Jeff Sessions Rescinds Legal Doc to Allow Police to Jail People for Being Poor

prisonsprisons

In addition to his “War on Cannabis,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently revealed that he is also in favor of a “War on Poverty,” when he rescinded a legal guidance document that was meant to end illegal debtors’ prisons.

While debtors’ prisons are labeled as institutions to keep people from failing to pay fines and debts, they have been used to take advantage of impoverished, low-income individuals. A simple traffic ticket can turn into months in prison, which results in even greater fines. As defined by the American Civil Liberties Union:

“Nearly two centuries ago, the United States formally abolished the incarceration of people who failed to pay off debts. Yet, recent years have witnessed the rise of modern-day debtors’ prisons—the arrest and jailing of poor people for failure to pay legal debts they can never hope to afford, through criminal justice procedures that violate their most basic rights.”

The legal guidance rescinded by Sessions was one that was implemented by the Department of Justice in 2016. It states that courts are required to follow constitutional principles and to prohibit the imprisonment of poor individuals because they cannot pay court fines and fees.

Sessions rescinded the March 2016 “Dear Colleague Letter on Enforcement of Fines and Fees” last week, along with 25 other legal documents dating back to 1975. In a statement, he claimed that he was “ending 25 examples of improper or unnecessary guidance documents” that had been identified by a DOJ task force:

“Last month, I ended the longstanding abuse of issuing rules by simply publishing a letter or posting a web page. Congress has provided for a regulatory process in statute, and we are going to follow it. This is good government and prevents confusing the public with improper and wrong advice. Therefore, any guidance that is outdated, used to circumvent the regulatory process, or that improperly goes beyond what is provided for in statutes or regulation should not be given effect. That is why today, we are ending 25 examples of improper or unnecessary guidance documents identified by our Regulatory Reform Task Force led by our Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand.  We will continue to look for other examples to rescind, and we will uphold the rule of law.”

The guidance was originally put in place after a series of reports and lawsuits from the ACLU revealed that state and local courts were increasingly offsetting budget deficits by charging additional fees for public defenders, prosecutors, court administration, jail operation and probation supervision,” and that the courts were using “aggressive tactics to collect these unpaid fines and fees, including for traffic offenses and other low-level offenses.

As a result, the courts were then jailing people who fell behind on their payments, without holding a hearing to determine if the individual was able to pay the fines, or offering alternatives such as community service.

The ACLU argued that because the courts were imprisoning an individual based on the fact that he or she could not pay court-imposed fines or fees, the court was in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, which guarantees due process and equal protection under the law.

In one case, a man undergoing chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer in Sherwood, Arkansas, spent 90 days in jail and ended up owing a court more than $3,000 after he wrote a series of bad checks for small amounts ranging from $5 to $41, and his medical condition prevented him from earning money to pay for the fines associated with the checks.

Another case involved a veteran battling homelessness in Grand Rapids, Michigan, who spent 22 days in jail because he showed up to court with $25 out of the $50 the judge wanted him to pay as the first installment for the $2,600 he owed in restitution, fines and court fees after he was found intoxicated, on the roof of a building.

Ultimately, the only ones who benefit from debtors’ prisons are the prisons themselves, and the people who suffer are the ones who find themselves facing jail time on top of the inflated fees and fines they already cannot afford to pay.

Source Article from http://thefreethoughtproject.com/war-poverty-sessions-pushes-allowing-illegal-debtors-prisons/

Harvard Disgracefully Rescinds Fellowship Offered Chelsea Manning

Harvard Disgracefully Rescinds Fellowship Offered Chelsea Manning



by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)



“Fair Harvard” lacks fairness. VERITAS (truth), the university’s motto, lacks meaning. Harvard opposes what deserves high praise, supports what demands condemnation.



My alma mater’s actions are disgraceful, earlier including me on a university fake news site list – along with some of the most highly respected web sites I know, bastions of truth-telling on vital world and national issues, a notion anathema to “fair Harvard,” the university’s alma mater.



Inviting the head of the CIA, a global Mafia hit squad boss, to speak on campus endorses its criminal activities – subversion, orchestrating coups and color revolutions, assassinating foreign leaders, and torture its specialties, terrorizing targeted nations, violating international, constitutional and US statute laws with impunity.



Freedom and the CIA’s existence are incompatible – at home and abroad.



In response to director Mike Pompeo’s heavy-handed pressure, canceling his scheduled address at Harvard’s Kennedy School, calling Manning’s offer speak on campus as a visiting fellow a “shameful stamp of approval,” unfair Harvard rescinded her title, cancelling her appearance, Dean Douglas Elmendorf disgracefully saying:



“I now think that designating Chelsea Manning as a visiting fellow was a mistake, for which I accept responsibility.”



“In general across the School, we do not view the title of ‘fellow’ as conveying a special honor. Rather, it is a way to describe some people who spend more than a few hours at the school.”



“(W)e are withdrawing the invitation to her to serve as a visiting fellow – and the perceived honor that it implies to some people – while maintaining the invitation for her to spend a day at the Kennedy School and speak in the school’s forum.”



In response, Manning tweeted “honored to be 1st disinvited trans woman visiting @harvard fellow ???? they chill marginalized voices under @cia pressure ????????????



“This is what a military/police/intel state looks like…the CIA determines what is and is not taught at Harvard.”



“(N)o more secrecy, surveillance, torture, murder, and genocide…abolish the @cia…”



On Wednesday, the Kennedy School announced Manning’s invitation to speak on campus as a visiting fellow.



In a letter to Harvard, Pompeo disgracefully called her an “American traitor,” adding “I believe it is shameful for Harvard to place its stamp of approval upon her treasonous actions.” 



At the same time, former agency deputy director Mike Morell resigned from his fellowship at Harvard’s Belfer school over Manning’s invitation” – in a letter saying:



“I cannot be part of an organization – the Kennedy school – that honors a convicted felon and leaker of classified information.” 



Manning deserves high praise for acting courageously. Instead, she was tortured and imprisoned. She’s one of the nation’s best – a real American hero, having taken great personal risks to reveal vital truths everyone has a right to know.



Former Attorney General Ramsey Clark once said US “jails are filled with saints,” some of America’s best ruthlessly treated.



ACLU lawyer/transgender rights activist Chase Strangio issued a strong statement saying:



“It doesn’t surprise me that an institution that has produced many of our most dangerous war criminals & architects of our military & prison apparatuses would remain beholden to the state.”



“Yet, the decision to withdraw Chelsea Manning’s visiting fellowship in the middle of the night without coherent explanation is disgraceful even for Harvard.”



“Chelsea is a beacon of humor, brilliance and resilience in a time when her words and leadership are needed more than ever.”



“Harvard should have felt honored that she would accept the association with an institution so tainted with the blood of its victims – from the occupation of much of Boston and Cambridge to the production of monsters in positions of governmental (and corporate) power.”



“That they are willing to stand by their decision is a testament to the disturbing control the CIA has over them.”



“It is also just cowardly plain & simple & a reminder to all of us to stay vigilant…& depend only on the power of our collective action to lift up the voices of our true leaders.”



Manning was tortured, imprisoned and otherwise abused for courageously doing the right thing – released last May, her unjust sentence commuted by Obama, who never should have permitted her arrest, torture, travesty trial and imprisonment in the first place.



VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.



My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”



http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html



Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.


Source Article from https://www.freedomsphoenix.com/Article/225521-2017-09-16-harvard-disgracefully-rescinds-fellowship-offered-chelsea-manning.htm?EdNo=001&From=RSS