Tag Archives: crime

How to Really End Mass Incarceration – NYTimes.com

15 Aug

This is a start, but let’s wait and see.

Starting in the 1970s, a domestic “war on crime” dominated by antidrug policies and racial profiling fueled a prison-building binge that is morally — and now financially — bankrupt. Both political parties embraced draconian policies like mandatory minimum sentences, three-strikes laws and wide disparities in sentences for possession of crack versus powder cocaine. The result: by 2003, the United States had 4.6 percent of the world’s population but 22.4 percent of its prison population — even though violent crime started dropping in the 1990s. Prospects for reform looked bleak.

So I was elated when Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced on Monday that the government would commit to reducing the bloated prison population. This is without precedent: the nation’s top law enforcement official directed all federal prosecutors to exercise their discretion toward ending the relentless warehousing of inmates — the vast majority of whom are minorities — in federal prison for low-level drug crimes.

via How to Really End Mass Incarceration – NYTimes.com.

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Where the Mob Keeps Its Money – NYTimes.com

26 Aug

Money is money, no matter how much blood drips from it.

THE global financial crisis has been a blessing for organized crime. A series of recent scandals have exposed the connection between some of the biggest global banks and the seamy underworld of mobsters, smugglers, drug traffickers and arms dealers. American banks have profited from money laundering by Latin American drug cartels, while the European debt crisis has strengthened the grip of the loan sharks and speculators who control the vast underground economies in countries like Spain and Greece.

Mutually beneficial relationships between bankers and gangsters aren’t new, but what’s remarkable is their reach at the highest levels of global finance. In 2010, Wachovia admitted that it had essentially helped finance the murderous drug war in Mexico by failing to identify and stop illicit transactions. The bank, which was acquired by Wells Fargo during the financial crisis, agreed to pay $160 million in fines and penalties for tolerating the laundering, which occurred between 2004 and 2007.

via Where the Mob Keeps Its Money – NYTimes.com.

In the Financial World, a Less Scrupulous Class of Lawbreaker – NYTimes.com

7 Aug

The financial industry in 2012 New York City offers itself as almost a Medellín cartel of shady and unscrupulous dealings.

Northeast of HSBC’s headquarters sits that of Barclays, a venerable bank that of late admitted to fixing Libor, an obscure interest rate that underpins trillions of dollars in investments. A wee nudge here and there, and a clever bank insider could make tens of millions of dollars.

via In the Financial World, a Less Scrupulous Class of Lawbreaker – NYTimes.com.

Go to Trial – Crash the Justice System – NYTimes.com

11 Mar

The USofA has more people in prison than any other nation. 90% of all criminal cases are plea-bargained.

The system of mass incarceration depends almost entirely on the cooperation of those it seeks to control. If everyone charged with crimes suddenly exercised his constitutional rights, there would not be enough judges, lawyers or prison cells to deal with the ensuing tsunami of litigation. Not everyone would have to join for the revolt to have an impact; as the legal scholar Angela J. Davis noted, “if the number of people exercising their trial rights suddenly doubled or tripled in some jurisdictions, it would create chaos.”

Such chaos would force mass incarceration to the top of the agenda for politicians and policy makers, leaving them only two viable options: sharply scale back the number of criminal cases filed (for drug possession, for example) or amend the Constitution (or eviscerate it by judicial “emergency” fiat). Either action would create a crisis and the system would crash — it could no longer function as it had before. Mass protest would force a public conversation that, to date, we have been content to avoid.

via Go to Trial – Crash the Justice System – NYTimes.com.