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Healing & Hope: A Celebration (DC)

Tickets are available for: 

Healing and Hope Logo
On Tuesday, November 1, 2011, the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth will honor individuals whose stories of compassion and forgiveness inspire our work to end the practice of sentencing youth to life without parole.    

Please note:  Tickets will not be sold at the door, you must buy your ticket for this event by Friday, October 21st.

 

November 1, 2011

6:30 PM to 8:30 PM 

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom

700 14th Street NW

Washington, DC 20005

 

Keynote Speaker:  Bryan Stevenson

Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative 

 

Click here for more information.

 

Sponsorships are also available, contact James Puzo at 202-289-4672 or jpuzo@fairsentencingofyouth.org for more information.    

Our gracious honorary committee members include:

Charles Dutton, Emmy Award-winning Actor and Director

Peter Edelman, Professor, Georgetown University Law Center

Marian Wright Edelman, Children's Defense Fund 

Wade Henderson, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

David Keene, Former chair of the American Conservative Union

Laura Murphy, American Civil Liberties Union

Pat Nolan, Prison Fellowship

Dr. Charles Ogletree, Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice, Harvard Law School

Representative Cedric L. Richmond, Louisiana, 2nd District

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, former Lt. Governor of Maryland and Board member of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights

Tommy Wells, District of Columbia City Councilman, Ward 6

If you are unable to attend our special reception please consider making a charitable donation to the CFSY.

 

Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth Logo

Date: 
Tue, 11/01/2011 - 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Location: 
700 14th Street NW
Washington, DC 20005
United States

Linn State Admits They Have No Data to Justify Drug Testing Program

Linn State Technical College
A month ago we noted in Drug War Chronicle that Linn State Technical College in Missouri had instituted a broad drug testing policy of all incoming students, the first public institution of higher education in the country to adopt a suspicionless drug testing policy. The ACLU of East Missouri announced it would litigate to block the program, and asked students at Linn State who were opposed to the program to contact them to be plaintiffs.

Evidently they found some, as an article by Timothy Williams at the New York Times this week reports that ACLU has obtained a preliminary injunction blocking the program. Williams interviewed the lawyer for the college, Kent Brown, who admitted the school had no data to justify or motivate the program :

Q. Did graduates have problems with failed drug tests at their jobs? Is that the reason for this?

A. I probably need to answer that this way: I can’t give you specific examples, but it would not surprise me at all if some students encountered difficulties with drug tests after they graduated. The members of our advisory councils for various programs were some of the initiators of this idea and I doubt they would have brought it up if it hadn't been a problem. We don't have any statistics once they graduate. (Emphasis added.)

And if the school has anecdotal information to motivated the policy, they did not share it with their attorney prior to his interviewing with the media -- with The New York Times of all outlets -- a case that had already hit the media four weeks before Williams contacted them.

It begs the question, did decision makers at Linn State review any hard information about drug testing programs and their track record, or the drug testing issue as a whole, before deciding to drug test all their students and charge them $50 for the privilege too? Does anyone doing drug testing review the evidence?

Location: 
Linn, MO
United States

Film Premiere: The Road to Rehabilitation and Reform (DC)

DC Lawyers for Youth cordially invites you to:

 reelreform.jpg

The Road to Rehabilitation and Reform

October 18, 2011

6:30 PM

GALA Theater at Tivoli Square

In honor of National Youth Justice Awareness MonthDC Lawyers for Youth (DCLY) invites you to a screening of The Road to Rehabilitation and Reform: A short film about DC and its Most-Disconnected Youth. The screening, open to 240 guests, will be held at the GALA Theatre at Tivoli Square on 14th Street and Park Road, NW, Washington, DC 20009.  There will be a short discussion and light reception with the documentary creators about DC’s juvenile justice reform efforts following the film. Come join DCLY and community members to engage in the conversation on how DC can best serve its most-disconnected youth while making our communities both safer and stronger.

To RSVP to the event, please email Angela Massino, DCLY's Fall Communications Fellow, at amassino@dcly.org with your name, organizational affiliation (if any), and number of attendees.  We look forward to seeing you on the Oct. 18th.

