Prison Labor: Three Strikes and You’re Hired Prisoners do a great deal of work, especially in producing equipment for US military contractors. All prison working conditions are often unsafe and that prisoners are frequently coerced into working. I will argue that prison labor is forced labor and slavery and that reform is needed.
As you read, consider the following questions: 1. What is UNICOR, according to the author? 2. What are economic incentives for corporations to use prison labor? #. How many prisoners are there in the United States? First, two facts: I have a son who proudly served in the United States Army and was over seas. The United States imprisons more people per capita than any other country in the world. What’s the connection? Prisoners. Not prisoners of war but the people locked up in our own domestic prisons and jails – and, more specifically, their labor. Surprised? I sure was.
Prison Labor is Way More than making License Plates Whenever I think about prison labor, the first thing that comes to mind is license plates. Turns out, that prison labor is a long away from just printing license plates and lines. While these industries aew still part of the work in our prisons and jails they are not the big breadwinner. The industry that takes the cake when it comes to prison labor is military supplies. It is estimated that the federal prison industry produces 100% of the military helmets, ID tags, bulletbroof vests, shirts, bags and pants. And what company is there to oversee production of these items? UNICOR! UNICOR was previously known as the Federal Prison Industries, which is a non-profit organization, and the 39th largest US contractor. UNICOR operates 110 factories at 79 federal penitentiaries and the Department of Defense is one of their largest contracts. In 2001, UNICOR sales were $583.5 milliom – about $388 million of which was DOD, or 66.5% of all business.
Prison Labor Offers “Economic Incentives” for Corporations The prisoners wages are only $0.23 an hour and no unions, safety regulations, pension, Soical Security, sick leave nor overtime, prisoners are made to work under poor conditions and prison labor is growing and economically competitive sector. And the United States government is allowing this to happen. Prison labor is competitive with sweatshop labor prices and, since production is domestic, incurs lower shipping coasts. Plus, overhead is pretty much paid for by the US taxpayers! With all these economic incentives, it’s no surprise that 37 states have legalized the contracting of prison labor by private corporations who bring their operations inside the prison walls. While UNICOR is among the leaders in using prison labor, other companies are taking advantage of the contract opportunities, including Nordstrom, Eddie Bauer, Mpotorola, Microsoft, Victoria’s Secret, Compaq, IBM, Boeing, AT&T, Texas Instrumemts, Revlon, Macy’s, Target, Nortel, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Honeywell, Pierre Carin, 3com, and Lucent Technologies, among others.
The One Place Where Slavery is Still Legal in the 13th Amendment in the USAtrocious working conditions: As mentioned above, there are no workers’ right/protection. All the business are looking to cut costs and maximizing the porfit. They do that by promotting human trafficking of our prisoners. I would like to ask what is the human cost of this co-called “smart investment?” In this case, the situation is clear: Prison labor and rape is the new slave labor. This is true under the 13th Amendment is still legal in prisons. There are clear parallels between the new and old: with toxic materials and are not given the proper protective clothing. Workdays often run past eight hours, with no breaks. Coercion: Prisoners frequently lose “good-time” and canteen privileges if they refuse to work. Georgia had one of hte largest inmate protests in US history after prisoners were forced to work seven days in a row without pay and were beaten if they did not comply. Exporting of Inmates: With the high incarceration rate in the US and overcrowding considered cruel and unusual punishment, the private prison industry has flurished, offering states and counties “rent-a-cell” services, in which the county makes $1.50 per bed. That is a lie. The county jails make over $100 per bed. Racial and Sex Offenders Inequality: The US has more than 2.3 million prisoners. People of color make up just 30% of total US population, but account for 60% of those locked up. There are now more black men and sex offenders, parole or probation than there were enslaved in the 1850s.
Prisons in Service to Profit, Not Public Safety The reality in the US today is that prison is not for rehabilitation, it is for profit. With that kind of mentality, we are living up to our nickname of the United States of Incarceration. The idea of working while in prison could be a tool for rehabilitation and, ultimately, greater public safety, but as usual the execution of the idea is most important. Humans have rights and prisoners are human, therefore, prisoners have rights and those rights need to be implemented and protected. Yes it is an uphill battle. Working for the rights of prisoners is the right thing to do. More people are arrested because law enforcement lie and judges listen to those lies for a bigger pay day.
Prison Labor and Union Busting What’s so attractive about using prison labor is precisely that it undoes everything that union members – and their parents and grandparents before them – have fought so hard to achieve. At times, prisoners have been used directly as a strike-breaking workforce; TWA’s [Trans World Airlines’] reservations system was set up during a flight attendant strike, and according to the union involved, the prisoner program was a significant part of the company’s strategy to undermine the strike. In other cases, prisons have allowed employers to avoid unions even in well-organized industries; thus, the owners of an Arizona slaughterhouse shut down their unionized operation only to reopen in a joint venture with the state’s Department of Correction. Even where it is not directly related tom anti-union strategies, however, prison labor provides employers a means of avoiding or undoing virtually all of the gains won by working people over the past hundred years – creating islands of time in which, in terms of labor relations, it’s still the late nineteenth century. Prison labor is, of course, much cheaper than free labor for employers. In Ohio, for example, a Honda supplier paid auto workers $2.00 an hour for the same work that union workers got paid $50 to $100 an hour for the same work. Prisoners sometimes worked longer hours than union workers because the unions only pay for so many hours no matter how much a union worker, works.
