Call for Resistance: Tucson

Subject: FW: Tucson Resist SB 1070! /
Tucson Resiste SB 1070!

Date: Fri, 4 Jun 2010 19:18:16

Please forward on!

STATEMENT ON SB 1070 AND BEYOND

Today we come together in resistance, taking action for the mobilization and safety of our communities. The police are supposed to implement public safety, but instead they are responsible for state violence.

We stand for the empowerment of our communities, and our ability to protect ourselves. We stand against racist legislation, including SB 1070. We condemn the attack on ethnic studies, I.C.E. raids, violence against womyn and queer people, the expansion of the prisons, the border wall, and the militarization of our everyday lives.

Border militarization and the expansion of law enforcement destroy the earth, harm indigenous communities and create a terror campaign against migrants and communities of color in Arizona and beyond. The new legislation is part of a racist campaign that aims to create a terrorized and criminalized class that is more vulnerable to exploitation. Migrants are blamed for crime, unemployment, and the current economic crisis in order to distract the U.S. public from seeing what is really to blame for this crisis: capitalism—the system that makes the rich richer and the poor poorer.

SB 1070 is a direct attack on our families, friends, neighbors, schools and communities.

SB 1070 is part of a history of colonial occupation. We live in a country founded on slavery, genocide and exploitation. The U.S. took over Native land and, in 1846, waged war against Mexico, established borders and imposed itself over the entire Southwest. SB 1070 comes from this legacy of colonial occupation.

SB 1070 is a symptom of white supremacy. SB 1070 is only the latest attack on people of color that makes Arizona an apartheid police state, where brown-skinned people are politically, legally and economically discriminated against and segregated.

SB 1070 does nothing to address the root causes of migration. U.S. economic policies and wars have displaced and impoverished millions of people all over the world. Money-driven policies, such as NAFTA, create poverty. Not only do they consume and exploit land, water, petroleum, and laborers (i.e., human beings), but they also displace us from our homes, forcing us to migrate in order to survive. If policymakers were serious about stopping “illegal immigration,” they would end capitalist exploitation and stop their military “interventions” abroad.

SB 1070 is the product of a system that oppresses people not only for being undocumented or non-white, but also for being poor, young, womyn, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer.

This is why we affirm our human dignity and promote the well-being of all people living and working in these lands. We stand for community control and autonomy. We assert the rights of migrants and all people everywhere to feel safe and live free of state violence.

In order to STOP SB 1070, we need a new vision for social change. We believe in autonomy—where we are independent and free to make our own decisions as a community. Real change comes from those who struggle for dignity. We must depend on our own strength and power to create the new world we want to see!

Under these circumstances we make the following CALL TO ACTION:

If SB 1070 is enacted on July 29th, we must organize direct actions in our local communities and demand that racial profiling and police state terror end!

Demands:

STOP APARTHEID LEGISLATION IN ARIZONA
STOP RACIAL PROFILING AND POLICE STATE TERROR
STOP THE MILITARIZATION OF THE BORDER AND OUR COMMUNITIES
STOP THE RAIDS AND DEPORTATIONS
WE WANT COMMUNITY SAFETY!
WE WANT HEALTHY FAMILIES!
WE WANT TO LIVE IN PEACE!
WE WANT AUTONOMY!

AZ Sheriff: SB 1070 Hurts Police, Communities.

———————-from the Wall Street Journal—————

Arizona’s Immigration Mistake – Those who look suspiciously like illegal immigrants will find their liberty in severe jeopardy.

MAY 5, 2010

By CLARENCE W. DUPNIK

I have spent over 50 years in the law-enforcement profession in the Tucson community, the past 30 of which I have served as sheriff. I have seen relations between our community and law enforcement personnel shift with the times: sometimes challenged when the actions of a few police officers cross the line, and often improving when there is a sense of partnership. But in the past few weeks Arizona became a model for the rest of the country of what not to do.

The immigration reform law that was signed by Gov. Jan Brewer on April 23 effectively requires that immigrants be able to prove their legal presence in the state of Arizona. I have argued from the moment that this bill was signed that it is unnecessary, that it is a travesty, and most significantly, that it is unconstitutional.

Pima County, where I am sheriff, shares 123 miles of border with Mexico. Patrolling this area for illegal immigrants is like trying to keep water from passing through a sieve.

I have always believed that the federal government, charged with the task of regulating immigration into the United States, bears the responsibility for this task. However, it has also never been the policy of my department to ignore the existence of those that are in this country illegally. That’s why my deputies are instructed that if they come in contact with an illegal immigrant they should detain him, contact Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and turn him over to federal authorities.

