Friday, October 7, 2011
I just got home from work, and I am pretty tired. I work at a federal re-entry center. Been working there for a while and I thought I kind of want to share my experiences with others as this may help me to get it out. As a matter of confidentiality I will not share any names or last names of my cases but I sure want to talk about them and my experience. I am also thinking to start posting in YouTube as it will be easier to talk then write, because sometimes I just don’t think I could explain everything I want to say through the words. In fact when you think that words are not powerful enough to express what you feeling... I think we "got a problem". Well not really however, I feel overwhelmed sometimes from the stories I hear and the stuff I read in their file. Sometimes i go to sleep and I cannot sleep. The sun comes out and I am still thinking… then I don’t what I am thinking. Many time, while I am driving from work home, often it’s dark… I get lots in my thought and when I come home I don’t even remember anything of how I got home. Pretty unsafe I know… anyway I kind of want to share a little of my views about this kind of things and the way I see it. I totally could be wrong and I would love your input.
Ok...where do I start and for whom I want to talk first.
I think I will start with the story of the person that actually made me think about sharing my experiences with you, the story that I named the post after.
Covered in Tattoos, a middle age man, with a smile in his face and a lot of regret in his eyes. He has been in someone else’s caseload until I got him. I use to see him in the hallway and he use to say always “hello” to me. I had not read his file but I sure thought that he seemed different. One of the days, he comes to my office for our weekly meeting to check how things are going. A broken soul that still is trying to pick up his pieces left all over the streets of the city where he sold his drugs. I read his file, and I cant lie, it was pretty dark, but then I like to hear their stories too, I like to know what they think about their self and their crime, I like to know the other views but the one that state and feds are telling me about my clients, because I think that's the only way we could work together. I may know the story, but I sure want their version of the story and their understanding and how they feel about it. It’s easy to judge others while we were not there when things had happen, however, this is not me sympathizing with their crimes, absolutely not, I just like to know if they understand what they did was wrong or how do they think of the "event". Throughout my school and my life, I always thought that they are more than one side of the story and all sides were important equally. Anyway, I will stop there, before I start a whole new subject. Back to the guy, we start talking, and you could see his pain running through his veins just as deep as his scars that life has left all over him. He tells me that he has been in prison on an off all his life, he had ended up in the streets at age 12 and since then he chose different paths. His father was very abusive towards his mother, and he had become many times the shield of that anger and abuse. Without being able to fight, protecting was a missing word in his dictionary just as it was his childhood.
He started talking about his mother, about his daughter and all other people that had made an impact in his life, for good or worst, about the girl from Scotland, who use to sell drugs for him, and the imagination that he had had about the place where she had grown up. About his basement that had left some dark memories on him, about his life and the prison system in the United States. This is a subject that gets my attentions always. I have read so much about prisons but I never could connect the books to the real people. I always thought the authors like to exaggerate their stories, because otherwise we would not read them. I have grown up in another country, another continent in fact and a lot that I hearing during my daily workdays is very new to me, I feel pain, so much pain, that I can’t even explain… in fact sometimes I think I need to use my native tongue to be able to explain what I feel, yet I tried and did not work, despite the fact that we have 36 letters and a very complicated syntax, when I hear these people talk about their lost life behind the bars all that becomes useless. About their dreams that will always remain dreams and how they can’t dream when they sleep…and their past that will hunt them down for years to come.
He starts talking about his mom. I could see that he loved her so much, so much that it’s kind of hard for him to talk about. She had lived all her life praying for one night to have him home and spend some time, maybe as when he was little, when he was just this angel baby who will grow up buying and selling death. To have only one night him, without all his others stuff that he had in himself, for which he believes she maybe did not know. I could not imagine how many night his mother went to sleep with the wish he would have changed, that he would have been in the way she wanted him to be. Well, as we all know, sometimes things don’t go as we plan or wish, and a lot of events in our lives are nothing more but a manifest of our actions. Few weeks later, as he was getting more comfortable with me, he brought a picture of his mother and a drawing that he had made, of his mother, a flower that says “I love you mom” which he never had given to him because she had passed away. His eyes were watering, trying to hide his emotions because of his pride, I think he told me that ‘Man don’t not cry’… they suffer, I thought.
