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Beating the drum for justice....

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Jul 5, 2020 - 1:03:13 PM
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Owen

Canada

5843 posts since 6/5/2011

.... or "We are more than the worst thing that we have ever done."  .... some food for thought:

I guess I'm a bit late to the party, as today is the first I'm hearing about this dude:     https://www.cbc.ca/radio/tapestry/champion-of-the-damned-bryan-stevenson-s-fight-to-fix-a-broken-justice-system-1.3317606   It's a +50 minute interview that touches on probably a couple of dozen things that are currently being discussed, or have recently been discussed, or at least touched on, in the off-topic threads.

I'm not much for hyperbole, but I can't imagine that there would be many who would not benefit from investing the 50 minutes.   [Edit: ...or at least 10 minutes to see if there's something to be learned from it.  wink ]

Edited by - Owen on 07/05/2020 13:22:25

Jul 5, 2020 - 2:11:40 PM

10407 posts since 1/15/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Owen

.... or "We are more than the worst thing that we have ever done."  .... some food for thought:

I guess I'm a bit late to the party, as today is the first I'm hearing about this dude:     https://www.cbc.ca/radio/tapestry/champion-of-the-damned-bryan-stevenson-s-fight-to-fix-a-broken-justice-system-1.3317606   It's a +50 minute interview that touches on probably a couple of dozen things that are currently being discussed, or have recently been discussed, or at least touched on, in the off-topic threads.

I'm not much for hyperbole, but I can't imagine that there would be many who would not benefit from investing the 50 minutes.   [Edit: ...or at least 10 minutes to see if there's something to be learned from it.  wink ]


Don ..... that is very interesting. A number of things struck me in that interview that I think are relevant to many of our recent discussions.  He said, and I think this is a correct quote, that "we define people by their worst acts".  A number of our members here have argued that we are judging people from the 19th century by our own standards of 2020.  If Bryan Stevenson is right, do we also judge them by their worst act or do we judge them based on what they later became?  It seems like we judged Senator Robert Byrd on what he became , not as the Exalted Cyclops of the KKK.  Yet, many still like to judge Senator Strom Thurmond based on what he was in the 60's and 70's rather than what he later became (reference Joe Biden's funeral eulogy).  I can buy most of what Mr. Stevenson says in the interview, but justice has to cut both ways or it is still not justice.  I might add that Mr. Stevenson also spoke about the influence his family had on him and he may not have realized it, as it was just part of his life, but it points out (to me anyway) how important a family structure is in the raising of children.

Jul 5, 2020 - 2:26:46 PM
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3139 posts since 9/12/2016

I listened to it all .Sounds like a good person ,especially liked his coming clean with his own biased feelings. That is a definite good thing there. imo
On the injustice and prejudice stories of the car scene and courtroom judge scene I really never felt any improvement . -----Though entertaining along the lines of "to kill a m b'' it really never advanced me---- towards any more wisdom . He could crusade for a lot more since there is a wider view than simply -----fix the white race --in his heart and he realizes he has his own temper and bias to watch.
The part I would like to hear is his take on the victims of these people on death role etc.----.Not to say what he put forth is wrong but---they are also in that mix.

Jul 5, 2020 - 4:16:40 PM

3139 posts since 9/12/2016

should have been row not role-

Jul 5, 2020 - 4:35:53 PM

Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

23805 posts since 6/25/2005

In Thurmand’s late years his office and political approach was basically run by the young staff of his offices—which may account for some of the changes.

Jul 5, 2020 - 5:42:45 PM

3157 posts since 7/28/2015

I don't think we can go into the details of why Thurmond and Byrd are judged differently without analyzing their political activity and thus it is out of the domain of this forum.

Jul 5, 2020 - 8:43:48 PM

10407 posts since 1/15/2005

quote:
Originally posted by prooftheory

I don't think we can go into the details of why Thurmond and Byrd are judged differently without analyzing their political activity and thus it is out of the domain of this forum.