My deputies have referred more illegal immigrants to Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement than any other state or local law enforcement agency in Arizona. But this new law will pass the burden of immigration enforcement to my county department. This is a responsibility I do not have the resources to implement.

The more fundamental problem with the law is its vague language. It requires law enforcement officials to demand papers from an individual when they have a “reasonable suspicion” that he is an illegal immigrant. The Preamble to the Declaration of Independence states that “all men are created equal” and that “they are endowed . . . with certain inalienable rights” including “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Those who look “suspiciously” like illegal immigrants will find their liberty in severe jeopardy and their pursuit of happiness disrupted—even if they are citizens or have lived, worked, paid taxes, and maybe even have served in our Armed Forces for decades.

When used in a law-enforcement context, “reasonable suspicion” is always understood to be subjective, but it must be capable of being articulated. In the case of identifying illegal immigrants, the ambiguity of what this “crime” looks like risks including an individual’s appearance, which would seem to violate the Constitution’s equal protection clause. Such ambiguity is especially dangerous when prescribed to an issue as fraught with emotion as that of illegal immigration.

I have an enormous amount of respect for the men and women of my department—the deputy sheriffs who respond to calls for assistance throughout Pima County every day of the week. I have no doubt that they make intelligent, compassionate and reasonable decisions countless times throughout their shifts. But no one can tell them what an illegal immigrant looks like and when it is ok to begin questioning a person along those lines. This law puts them in a no-win situation: They will be forced to offend and anger someone who is perhaps a citizen or here legally when they ask to see his papers—or be accused of nonfeasance because they do not.

There is a horrible problem with illegal immigration in this country, and it affects the citizens of Pima County every single day. Because of our proximity to the border, our county population demographic is heavily Hispanic (both legal and illegal). That means we must interact with witnesses and victims of crime in their times of need, regardless of their immigration status. Though this legislation states that inquiry into a person’s immigration status is not required if it will hinder an investigation, that’s not enough to quell the very real fears of the immigrant community.

Law enforcement did not ask for and does not need this new tool. What we do need is assistance from the federal government in the form of effective strategies to secure the border. Additionally, the federal government must take up this issue in the form of comprehensive immigration reform policy. If any good is to come from this firestorm, it is that our legislators will finally recognize that a problem exists and that they are the only ones with the authority to address it.

Mr. Dupnik is the Sheriff of Pima County Tucson, Ariz.

Arizona Leading Backwards.

——————From the New Yorker, April 24, 2010.—————-

Arizona Leads the Way Backward on Immigration

The long-deferred, urgent matter of immigration reform got a big kick in the pants yesterday. Arizona enacted a law that today’s Times calls “the broadest and strictest immigration measure in generations.” Among other things, the law requires local police to demand papers from anyone officers have any reason to doubt is a citizen—anyone, in other words, who looks Mexican. If you’re brown-skinned, and don’t have your wallet, you’re going to jail. Failure to carry immigration documents is now a crime in Arizona.

The mayor of Phoenix, Phil Gordon, called the law “unconstitutional on its face.” In a Washington Post Op-Ed today, Gordon blames local politicians who are “bitter, small-minded and full of hate,” and he names names: state senator Russell Pearce, the sponsor of the bill, and Maricopa County  Sheriff Joe Arpaio, whom I profiled last summer.

President Obama’s response to the news was well-aimed. While criticizing the Arizona law as “misguided,” he blamed its passage on “our failure to act responsibly at the federal level.” This came at a naturalization ceremony being held in the Rose Garden for twenty-four American soldiers born in China, Mexico, Ethiopia, and elsewhere.

The symbolism of the scene was strong, but the failure fingered by Obama is real. Border security and immigration control are federal responsibilities. Southern land-border states like Arizona suffer first and worst when those systems break down. Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, is now talking about bringing major immigration-reform legislation to the floor after Memorial Day. The political momentum to pass such legislation, after the health-care reform success, may finally be at hand.

Meanwhile, Arizona will become an American-style police state. Racial profiling will be the law. Whites will be all right, just as they were in the Jim Crow South. God help everyone else. The nativist right seems to be calling the tune in Arizona politics today. Senator John McCain, facing a primary challenge from an anti-immigrant talk-radio host, abandoned long-held moderate positions on immigration policy and supported the new law. The governor, Jan Brewer, also being challenged from the right this year, did the same thing and signed the bill.