I will talk about this another time, as I am kind of getting emotional to talk about it… but I promises I will continue…
Monday, January 10, 2011
Pyramid schemes are notorious for devastating the lives of individuals and their finances. Pyramid schemes have been the root of economic problems in many countries around the world. Countries in a state of political and economic transition are especially affected in a larger scale from these types of schemes. Albania, Colombia, Russia, and Romania are a few examples where the schemes operated on a national scale. In Albania, the country became a precedent of harm caused by these schemes and created a destructive environment of anarchy and economic disparity. The Central Bank of Albania was not willing to control commercial banks and the corruption of the government led to the collapse of socio-economic system and a riot in Albania. The lack of adherence to constitutional law and ethics by these actors and the absence of regulatory functions within the economic and legislative system caused the collapse of political and economic stability in Albania.
According to the United States Security Exchange Commission, Ponzi schemes are a type of illegal financial pyramids that market false promises of high-rate returns. Named after Charles Ponzi, an Italian immigrant who, in 1920, believed he could take advantage of the foreigner currency by selling mail coupons bought in Spain and other countries. He promised his clients that we would give them 50% return in just 90 days and claimed that he himself made 400% in return from the money that he invested. His schemes amounted to a total 10 million dollars and more than 10,000 innocent investors. The scheme ultimately collapses once it has reached one of two stages: If the scheme is no longer able to support the expected rate of returns to investors, or if the number of recruited investors becomes insufficient to allow additional financial resources to support returns. Ponzi schemes are thus known as a strategy where individuals or companies pay out funds to the other party by borrowing funds from others. (Knutson, 1997).
The 1920’s are known for Ponzi schemes, but historically have been used prior to this period. France is known for having this type of scheme since 1719, but were not as sophisticated as they are today (Bhattacharya, 1998). The ideology behind these Ponzi schemes A.K.A. pyramid schemes is simple and complicated at the same time. The dummy organization operates in two main concepts of investors, Informed and Uninformed. The Informed investors are the ones that are inside the scheme, the ones that keep track of accounts and balances within the scheme. Uninformed investors are the general public who has no information about what is really going on but the positive information that is provided to them by the informed investors. The distinguished feature of the Pyramid schemes is that old “prey” is paid back with the funds received from the new “pray”. When the sources for new recruiters are no longer found, the pyramid collapses (Scharm et al, 1999)
Most of the empirical support about Ponzi schemes is based on the rational choice theory, that humans are capable of making rational choices whether or not to be involved in such a crime or deviance. In Ponzi schemes both victims and offenders made the decision to invest in these schemes based on seemingly rational thought processes (Friedrich, 2010). Victims invest money after being assured that they will receive a high rate in return by a member of the scheme through charismatic manipulation of unrealistically optimistic promises.
The pyramid schemes that operated in Albania appeared to be a real opportunity for investments. Despite the modest size, Albania caught world’s attention when in 1997 its economy and society collapsed. Just few years after the communist system broke down in 1990, Albania for the first time was open to the free market and by 1993, and it was the only country in Central and Eastern Europe to meet every criteria of IMF (International Monetary Fund). From 1993-96 official figures indicated that the GDP increased, inflation was contained and unemployment considerably decreased. These tendencies could be celebrated until the shock of 1997. Ponzi schemes have been operating in the country and were increasing in the large scale. When the schemes collapsed, they dragged Albania within weeks into anarchy, violence, plundering and food shortages (Bezemer, 2001). While the IMF was trying to maintain control of the fiscal system, the rest of the world viewed the collapse of the Albanian economy as merely a result of the “Albanians mistaken motion of capitalism” (Wall Street Journal, 1997).
Ponzi schemes in Albania were no coincidence, but they were unintentionally stimulated by the combination of monetary policy restrictions, deficient market regulation, large capital inflows and a weak government. A few years after transitioning out of communism, Albania still had the lowest standard of living in Europe. Waves of poverty introduced immigration, more than the third of the labor was unemployed and inflation peaked 45% monthly in August 1992. Agriculture, the country's primary source of economy, completely privatized together with industries. By the end of 1992 macroeconomic conditions stabilized which was a hope for investors in Albania. Private businesses in capital increased from 398 in 1991 to 8.321 in December 1992. The country's GDP rose dramatically, official unemployment was cut in half, inflation greatly decreased and foreign investments began to come in.
