Wow ~ Perhaps the most beautiful podcast ever flows from behind San Quentin’s walls ~ Episode Nine: Gold Coats and OGS:

“Dealing with aging and death is never easy. But in prison, these issues are fraught with extra challenges, both emotional and physical. Meet two inmates serving extended sentences who grapple with the idea of dying in prison, and have also stepped up to take care of their fellow aging prisoners. Sound design for this episode is by Antwan Williams, with extra music tracks supplied by JB Burton. Thanks to Lonnie Morris, Richard Lathan and Andres Eric Watson, for sharing their stories. And special thanks to Anthony Marzett for being on the receiving end of of Andres’ shit talk. Here’s the transcript, and you can download the episode here. And thanks to Mail ChimpSquarespace and Texture for supporting Ear Hustle.”

https://www.earhustlesq.com/episodes/2017/10/11/gold-coats-and-ogs

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The Scum Manifestoby Valerie Solanas

From the back cover of the Phoenix Press booklet: “Valerie Solanas’ SCUM Manifesto was written in 1967 and published in 1968, the year she shot and wounded Andy Warhol. The text used here is that of the 1983 edition of the Manifesto that was published by the Matriarchy Study Group.”

“Life in this society being, at best, an utter bore and no aspect of society being at all relevant to women, there remains to civic-minded, responsible, thrill-seeking females only to overthrow the government, eliminate the money system, institute complete automation and destroy the male sex.”

Why the Phrase ‘Late Capitalism’ Is Suddenly Everywhere – An investigation into a term that seems to perfectly capture the indignities and absurdities of the modern economy, The Atlantic, by Annie Lowrey (May 1, 2017)

““Late capitalism,” in its current usage, is a catchall phrase for the indignities and absurdities of our contemporary economy, with its yawning inequality and super-powered corporations and shrinking middle class. But what is “late capitalism,” really? Where did the phrase come from, and why did so many people start using it all of a sudden?”

The Sister and the Lifers – Father Greg Boyle famously reaches out to gangbangers. Few know Sister Mary Sean Hodges, but her ministry is just as critical—helping men sentenced to life terms reenter the world, Los Angeles Magazine, by Miles Corwin (February 2, 2017)

“With its three-strikes law and draconian parole system—one of four states where the governor has final authority on parole decisions—California had long been a national leader in tough-on-crime policies. Shortly after Gray Davis took office, he announced that “if you take someone else’s life, forget it,” then blocked most of the recommendations for parole that crossed his desk. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s approach was less harsh, but he still reversed 70 percent of the parole requests approved by the state board. Jerry Brown, however, has let stand more than 80 percent of the parole board’s decisions, with more lifers released in Los Angeles County due to its size than in any other part of the state. Brown, a former seminarian, has emphasized that redemption is the core of his Catholic faith, and he believes people can change. But the laws have changed as well.

In 2008, the California Supreme Court ruled that prisoners could not be denied parole based solely on the viciousness of their crimes. There must be evidence, the court said, that the prisoner continues to be a threat to public safety. Brown was also facing pressure from federal courts to reduce the state’s dangerously overcrowded prisons, and he signed a bill in 2012 that allows some prisoners to petition for resentencing if they had been incarcerated as youths and sentenced to life without parole. That same year voters passed Proposition 36, allowing reduced sentences for three-strikes prisoners serving life sentences for a nonviolent third strike.

Some victim’s rights advocates have decried the changes as a threat to public safety, but a Stanford study found that of 860 murderers paroled between 1990 and 2010 who were tracked by the university, only 5 committed new crimes and none were convicted of murder. Criminologists attribute this partly to the average age—the mid-fifties—of the lifers being released.

“We know that many prisoners age out of crime,” says Christine Scott-Hayward, assistant professor of criminology at Cal State Long Beach. “There’s an age-crime curve. It’s not that older people don’t commit crimes, but they commit far fewer. The peak age in the crime curve is the twenties and the early thirties. When you’ve served an extensive amount of time in prison and then get out, you’re no longer as great a risk to society. Parole officers have said some of the easiest people to supervise are ex-lifers who committed a murder. In some of the cases it was a one-off, and the circumstances that led to the murder have changed.”

Blakinger, Keri. “Houston: Ground zero for the death penalty; Study shows Harris County is; most active in capital punishment, driven by district attorney choices.” Houston Chronicle (TX), 27 Nov. 2017, Houston, A, p. A002.

[Photo Below By Pat Sullivan, STF. In this May 27, 2008 file photo, the gurney in Huntsville, Texas, where Texas’ condemned are strapped down to receive a lethal dose of drugs is shown. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, viewed historically as little more than a speedbump on condemned inmates’ road to the death chamber, in recent weeks has halted the lethal injection of four inmates with execution dates approaching. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan, File)]