The Arizona state legislature has tried to lead the nation backwards on racial issues before. In the nineteen-eighties, Arizona refused to recognize the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as an official holiday.

This week the legislature’s lower chamber passed a bill that will require President Obama to produce his birth certificate if he wants to be on the ballot in Arizona in 2012. According to the Associated Press, “Supporters say the bill would help settle a controversy over whether Obama was born in the United States.”

Criminalization, not racial profiling, is the problem.

—-From my favorite blogger in Phoenix on issues of migration and criminalization, at “Chaparral Respects no Borders“. Explore the blog and I guarantee you’ll think differently about some things. She’s a genuine abolitionist.——-

Racial Profiling Focus is Still a Distraction

(This is an updated version of a post I made a few months back).

I keep hearing people (such as at the last anti-SB1070 rally) repeating their concerns about racial profiling as if this is the main problem with the bill. Racial profiling is a legal term and is against the law. Unfortunately, “illegal” immigration is also against the law. So when people talk about racial profiling, it sounds like they are only concerned with “legal” people.

I have become convinced that the focus on racial profiling is a distraction to the detriment of migrants’ freedom. I am not saying racial profiling is okay, but it implies that what is wrong is that people who are being stopped because of their skin color (or other physical cues) are innocent, implying that those who have broken immigration law are not those worth our concerns. Yet, I would hope that those who claim to be allies or advocates for undocumented immigrants would not allow this idea to be promoted.

We’ve been hearing about racial profiling for a while. Anti-Arpaio folks have been so focused on these sweeps and the racial profiling and all that, yet only 6% of the arrests of undocumented immigrants occur out in the community, whereas the other 94% of migrants are identified for deportation when they go through the jails (and the folks in the jails are those arrested by the various police departments in the valley) (Source). (This is partly why DHS is continuing the agreements of 287(g) that involve jail checks.) Other police departments are arresting more migrants than the MCSO without these hyped-up “crime supression sweeps”, as i discussed further in If Phx and Mesa PD are arresting more immigrants, why is focus on Arpaio?

"I’m Mexican, Pull Me Over."

This is where you need to get the news on Phoenix from…

Hey – check out the car!

——————from The Feathered Bastard——————

Linda Ronstadt Returns, Joe Arpaio Hunts Hispanics, and ACLU Announces Plans to Sue Over SB 1070

Categories: Feathered Bastard

mexicanpull.jpg
EarlyOnsetofNight
One way of combating Sheriff Joe’s anti-brown sweeps, and SB1070 to boot

Tomorrow will be a big day in Sand Land, with Latina pop icon Shakira meeting with Mayor Phil Gordon over their opposition to Arizona’s new racial profiling law. Normally, that alone would make for a huge news day here in Cactus Country, but both the ACLU and Sheriff Joe plan to kick it up a notch.

Arpaio’s just announced that his 15th anti-immigrant dragnet will start tomorrow, with a press conference scheduled for 4 p.m. This is the press advisory sent out by Arpaio’s flak:

“As previously promised, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio will kick off his15th crime suppression/illegal immigration enforcement operation which will utilize nearly 150 deputies and posse volunteers. The area targeted for this suppression operation, Arpaio says, was chosen weeks ago because of its high concentration of drop houses and human smuggling transportation routes as well as overall crime statistics and will be announced on Thursday by Sheriff Arpaio at his 4PM press briefing. That briefing will be held in front of the Sheriff’s Training Academy at 2627 South 35th Avenue in Phoenix.”

BTW, I spotted an apparent mistake in this advisory. It should state,

“The area targeted for this suppression operation…was chosen weeks ago because of its high concentration of Hispanics.”

In this regard, catch a clue from the above photo from the blog Early Onset of Night. Maybe those activists who will be monitoring (read, “dogging”) MCSO vehicles during tomorrow’s sweep of brown people should do something similar to their cars.
In sympathy, I plan to spray-paint myself a nice, dark tan, blast La Campesina from my car stereo, hang a Shakira air freshener from my rearview window, and tell the deputy dawgs that pull me over that I’m actually Horatio Sanz.
Hey, there’s more than one way to skin a story.
Also on the front burner for tomorrow is a press conference being given on the steps of Governor Jan Bewer’s office by the ACLU of Arizona, MALDEF and other groups announcing their intent to sue the state over the recently signed SB1070.
Grammy-winner Linda Ronstadt will be coming up from her home in Tucson to be present for the presser tomorrow. You’ll recall that Ronstadt was in Phoenix for a massive march to Joe’s jails back in January. She’ll be joined by representatives of the various organizations involved, as well as by Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America.
I’ll attend the Ronstadt event and follow-up afterward. Regarding the Arpaio presser, “America’s Toughest Sheriff” is too much of a pantywaist to allow me into his press conferences.
He must be afraid that I’ll ask him a tough question, like,
“When you’re indicted by the feds, do you want to be arrested with a pair of your own pink handcuffs?”
Or…
“As a prospective resident of a federal prison facility, do you prefer being on the bottom or the top — um — bunk?”