Date: 
Tue, 10/18/2011 - 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Location: 
3333 14th St. NW
Washington, DC 20010
United States

2011 Northeast Regional SSDP Conference

You're invited to the 2011 Northeast Regional SSDP Conference!

  • Date: Saturday, October 1 - Sunday, October 2 
  • Time: 11am-6pm (10/1), 11am-4pm (10/2)
  • Location: Boston University Kenmore Classroom Building
                       565 Commonwealth Ave. Boston, MA 02215
  • Register for FREE here: ssdp.org/events/northeast-regional-ssdp-conference-2011 

This weekend, dozens of SSDPers from across the Northeast region will gather at Boston University for our annual Northeast Regional SSDP conference.  Please join us for two days of networking, learning, training, and other activities that will help strengthen our ability to be effective young drug policy reformers.  Registration is free and lunch will be provided.  Donations will be accepted at the door.  Find this event on Facebook.

Confirmed speakers include:

Rick Doblin: Executive Director, Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS)

Stacia Cosner: Associate Director, Students for Sensible Drug Policy

Jason Ortiz: Regional Outreach Coordinator, Students for Sensible Drug Policy

... and of course many other student leaders and alumni will be there to contribute to the discussion and  share their experiences as well.

See you in Boston on Saturday!

Best,

Jason Ortiz
Regional Outreach Coordinator, Northeast & Mountain Plains Regions
Students for Sensible Drug Policy

Date: 
Sat, 10/01/2011 - 11:00am - Sun, 10/02/2011 - 4:00pm
Location: 
556 Commonwealth Ave.
Boston, MA
United States

Students Against Mass Incarceration Special Open Mic

One Voice One Sound Presents Students Against Mass Incarceration Special Open Mic

Featuring Howard University performing artists in addition to OneVoice OneSound's Don D, LeftField, Sold D, D Money and others

Add Your Voice to Stop the New Jim Crow

 

September 29, 2011

9-12:30pm

Potter's House

1658 Columbia Rd. NW

Washington, DC

Date: 
Thu, 09/29/2011 - 9:00pm - Fri, 09/30/2011 - 12:30am
Location: 
1658 Columbia Rd. NW
Washington, DC
United States

Mexico Drug War Update

by Bernd Debusmann Jr.

Mexican drug trafficking organizations make billions each year smuggling drugs into the United States, profiting enormously from the prohibitionist drug policies of the US government. Since Mexican president Felipe Calderon took office in December 2006 and called the armed forces into the fight against the so-called cartels, prohibition-related violence has killed around 40,000 people, including more than 15,000 last year. The increasing militarization of the drug war and the arrest or killing of dozens of high-profile drug traffickers have failed to stem the flow of drugs -- or the violence -- whatsoever. The Merida initiative, which provides $1.4 billion over three years for the US to assist the Mexican government with training, equipment and intelligence, has so far failed to make a difference. Here are a few of the latest developments in Mexico's drug war:

http://www.stopthedrugwar.org/files/wanted1.jpg
US Embassy in Mexico cartel wanted poster
Thursday, August 25

In Monterrey, 52 people were killed when suspected Zetas ignited gasoline at the entrance to the Casino Royale. As of August 31, twelve people are in custody for the attack. Many of those killed died of smoke inhalation after fleeing to offices and bathrooms in the interior of the casino.

Although the exact motive is yet unknown, police are investigating the possibility that the casino was attacked after having refused to pay protection money to the Zetas. Another possibility that has been floated in the Mexican press is that the casino was used to launder money for a rival cartel.

In Las Cruces, New Mexico, the former police chief of the town of Columbus pleaded guilty to conspiracy, smuggling, and public corruption charges. Angela Vega was arrested in March along with the town's mayor and 13 others. The group is known to have trafficked at least 200 weapons to La Linea, the military wing of the Juarez Cartel.

