The Dissenter

Photo from Vera Institute of Justice report on alternatives to solitary confinement
02 Sep 2015

California Agrees To Restrict Use of Long-Term Solitary Confinement

California has agreed to restrict the use of long-term solitary confinement in a settlement agreement filed in federal court this week. Restrictions are expected to reduce the number of inmates in isolation, cap the number of continuous years an inmate can spend in solitary confinement to five, and establish measures by which inmates can more easily achieve release back to general population.

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Colonel George Salloum, a Syrian military intelligence officer, is accused of carrying out the torture Maher Arar (pictured) experienced while in prison in Syria between 2002-2003. (Image courtesy the Center for Constitutional Rights)
01 Sep 2015

Canada Charges Syrian Colonel for Torture of Maher Arar

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police has filed charges against a Syrian colonel who tortured Canadian citizen Maher Arar. Colonel George Salloum, a Syrian military intelligence officer, is accused of carrying out the torture Arar experienced while in prison in Syria from October 2002 to October 2003. Salloum is also accused of overseeing Arar’s

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A paratrooper scans the iris of another using a Handheld Interagency Identity Detection Equipment, or HIIDE, system during training Jan. 10, 2012, at the Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort Polk, La. The device measures personal biometric data that allow friendly forces to identify persons of interest at a later date. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Michael J. MacLeod)
01 Sep 2015

U.S. to Use Iris and Facial Scans at Southern Border for First Time

The United States Customs and Border Protection will launch a “Pedestrian Border Experiment” that will target non-US citizens. The “experiment” is expected to mark the first time facial and iris scans are used on individuals crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

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File: The 2010 Democratic National Committee logo projected on a screen near a podium with the American flag behind it. (Flickr / Nostri-Imago)
31 Aug 2015

As With Civil Rights Movement, Democrats Seek to Co-Opt Black Lives Matter Ahead of Election

The Democratic National Committee passed a resolution at its summer meeting on August 28, which endorsed “Black lives matter.” The resolution was an effort by Democrats to co-opt the energy coming from the movement for black lives and steer it into the 2016 Election.

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Prison Protest

File: Razor wire outside a prison in Maryland. (Flickr / Fred Dunn)
31 Aug 2015

Tennessee Department of Corrections Struggles To Keep The Lid On Prison Crisis

The Tennessee Department of Corrections is threatening and intimidating corrections officers speaking out against dangerous work conditions, according to a letter [PDF] published on August 27 by the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee. The organization asked the DOC to clearly state it will not seek to silence or retaliate against employees for their speech.

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Juan Jose Antonio Deras, an undocumented immigrant from El Salvador, sits in a wheelchair inside the entrance to Casa De Paz. Deras spent three years in a Geo Group immigrant detention center, during which time his health deteriorated rapidly. (Shadowproof / Kevin J. Beaty)
31 Aug 2015

After Detention & Abuse, Immigrants Find Lifesaving Support In An Unexpected Place

Three years ago, Juan Jose Antonio Deras, 35, an undocumented immigrant man who arrived in the United States as an 11 year old, walked into the Denver Contract Detention Facility in Aurora, Colorado. But on July 24, 2015, he left in a wheelchair. He was all but broken, but his indomitable spirit kept him alive, along with support from an unexpected source: a volunteer volleyball league out to help more than just him.

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File: Four hospital beds in a row, each with curtains so they can be partitioned for privacy. (Flickr / StudioTempura)
28 Aug 2015

Lawsuit: Rikers Island Officer Unpunished After Raping Transgender Inmate In Corizon Health Clinic

A transgender inmate was raped by a corrections officer in a medical clinic on Rikers Island and the New York City Department of Correction has declined to punish him for the last three years, according a federal civil rights lawsuit filed this week. The inmate, known as “MT,” claims Corrections Officer L. Galan sexually harassed her “openly and repeatedly” for months before raping her in the clinic, where security cameras could not capture the encounter.

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The exterior of the Tulsa County Jail in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Google Streetview)
27 Aug 2015

Two Lawsuits Show The Human Cost Of For-Profit Jailhouse Healthcare

Two ongoing federal lawsuits against for-profit jailhouse medical contractor Armor Correctional Health Services (ACHS) describe lengthy delays and negligent care that put inmate health in jeopardy. Companies like ACHS sign lucrative agreements that promise to deliver medical care to inmates at a lower cost than governments can provide themselves. In court filings, however, the company is alleged to have financial disincentives in its contracts which encourage staff not to give inmates access to emergent and off-site treatments.

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The Bullpen

Activists carry signs demanding fair wages and "jobs with justice" outside a Chicago-area Walmart at a Black Friday protest on November 28, 2014. Although the protests successfully put pressure on the company, gains by Walmart workers were short-lived as the corporation increased wages but cut worker hours. (Flickr / UFCW International Union)
31 Aug 2015

Walmart Increased Wages Only To Later Cut Hours

Late last year, in response to a series of strikes by workers and protests by activists, Walmart agreed to raise wages so that many of the company’s workers received at least a meager $9 an hour in 2015. Unfortunately, Walmart’s entire business model is based on severely exploiting workers in the US, so the order has now come down from Walmart executives to cut workers’ hours to lower company costs.

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An activist with the Fight For 15 minimum wage movement poses under the entrance to a McDonald's  restaurant on May 14, 2014. A new study shows CEO compensation grew in 2014, while workers continued to suffer with stagnant wages. (Flickr / Peopls World)
28 Aug 2015

CEO Compensation Jumped In 2014 As Workers Treaded Water

The pay for CEOs of public companies continued its upward climb in 2014 according to a report by The Conference Board, a business research organization. The report, published in August, claims that total compensation for chief executive officers of US public companies in the Russell 3000 Index rose up 11.9 % from 2013 and as much as 34.7 % from 2010.

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At a May 17, 2014 flashmob-style protest in Germany against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership international trade deal, two activists hold signs objecting to the TTIP's potential effects on data privacy and the deal's lack of transparency. (Flickr / campact)
27 Aug 2015

Big Tobacco TTIP Discussion Documents Censored By EU

Documents related to discussions between US, British and European officials and multinational tobacco corporations concerning the regulation of tobacco under a new trade agreement were censored by the European Commission. Activists with Corporate Europe Observatory revealed the meetings through a Freedom of Information request, but the documents were heavily edited.

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File: An American flag hangs in front of the entrance to the New York Stock Exchange in the Wall Street district of New York City. (Morguefile)
26 Aug 2015

Wall Street Laundering Derivatives Trades Through Europe To Avoid Dodd-Frank

As compromised as Congress is when it comes to dealing with their Wall Street donors, they have nothing on financial regulators who often end up later working for the people and companies they are supposed to be regulating. Now regulators are allowing Wall Street to hide derivatives trades overseas to circumvent Dodd-Frank.

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