SB 1070: Still A Bad Law.

Patchwork changes to immigration law came in waning hours of session

By Evan Wyloge – evan.wyloge@azcapitoltimes.com

Published: April 27, 2010 at 7:24 pm

Arizona Capitol Times

One week after Gov. Jan Brewer gave Arizona the toughest immigration law in the U.S., state lawmakers added changes that would limit the scope of the law and protect local governments from lawsuits.

The changes were sought by lawmakers who voted for Arizona’s new immigration law after striking a deal with immigration hawk Sen. Russell Pearce.

Rep. Russ Jones, who was one of three Republican lawmakers to vote against a similar bill in 2009, said he agreed to vote for S1070 this year in exchange for Pearce’s promise to make changes to it in follow-up legislation.

The resulting bill, H2162, was approved on April 29, just hours before the end of the session.

H2162 prescribes a few key changes to the new immigration law, clarifying both the definition of lawful contact and guidelines for municipalities, as well as lowering the minimum — not the maximum — fine that can be assessed to cities that have so-called “sanctuary city” policies. It also restructured some of the punitive actions that a court would apply to those charged under the new law.

Representatives of the law enforcement community say the changes significantly alter the way police would have to enforce the law and the way they would be accountable for doing so.

Lyle Mann, who runs the day-to-day operations of the Arizona Peace Officers Safety and Training Board (AZPOST), said the fine points of the trailer bill are vital to the street-level execution of the new law. His group, incidentally, has been tasked by the governor with turning the provisions of the new law into a specific and manageable training rubric for police agencies across the state.

One of the changes to S1070 removes the word “solely” from the description of the new law’s lawful contact, when it comes to race. So, now race, color or ethnicity simply cannot be used as part of reasonable suspicion.

Mann said this is a huge simplification for his organization’s task, and should settle at least some of the fear over racial profiling. Now, his organization will simply be able to tell police agencies to have their officers understand that race is not a reason to initiate contact.

“It should quell the fears that a lot of people have vocalized,” Mann said. “This will make the training and policymaking much clearer and simpler.”

H2162 also narrows what is banned at the county, city and municipality level, changing it from a “policy or practice” to just a “policy” preventing police officers from using the new immigration law to its fullest extent.

With the independence that police officers rely on, Mann said, management of their activities is nearly impossible. So their “practices” are made at the officers’ discretion. The officers are trained, though, to rely on the “policies” their agency set.

“A ‘policy’ is the written instruction that tells officers how a task is to get done. ‘Practice’ is the actual activity carried out in support of that policy,” Mann said. “So the city of Phoenix might have 3,000 officers on the street. It’s much more difficult to control how those officers carry out their practices.”

Removing the words “or practices” from the new law goes a long way in protecting police agencies from lawsuits and fines, Mann said, because AZPOST will give guidelines, cities will turn those guidelines into “policy,” and the cities then would not be at the mercy of litigation coming from any resident who feels like the police agency isn’t enforcing the law to the fullest extent.

In addition, Jones said Pearce agreed to lower the fines assessed to local governments that violate the law. In S1070, a local government or agency initially could have been fined between $1,000 and $5,000 per day if an Arizona resident filed suit against them in Superior Court.

Jones wanted the fines cut in half, because he thought those numbers were arbitrary. Pearce only met him part of the way.

Instead of lowering both the maximum and minimum per-day fines, Pearce kept the $5,000 maximum and changed language in H2162 that would lower the minimum fines to $500 per day from $1,000 per day.

“Pearce says he thinks it’s important to have a sanction,” Mann said. “So you have to say, ‘OK, what’s a reasonable sanction? Do you get a better outcome with a bigger sanction?’ And you have to remember, if the city of Phoenix gets fined $1 million, they can’t open parks, they can’t operate their libraries, they take that money from schools. (Jones) is saying you can get the same compliance with half those numbers.”