Friday, August 26

In Michoacan, wanted posters were put up by the Knights Templar Organization. The banners, which show the mugshots of five men the names of six men said to now be working for the Zetas, offered rewards of between $100,000 and $500,000 as well as a phone number to call.

Sunday, August 28

In Almoya de Juarez, near Mexico City, authorities discovered the decomposed bodies of five individuals buried in a corn field. The discovery was made after a family member of a missing man received a phone call from an unidentified man who said that 23 people were buried in the field. The other 18 remain unaccounted for.

Monday, August 29

In Acapulco, at least 140 local schools were closed after teachers refused to go to work because of extortion threats. School had just begun one week prior. Teachers indicated that at least four teachers had been kidnapped in the past eight days, and cars full of armed men were seen cruising past at least one school.

In Tamaulipas, authorities announced that a top Gulf Cartel commander was among several cartel members captured in the town of Camargo over the weekend. Abiel Gonzalez Briones, "R-2," 28, was captured after an aerial patrol spotted a group of armed men, at least seven of whom were captured. Gonzalez Briones is thought to have been a main financial operator of the Gulf Cartel and the area chief for the Miguel Aleman area.

In the mountain town of Guachochi, Chihuahua, seven bodies were discovered by the army. They had all been missing since August 13. Of the dead, six were strangulated to death, and the seventh, a woman, was shot. Additionally, near Ciudad Juarez, five human skulls thought to be several years old were discovered.

Tuesday, August 30

In Utah, authorities announced the dismantling of a Sinaloa Cartel cell. At least 30 people have so far been taken into custody after an 18th month investigation, which led to the discovery of several high-level men described as being "command and control" for the the cartel in Utah. At least 30 pounds of meth, 2.5 of heroin were taken into custody, as well as cash and high-powered weapons.

Total Body Count for 2007 (approx.): 4,300

Total Body Count for 2008 (approx.): 5,400

Total Body Count for 2009 (approx.): 9,600

Total Body Count for 2010 (official): 15,273

Total Body Count for 2011: (approx.): 6,700

Chronicle Book Review: BONG HiTS 4 JESUS

BONG HiTS 4 JESUS: A Perfect Constitutional Storm in Alaska's Capital by James Foster (2011, University of Alaska Press, 373 pp., $29.95 PB)

http://www.stopthedrugwar.org/files/bonghits4jesusbook.jpg
In January 2002, as Olympic torchbearers making their way to the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City jogged through the streets of Juneau, Alaska, past the local high school, a troublemaking prankster of a high school student and some of his friends held up a 14-foot banner reading "BONG HiTS 4 JESUS." The school principal, Deborah Morse, rushed over to the students, tore down the banner, and subsequently suspended the prankster, Joseph Frederick. Little did anyone imagine at the time that the far-off brouhaha would roil the community for years and that the controversy would end up at the US Supreme Court.

Oregon State University professor and student of judicial politics James Foster tells the tale of a case that has helped shape First Amendment jurisprudence in the exceptionally sticky milieu of student free speech rights and schools' rights to accomplish their educational missions. And while there is a plenty of fine-toothed examination of the high court's legal reasoning in Morse v. Frederick, as the case came to be known, as well as related cases, there is a lot more to BONG HiTS 4 JESUS than dry textual analysis.

When, on the first page of the first chapter of the book, the author references Japanese film director Akira Kurosawa's classic 1950 film Rashomon, the reader begins to get an inkling that this is going to be something of a ride. And so it is.

Foster sets up a story of conflicting narratives in a conflicted town in a conflicted time. Juneau, Alaska's capital city, is an isolated town in an isolated state, a liberal island of blue in a sea of red, a small town where the protagonists in local conflicts are likely to run into each other at the grocery store. That social and political context, and the hostilities it engendered, helped turn what began as a local imbroglio into a problem that could only be decided by the Supreme Court.

If Joseph Frederick had been less of an authority-challenged troublemaker, or if Principal Morse had had a better administrative style, the whole affair could have been handled as little more than a tempest in a teapot. Foster excels at explaining why that wasn't to be and how a disciplinary interaction between an educator and a student ends up as constitutional question before the highest court in the land.

