Well, here we go again.
People who have never been to prison are talking about criminal justice and also prison reform.
While I’m not of the ilk to imply that just because someone hasn’t experienced or done something that they cannot lend insight into a matter, but as a former prison inmate myself, I can assure you these proposed “fixes” to the system are ridiculous.
Representative Ayanna Pressley, a Democrat from Massachusetts, graced us a resolution this past Thursday that advocates for far-reaching changes to the criminal justice system, including a provision that would allow “transgender individuals to be housed in a facility that conforms with their gender identity.”
Of course, anyone with a shred of common sense could see how the aforementioned notion could not only be exploited by biological men entering the system, but also pose a risk to genuine women housed in facilities.
Once you travel down this road legislatively, who can be the authority to say someone doesn’t feel like a certain gender?
This is personal for me. It’s time for a bold people-centered vision for decarceration & justice in America. Today we’re introducing The People’s #JusticeGuarantee. Drafted with community & centering a people’s process that lifts the voices of those impacted by our broken system. https://t.co/pePAiBuFdg
— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) November 14, 2019
The resolution, which she peddled as “The People’s Justice Guarantee,” proposes a wide range of reforms from banning on life sentences without parole, to an assault weapons ban, to decriminalizing prostitution.
Pressley said in a press release:
“For far too long, those closest to the pain have not been closest to the power, resulting in a racist, xenophobic, rogue, and fundamentally flawed criminal legal system. Our resolution calls for a bold transformation of the status quo – devoted to dismantling injustices so that the system is smaller, safer, less punitive, and more humane.”
All this while we still are holding this President accountable. pic.twitter.com/ZVXWYnVWa2
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) November 14, 2019
Pressley’s plan would also give incarcerated people the right to vote, repeal federal laws that criminalize illegal immigration, require inmates who are working to be paid no less than federal minimum wage and increase support for inmates transitioning back into society.
However, the right to vote is a right afforded to tax-paying citizens; when you’re in prison, you are not paying any taxes – yet once released, people can get those rights back.
Also, requiring minimum wage for inmate-work inside a prison would be pointless, as prisons have a right to collect “room & board” for monies earned through work while incarcerated.
It would also ban “private companies from profiting from the operation of prisons, jails, and immigration detention facilities, including food services, financial services, commissaries, and medical care,” among many other proposals.
So, the prison just hires other people directly versus outsourcing to offset costs, costing more tax dollars.
Pressley’s resolution aspires to be more than just prison reform though as it pushes the Green New Deal, a $15 minimum wage, reparations for slavery and the repeal of the Hyde Amendment.
While reparations have been proven time and again nearly impossible to calculate, the repeal for the Hyde Amendment would mean tax dollars would directly support abortions in the U.S.
A slew of progressive organizations lined up behind the proposal.
In a not so shocking turn of events, many progressive organizations loved the proposal, such as Kanya Bennett, the senior legislative counsel for the ACLU:
“The ACLU is pleased to support the People’s Justice Guarantee, the first resolution of its kind to boldly reimagine the American legal system. It is with this framework that the Congress must now work to eradicate mass incarceration.”
Rob Smith, executive director of The Justice Collaborative, had this to say about the endeavor:
“We have an incarceration crisis in America that is making us less safe and undermining the values upon which our country is built — liberty and justice for all.
The People’s Justice Guarantee is a bold, transformative plan to shrink our jail and prison populations sharply, end wealth-based discrimination in the criminal legal system, and invest heavily in the communities that have been the most destabilized by the failed policies of mass incarceration.”
Conservatives, however, said that Pressley’s proposal would fly about as well as a broken kite. Not to mention, the potential harm enacting it would cause. Cully Stimson, a senior legal fellow at the National Security Law Program for the Heritage Foundation, had this to say:
“The bill lacks merit and is divorced from reality. The de-incarceration movement is at best naive, and if enacted, dangerous as it would result in tens of thousands of violent murderers, rapists and child molesters being let free.”
Representative Lance Gooden from Texas thinks Pressley’s steadfastness is pointless and believes that any reforms of this nature are best left to the Trump administration:
“Hollow statements do nothing to improve our federal corrections system. The Trump administration has already enacted the most ambitious, bipartisan criminal justice reform package in decades and I look forward to working with the president to assess what more can be done.”
Penny Nance, the president and CEO of Concerned Women for America also noted the obvious dangers associated with allowing self-identifying transgenders into the prisons of their choice:
“I’m sure that liberals who support this legislation will be pleased with their virtue signaling, but it’s clear that this legislation creates safety issues for very vulnerable women, those who are incarcerated.
In the vast majority of cases a biologically male offender is physically bigger and stronger than a female. Incarcerated women have no rights or ability to advocate for themselves.
It’s wrong to force them into a cell with a man even if he identifies as a woman. Single sex incarceration exists for a reason. ‘The right side of history’ is on the side of safety for vulnerable women.”
While the package in its entirety is likely not to pass considering the manner in which it spans, therein lies the possibility that democrats could systemically tackle one goal at time and potentially gain momentum.
Last month, we reported on how taxpayers are now paying for the sex change of a man sentenced to death for raping and murdering a young family.
Two men were convicted of brutally raping and murdering a young family in Connecticut in the Cheshire home invasion case. They were sentenced to death.
Then the Connecticut State Legislature abolished the death penalty – but for future cases.
