What We Missed

On May 17, 1954 the Supreme Court declared in Brown v. Board of Education that segregated schools are unconstitutional, stating, “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.”
Today the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional life sentences without parole for juveniles convicted of a crime other than murder. The Court also ruled it’s legal to keep sex offenders in prison “indefinitely.”
A coalition of civil rights groups filed a class action lawsuit today against Arizona’s immigration law that mandates racial profiling.
Latoya Peterson on Taqwacore: the birth of punk Islam.
Jacob M. Appel asks: after St. Joseph’s are women safe in Catholic hospitals?
In honor of International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia RMJ has a post about Alexis Lusk’s fight against transphobia in her East Texas high school.
The Doula Project, an amazing NYC-based organization that supports pregnant folks across the spectrum of pregnancy, is recruiting!
Scholarships are available to the Omega: Women & Power Conference.

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14 Comments

  1. TabloidScully
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    “The Court also ruled it’s legal to keep sex offenders in prison “indefinitely.”"
    I have such mixed feelings about this.
    In the interest of full disclosure, I am a survivor of sexual violence. I reported my rape to an uninterested justice system, and dealt with officers who were so unwilling to help, I agreed to let the case drop. Eventually, my frustration over the situation (and realizing I was just one of so many countless others who had had such an awful experience) I channeled my story into activism with RAINN, AfterSilence, and Take Back the Night. Sexual violence advocacy is one of my main areas of interest with my gig as a blogger for GlobalShift.
    So, it’s not that I have a love for sex offenders. I don’t. I see that societal attitudes too often allow them to get away with their crimes and refuse to take accountability that what they are doing is wrong. I also see that a lot of perpetrators were, at some point, victims themselves, failed by the same systems that now enables them to victimize others. And, always, it’s simply a choice to cross that dark side or not.
    But this ruling has so many other considerations, so many other potentially bothersome implications, that I can’t just signify my support for it, even as a survivor and advocate. For one, due process is being suspended. These individuals have served their time and yet are facing additional imprisonment. Perhaps there are some that believe if you’ve raped someone, tough luck–but due process is protected by the Constitution, and if we start removing it for sex offenders today, we might be seeing the same for individuals merely accused of a crime tomorrow.
    Second, I’m conflicted as to this actually being a deterrent against crime. While civil confinement is arguably more humane than the prison system, I worry that sex offenders who have already beaten the system once or at least somewhat follow legal proceedings will use this as a decision to leave fewer victims behind. In other words, I suspect we’ll have fewer rape victims and more murder victims. I feel the same way when the discussion of the death penalty for sexual offenders comes up.
    That being said, I recognize something must be done. Even when survivors go on to lead totally healthy lives, it’s never the same for us. We never know what might have been different, had we not been exploited. And simply suggesting longer prison terms for sexual violence (it’s ridiculous that, in some states, you’ll serve longer time for cheating on your taxes than if you rape someone) which is arguably a no-brainer doesn’t seem to quite solve the problem, either.

  2. Stellar
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    As a victim of rape, I say rapists should get the death penalty. They do nothing to contribute to society, and are a drain on tax dollars to keep them in a prison. Spend the saved money on programs for victims and programs to stop rape.

  3. Olivia
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

    We also seemed to have missed “National Women Bringing You Sandwiches Day,” via facebook misogyny, yay.
    http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=104049396306431&ref=ts
    yeah eff that.

  4. Jessica Lee
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 1:56 am | Permalink

    It actually costs more for people to be on death row than to spend life in prison, by the way.
    As controversial as my position about the death penalty may be as it pertains to sex offenders, I can’t bring myself to believe that the death penalty shouldn’t be used in any case except if the person is a convicted rapist. That would create a slippery slope. That’s why I believe in life sentences and mental treatment, so they can be studied and live a long life of agony before they die.
    (That whole rant wasn’t directed at you, Stellar. The first line was a reply to you, and then I just went on about what I think in general).

  5. Jessica Lee
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 2:02 am | Permalink

    I realize this is supposed to be a joke, but I don’t understand how people find it funny, not just because it’s sexist, but it’s so overdone.
    LOLZ WOMENZ MAKES SANDWICHEZ ROFLCOPTER
    They should at least put more wit behind it. Jeez.

  6. MandyV
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 2:23 am | Permalink

    Holy Rollers is a story of sex, drugs, and Orthodox Judaism. In the late 1990s, a group of drug dealers used young Orthodox kids from Brooklyn as mules to carry ecstasy back from Amsterdam to New York City. On the surface, this fictionalized account of these real events seems so simple: the sinful preying on the innocent. The viewer is drawn in by the intrigue and deceit, yet is left thinking about religion and culture.

  7. qtiger
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 3:51 am | Permalink

    It costs the state more money to execute a criminal than to keep them in prison for life.

