Mercy, Alabama

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One thing Alabama is really good at — sending people to prison. The Sentencing Project ranks Alabama as the 10th highest state for imprisonment rates. With Alabama boasting a high prevalence of food insecurity, a high infant mortality rate and a low prevalence of neighborhood amenities, it really is impossible to support the position that these anti-choice laws are protecting children when there stands to be no evidence of that in practice.

Alabama will be mired in legal battles for some time before this law ever takes effect, if at all. But we cannot lay complacent hoping that this legislation never reaches its potential while challenges from Alabama and six other states work their way to the Supreme Court. Instead, we should behave as though there is a clear and present danger in even the potential of overturning Roe V. Wade and enacting anti-choice laws that are based in religious extremism. Welcoming governmental oversight of personal matters like this opens the doors to much more heinous legislation, and none of us want to see what horrors that future may hold.

Note: This story has been changed. Alabama has a prison population of nearly 50, Mercy Quaye is a social change communications consultant and a New Haven native. But what critics of this bill fail to realize is that policy will always shift. The economy will move in a particular direction.

Education needs will evolve. Innovations in healthcare will make a particular policy obsolete. Even as we explore various policy options, however, it is curious that we are asked to put concerns about the act of abortion aside. Can a responsible polity not do both? Can we not address the moral question of abortion while likewise addressing the worst material conditions that surround us? Is it possible that dignity of life exists prior to its recognition by the state in the form of funding for another well-intended program?

Skeptics of the pro-life movement paint with too broad a brush. Our political alignments have broken down significantly over the last decade. If abortion went away tomorrow, that trend would almost certainly accelerate. There are plenty of arguments and counterarguments to be had over policy in healthcare and education. What abortion opponents cannot countenance is the idea that because children are unwanted, it is therefore permissible to discard them. That is what Representative John Rogers revealed with his callous remarks on the floor of the State House this past week.

Matthew Stokes: Lord, have mercy | Alabama Daily News

That is the hold up in our politics; the idea that personal liberty is so expansive that one must be free to dismiss with a life that is undesired, that without support from the state in one form or another, life has no meaning. Until we reckon with that, it will be nearly impossible for our politics to take a different shape. Millions of state and federal dollars were authorized to create advocacy groups for crime victims in each state.

Furthermore, your victimization might be ignored if you had relatives who were incarcerated. Kemp presented convincing empirical evidence that the race of the victim is the greatest predictor of who gets the death penalty in the United States.

Alabama Red - Somebody Have Mercy. Palos 100

The study conducted for that case revealed that offenders in Georgia were eleven times more likely to get the death penalty if the victim was white than if the victim was black. In Alabama, even though 65 percent of all homicide victims were black, nearly 80 percent of the people on death row were there for crimes against victims who were white. Black defendant and white victim pairings increased the likelihood of a death sentence even more.

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Soon after, they start to receive bomb threats. Why do you think the State of Alabama rejected the appeal at the start of this chapter? Does Myers seem any more reliable now than when he was put on the stand against Walter? What are your feelings about Payne v. How does the race of the victim come into decisions about sentencing? Stevenson and his team are able to discover a significant amount of new evidence.

Kemp , the class should break into teams of five students. Each team should appoint two people to represent McCleskey, two people to represent Kemp, and one to act as a Supreme Court judge. Both sides should present evidence on which only the judge should base a decision. Once each judge has made a ruling, the class should come together, and each judge will present the decision along with the influencing reasons. Did it seem like the judges were basing their decisions only on the facts presented directly to them, or were they also using their own emotions and previous thoughts on the matter?

She has mental and physical health issues and survived a rape by a prison guard. She is one of nearly five hundred people in Pennsylvania who have been condemned to mandatory life imprisonment without parole for crimes they were accused of committing when they were between the ages of thirteen and seventeen. It is the largest population of child offenders condemned to die in prison in any single jurisdiction in the world.