Read Biden's eulogy at Thurmond's funeral.  Either Thurmond had changed or Biden was lying.  Since he and Biden were good friends, I take him at his word.  https://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/joebidenstromthurmondeulogy.htm

Jul 6, 2020 - 3:38:24 AM

3157 posts since 7/28/2015

quote:
Originally posted by BanjoLink
quote:
Originally posted by prooftheory

I don't think we can go into the details of why Thurmond and Byrd are judged differently without analyzing their political activity and thus it is out of the domain of this forum.


Read Biden's eulogy at Thurmond's funeral.  Either Thurmond had changed or Biden was lying.  Since he and Biden were good friends, I take him at his word.  https://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/joebidenstromthurmondeulogy.htm


I don't see anything in that which would convince me to see his actual political activity later in life as overall positive or as anything but a rear guard fight against civil rights.  Senators can gain advantage from having political opponents as personal friends and it may have been good politics for Biden to speak as he did but he never mentions a single bill that Thurmond supported that helped minorities.  Joe Biden has made much more significant lies.

Jul 6, 2020 - 4:43:47 AM

Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

24654 posts since 8/3/2003
Online Now

We're getting political. Let's not get this topic locked, please.

Jul 6, 2020 - 6:56:49 AM
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10407 posts since 1/15/2005

quote:
Originally posted by prooftheory
quote:
Originally posted by BanjoLink
quote:
Originally posted by prooftheory

I don't think we can go into the details of why Thurmond and Byrd are judged differently without analyzing their political activity and thus it is out of the domain of this forum.


Read Biden's eulogy at Thurmond's funeral.  Either Thurmond had changed or Biden was lying.  Since he and Biden were good friends, I take him at his word.  https://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/joebidenstromthurmondeulogy.htm


I don't see anything in that which would convince me to see his actual political activity later in life as overall positive or as anything but a rear guard fight against civil rights.  Senators can gain advantage from having political opponents as personal friends and it may have been good politics for Biden to speak as he did but he never mentions a single bill that Thurmond supported that helped minorities.  Joe Biden has made much more significant lies.


Not trying to bestow sainthood upon him, but just acknowledge people can change.  If you don't allow that I would certainly not want to be judged by your standards.

Jul 6, 2020 - 8:56:13 AM

Wyozark

USA

1020 posts since 12/2/2012

Listened to the whole interview. Interesting and compelling.

Spent almost forty years in the criminal justice system. When I meet someone new Mrs. Wyozark has insisted that when I am asked what I did for a living that I not say, "I was in prison. . ."

Basically, I agree with Mr. Stevenson's assessment. There were some things that weren't brought up, but then the interview would have gone on and on.

I know some colleagues whom I greatly respect who believed that people cannot change; I disagree. Maybe they can't change who they are, but they can change what they do.
His stories reminded me of a couple or three of my own. I'll post a story after lunch. If I make it back to the computer that is. . .

Jul 6, 2020 - 5:20:19 PM
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Wyozark

USA

1020 posts since 12/2/2012

I had just been appointed warden and is my custom I was walking through the chow hall during lunch. It wasn't a large room but well lit, tile floors, new and clean and bright. The tables are bolted to the floor with four attached seats.

I saw him walking straight towards me and I noticed the inmates around me tense up. I had worked in prison long enough to be alert to subtle signs. He just wanted to meet me and talk to me. The inmates sitting around me relaxed.

His name was David S. He was known among the inmates for his unpredictability. A middle-aged man, the chief psychologist told me that he had the lowest IQ of anyone she had met in this prison. This wasn't his first time in prison. He had committed property offenses, though because of his limitations when he got frustrated he lashed out physically as a child would do. This would occasionally land him in the segregation unit.

Almost always on Christmas Eve I make the rounds through the prison to talk to both staff and inmates. One Christmas Eve I took Mrs. Wyozark with me on the rounds. Now this should be convincing of my absolute confidence in the order, safety, and security of a well-run prison. The inmates were respectful, cordial, polite, and even friendly – as I expected them to be. I even took Mrs. W into the mental health unit and there I introduced her to David S., who at that moment was cheerful.