Gjallica, VEFA, and Kamberi were a few of the largest Ponzi scheme companies that were operating in Albania since 1992. They all offered interest 6-10% compared to the Central Bank of Albania which was offering only 4-5%. Although the three companies had real investments, they could not keep up with Sude which joined the schemes in March 1996 by offering the highest rates 12-18% per month and had no real investments. VEFA was one of the largest schemes in terms of liabilities because it had 85,000 investors while Xhaferri and Populli attracted over one million investors in a country with less than 3.5 million. When the new schemes entered the market they increased the pressure in the schemes that where already operating to increase rates. In September, Populli offered a rate of 30% a month. In November, Xhaferri offered to triple depositor’s money in only 3 months (this equals to 44% monthly rate). Sude offered to double the money in only 2 months and by late November the face of liability reached U$ 1.2 Billion.(Jarvis,2000)
Despite the fact that rates were increasing every day the government (won by Democratic Party) chose to ignore the facts and keep supporting these pyramid schemes. Pyramid schemes were legally advertizing the rates in national TV, and government officials where joining parties created by these companies (Price, Norris, 2009)
After four months the pyramids collapsed, bringing down the Democratic Party government and taking Albania into anarchy. The first ones to go bankrupt were Sude and Gajllica. The remaining companies, VEFA, Kamberi, Populli, Silva, Canaj and others, tried to take control of the situation by lowering the rates to 5%, but this did not succeed either. The bankrupt of Sude and Gjallica triggered riots in south of Albania, especially in Vlora where Gjallica was based. As the government was trying to control the violence that spurred all over the country they also promised to return the money to all the investors. In November 26 the government froze bank account of Gjafrri and Populli which contained shocking amount of money over US $200 million (10% of GDP). The Bank of Albania limited the daily withdrawals to US $ 300,000 to prevent other schemes from emptying their bank accounts. The government did not go prosecute some of the larger Pyramid schemes, VAFA was one of the companies which kept advertizing their rates during the worst of violence. In March 1997 collapsed, and Albania was in a total chaos. Police and military mostly deserted, and more than a million weapons were looted, over 2,000 people were killed and the whole country was filled with violence in less than a few months. In July 1997 the country held new elections which were won by the Socialist Party. Albania signed a new Emergency agreement with IMF and asked from Italian government to help in bringing countries fiscal system in track. Only in March 1998, the protest and violence was brought under control. Albania remained very weak and the consequences of 1997 have carried on into the year that followed.
The Albania case started out quite legitimately but was unstable and the manager of the funds could not handle meeting the demands of the investors when other companies entered the market and began fiercely competing. To prevent this type of crime the Central Bank of Albania should of implemented law that not allow investors to give promises higher than the capital that they had contained. Also government should involve consumer education explaining about the consequences and the risks of being involved in these types of pyramid/ Ponzi schemes. Furthermore, business education can be an effort to offer information to new entrepreneurs; especially those who may unknowingly violate the law. Strategic future planning is another preventive alternative, since banks are very well capable of helping the law enforcement to detect these types of schemes.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Sunday, October 24, 2010
ABSTRACT:The article discusses the definition of state corporate crime particularly bribery, its origin, and the devastating effect on the global economy. Al Yamama was an arms deal done by BAE and Saud Arabia that lasted 22-years.The article analyzes this type of white-collar crime using the Rational Choice Theory and Bounded Rationality to explain the causes and effects of the bribery, and uses Saud Arabia and its Al Yamama deal as a case study. International ant-bribery regulations are key to preventing these crimes, and is further imperative to be able identify and prosecute organizations involve in this crime and to put them to justice
State Corporate crime is defined by Kramer, Michalowski and Fridriches (1990) as any act of crime or harm caused by the state or big corporations to the public, or particular group of individuals with their products and benefiting from the act (product) that is causing the harm. Bribery is one type of state corporate crimes that has served as a tool for doing business for many centuries. Bribery is the offer or acceptance of anything of value in exchange for influence on a government/public official or employee. Often big corporations in cooperation with state official’s makes decisions for producing, selling or creating materials or ideologies that are highly destructive for the general public. Corporations spend more than a trillion dollars each year paying officials around the world (Friedrichs,2009). Bribery is done between the government officials in one side and the corporations on the other. Bribes can take the form of gifts or payments of money in exchange for favorable treatment, such as awards of government contracts. In most situations, both the person offering the bribe and the person accepting can be charged with bribery (Friedriches, 2009)
In England, bribery has been against the law since the declaration of Magna Carta in 1215(Joshi, 2009). The UK has tried to reduce bribery and corruption practices with their laws since the early 13th century. A few of the most important laws were the Public Body Corrupt Practice Act in 1889 and the Prevention of Corrupt Acts of 1906 and 1916. However, none of these statutes specifically refers to the bribery of foreign officials. In 2001, the UK enacted its Anti Terrorism Act, which amended the previous acts of 1889 and 1906 and was an initiative for preventing bribery for the purpose of terrorism acts (Hawlay, 2003).