  8. A male
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    “Perhaps there are some that believe if you’ve raped someone, tough luck–but due process is protected by the Constitution, and if we start removing it for sex offenders today, we might be seeing the same for individuals merely accused of a crime tomorrow.”
    In the war on terror, there are the accused who are in practice, being held indefinitely, without trial, or serious investigation of accusations or evidence. They include some US citizens. The citizens at least, are legally entitled to protections of the US Constitution. The government has tried its best to find its way around international treaty and law, as well as US law, to hold and treat these detainees as they see fit, in the name of what the detainees might do if ever released.
    Let’s just execute rapists, terrorists, murderers, the list goes on, some argue.
    There are reasons the death penalty should not be administered lightly. One is the erroneous belief that killing prisoners is cheaper than keeping them alive. Here is just one study. It is quite simple to find more online.
    http://www.fnsa.org/v1n1/dieter1.html
    On the contrary, precisely because it costs millions of dollars for a single prisoner to be executed (it’s the process, not just a shot in the arm), OTHER convicted criminals must be released back into the community (before even 20% of their sentences are up), and those millions CANNOT be spent to investigate (like rape kits) or prevent other crimes.
    Let’s just eliminate those costly and pesky formalities like trials and appeals and just execute these convicted criminals.
    Now one is assuming that the justice system is infallible and impartial. If anti-rape activists protest how the justice system fails them in punishing real criminals, when claiming such as 16 out of 17 rapists never spend a day in jail, why do people believe the justice system has such a great record with the people that are in jail, particularly if they are disadvantaged by ethnicity, education, mental status or economics?
    http://www.truthinjustice.org/index.htm
    A claimed 1,800 pages, if people are interested in Justice and how it often fails the innocent. (Also for those who don’t believe that people are actually sentenced to decades in prison for rape.) In short,
    “Why should you be concerned about wrongful conviction? The cases here make the answer clear: it can happen to anyone, including you.”
    Yes, even you can be unjustly accused, even convicted of a major crime like rape. Even women. Should these women also be executed during the years they wait for possible exoneration?
    It has recently been argued on Feministing that mistaken identification is not the same as false accusation. I agree. A mistake by witnesses or investigators is not the same as actually lying. However, it would be little difference for innocent prisoners actually punished by being in jail, sometimes for decades, or who would be executed.
    I have read a report recently in which approximately half the men exonerated of rape convictions by DNA technology were black men. Unfortunately, half of men accused and convicted of rape are not black men, suggesting black men are disproportionately accused and convicted of rape, particularly rape of white women.
    These DNA exonerations are only possible because there was DNA evidence, and it has miraculously been preserved by investigators, sometimes for nearly three decades. What of those who are accused and convicted on eyewitness testimony alone?
    Then comes “Junk Science in the Courtroom” via Truth in Justice, where actual mishandling and fraud by investigators and labs have been proven. An online search will find other cases of mishandling and fraud by investigators, forensic teams and expert witnesses, just the ones that have been uncovered and reported.
    Executing all convicted rapists or killing accused rapists on the street would result in grave errors.

  9. saintcatherine
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Yeah, um, I don’t think thatyou want Jaco Appel making your case for you about anything, as he is kind of an ablist promoter of euthanizing people with disabilities. He especially likes to take on those super-controversial topics, like docs convincing parents to kill their disabled children , as here:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jacob-m-appel/should-children-have-righ_b_484318.html
    (Note the typical use of “right to die” when talking about killing someone who has a disability)
    Also consider reading Not Dead Yet’s take on Appel after this column appeared:
    http://notdeadyetnewscommentary.blogspot.com/2010/03/jacob-appel-bad-medical-historian.html
    Sorry to derail slightly; I just can’t aide the casual use of Jacob Appel as some kind of voice of authority and reason in any ethical context.
    (BTW, if someone can tell me how to put my links into a clickable word, I would appreciate it, lol!)

  10. kisekileia
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Problem is, “sex offenders” aren’t just rapists. They also include people who violate statutory rape laws, even in places where the age of consent is as high as 18. I think “sex offenders” is too broad a category for draconian actions such as being able to keep them in jail past the end of their sentences to be justified in all cases.

  11. TabloidScully
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    You do understand I was not arguing for the death penalty, or long-term confinement, right?

  12. uberhausfrau
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    funny little story – last week we had sandwiches for dinner. i went all out and got good deli meat, cheeses, deli pickles, fancy potato chips, etc. this is an uncommon occurrence because i dont eat meat, husband doesnt “do” sandwiches on a regular basis, and thus, i never think to pick it up for the kids.
    im calling everyone for dinner and the boys sit down to eat theirs, im standing at the counter making mine and jeremy comes in looking for his food. i told him i was going to let him do it because he’s so particular about how he likes is sandwiches. then, realising the situation, i laughed and said “i will NOT make you a sandwich!”

  13. A male
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    You were not. Others do.

  14. WIDave
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    “… against Arizona’s immigration law that mandates racial profiling.”
    Section 2 of the law expressly forbids racial profiling.

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