Since juveniles housed in adult prisons are five times more likely to be the victims of sexual assault, Ian, who was small for his age, was placed in solitary confinement, where he remained for eighteen years. All of the youngest condemned children—thirteen or fourteen years of age—were black or Latino. Florida had the largest population in the world of children condemned to die in prison for non-homicides.

Under California law, a juvenile has to be at least sixteen to be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole for murder. But there is no minimum age for kidnapping, so the Orange County judge sentenced Antonio to imprisonment until death, asserting that he was a dangerous gang member who could never be rehabilitated, despite his difficult background and the absence of any significant criminal history.

It was an example of how policies and norms once directed exclusively at controlling and punishing the black population have filtered their way into our general criminal justice system today. The plan is to include photographs of the children, but only Florida will grant permission for a photographer to enter the prison.


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Each one of them came from difficult home situations. Should that make a difference in their sentencing? Is justice being served when minors receive life-in-prison sentences? How does Ian channel his emotions? How would you react to receiving a letter like the one Ian writes to Stevenson? Were papers in the north covering the trial? Was the coverage different than in the local papers? Were Florida newspapers covering this story the same way as nonlocal papers? Stevenson requests five days, but the judge only allows two and a half. He is direct, well spoken and believable. The first day goes well.

Those who can find space must first pass through a metal detector and cross paths with an intimidating guard dog. Williams, had been emotionally scarred in by the police and their attack dogs in Selma. She is too daunted to enter the courtroom and regrets not being able to support Walter. The next day she gathers her courage, passes the dog, and lets all in the courtroom know she is there; she was there because she could not be kept away.

Does it seem like the jury now believes Ralph Myers? What are your impressions of Mrs. Stevenson remarks on several physical actions he takes during the trial. What are they and are they effective? Which is the least likely? Should Stevenson and Michael be concerned? In what order would you present the evidence to make the strongest case?

Would you call or ignore any other witnesses? What would you emphasize during your opening and closing remarks? Later Stevenson is touched by an act of kindness from that same corrections officer. Recount the story of George Daniel and list each example of how he may have been treated unfairly. Does everyone in the group agree? If you were the prison warden where Avery Jenkins was held, would you allow your staff to proactively declare their political opinions? Who is Dorothea Dix and why is she important to this chapter?

Did your state play a role in the massive deinstitutionalization rates of the s? Based on the newly discovered evidence, Stevenson is still hopeful for relief for Walter.

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Even if the court is unwilling to rule that Walter is innocent and should be released, the withholding of exculpatory evidence is extreme enough that the court would have a hard time avoiding the case law requiring a new trial. The court rules in favor and after six years on death row, Walter is a free man and returns to his family and community.

How did having this help Walter and his family? Was justice finally served to Walter? Do you find this case to represent the best or the worst—or something else—of our justice system? Who or what is your inspiration?

Write a one-page paper discussing what gives you hope. Both she and her husband had jobs, but their wages were low, and she still did not have enough money for prenatal medical visits. An untrusting and suspicious neighbor reported Marsha to the authorities. Marsha was swiftly arrested. The inability of many poor women to get adequate health care, including prenatal and postpartum care, is a serious problem in this country.

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Thousands of mothers with children living in poor, marginalized communities where drugs are rampant were at risk of prosecution. Pregnant women could now be criminally prosecuted if there was any evidence that they had used drugs at any point during their pregnancy. Thousands of women have been sentenced to lengthy terms in prison for writing bad checks or for minor property crimes that trigger mandatory minimum sentences. Approximately 75 to 80 percent of incarcerated women are mothers with minor children who have become more vulnerable and at-risk and will remain so even after their mothers come home.

The population most affected by this misguided law is formerly incarcerated women with children, most of whom were imprisoned for drug crimes. It took two years to settle the legal case and then another year to wrangle the Department of Corrections into giving Marsha full credit for the time she already served.