In the United States, The Foreign Corrupt Act was passed by congress in 1977. This act made it illegal for an American corporation to bribe a foreign government official with any material goods or gifts for maintaining business contacts. The act requires companies to keep record of all businesses transactions even if the company does not trade internationally, to make sure that the Act is not being violated. However, the act has its loopholes, which many companies take advantage. One of these loopholes is that, the act permits “grease payments”, which are small payments given to a particular individual, without being charged with bribery. The act applied only in the U.S., and was a disfavor for U.S. companies in the global market. Bribing a foreign official was legal for many countries and now the U.S. companies could not compete in the global market because companies from other countries would bribe officials and set a monopoly for the particular product in the given country. In 1998, the U.S. revealed the International Anti-bribery Act, which was signed by the U.S. and 32 other countries including the U.K.
Until 1998, bribery was legal outside of the U.S..It was a legal way of doing business with other countries, by including it in taxes. Therefore, bribery was legal and taxable. The corporations were allowed to bribe officials oversees as long as they paid taxes in the total amount of the bribery. The Act of 1998 was applauded globally and seemed to be a great opportunity to stop the old practice of doing business by big corporations.
A sensational story launched in 2007 by the British Broadcasting Corporation revealed that British armed manufacturing (a.k.a. BAE System), had paid over $ 2 billion in bribes to Saudi Arabia’s ambassador Prince Bandar bin-Sultan in Washington over a period of 22 years. The deal, which started in 1985 between BAE and Saud Arabia, included over $80 billion in fighter jets and support services for the Saudi Kingdom. The notorious BAE-Saudi deal involved such elite politicians as Margaret Thatcher, John Major, and Tony Blair who all have been implicated in the BAE-Saudi Scandal.
In 1985, the kingdom of Saud Arabia felt frightened by the ongoing war between its neighbors Iran and Iraq. By that time it had reached a highly destructive phase known as “war of the cities”. To protect themselves, they sought to purchase a large number of advanced jet fighters to build up a strong Royal Air Force. The Saudi Royal family approached the Regan’s Administration to make a deal to purchase F-15 fighters. This deal required congress’ approval and the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) put a massive effort to stop the sale and finally succeeded. While the US required congress’ approval for the purchase of F-15, British arms sale did not required parliamentary approval. Therefore, this was a great opportunity for the Saudis to purchase arms from the U.K.
BAE is the world’s third largest arms producer, whose biggest costumer is the U.S. Pentagon. Created in 1981 when Prime Minister Thatcher privatized the British arms manufacturing industry, BAE now dominates the British defense sector (Simson, 2006). After the British government found out that the Saudis were trying to make a deal with French companies to buy Mirage fighters, the British minister of defense of that time Mr. Heseltine urgently visited Saud Arabia to meet with King Fahd. After intensive meetings that were held in Riyadh with Prince Bandar the son of Prince Sultan, the Saudi royalty agreed to buy 48 Tornado IDS and 30 Hawk jets. Prince Bandar bin Sultan at age 16 was sent a Royal Air Force Collage in England to be prepared to serve later as a RAF pilot. There were many speculations that he was recruited as a secret agent from the MI6, the British intelligence service. In any event, Prince Bandar bin Sultan had extraordinary access and relationships from Thatcher to Jon Mayer to Tony Blair (Simpson, 2006).
