Justice and Human Rights: Criminal justice systems out of control in the US and China 8/29/97

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A report released this past Monday from the National Center on Institutions and Alternatives found that half of the young black men in the District of Columbia are under criminal justice supervision -- prison, jail, probation or parole -- on any given day. The report analyzed the African American population between the ages of 15 and 35. The NCIA report also found that the odds of a given black male in the District having spent time incarcerated by the age of 35 exceeds 80 percent.

A report released Tuesday by the human rights group Amnesty International revealed that China sentenced more than 6,100 people to death and executed at least 4,367 last year in a "tough on crime" crackdown called "Strike Hard". Many of those executed had been convicted of minor offenses, such as a man in Sichuan province executed for stealing 14 cows, or two men for stealing a car which they sold for $1,200. The Amnesty report charges that agencies were "under pressure to achieve speedy results," in one case executing a man for a crime of which he had been accused of committing six days earlier, and in some cases retrying and executing offenders previously sentenced to incarceration.

Among the victims were drug offenders, mainly persons convicted of drug possession. One example was a young woman traveling from her honeymoon in Kunming to her native Guangdong, who had agreed in exchange for money to take a package for an acquaintance. The official report states that she became suspicious while riding the train, and had difficulty opening it, but in the process attracted the attention of a ticket checker, who turned her in.

We will provide information on obtaining these two reports in a later bulletin. Information for this section was obtained from the August 26 issue of the San Francisco Chronicle.

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Issue #9, 8/29/97 International News: US Claims Progress, Fog Lifting in UK Drug Policy, March in Germany, Mexico Blood Bath | Drug War Corruption: Employees at points of entry find that crime pays better than baggage handling | Medical Marijuana: California Attorney General adds a surprising voice to calls for research | Student Drug Testing: An old and nearly forgotten phrase is uttered by a New Jersey judge... Probable cause | Media Alert: The Wall Street Journal hits the nail on the head with regard to the Drug War's destruction of Colombia's society | Justice and Human Rights: Criminal justice systems out of control in the US and China | Link of the Week: Shedding light on the impact of America's overused criminal justice system | Quote of the Week: Drug Czar McCaffrey has figured out one of the problems | Editorial: Needle exchange is still illegal in New Jersey... but that doesn't make it wrong
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