Nancy Jo Merritt, who has 32 years of experience as an immigration attorney, said she understands why Jones and the law enforcement agencies would be so concerned over these small changes.

“This law is going to be so hard to comply with, so why make the punishments so harsh?” she said. “It’s like the assumption is the only way to get cities to follow this law is by threatening them with the death sentence.”

The last change outlined in H2162 concerned a phrase that said lawful contact can include an officer’s use of the new immigration law “in the enforcement of any other law or ordinance of a county, city or town or this state.”

Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat from Phoenix, harped on this new phrase, saying it will mean that law officers will be able and compelled to check the status of a person, even if the police officer were responding to some sort of civil town ordinance, like an overgrown lawn, a fence in disrepair or a barking dog.

Sinema said police officers could previously only use the new immigration law when they encountered someone during the enforcement of a criminal or civil traffic violation, and that this will expand the way police officers could contact, then detain people while checking their federal immigration status.

Pearce denied that this change means much, and said police would already have been able to use the new law when making contact with a person for such civil ordinances. He said this new language was only added to further clarify the way police are authorized to use the new immigration law.

Mann of AZPOST agreed with Pearce, saying police officers would have the ability to use the new immigration law during any type of contact with any person, regardless of this new language.

“Police officers do this every day. It’s called a ‘Terry Stop,’ after the Terry v. Ohio case,” Mann said. “Let’s say there are some guys playing basketball in a park. The officer walks up and says, ‘Hey guys. How’s it going?’ That’s lawful contact. It’s a standard voluntary stop.”

Pearce said the changes in H2162 were something he agreed to, in order to get the votes he needed, and that he thinks he lived up to his bargain.

“I wasn’t excited about it, but we did it,” Pearce said. “(Jones) ought to be happy with the changes, I kept my word.”

The Legal Battle over SB 1070 Begins.

———–From the ColorLines Magazine Blog, Racewire, today————-

The Lawsuits Are Here: ACLU, MALDEF, NILC Challenge Arizona

Julianne Hing

Immigrant and civil rights groups are set to announce in Phoenix today that they are ready to take on SB 1070, Arizona’s new law that demands that law enforcement officers pull over and question anyone they believe may be in the country without papers. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the National Immigration Law Center, the American Civil Liberties Union and its Arizona state chapter will challenge the law’s constitutionality on the grounds that the bill sanctions racial profiling.

This collection of groups is the same that fought California’s Prop 187. And both MALDEF and the ACLU have been involved in court battles to overturn local ordinances in Farmers Branch, Texas and Hazleton, Pennsylvania, that tried to bar undocumented immigrants from renting property in the town. Thomas Saenz, the president of MALDEF, Alessandra Soler Meetze, the executive director of ACLU-Arizona, Dolores Huerta, famed labor and immigrant rights’ leader, and the singer Linda Ronstadt are expected to speak.

Governor Jan Brewer, who signed SB 1070 into law on Friday, defended her decision then by issuing an Executive Order that demanded appropriate training for law enforcement officers so they could enforce the law without resorting to racial profiling.

“Racial profiling is illegal,” Brewer said on Friday. “It is illegal in America, and it’s certainly illegal in Arizona.” When pressed though, she couldn’t provide specific criteria that police should rely on.

Elsewhere in Phoenix, the 24-hour vigils outside the state Capitol building are now in their eleventh day. And international pop star Shakira is rumored to be meeting with Phoenix mayor Phil Gordon to lend her support to the town in its efforts to fight SB 1070.

[update 2:44pm EST] This morning, two other lawsuits were filed against SB 1070. The National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Phoenix charging that the state bill violates federal law by trying to enforce immigration laws on its own.

And The Arizona Republic reported Tucson police officer Marin Escobar filed a lawsuit this morning charging that SB 1070 forces law enforcement officers to rely on racial profiling to comply the law. Escobar challenged SB 1070, saying that there is no such thing as racially neutral criteria when it comes to visually determining a person’s immigration status.

Progressive Wisconsin? State Marked by Empty Factories, Full Prisons

From: In These Times
April 5, 2010

State has highest black male incarceration rate in country; twelve times the rate of white men.
By Roger Bybee

Wisconsin has long enjoyed a reputation as an enlightened, progressive state.

Its reputation goes back to the populist flavor of the state constitution, the strong movement for the abolition of slavery, the staunchly anti-corporate governor (and later senator) “Fighting Bob” LaFollette, the building of powerful labor and socialist movements, and one of the nation’s very best university systems.