The British BAE-Saudi deal was known as an Al Yamama deal which means the dove in arabic. Its negotiations started long before the deal was signed. Right after the deal was signed, the British started delivering the Tornado Jets. After the first delivery, the deal expanded from 45 Tornado jets to 72 and 30 Hawks together with training and other equipment services. The deal of the century made the British Prime Minister Thatcher feel very confident in the great aftermath of the British and Saudis business. The deal was supposed to provide thousands of jobs for British citizens, create long term stability in the UK’s economy and a better future for everyone in the UK. Furthermore, there have since been three additional deals, Al Yamama II, III and IV worth a total of $40 billion (Stainberg, 2007).
The first Al Yamama deal was very simple and specific. The fundamental contract implied Saudis paying the U.K. in oil in return for fighter jets. In fact there was another hidden contract where U.K would provide Saudis with up to $60 billion in weaponry while billing the Saudis for $80 billion. The other $20 billion would be paid in cash from BAE to certain officials of the Saudi Royalty as a secret contract deal done by BAE and Bandar bin Sultan. For the favor, that BAE was giving him (Bandar), he promised BAE to keep the deal alive as long as he was in the Royal Family. BAE was being used as part of the larger corruption inside Saudi Royal family. An amount of over $2 billion went straight to the Bandar bin Sultan account in Riggs bank. This is where the story gets interesting.
Saud Arabia in the Al Yamama deal agreed to provide Great Britain with one tank of oil per day for the rest of the life of the deal. One tank holds 600,000 barrels of oil. In Addition, BAE has over 5,000 employees in Saud Arabia maintaining the jets and serving the contract. The oil that was provided by the Al Yamama deal to the Great Britain was sold in international market through British petroleum and Royal Dutch Shell. Over the course of the 22-year deal (since 1985) Great Britain deal accumulated over $120 billion (the today’s currency over $160 billion) from the same deal (Crawford, Browne, 2004).
The Al Yamama scandal exploded in November 2006 after an official document leaked showing the real price of fighter jets. This was nothing less than a confirmation of what had been going on for quite a while. The price of jets had increased for 40% over 22-year period, telling that billions of dollars had been for slush funds. Slush funds are sums of money used to illicit or corrupt political purposes. After the scandal rose, the question was where did all that money go? Few articles talk about the impact that Saudis had in the Cold War, which made Saudis able to purchase weapons from all over the world to fight communism. Enormous amounts of money was spend by Saudis to buy arms from Egypt and other counties to send to Mujahedeen’s in Afghanistan to fight the Soviets(Crawford, Michaels,2008). On the other hand, one of the British agents who was in charge of the deal explains that BAE was paying for all the expenses of Prince Bandar bin Sultan who was also an Saudi ambassador in Washington (Stainberg, 2007).
After the secret came up the Great Britain’ attorney general Lord Goldsmith ordered to investigate Swiss bank accounts of BAE and Saud Arabia (where a big amount of slush funds, around 100 Billions was believed to be kept). Bandar bin Sultan immediately contacted the GB officials threatening them than that if the investigations were not dropped they would not participate in the war on terror and there will be big consequences. Right after this message arrived to the UK royalty, Tony Blair urgently met the attorney general saying that, if you people do not drop the case there would be blood spilled in the streets of UK and the global war on terror will have a big negative impact. Right after this, the attorney general dropped the case (Steinberg, 2009).
For more than a year, the US has been involved in the BAE investigation and in the allegation that Bandar had received billions of dollars in bribes through US –Saudi embassy accounts (Riggs National Bank). According to the terms of the Foreign Corrupt Practice Act (FCPA), the US has jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute any act of bribery that takes place in the US soil (FCPA, 1998). Because of the very close ties of Prince Bandar with President Bush’s family (often called Bandar Bush), officials from the DOJ traveled to London to reach a compromise with the BAE to close the case before Bush left office. The DOJ has stated that there have been a lot of facts provided to the SFO(Serious Fraud Office) in the BAE-Saudi Al Yamama case, from Peter Garner, one of the travel agents of BAE who was authorized to payoff top Saudi Officials. Furthermore, Mr Garner climes that BAE used to buy luxury cars, and private jets, and paid for hotels expenses, and honeymoons all over the world for children of the Royal Family and girlfriends of Bandar bin Sultan totaling more than $2 Billion dollars in bribery(Steinberg,2007).