I knew that his release date would come up and that unless we made some special provisions for his housing and supervision that he would most likely end up back in prison. I think the courts kept sending him to us because they didn't know what else to do either.

I thought that somehow that if I bring in all my powers as a warden that I could make things happen. I ordered staff to search for answers. I made phone calls. I tried to use whatever influence I had to help find a way to get this man into some kind of situation that would give him a chance to stay out of prison. I even contacted a neighboring state for help.

Inside a prison I was powerful. Outside of the walls I sometimes could be influential. In this case I was neither.

There just were no resources for his particular case. And I know he isn't the only one.

Eventually he did get out. And he did end up back in jail.

Jul 6, 2020 - 5:42:08 PM
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Wyozark

USA

1020 posts since 12/2/2012

The story of the milkshake reminded me of my first transportation run back in the early 80's.

I had just been promoted from a parole officer to a mid-level manager for a small minimum security prison.

A couple of years prior an inmate had escaped and was caught committing a crime in Texas. Texas was paroling him to us and so the Chief of Custody and I were to drive down to Huntsville to pick him up and bring him back.

In the best rickety, plain, no A/C, no amenities van the prison owned we set out before dawn and took turns driving and got to Huntsville before dark. We checked in to a motel for the night. The news all over the place was about a federal judge who found a lawsuit in favor of an inmate Ruiz. That lawsuit would drive Texas DOC's policies for the next ten years or more.

Anyway, the old Huntsville prison is an interesting place. I've been back a couple of times since then. One feature is the brightly polished brass bars near the entrance. Eastham prison isn't too far from there. That's where Clyde Barrow escaped.

We picked up the inmate mid-morning and then drove as fast as we could back to Missouri. The inmate had on a white jumpsuit and sat just behind us and was shackled with leg irons and a belly chain. Man, it was hot. We had all the windows down.

We did stop at a fast food place. And I got my first lesson on how to treat an inmate when he's behaving himself. The grizzled old custody chief got the inmate an ice cream cone and loosened the belly chain just enough to allow him to eat it. The inmate was grateful. The minute we passed into Arkansas he was grinning and the chief asked him why. He was so glad to be out of Texas.

Since then I've bought many a soda or a snack for inmates. It's generally against policy for staff to do that. But what's the use of being a warden if not allowed that latitude?

Jul 6, 2020 - 8:08:43 PM

Paul R

Canada

12977 posts since 1/28/2010

Back in the late summer of 2016, one of my picking buddies, Pete (who lives in NY State) gave me a copy of The New Yorker, with a compelling article about Mr. Stevenson. I found a link:https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/08/22/bryan-stevenson-and-the-legacy-of-lynching

He's a fascinating guy.

Jul 6, 2020 - 9:50:32 PM
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5277 posts since 9/16/2004

quote:
Originally posted by Wyozark

I had just been appointed warden and is my custom I was walking through the chow hall during lunch. It wasn't a large room but well lit, tile floors, new and clean and bright. The tables are bolted to the floor with four attached seats.

I saw him walking straight towards me and I noticed the inmates around me tense up. I had worked in prison long enough to be alert to subtle signs. He just wanted to meet me and talk to me. The inmates sitting around me relaxed.

His name was David S. He was known among the inmates for his unpredictability. A middle-aged man, the chief psychologist told me that he had the lowest IQ of anyone she had met in this prison...

Inside a prison I was powerful. Outside of the walls I sometimes could be influential. In this case I was neither.

There just were no resources for his particular case. And I know he isn't the only one.

Eventually he did get out. And he did end up back in jail.


I commend you for trying to effect the system.  There needs to be an alternative place for the keeping and treatment of the David S's of our society.

In the attached video, Neuroscientist David Eagleman explains how the average, socially well adapted person could never really know the mind of a criminal.  David uses convicted murderer Ted Bundy as an example.... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9R9nNBxPfv4

Edited by - Frisco Fred on 07/06/2020 21:53:17

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