But a visit to my hometown of Racine for a meeting this week was a painful reminder of how the city and state are moving toward a very different model of society: the mass destruction of family-supporting jobs coupled with the mass incarceration of thousands of young men who grew up in deprived, disorganized neighborhoods shattered by de-industrialization.

GHOSTLY FACTORIES—AND A MASSIVE NEW JAIL

Unemployment in Racine is now 16.7%, reflecting both the toll of the Great Recession and the permanent loss of about 13,500 manufacturing jobs between 1979 and 2007, 42% of the city’s industrial jobs. My hometown is filled with ghostly empty factories and vast empty, flat fields of brown grass where factories once turned out tractors, garden equipment, children’s Golden Books, machine tools, auto parts, farm machinery, and on and on.

In industrial towns like Racine, factories have been emptied out, with no family-supporting jobs to replace them. Meanwhile a flock of new prisons and jails have been filled up, providing jobs for some ex-factory workers and a cell for others.

Racine has a new $30 million jail that holds about six times as many prisoners as the one it replaced, which was completed only in 1980. A juvenile corrections facility now sits where the Rainfair clothing factory stood before its new owners sent the jobs to China.

PRISON POPULATION INCREASES NEARLY EIGHT-FOLD

With the path to legitimate success blocked for so many, it is only predictable that a certain percentage of young men, in particular, would be drawn to criminal activity. But unlike Wisconsin’s neighbor, Minnesota, which has only about one-third the number of prisoners despite roughly similar demographics and population, Wisconsin has not developed a major system of non-prison alternatives to help young men complete their educations, obtain training and jobs, and find a non-criminal path for their lives.

Statewide, the prison population has exploded from 2,973 in 1970 to 23,112 at the end of last year, representing nearly an eight-fold increase.

A sizable portion of these prisoners come from six counties which have all suffered devastating losses in industrial jobs: Milwaukee, Dane, Racine, Kenosha, Rock and Waukesha. The city of Milwaukee lost 65% of its industrial jobs between 1977 and 2002, with leading local corporations like Johnson Controls, Master Lock and AO Smith coming to employ more workers in Mexico than Milwaukee. In Rock County, Janesville—which lost its huge General Motors assembly plant at the end of 2008—has an official unemployment rate of 13.1% and nearby Beloit has the state’s highest jobless rate of 18.3%.
Wisconsin carries the dubious distinction of having the highest rate of African-American male incarceration of any state in the nation. African Americans are incarcerated at 12 times the rate of whites.
At every point in the downward slide toward prison, African-Americans find less favorable treatment than whites.

The cost of the state’s vast expansion of prisons and jails has meant a major drain on the revenues that once supported Wisconsin’s excellent university system, forcing a quadrupling of tuition over the last 20 years, according to Jay Burseth, president of the UW-Milwaukee Students Association. It has also triggered increasingly sharp struggles by UW students to hold down tuition, as covered last month in these pages.

As economist Michael Rosen has pointed out, the link between rising prison expenditures and declining educational opportunities is clear-cut. Even while crime has been declining, the number of prisoners kept climbing:

Between 1987 and 2007, Wisconsin actually cut its support for higher education by 6%. Only 6 states reduced their investment in higher ed by more. During the same period, Wisconsin increased corrections spending by 251%, 8th highest nation, despite a declining crime rate.

MORE PRISON SPENDING MEANS HIGHER TUITON, LESS ACCESS

Ironically, the cost of incarcerating of mostly poor young men has directly and a severely reduced the opportunities for young people to stay out of trouble, get a good education and lead a productive life. The diversion of state funds from colleges and technical schools to the prison system has forced a much heavier burden of tuition on those who would like to attend college.

Rosen notes the conclusions of a study committee composed of representatives of Wisconsin’s university system and technical colleges: “Wisconsin students from lower income families have less access to a college education than in the U.S. as a whole.”

According to Prof. Pam Oliver of UW-Madison, a leading scholar who has done extensive research on the metastazing of Wisconsin’s prison population, there has not yet been any systematic, full-scale study of the relationship between de-industrialization and the huge explosion in incarceration in Wisconsin.
But this linkage between the community devastation represented by the state’s vacant factories and the crowded jails and prisons now seems brutally clear. The connection stands as a major indictment of the shameful economic and social policies shaped by major corporations’ decisions and the policy choices of government officials unwilling to challenge corporate power.

http://www.inthesetimes.com/working/entr/5774/progressive_wisconsin_state_m arked_by_empty_factories_full_prisons