02-23-2020  9:18 am   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
The Skanner Black History Month
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Jeremy Christian Guilty of Killing 2 Who Tried to Stop His Slurs on Max

Today jurors found Christian guilty of the May 26, 2017 stabbing deaths of Taliesin Namkai-Meche and Ricky Best

States Step Up Funding for Planned Parenthood Clinics

A spokesman for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon said the agency has been "working closely with state officials to create critical backstops and protect access to care for all Oregonians who need it, regardless of federal action on Title X"

Oregon Denies Permit for Pipeline Before Federal Decision

Oregon's Department of Land Conservation and Development says a proposed liquefied natural gas export terminal in Coos Bay would have significant adverse effects on the state's coastal scenic and aesthetic resources, endangered species and critical habitat

Rep. Blumenauer Joined by Sens. Markey, Sanders, and Warren to Introduce Bill to Hold Big Oil Companies Accountable

"Amidst the growing climate emergency, closing this loophole is a small step we must take to hold Big Oil accountable and to protect our communities," said Blumenauer. 

NEWS BRIEFS

African American Initiative Breast Cancer Survivor Celebration to be Held Saturday

Susan G. Komen Oregon and SW Washington celebrate breast cancer survivors in the African American community with a free gala this...

Dr. Karin Edwards Named New President of Clark College

Board of Trustees names Dr. Karin Edwards as the college’s 15th leader in its 87-year history ...

OneUnited Bank Launches New Limited-Edition Harriet Tubman Card

OneUnited Bank, the largest Black-owned bank in America, introduces the new limited-edition Harriet Tubman Card in celebration of...

Oregon House Votes to End Driver’s License Suspensions for Failure to Pay Fines

Bipartisan Vote Underscores Consensus for Reforms, Makes Way for Senate Action ...

Black History Month 2020: “African Americans and the Vote”

In our celebration of Black History Month 2020, the DPO Black Caucus looks forward to the screening of the award-winning documentary,...

Companies altered road test results given to Idaho agency

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Companies that are responsible for checking the quality of Idaho’s road materials have altered the results of their asphalt tests thousands of times, government documents show. Those changes may have allowed contractors that repair and build Idaho’s highway...

University lab cited for animal welfare violations in Oregon

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon Health & Science University laboratory was cited for violating animal welfare laws after five prairie voles died of thirst, federal inspectors said.The U.S. Department of Agriculture also cited the university after a person risked contaminating surgical...

OPINION

Black America is Facing a Housing Crisis

As the cost of housing soars the homeless population jumps 12 percent, the number of people renting grows and homeownership falls ...

Trump Expands Muslim Ban to Target Africans

Under the new ban on countries, four out of five people who will be excluded are Africans ...

Martin Luther King Day is an Opportunity for Service

Find out where you can volunteer and make a difference to the community ...

Looking to 2020 — Put Your Vote to WORK!

Ronald Reagan, who turned his back on organized labor and started America’s middle-class into a tailspin, has recently been voted by this administration’s NLRB into the Labor Hall of Fame ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Aalst Carnival again has Jewish stereotypes in its parade

BRUSSELS (AP) — The Aalst Carnival opened with a parade Sunday which again included some stereotypical depictions of Jews despite warnings from organizers to avoid any anti-Semitic images in the wake of last year's scandal. The Carnival was kicked off the United Nations' UNESCO heritage list...

Sanders wins Nevada caucuses, takes national Democratic lead

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Bernie Sanders scored a commanding victory in Nevada’s presidential caucuses, cementing his status as the Democrats' national front-runner but escalating tensions over whether he’s too liberal to defeat President Donald Trump. Joe Biden was a distant second,...

Moscow targets Chinese with raids amid virus fears

MOSCOW (AP) — Bus drivers in Moscow kept their WhatsApp group chat buzzing with questions this week about what to do if they spotted passengers who might be from China riding with them in the Russian capital.“Some Asian-looking (people) have just got on. Probably Chinese. Should I...

ENTERTAINMENT

'West Side Story' opening draws protesters on Broadway

NEW YORK (AP) — There was a chorus outside the Broadway Theatre on Thursday at the opening night of a new revival of “West Side Story” but what was being sung was a protest chant.A group of about 100 people demanded the removal of cast member Amar Ramasar, who was fired and...