Aside from the interpersonal and community context of the conflict and the case, Foster also excels at explaining the legal context, discussing at some length a line of cases about student rights running back to the seminal 1969 case, Tinker v. Des Moines School Board, in which the court famously held, in Justice Abe Fortas' words, that "Students… do not leave their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the school house gate." That case involved students wearing black arm bands to protest the Vietnam War.

But, as Foster makes abundantly clear, Fortas' stirring -- and oft-cited -- proclamation was actually stronger than the court's own ruling in Tinker, where it held that political ("symbolic") speech could not be constrained as long as it did not interfere with the educational mission of the school. And as his examination of the handful of key post-Tinker cases relating to student rights demonstrates, the bright and shining rule of Fortas' formulation has been quickly and relentlessly chipped away at by less friendly Supreme Courts.

Some of those cases were not First Amendment cases, but Fourth Amendment ones. The elements they had in common with Morse were the scope of students' rights and adults' fears about drugs. In those two cases, conservative courts approved the use of warrantless, suspicionless random drug testing, first of athletes and then of any students involved in extracurricular activities. As in other realms of law, the Supreme Court in those cases created a drug war-based exception to the Fourth Amendment when it comes to students, or, as Foster puts it, a "Fourth Amendment-Lite."

Through close examination of oral arguments and the different written opinions in Morse, Foster shows that the same concerns about student drug use weighed heavily on the minds of the justices, so much so that they were moved to decide against Frederick's free speech rights. The Roberts court was more afraid of a nonsense message that could -- with some contortions -- be construed as "pro-drug," than it was of eroding the freedoms enshrined in the First Amendment.

BONG HiTS 4 JESUS is not a book about drug policy, but it is one more demonstration of the way our totalizing, all-encompassing war on drugs has deleterious effects far beyond those of which one commonly thinks. Really? We're going to trash the First Amendment because some kid wrote "bong hits" on a sign? Apparently, we are. We did.

There are some dense thickets of legal exegesis in BONG HiTS 4 JESUS, and the book is likely to be of interest mainly to legal scholars, but Foster brings much more to bear here than mere eye-watering analysis. For those concerned with the way the war on drugs warps our lives and our laws, this book has much to offer.

Students Pursue Good Samaritan Drug Policy Shift

Location: 
VA
United States
A new student group is campaigning for a Good Samaritan policy at Virginia Tech. Hokies for a Good Samaritan Policy wants to change the policy to protect people who call 911 when they or a friend are illegally using drugs or alcohol from disciplinary sanctions. "In these situations the clock is ticking," Mark Goldstein, an accounting and information systems major and president of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, said. "Every second you don’t call for help the person is closer to dying."
Publication/Source: 
Collegiate Times (VA)
URL: 
http://www.collegiatetimes.com/stories/17494/students-pursue-good-samaritan-policy-shift

Marijuana and Racial Inequality: A "Cannabis Day" Look at How Marijuana Arrests Discriminate Against Young Black People

April 20 (4/20) -- the date unofficially recognized nationwide as marijuana day -- is probably as good a time as any to explore how marijuana arrests in the Unites States exemplify racially skewed policing tactics.
Publication/Source: 
Salon (NY)
URL: 
http://www.salon.com/life/drugs/?story=/news/feature/2011/04/20/racially_biased_marijuana_policing

Mexico's Orphans Are Casualties of Drug Prohibition War

Location: 
Mexico
"At least 12,000 children have lost one or both of their parents," said Gustavo de la Rosa, an official from Mexico's human rights commission. Those motherless and fatherless children, said de la Rosa, are a lasting and tragic legacy of Mexico's drug prohibition war. After witnessing the execution of a parent, the children -- even if physically uninjured themselves -- face a lifetime of emotional scarring.
Publication/Source: 
Agence France-Presse (France)
URL: 
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jCtIvBVbEyDDJeQlCQjavLmwlXWA?docId=CNG.ce4ce7a67bd66d9150ddc80ebf588abb.1e1

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