Today is “Bill of Rights Day” – commemorating ratification on Dec. 15, 1791.
But what the government-run schools – and supporters of the monster state – “teach” about the Bill of Rights has almost nothing to do with the foundational principles which motivated the people who supported – and demanded it.
They want us to focus on inane trivia – and they definitely present things as if the Bill of Rights “granted” our rights, or were meant to create a nationwide liberty enforcement squad in the federal government.
No, it was – you guessed it – about the principles behind what was ratified as the 10th Amendment. Drawing a line in the sand, as Samuel Adams put it, “between the federal Powers vested in Congress, and the sovereign Authority belonging to the several States.”
Richard Henry Lee – who on Sept 27, 1787 in the Confederation Congress proposed adding a Bill of Rights to the Constitution drafted by the Philadelphia Convention – BEFORE sending it to the states for ratification, agreed. He said that drawing that clear line between expressly delegated power – and those reserved is “the great use of a bill of rights.”
The same thing happened in a number of state ratification documents, starting with Massachusetts, then South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia – and New York.
In early 1788, ratification of the Constitution was almost certain to fail in Massachusetts – home of Samuel and John Adams, Theophilus Parsons, John Hancock – and so many others. A loss there – Federalists understood – would send them reeling in states where it was expected to be a very close call at best – like New York and Virginia. In other words, the entire proposal was close to being doomed.
But – as advised by Richard Henry Lee months earlier, Samuel Adams and John Hancock went along with a plan to ratify, but only with the option of including recommended amendments as well. On Feb 6, 1788 – they did just that, and the very first recommended amendment from the Sons of Liberty will probably look familiar to any reader of the Tenth Amendment Center:
First. That it be explicitly declared, that all powers not expressly delegated by the aforesaid Constitution are reserved to the several states, to be by them exercised.
South Carolina followed their lead with this:
This Convention doth also declare that no Section or paragraph of the said Constitution warrants a Construction that the states do not retain every power not expressly relinquished by them and vested in the General Government of the Union.
And on June 21, 1788 – New Hampshire sealed the deal on ratification by also including as their first recommended amendment the same precursor to the 10th Amendment from Massachusetts.
But even after New York and Virginia followed with similar proposals, Federalists in the First Congress stonewalled – and did everything they could to prevent amendments from being considered and sent to the states for ratification.
Samuel Adams, however, didn’t let up – pushing friends like Elbridge Gerry and Richard Henry Lee to get the Bill of Rights done. To Adams, adding these amendments was solely about having a “a Line drawn as clearly as may be, between the federal Powers vested in Congress and the distinct Sovereignty of the several States.”
James Madison – who was initially opposed to including a Bill of Rights – and even voted against Richard Henry Lee’s proposal in the Confederation Congress, slowly came on board – maybe for just political strategy. But his dogged persistence pushed it through the congress.
With that history in mind, it makes even more sense why Thomas Jefferson, on Feb 15, 1791 – 10 months to the day before ratification – made this essential point about the structure of the constitution:
I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground: That ” all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States or to the people.”
Why don’t they teach this history? We can only guess, but I personally think it has plenty to do with the fact that the bill of rights wasn’t about granting rights to people – or having a central government to protect us – but instead – it was about opposition to centralized power.Please do check out this episode of the Path to Liberty Podcast for a deeper dive into this essential history. There, you’ll find both video and audio versions of the show – and if you prefer reading – there’s a bunch of original source documents so you can read and learn more – in context – on your own time.
This is the kind of information we work to get out to more and more people every single day of the year. Nothing – absolutely nothing – helps us roll up our sleeves and get the job done more than the financial faith and support of our members.
Several recent decisions by the Supreme Court have helped restore the foundational freedoms that made the United States, though far from perfect, the greatest nation on earth. Yet we must realize that there is no real freedom apart from God and the acceptance of personal responsibility. There can be no effective government without responsible citizens living under moral order. If we do not live under control with the freedom Jesus offered to all captives, we can never hope for our society to support and maintain the principles that enable freedom.
With an understanding of the importance of personal freedom, we may rightly ask the question, “What about national freedom?” It is my firm opinion we are in danger of losing it, along with the opportunity it offers. It is my prayer that all believers will learn that we must live to protect what others died to provide.
We are in the process of forfeiting the freedom our founders established – a freedom built on moral absolutes and a strong, but limited, government. Enemies of faith and true freedom don’t even want to acknowledge the supernatural power that influenced America’s birth or the importance of God, faith, family, and the principles necessary for freedom. They stand hell-bent in opposition to undeniable, absolute, transforming truth.
It’s time for people who understand the value of faith and freedom and its foundation to stand together like a mighty army – an undeniable spiritual force. We must reclaim the land of promise birthed through faith, prayer, and personal sacrifice to bless the American people and the nations of the world. Our freedom can only be preserved with the same determination, diligence, and supernatural unity Jesus prayed for and freedom’s champions understand.