Another complication of this case is that between April 1998 and May 2002 over $73,000 were paid by the Saudi ambassador in the US to two families in Southern of California. Furthermore, Omar al Bayoumi who was working for the Ministry of defense helped two Saudi men enroll in a flight school in Florida. The two men were later involved in the 9/11 hijackers. They were hijackers of flight 77 who crashed in to the Pentagon. Two months before 9/11 happen, al Bayoum moved to England and few days before 9/11 happened, he disappeared and since then he was never found. When the FBI and agents of New Scotland Yard searched his apartment, they found phone numbers connecting him to the Saudi Embassy in U.S. Prince Bandar and Princess Haifa said that they did not provide any finances to the 9/11 hijackers’, they merely provided charitable assistance to Saudis families in the US. There are few other facts that were reported about the Al Yamama funds passing through accounts of Riggs Bank and helping migration of Muslim Brotherhood to pass into the to United States during the ’80’s and ’90’s. Khalid Sheik Mohamed, the mastermind of 9/11 has admitted that he was part of Muslim Brotherhood since he was 16 year old. The picture gets even more blurred after we take into consideration that the former director of FBI, Louise Freeh is the attorney of Prince Bandar bin Sultan who is trying to clear the name of Al Yamam and Prince Bandar as being involved in 9/11 attack. With the new attorney general, Eric Holder who has started to get rid of the corrupt officials within the Department of Justice, the involvement of Al Yamama in 9/11 is far from being uncovered.
Bribery outside of the criminology is framed as devastating for the countries budget. In the discipline of Economy, bribery is explained as an act that has a bigger impact on third world countries and on countries where the economy is already unregulated. In these particular countries where the legislators are incapable of fighting corruption, officials have lower chances of being caught for accepting bribery and this becomes the governments’ operating tradition (Svensson, 2003). The population who is mostly effected from this kind of crime (bribery) is the public. Individuals who are in the lower class are the ones who feel the high “price” of corruption. Often the consequences of bribery and corruption are: higher taxes, shifting priorities like the case in South Africa where the government instated of purchasing medication to help population infected with HIV, signed an arms deal with BAE, spending billions of dollars in a problem that did not oppose danger because there was no conflict going on. Therefore, millions of lives were lost (Crawford, 2004). On the other hand, government officials like Saudi in our case and corporations like BAE, are the ones who benefit from these types of crime. Additionally by the Al Yamama deal, the global market was affected also as the UK and Saudis were controlling the oil-gas prizes by raising it.
Most of the empirical explanation for bribery and corruption is based on rational choice theory. According to this theory, humans are capable of making rational choices whether or not to be involved in such a crime or deviance. In the Al Yamama deal between BAE and Saudis both victims and offenders( although it is very hard to say who was the victim and who was the offender in this case) made the decision to be involved in this game based on seemingly rational thought processes (Friedrich, 2009). BAE bribed Saudi officials in order to gain higher profits for the company by raising the oil price in the global market, on the other hand Saudis accepted the briberies so they could cover the inside corruption that they were doing within the Royalty family. However, another theorical explanation within rational choice theories is bounded rationality. According to this theory, the rationality of individuals is limited by the information they have, the cognitive limitations of their minds, and the finite amount of time they have to make decisions (Friedrichs, 2009).
One of the solutions to this problem given by the field of Law is enforcing stronger laws and making sure to operationalise these laws. In addition to this, creating an international tack force that will be tracking briberies around the world would be a type of preventive. On the other hand as suggested from the Economic perspective, banks should be responsible to inform the authorities’ when large amounts of money are floating into accounts and keeping a close eye in the international treading market by knowing how the money is coming to the account and how is being distributed. Also preventing companies to create monopolies in the particular market and requiring more transparency in the global business market and particular in the one done between big corporations and governments.
