Prisons

firingsquadOld

Should We Return to the Old Days?

It’s clearly time to bring back firing squads.

If we’re going to keep carrying out the death penalty in this country and if we are going to continue to grandly insist that they are “humane executions” then only a return to a firing squad will insure a speedy and relatively pain free death for the condemned.

You might think I’m kidding but I’m not. I say, line up six to eight sharp shooters, employ the old practice of giving one of them a blank instead of a bullet and instruct them to aim for the prisoner’s heart. I guarantee the convict will be dead before they drop to the ground. [click to continue…]

{ 58 comments }

The U.S. Prison System Needs a Total Makeover

by Diane Dimond on April 14, 2014

Time to Re-Think the Prison System

 “We have embraced the idea that being mentally sick is a crime …”

It is way past time to overhaul the U.S. prison system.

I’m not talking about a little tweak here and there. I’m talking about throwing a massive metaphorical hand grenade into the entire system and starting over from scratch. We should be ashamed of ourselves for allowing the system to have morphed into what it has. [click to continue…]

{ 33 comments }

Heroin Makes a Comeback

by Diane Dimond on February 10, 2014

U.S. Heroin Use at Crisis Levels

Heroin is back – with a vengeance.

It never really disappeared from the drug-culture landscape, of course, but its popularity center has definitely widened these days. It’s no longer the drug of choice for only the down-and-out habitual street druggie. Today, heroin has become a favorite of many middle and upper-class folks who have lost their way in the search to find pain relief.

This is not a column about the tragic recent passing of acclaimed actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman, 46, who was found dead in his New York apartment, reportedly, surrounded by as many as 70 glassine bags of heroin. Nor last year’s passing of the popular star of the TV show “Glee”, Corey Montieth, 31, who succumbed to a heroin overdose in a Vancouver hotel room.

Those celebrity stories make for a lot of headlines but the much bigger story is about the rest of us. [click to continue…]

{ 24 comments }

Death On-The-Job Dips For Cops

by Diane Dimond on January 6, 2014

Deputy Wyatt Earp circa mid 1800’s

Not since the days when Wyatt Earp worked the Wild West wearing a badge and a gun has there been such good news for law enforcement.

The number of federal, state, local, tribal and territorial officers in the U.S. who died in the line of duty last year dropped to a total of 111. Think about that. In the whole United States of America we lost only 111 officers during 2013. That’s the lowest number since 1959.

The most encouraging news in the latest report from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) is seen in the death-by-gun category. At a time when there is so much worry about rampant gun deaths only 33 officers, nationwide, lost their lives in the line of duty due to a firearm fatality. The number would have been even lower had it not been for a former Los Angeles cop named Christopher Dorner who went on a shooting spree last February and killed four people, including three L.A. police officers. [click to continue…]

{ 11 comments }

A Crime and Justice Wish List for 2014

by Diane Dimond on December 30, 2013

 

Tops on the List : Tolerance

Tops on my Crime and Justice Wish List this year is the sincere hope that America finds a way to become a better functioning and more tolerant country.

I wish for the lethargy of the electorate and the deterioration of trust and respect – in our government and in each other – to magically evaporate. 

It is a tall order, I know. We live in an ugly era of perpetual backbiting that serves no real purpose but to distract us from finding solutions to very real problems.

Democrats routinely ridicule Republicans and vice versa. Various ethnic groups point to those who are different and declare their problems are the other groups fault; both heterosexuals and homosexuals complain their lifestyle is under attack; the unemployed and under-employed label business people and corporations as greedy devils without acknowledging they are the very entities providing the most jobs. Our children grow up hearing our viciousness toward one another and are likely to continue the corrosive tradition of intolerance.  [click to continue…]

{ 7 comments }

DNA and Death Row

by Diane Dimond on November 25, 2013

Spending Justice System Money More Wisely

In this time of economic strain anyone who doesn’t look at ways to cut their personal or business budget is just not being responsible. Same goes for the justice system.

For nearly two decades lawyers working with death row inmates have spent countless hours, court time and multiple tens of millions of dollars fighting for access to DNA testing. These attorneys work right up until execution time to win court orders for DNA tests on crime scene evidence or DNA of the condemned prisoner him or herself.

I could never figure out why so much time and money was spent fighting a condemned person’s last chance to establish their innocence. Don’t we want to make sure we’re executing the right person? Now that DNA technology has become so advanced isn’t that one extra step the necessary and honorable thing to do? [click to continue…]

{ 12 comments }

Facebook Embraces the Murderabilia Craze

by Diane Dimond on July 29, 2013

Now What’s Available Here?

Imagine searching on-line for the name of a deceased family member and being hit in the face with gruesome crime scene photographs of  his or her dead and decomposing body.  For the loved ones of Suzette Trouten or Izabella Lewicka – two of at least 8 victims of Kansas-based serial killer John Robinson – this nightmare is a reality.

Grisly photos of the murdered women found stuffed and floating in the ooze of 55 gallon barrels now grace the pages of Facebook.

Facebook is also where you can find for sale a display of a notorious killer’s sexually offensive artwork. A psychopathic meth addict named Jeremy Bryan Jones, a confessed serial killer suspected of murdering at least 17 people, features Jesus Christ as the main player in pornographic drawings.

[click to continue…]

{ 14 comments }

Guantanamo Bay Prison – What Have We Wrought?

by Diane Dimond on July 22, 2013

The View at Gitmo

We like to think of ourselves as a great nation, a compassionate country that puts human rights at the forefront of everything we do.   Then, how in the world can we defend what the United States continues to do at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba?

The American prison for enemy combatants was established in January 2002 by then President George W. Bush as a place to park detainees that were connected with the radical Muslim movement waging war against America.  A total of 779 prisoners have been sent to Gitmo and today – eleven years later – we still hold 166 of them.  No charges have been filed against most of these men. Years ago about half of them were cleared for return to their home countries (or a willing third-party country) yet they still sit at Gitmo. [click to continue…]

{ 21 comments }

Kahan: One Man’s Fight Against Glorifying Murderers

Do you collect anything? My dear Aunt Isabel used to collect little spoons that she proudly displayed in a wall cabinet. Grandma collected tea cups. I began a collection of beautiful hand bells.

Well, some people collect items that are much more macabre – items that have a connection to notorious serial killers. 

How macabre? Would you believe these collectors buy serial killer’s autographed photos, artwork and handwritten letters sent to people outside prison walls? Even an envelope bearing a handwritten return address commands a pretty penny. The murderer’s fingernail clippings , dirty socks or any other object that can be authenticated as genuine ranks a place of honor on some people’s mantle.

But those are not the most shocking serial killer items up for sale on the internet. [click to continue…]

{ 17 comments }

Time to Re-Think Laws on Teen Sex

by Diane Dimond on June 3, 2013

 

Can Laws Really Regulate Teen Sex?

If an adult has sexual relations with a 14 year old that’s bad, right? 

Okay, well what if that “adult” has just turned 18 and has a younger teen as a love interest? Would their actions be as serious a crime as, say, a 40-year-old with a young teen? 

The law says yes. The law calls it statutory rape when anyone who has reached adulthood has sex with a person under the age of 16. (In a few states it is age 15) It doesn’t matter if it is an older person is male or female or if the younger person is a girl or boy. It is illegal and often punishable by a hefty prison sentence. 

The case that brings this issue to the forefront is playing out now in Sebastian, Florida. [click to continue…]

{ 32 comments }