Justice Updates – October 1, 2019

The recent Climate Strike demonstrated that young people are serious about making change in our climate crisis.  The earlier March for our Lives showed their desire to build a safer world by changing gun violence legislation.  Young people are our hope for the future. Read why David Gergen and James Piltch believe that we need them to take charge in Young People Offer Urgent Moral Clarity to Do-nothing Adults.

You can make a difference.

  • 1 reusable water bottle = 167 plastic water bottles
  • 1 reusable bag = 170 plastic bags
  • 1 reusable cup = 500 coffee cups
  • 1 metal straw = 540 plastic straws
  • 1 cloth towel = 7,300 paper towels  (Unwaste the Planet)

Some sobering facts about pollution:

  • Americans produce more trash than any other country on earth — 6pounds per person, per day, which amounts to 251 million tons a year. 50% of this trash is sent to landfills, where is slowly decomposes and produces greenhouse gases. Plastic that is not recycled often ends up in the ocean and is especially harmful to wildlife. (Discovery)
  • 85% of registered voters support requiring electric utilities to use 100% clean, renewable energy by 2050. (Yale Program on Climate Change Communication)

Want to know why it’s so important to implement gun safety legislation?  Each day 8 children die from gun violence in America and another 32 are shot and injured.  Check out this Public Service Announcement  and this fact sheet from Sandy Hook Promise.

The good news is that the poverty rate in 2018 dropped since 2017 by .5% from 12.3% to 11.8%.  The bad news is that this still represents 38.1 million people. Poverty rates for children under age 18 decreased 1.2% from 2017 to 16.2%.  Programs that could help this trend continue are being cut. For more information about the 2018 census, click here.

Curious about what it means and takes to impeach a president? This four-minute video from NPR gives you an overview.

According to the New York Times asylum seekers are growing desperate at the border in this article :Desperate Migrants on the Border: ‘I Should Just Swim Across.

The Criminal Justice System has been called the new Jim Crow in an excellent book by Michelle Alexander. Here are some statistics about the system.

  • 50% of all adults in America has had a family member in jail or prison. (Fwd.us)
  • 66% of prisoners at the federal level and about 50% at the state level are in for drug related offenses. (Calvin College Prison Initiative)
  • 27 states allow for people to be charged with “felony murder” even when the defendants did not set out to kill anyone or even play a direct role in the death itself. (American Civil Liberties Union)
  • In a given year, over 160,000 people are incarcerated for a “technical violation” of probation or parole, such as a failed drug test. (The Prison Policy Initiative)
  • In 2018, the US incarcerated 655 out of every 100,000 its citizens. For comparison, Russia imprisoned 415, England & Wales 142, France 102 and Germany 77. (Calvin College Initiative)
  • Most American states spend more on their prisons than they do on education. 15 states spend at least $27,000 more per prisoner than they do per student. The leader is California which invests $64,642 per prisoner compared to $11,495 per student – a $53,146 difference in spending priorities. New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Rhode Island round out the top states spending more on prisons. (The Daily Mail)
  • 76% of people in local jails are not convicted of a crime, and many are there simply because they can’t afford money bail. (The Prison Policy Initiative)
  • On average, a phone call from a local jail costs over 3 times more than a phone call from a state prison. Nationally, the average cost of a 15-minute call from jail is $5.61. The states with the highest rates are: Arkansas $14.49, Michigan $12.03, Montana $9.24, Kansas $8.49 & North Dakota $8.20. (Prison Policy Initiative)
  • The Rand Corp. recently completed a study of the effects of education in prison and found the following:
    • Education in prison lowers recidivism rate by at least 43%
    • Increases chances of employment by 28%
    • For every $1 spent on education, reduces incarceration rate by $4-5
Posted in News, Peace & Justice Weekly Updates

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