Broadway's 'To Kill a Mockingbird' readies for Garden visit

NEW YORK (AP) — Actor Kyle Scatliffe has gone to Madison Square Garden plenty of times — for a Rangers game, a Muse concert and a WWE event. Next week, he's going back again, but this time he won't be in the seats.Scatliffe on Wednesday will be starring in the hit Broadway play...

OWN's 'Cherish the Day' is a rare celebration of black love

LOS ANGELES (AP) — To separate filmmaker and TV producer Ava DuVernay’s trenchant, history-driven projects, including “Selma” and “When They See Us,” from her new romantic drama series is to sell short the determined thoughtfulness that shapes all her...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Zamboni driver, 42, gets win as emergency goalie for 'Canes

TORONTO (AP) — David Ayres was sitting in the stands with his wife at Scotiabank Arena when Carolina...

Self-styled daredevil dies in crash after rocket launch

BARSTOW, Calif. (AP) — A self-styled daredevil died Saturday after a rocket in which he launched himself...

Michigan sex-misconduct claims mirror Ohio State doctor case

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — When the University of Michigan announced last week that allegations of decades-old...

Germany's Hamburg city in elections marked by climate issues

BERLIN (AP) — Voters in Hamburg, Germany's second-biggest city, go to the polls Sunday to pick a new...

Pope cautions against 'unfair' Middle East peace plans

ROME (AP) — Pope Francis has cautioned against “unfair” solutions aimed at ending the...

German, Dutch carnival parades called off due to weather

BERLIN (AP) — Several cities in western Germany canceled their traditional carnival parades at short notice...

McMenamins
David Muhammad New America Media

There is momentum building in California and around the country for common sense criminal justice practices that reduce America's overreliance on incarceration. Even those who have been the most ardent proponents of flawed Get Tough on Crime polices have come around. The United States Justice Department, hard right-wing politicians, and even some victim groups have all agreed that there are far too many people incarcerated in this country, at far too great a cost to society.

But the purportedly progressive Gov. Jerry Brown and even the state Democratic caucus are poised to launch one of the country's only state prison expansion plans. At a time when most states are reducing the number of inmates and closing prisons, California is preparing to expand the number of prison beds. Even in the face of a federal Three Judge Panel order which was re-confirmed by the U.S Supreme Court to reduce the state's overcrowded prisons, Gov. Brown is defiantly moving forward with a plan that will hurt the residents of California.

Speaking in California recently, the U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said, "Too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long, and for no truly good law enforcement reason." The Attorney General went on to explain that, "Widespread incarceration at the federal, state, and local levels is both ineffective and unsustainable. It imposes a significant economic burden – totaling $80 billion in 2010 alone."

In agreement with this sentiment, last year California voters approved Prop. 36 to amend the notorious Three Strikes Law so that individuals convicted of non-violent offenses are not sentenced to life in prison. A few months earlier, the California Legislature approved and the Governor signed into law SB 9, which prohibits children from being sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. A number of recent polls also show that California voters very clearly prefer rehabilitation over incarceration and agree that too much money is being wasted by the state on prisons.

In a recent Op-Ed in the Fresno Bee, former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Republican leader of the California Assembly Pat Nolan, urged the state legislature to pass SB 260, a bill that would reduce incarceration in state prisons by allowing youth charged as adults to have their sentences reconsidered after serving at least 10 years and having engaged in rehabilitative programming. "For every individual granted release, the public will save at least $474,000 for each 10 years cut off his or her sentence," Gingrich and Nolan write.

In the face of mounting evidence that incarceration is ineffective and grossly expensive and that the public desires a re-direction of corrections spending on priorities like education – disappointingly, the Governor is caving to special interest.

As a former law enforcement official who oversaw correctional facilities, I am clear that there are certain individuals who are a genuine risk to the public safety and need to be incarcerated and rehabilitated. But there are thousands of inmates in state prisons today that if released, would pose little to no public safety risk. This includes inmates who are elderly and infirmed; inmates who are severely disabled; inmates whose only crime is being addicted to drugs; and inmates who have already served long sentences, still including those who came in as minors, and have proven rehabilitated and deserve a second chance.

The Governor and the legislature should reconsider the ill-advised plan to expand prison beds and abide by the federal court, clear evidence, and the will of California residents and responsibly reduce the state's oversized prison population.

David Muhammad is the CEO of Solutions, Inc. consulting firm. He is the former Chief Probation Officer of Alameda County Probation and the former Deputy Commissioner of New York City Probation.

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