Solitary Confinement is Inhumane

Written by T. Resnikoff // March 17th 2014 // Social Justice // no comments


The Head of the Colorado Prison System was locked up in solitary confinement to know the experience of thousands of inmates (the exact number is unknown). We re-post excerpts from the article of his experience from the New York Times. Learn what the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) is doing to combat Mass Incarceration and other social injustice below.-Ed. Solitary Confinement is Inhumane After 20 hours in solitary confinement, the head of the Colorado prison system, Rick Raemisch stated what Unitarian Universalists and many others have said for years, “You don’t have to spend much time in a prison talking to someone in a segregation cell to realize that something is inherently wrong with that… Everything…

Mass Incarceration Identifies Us

Written by T. Resnikoff // February 20th 2014 // Issues and Trends, UUA // no comments


Set against a backdrop of institutional and societal discrimination, the story of Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice initiative (EJI) encapsulates what is right about family, faith and mission, pointing the way forward. – Ed. Reaching Out To End Injustice Bryan Stevenson, winner of the Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award in social justice argues that the policy of Mass Incarceration has its roots in the practice of slavery, and is part of the continuum of the history of racial injustice in the United States. From his career advocating for death-row inmates (study this resource about the unequal application of the death penalty on the basis of race, this resource of death-penalty inmates who have been exonerated [and…

Mass Incarceration = Mass Prejudice

Written by T. Resnikoff // February 11th 2014 // Issues and Trends, UUA // no comments


Learn how policy shapes our perception of race in this story from the Code Shift Segment of Morning Edition on National Public Radio.-Ed. We See What We Expect It is proven that Mass Incarceration unfairly targets and inordinately penalizes minorities and the poor. However, a new study shows that the connection between the policy of Mass Incarceration and public perception of who goes to jail is based upon racial stereotypes. In this way, as a self-fulfilling prophecy – and contrary to evidence – more minorities go to jail (per capita) because more minorities engage in criminal behavior. Furthermore, researchers at Stanford University, looking at the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY), conducted by the Bureau…

Incorrect Grammar

Written by T. Resnikoff // November 14th 2013 // Issues and Trends // no comments


Too Many Run-On Sentences Mass incarceration policy includes mandatory sentences for certain offenses despite mitigating factors of the case arguing for a less severe sentence. Judges who impose the sentences are often critical of the the inflexibility of the sentencing rules and guidelines, and express remorse when levying them. In particular, as part of its “War on Drugs,” Federal drug laws often require mandatory sentences – including life without parole – for non-violent drug-offenders. READ Life Without Parole on the Huffington Post. Profiling 32 people serving life sentences and describing the crimes for which they received a life, or double-life, sentence without possibility of parole. Blacks Arrested at a Higher Rate. A new report suggests that…

Watch What’s Behind the Kitchen Door

Written by T. Resnikoff // October 31st 2013 // Guides and Tools, Issues and Trends, UUA, youth // no comments


Check-out these fun videos and use the wealth of resources offered by the Unitarian Universalist Association and the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee in support of the 2013-2014 Common Read, Behind the Kitchen Door, by Saru Jayaraman.–Ed.   YOUTH GROUP ACTIVITIES Youth and youth groups can catalyze their congregation’s participation in Common Read 2014 with these activities: Ask Your Congregation Working in the food service industry is one of the most common ways to start one’s working life. Whether as a youth working in an ice cream parlor or fast-food franchise or as a young adult busing tables through school or working as a waiter, many members of your congregation have unknown stories of their life working…

Cheaper By the Dozens

Written by T. Resnikoff // September 20th 2013 // Issues and Trends, UUA // no comments


When private companies provide incarceration facilities and services, government often finds that the more people incarcerated, the cheaper it is. We re-post this story from the Huffington Post which provides insight into how the culture of Mass Incarceration works.   – Ed. One Disturbing Reason For Our Exploding Prison Population Prison companies have an airtight business plan: sign contracts with states obliging them to fill prison beds. Most quotas require at least 90 percent of the beds in a prison to be filled, according to a new report by the advocacy group In the Public Interest, and quotas were part of nearly two-thirds of the contracts the group analyzed. Prison companies use the profits to…

The Uncommon Common Read

Written by T. Resnikoff // September 12th 2013 // Guides and Tools // one comment


Reading Makes Doing Happen Since the inaugural  Unitarian Universalist Association Common Read in 2010, the program has focused on big issues of our times,  providing a venue and framework for intentional reflection and work on issues of injustice through the prism of Unitarian Universalist principles and sources of faith. Anybody can organize or participate in Common Read, and Common Read groups exist in many forms, including on-line. The UUA produces study guides to focus collective discussion and reflection, and participants create their own resources as well.   Each year the UUA recommends one title for organized collective reading, reflection and discussion, but the resources that are produced in support of past Common Read titles remain…

A New Recipe for Justice

Written by T. Resnikoff // September 11th 2013 // Events and Opportunities, Social Justice, UUA // no comments


The UUA Common Read enters its fourth year of intentional group read and discussion on topics central to Unitarian Universalist principles and values. For the 2013-14 Unitarian Universalist Association Common Read the Common Read selection committee, after a thoughtful process,  has chosen Behind the Kitchen Door by Saru Jayaraman. Learn more about the book here, and learn how you or your congregation can participate in the 2013 UUA Common Read.-Ed.   Common Read 2013-14 – Something Smells Bad in the Kitchen “Sustainability is about contributing to a society that everybody benefits from, not just going organic because you don’t want to die from cancer or have a difficult pregnancy. What is a sustainable restaurant? It’s…

Justice Weighs in on Mass Incarceration

Written by T. Resnikoff // August 12th 2013 // Social Justice // no comments


DoJ vs Mass Incarceration Department of Justice Announces “Smart on Crime” program to reduce Mass Incarceration. From the Huffington Post: The Justice Department will avoid charging certain low-level and nonviolent drug offenders with crimes that carry mandatory minimums, Attorney General Eric Holder will announce Monday. The policy shift will allow certain defendants — those without ties to large-scale organizations, gangs or cartels — to avoid what Holder called “draconian mandatory minimum sentences.” Holder, in a speech before the American Bar Association in San Francisco on Monday, will also announce that the Justice Department is giving U.S. attorneys throughout the country a greater amount of prosecutorial discretion. “Some issues are best handled at the state or…

“Stops and Frisks” Racially Profiled

Written by T. Resnikoff // August 12th 2013 // Issues and Trends // no comments


The 4th Amendment vs Mass-Incarceration U.S. District Court Rules Police Racially Profiled Targets, Moves to Reform “Stop and Frisk” U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin wrote, “The city’s highest officials have turned a blind eye to the evidence that officers are conducting stops in a racially discriminatory manner… In their zeal to defend a policy that they believe to be effective, they have willfully ignored overwhelming proof that the policy of targeting “the right people” is racially discriminatory,” and ordering an independent monitor  to oversee changes of the New York City Police Department policy. Read the story on Huffington Post.   Other Ways to Resist the Policy of Mass-Incarceration – The New Jim Crow &…