Then in August 2015, in a final blow to the husband of the woman killed and the father of the young girls killed, the Connecticut Supreme Court defied the State Legislature and ruled that the death penalty was unconstitutional, then commuted all death sentences to life-in-prison, even if that sentencing took place prior to the date that the death penalty was abolished.
Now is where it gets mind-blowing.
Taxpayers are now on the hook to not only cover the costs of Stephen Hayes’ incarceration (6 life sentences), but they are also footing the bill for Hayes to move forward with his newfound desire to transition into a woman. One of the men convicted of killing a woman and her two daughters in the 2007 Cheshire home invasion Hayes allegedly has only recently realized he is transgender and is undergoing hormone therapy in prison.
Hayes is one of two men convicted of murder in the deaths of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters, 11-year-old Michaela and 17-year-old Hayley. Hawke-Petit was raped and strangled by Hayes and the daughters died in the fire that was set shortly afterward. Hawke-Petit’s husband and the girls’ father, Dr. William Petit Jr., was beaten with a baseball bat at the outset of the home invasion but survived.
Hayes went on the record with Joe Tomaso, host of the podcast “15 Minutes With…”
Why anyone would give this man 15 minutes of fame is beyond us. But the silver lining is that Americans might start to realize how screwed up our judicial system is.
Hayes still maintains that he was only guilty of committing a robbery.
“I’m not a monster,” Hayes has said. “It really wrecked me when I found out what happened. My life is ruined over all this. Everybody’s life is ruined. Do not do it. Nothing works out. Look at me. It’s absolutely not worth it. Unfortunately, we don’t get do-overs.”
Hayes claims he never went upstairs during the invasion, where the two young girls were tied to their beds, left to die in the arson fire. He continues to put the blame his co-conspirator in the Cheshire case, Joshua Komisarjevsky.
Hayes was transferred from Connecticut to a Pennsylvania prison about a year ago, where he was put into the general population. He is one of two transgender inmates at the Pennsylvania prison and there are many problems with presenting as a female.
In order to aid in his transition, he claims to have been taking hormone injections for the past 18 months. A spokesperson for the Connecticut Department of Correction said in an email that Hayes’ medical information is protected by privacy laws. They could neither confirm nor deny his claim of receiving hormones.
As such, it could not be immediately determined who is providing the hormones Hayes claims to have been taking for 18 months.
In one of the podcast interviews, Hayes told Tomaso that only after going through his files, did he find out that he was ‘diagnosed’ with gender dysphoria at age 16, but his family never addressed the issue.
In a letterHayes wrote:
“Last year I did finally openly admit my personal truth that I am transgender and lived a life of severe gender dysphoria.”
According to his own statements, he didn’t know he was transgender until he read those records from his teenage years. Convenient. Ever heard of Bradley/Chelsea Manning?
In 2013, a military judge on sentenced PFC Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison. He had leaked the largest cache of classified documents in U.S. history.
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Manning was acquitted of the most serious charge he faced — aiding the enemy — but was convicted of multiple other counts, including violations of the Espionage Act, for copying and disseminating classified military field reports, State Department cables, and assessments of detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Manning was sentenced to serve out his time at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
Somewhere after he began serving his time, there was a shift in the narrative.
Che claimed to have started identifying as a woman in 2010, right around the time of his arrest.
He was sentenced to 35 years in 2013. He wound up in solitary confinement, being considered a suicide risk. Manning requested a move to the female side of Leavenworth. The Army denied that request.
In 2015, he was authorized to undergo hormone treatment, with the green light to undergo transition surgery coming in 2016.
Guess who was paying for that process? If you said the American taxpayers, you are correct.
And then to make matters worse, in one of his final acts as President, Barak Obama, citing the issues Manning was facing as a transitioning woman in a male facility, granted Manning clemency. He was pardoned in January of 2017 and released in May of the same year.
David French wrote in the National Review:
“Manning isn’t a woman in need of rescue. He’s a soldier who committed serious crimes. He … just dumped hundreds of thousands of classified documents into the public domain … without the slightest regard for the lives of others. Manning is a traitor who pled guilty to a lesser offense to avoid the full penalty for his crimes … [President] Obama’s commutation of his sentence is a disgrace.”
On May 31, 2018, the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appealsupheld Chelsea Manning’s 2013 court-martial conviction of violating the Espionage Act.
In a 26-page opinion issued Thursday, a three-judge appellate panel affirmed the results of the 2013 court-martial that ended with the Army intelligence analyst being ordered to spend 35 years in military prison.
“We are confident that based on the entire record and appellant’s course of conduct, the military judge would have imposed a sentence of at least that which was adjudged,” Senior Judge Col. Lorianne Campanella wrote on behalf of the panel.
“We AFFIRM the sentence as adjudged and approved,” the appeal court ruled. “We find this reassessed sentence is not only purged of any error but is also appropriate.”
Obama’s pardon paved the way for the appeal ruling to be rendered mostly moot.
Enter Hayes. Is it possible that he is using the Manning strategy to mount his own defense to seek a pardon or clemency to skirt the six life sentences that he is serving?
Keep your eyes open. If he seeks a transfer to the women’s facility, I would say that the above question will start to answer itself.
What logical sense does it require to think it is a good idea to move a man, who was convicted of raping, torturing and killing a woman, to a jail full of women?
Only time will tell. In the meantime, I am tired of my tax dollars paying for these procedures.