Steinberg, J. (2007). Scandal of the century rocks British crown and the city. Executive intellegence Review, 23.
Steinberg, J. (2009). Scandal of the century rocks British crown and the city. Executive intellegence Review, 33.
Joshi, A. (2009). Britain's fight against the 'silver lance'. The Champion-National
Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
Browne, T.C. (2004). The Arms deal scandal. Review of African Political Economy,
Kramer, R.C., Michalowski, R.J, & Kauzlarich, D. (2002). The Origins and development
of concept and theory of state corporate crime. CRIME & DELINQUENCY, 48(263).
Frierdichs, D.O. (2009). Trusted criminals. Belmont : Wadsworth Publishing.
Crawford, D., & Michaels, D. (2008). Police look for bribery evidence in case against bae. Wall Street Journal , Oct.
Simpson, W. (2006). The Prince: the secret story of the world's most intriguing royal, prince Bandar bin Sultan. New York.
Friday, October 22, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
• More than 4 million Americans are temporary or permanently prohibited to vote that’s 1 in every 50 citizens can’t vote
• African Americans and Latinos are very disproportionally presented among the prison population therefore prohibiting of the to vote effects policies
• More than 1.4 million African Americans cannot vote because of their felony conviction, which makes the number to 13 % nation wide
• States like Alabama, Florida, Iowa Mississippi NM VA WY 1-4 African Americans has lost for life the right to vote.
• 400 senate seated that has been elected since 1978 7 of them would have been different
• If disfranchisement had excised in 1960 then Nixon would have won over Kennedy by 225.000 votes.
• The 2000 elections which brought Florida to determine the fate of US for the next 4 years brought Bush winning over Al Gore which if felons in Florida were alloued to vote Al Gore would have been the 43rd president of US.
(Harvard law reviews, Uggen, Manza 2004,2002, King Mauer 2004 etc)
Saturday, October 2, 2010
The United States Of America,
the country that incarcerates half of the prison population in the world, and where the crime is not declining. What is really going on? Is this a sign of experimenting with bad policies or is this because the crime is so high here that "nothing works"in this country, as some of criminologists have stated.
We as a community are willing to pay so much taxes for building and maintaining prisons and its personnel, but when it comes to rehabilitation programs we kind of step back and feel like that's not out responsibility. I think these ideas come from a basic rule that we as humans sometimes like to deal with the "momenta" problems without thinking about the future. All we want is: "lock them up and through away the key", get them out the society and therefore if they are locked up they cant commit crimes, they cant hurt us,but then we forget that "they all come back" and when these individuals get back from prison, often they bring a huge baggage with them: drug habits, visual and in- visual scares, emotions etc. With all these problems,trying to fit in the society will be hard. On the other hand, the community doesn't make it any easy for them. Having a permanent criminal record, denying housing, work and other services we just set the path for them to get back to prion again.Then we can feel good ones again by saying "yup we knew it, nothing works". Stigma is another factor that makes it very painful for these individuals to reintegrate in the society. However we as community do not feel responsible for the crime they committed therefore why should we care, right? Well,i think the story is not as simple as that.I am huge advocate of rehabilitation because it is cheaper, and more effective. By rehabilitating these individuals don't assume that we are cuddling them, OH we ARE still punishing them but what we are doing is that we are preventing another crime to happen because everyone that goes to prison eventually gets out of it, unless they are "life in Prison, or death row". Therefore we should have a better approach of what do we do with then when they come back?
Sunday, February 15, 2009
In my perspective of view I think that Prisons main purpose is to punish the crime and also try to fix the defections that are in the offender’s character. Sometimes even that we punish the crime and we lock down offenders, and increase incarceration for them, not necessarily will bring result. A lot of inmates adjust their behavior and start feeling very comfortable inside those cells. They are allowed to watch TV, play, run, and sometimes they have even better access to the drugs inside the prison that they will have in the free life. Further, this changes the concept of the punishment. It is not anymore punishment; it is place were they live and eat for free. So they don’t feel crime impose anymore, the crime is something that just happen in the past!?
