paid less than $2 per day, the state saves some $1 billion, according to a recent BuzzFeed feature of the practice. California relies upon that labor source, and only certain classes of nonviolent inmates charged with lower level offenses are eligible for the selective program. They must then meet physical and other criteria.

    In exchange, they get the opportunity for early release, by earning twice as many credits toward early release as inmates in other programs would otherwise earn, known as 2-for-1 credits. In February, the federal court overseeing California’s prison litigation ordered the state to expand this 2-for-1 program to some other rehabilitation programs so that other inmates who exhibit good behavior and perform certain work successfully would also be eligible for even earlier release.

    As has been California’s practice in this litigation, California didn’t initially take the order that seriously. It continued to work toward reducing its prison population. In fact, the ballot initiative passed by voters in November to reclassify several nonviolent felonies as misdemeanors will go a long way toward achieving that goal. But it insisted that it didn’t have to do it the way the court wanted it to, because doing so could deplete the state’s source of inmate firefighters.

    The incentives of this wildfire and other labor programs are seemingly in conflict with the goal of reducing U.S. reliance on mass incarceration. But the federal judges overseeing this litigation were nonetheless sensitive to the state’s need for inmate firefighters. That’s why they ordered the state to offer 2-for-1 credits only to those many inmates who weren’t eligible for the wildfire program. This way, inmates who were eligible would still be incentivized to choose fighting wildfires, while those that weren’t could choose other rehabilitative work programs to reduce their sentence.

    The Department of Corrections didn’t like this idea, either. It argued that offering 2-for-1 credits to any inmates who perform other prison labor would mean more minimum security inmates would be released earlier, and they wouldn’t have as large of a labor pool. They would still need to fill those jobs by drawing candidates who could otherwise work fighting wildfires, and would be “forced to draw down its fire camp population to fill these vital MSF [Minimum Support Facility] positions.” In other words, they didn’t want to have to hire full-time employees to perform any of the work that inmates are now performing.

    The plaintiffs had this to say in response: “Defendants baldly assert that if the labor pool for their garage, garbage, and city park crews is reduced, then ‘CDCR would be forced to draw-down its fire camp population to fill these vital MSF positions.’ That is a red herring; Defendants would not be ‘forced’ to do anything. They could hire public employees to perform tasks like garbage collection, garage work and recycling … ”

    In a short order Friday, the federal court seemingly agreed with this argument, ordering California to expand its 2-for-1 credits program.

    California’s resistance to the initial federal court order is not surprising. Despite making some real strides in reducing its prison population relative to other states, the state has fought court orders every step of the way, as Gov. Jerry Brown claimed that the prisons were on the verge of being “gold plated.” But its newest line of argument reveals another obstacle to prison reform that may affect many other states without a court order for reform.

    While this is obviously quite cruel to California’s prisoners, note that, should this society ever actually start sending fracking CEOs to prison for casually poisoning California’s water supply with fracking pollutants and those CEOs end up fighting fires for the state of California, we could see a justice system that’s not only cruel but unusually ironic too.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 20, 2014, 1:04 pm
  7. Arizona just had another neo-Nazi shooting spree:

    TPM Livewire
    Tattooed Neo-Nazi Named As Suspect In Deadly Arizona Shooting Spree

    By Catherine Thompson
    Published March 18, 2015, 5:28 PM EDT

    The man believed to have gone on a deadly shooting spree Wednesday in Mesa, Arizona has a criminal record and purported ties to neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups.

    Following a manhunt that lasted hours, police took into custody a gunman who allegedly killed one person and wounded five others across multiple shooting scenes.

    The Mesa Police Department has not released the suspect’s name. But the Arizona Republic reported that anonymous police sources identified Ryan Eliot Giroux, 41, as the suspect in the shooting.

    Giroux was released from prison in 2013 after serving more than six years for attempted aggravated assault, according to records from the Arizona Department of Corrections. He had served two prior prison terms on burglary and marijuana charges.

    Giroux also sports multiple face and neck tattoos, including eyebrow ink that reads “Skinhead” and an “88” on his left temple. The number is a code used for the Nazi salute “heil Hitler.” In a news conference Wednesday, a spokesman for the Mesa Police Department described the suspect as a bald man with face and neck tattoos.

    Retired Mesa Police Det. Matt Browning on Wednesday told the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hatewatch blog that he was familiar with Giroux. Browning identified Giroux as a member of the Hammerskin Nation, a racist skinhead group formed in the late 1980s.

    Wade Page, the gunman in the 2012 Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting, had notably belonged to the same group.

    Beyond the obvious question of what caused this guy to go on a shooting spree, you have to wonder if he was the type of guy inclined to tattoo “Skinhead” and “88” on his face before he spent all those year in the neo-Nazi recruitment centers know as American prisons or after. Based on statements by an acquaintance of his, it might be the latter:

    Southern Poverty Law Center
    Hatewatch blog
    Suspect in Arizona Shooting Spree a White Supremacist Skinhead
    By Mark Potok on March 18, 2015 – 3:27 pm

    The man reportedly arrested in the aftermath of a shooting spree in Mesa, Ariz., today sports tattoos that identify him as a neo-Nazi. What’s more, a local retired detective says he is a longtime white supremacist skinhead associated with major racist groups.

    Ryan Giroux, who allegedly murdered one person and wounded five others earlier today and was arrested after a frenzied manhunt, was released from prison in Arizona in 2013. According to prison records, he has convictions for attempt to commit aggravated assault, marijuana, theft, and second degree burglary. Records indicate that he was sentenced to a total of about 14 years in prison.

    The Arizona prison system’s mug shot of Giroux shows his face covered in white supremacist tattoos: where his shaven eyebrows used to be, the words “SKIN” and “HEAD”; on his left temple, the number “88,” which is neo-Nazi code for Heil Hitler (because H is the 8th letter of the alphabet); and on his chin, a Celtic cross, which for white supremacists represents the white race.

    A retired Mesa Police detective who once infiltrated local skinhead groups, told Hatewatch that he knew Giroux from previous encounters, and that Giroux was a member of Hammerskin Nation, a notoriously violent racist skinhead group, and an associate of the Aryan Brotherhood, a national prison gang with a long list of murders to its credit. “He’s a violent guy,” aaid the source, who knew Giroux as a young skinhead in the 1990s and early 2000s and requested anonymity because of the ongoing investigation. “I think his time in prison contributed to that.”

    Giroux, 41, has been in and out of Arizona prisons since 1993, when he was arrested for burglary and marijuana possession. His most recent prison stint, for an attempt to commit aggravated assault, began in 2007 and ended in October 2013.

    “He’s a violent guy…I think his time in prison contributed to that.”
    What? No positive lessons in race relations and self-discovery? How unexpected.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 18, 2015, 7:09 pm

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