On the other hand, some prisons don’t have a classification of the inmates at all. Some of prisons keep different crime offenders in the same unit. I am not sure if a classification is possible but I think that someone that committed a first degree murder should be treated different from some one that is locked up for pedophiles, or sexual harassment. Not necessary the punishment to be more aggressive in the time of incarcerating but in the way how we try to deal and rehabilitate them.
On other reason that I don’t agree with the “punishing the crime” without taking a close look in causes that brought that crime to be committed is that, if the offender killed someone trying to protect their family, should not be treated in a same way like a gang member that killed someone for gaining the respect from the others.
I think this should matter not just in the prosecutor’s decision but also in the prisons environment.
However, I think prisons like the ones that we have right now should be decreased in number and serve just for the “worst of the worst”. The money we will gain from decreasing the number of these prisons should be allocated in building more rehabilitating centers, from were the inmates with some defects after the rehab will get back to society as responsible people.
This may be just unrealistic theory but we should think more about the future of those people who get released, because their past will dictate their future in the real life despite the quote that past is something that should be forgotten.
Incarceration is a type of punishment, and punishment is meant to be unpleasant. As a
matter of fact, prison will always be unattractive place for people. It is not something that
will have a good image, it never did. However, this should not mean that all the rights of
the prison should be violated. Prison is a place were trouble makres of society are send,
so the prison can change their behavior. Furthermore the society doesn’t demand that
prison change people for better, so, it is very inhumane and contra productive to leave
the prisons in a worst condition. And not being able to change anything in the inmates
behavior. In this case the blame goes in prison administrators.
Prison as a “total institution” being isolative, most likely is capable to create enclaves which later will serve the purpose of creating a little society inside of the prison (Alarid and Cromwell-Prison Gangs). This society is well organized and has a very complicated hierarchy. That is the reason why it is very hard to prevent the operation of these destructive groups. Also if the illegality that this groups have (they are illegal-and dangerous) it is hard to identify them.
I think that classification of the inmates plays an important role in this society. Different groups that share same “ideology” would get together and play a very important role in the prison society, making the environment very difficult for penetrating sometimes. Gang fights and violence inside the prison was a cause of many death and riots in prison.
Although, environment plays a very important role in the incarceration system, intimidation is the main rules of gang operate inside the prison. While, outside you may be able to avoid this hazard that you got into, in prison sometimes you have no other choice but to join the “club” and start a violent journey even if you have no record of the brutal violence. (Alardi and Cromwell- Prison Violence pp.138)
According to this, environment is very important in the way how the inmates are shaped and prepared to face the challenges that they will meet inside prison and outside too, when they will be released. Furthermore, the environment plays a big role in the psychological aspect of inmates. Although, it believed that repentance is reached trough loneliness and small-dark cells, the results are not very greeted. Many inmates when they are locked up in a small little cell were everything is gray, easy cross the line and get in a deep depression which sometimes brings the inmates to the edge were in affect the committee suicide. On the other hand, the culture that is found in prison is a direct result of deprivation of the prison world. Thus black market, homosexuality are all linked to the deprivation of the autonomy and missing access to the goods and so on.(Pollock, Life in Prison pp.98)
Many of the inmates, especially those who are in a long term sentence, obviously will get adopted to the prison life. Some of them been longer enough in jail, that they don’t have any strong feeling about outside life or freedom. This is the reality for them; this is how they know to live. One of the inmates ( Mike Rolland Alarid, Cromwell) explains that how he is adopted to prison life and brutality that he start worrying how he will act in a free society. The need for adoption to the prison life incredibly high, and there is no other choice. Weakness, and fear are not accepted in the prison society, especially in those prisons were violence and brutality is a daily “entertainment”.
In conclusion, everything matters during the incarceration. Environment, is one of the factors that determinate the inmates behavior during the incarceration. Violence and gang membership plays a very important role in the inmate’s experience. The paradox is that these small gangs joint together not because they want to but because they need a self-protection. The experience that inmates had during the time they join the gang groups it is not something that had been just restored in their memory, it has left a visual effect too(Alarid, Cromwell). Tattoos are some of the visual impact that gang membership made in the inmates life. There is no need to spent time figuring out if someone was a gang member or not there are drawing that will tell you the little sad history ore sometimes full of pride about the gang effect in prisoners.