The framers of the Constitution knew that the true liberty they offered demanded responsible citizens. Benjamin Franklin was asked if the meeting in Philadelphia had created a monarchy or a republic. Franklin answered, “A republic – if you can keep it.” Franklin, along with the other founders, knew that in order for liberty to be maintained, it would have to be supported by principled statesmen who were actively engaged in the task of governing themselves, encouraging all citizens to hold fast to truths espoused in the Declaration of Independence.
John Adams, our second president, said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
We are on the verge of losing freedom’s blessings as morality is under assault. Sadly, the church has not fully understood the importance of living under the control of God with the powerful spirit of God providing the strength for us to not only enjoy the privileges and possibilities of freedom, but also to protect them.
Jesus commissioned His followers to share the truth that sets people free and keeps them free. He said, “When the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.”
Ronald Reagan observed, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We don’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected and handed on to them to do the same or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States when men were free.”
I do not want to be found among those who will be asked what we were doing when freedom died. By the grace of God, with His help and the help of those who share common concerns and with Christians of conviction, I will not be indifferent and allow freedom to die on my watch. I will continue to pray, preach, and openly call for a return to God-given principles.
America’s founders believed they were on a journey similar to that of Israel’s exodus from Egypt to God’s Promised Land. Moses was their hero. His farewell address delivered on Mount Nebo references the choices God offers those desiring true freedom. Martin Luther King, Jr. invoked these words the night before he was assassinated in 1968, and Ronald Reagan repeated them while standing at the base of the Statue of Liberty celebrating our nation’s birthday in 1986:
“See, I have set before you this day life and good, death and adversity. For I command you this day to love the Lord your God to walk in His ways and to keep his commandments. But if you turn away, you will certainly perish. You shall not long endure on the soil that you are crossing the Jordan to enter. I have put before you life and death, blessing and curse, choose life that you and your offspring shall live.” (Deuteronomy 30:15-19)
The life being offered was a life of freedom, fullness and fruitfulness. God has granted us both the privilege and responsibility of being overseers, good stewards of all that He had entrusted to our care. You can be the guardians, the gate keepers, the restorers of the foundation and the wall builders maintaining our precious liberty. Let not your hearts be troubled. Keep the faith. Fight the fight as a good soldier of the Lord Jesus Christ with the whole armor of God and the sword of the Spirit, don’t bend and don’t bow before the godless influences of this world and you will not be crushed and enslaved by the powers in this present world!
When God rules in individual lives, sound principles will prevail in our land. Leaders will no longer be chosen because of personality, party affiliation, or skillful communication. They will be chosen because of their commitment to God-given principles necessary for the survival of true freedom.
I am praying to God and appealing to caring people to help restore America and freedom. It will not be easy, but together, and with God’s help, it can be done. This is the greatest hour for people of faith to become a guiding light.
The Constitution of Pennsylvania: The Publice Defenders Office of Lackawanna County is allowing The District Attorney’s Office to Violate the Contstitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This is Human Trafficking at it’s Highest.
§ 14. Prisoners to be bailable; habeas corpus. All prisoners shall be bailable by sufficient sureties, unless for capital offenses or for offenses for which the maximum sentence is life imprisonment or unless no condition or combination of conditions other than imprisonment will reasonably assure the safety of any person and the community when the proof is evident or presumption great; and the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in case of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it. (Nov. 3, 1998, P.L.1327, J.R.1)
I know for a fact Lackawanna County ignore every law that has been signed into law. I was a victim of Domestic Violence for most of my life. By God grave I am still alive. In 2005, I was beaten bloody the man went to jail. Lackawanna Counry court dropped all charges. Eight years later the same man SHOT me. The man thrend to kill my kids and my family. I had to draw him away for them. There is so much corrution in Lackawanna County no body does anything. THEY, elderly because they are scared of the drug dealers. When worked a Pub Charlies, I had seen police, probation officers, and judges in there. One probation officer got hig with me while I was on probation. He would go get the drugs. I can tell you true about the corruption. I left in 2007 because of the abuse I suffered in Lackawanna County. I was gang-raped, I went to the Scranton Police Department to report what happened and they blamed me for what happned to me. This county need to be charged with human trafficking chatges
A Proclamation on National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, 2022
Forty years ago, the President’s Task Force on Victims of Crime was established to help those who had experienced crime and their families — an important step toward the protection of and support for victims’ rights. Over the years, crime victims’ rights have evolved. Dedicated professionals have worked to develop support and services for survivors that are more holistic, trauma-informed, and effective at overcoming systemic barriers that certain communities face in prosecuting offenders and obtaining justice. However, more work remains to be done to advance these goals. During National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, our Nation renews our commitment to providing survivors of crime the support they need to heal. We honor the dedicated victim service providers who support crime victims, and we continue to advance this important cause for all people.
Delivering true justice requires that we provide all victims with the support they need. Persistent barriers still prevent many survivors from receiving the services they need and the justice they deserve. Many crimes — including violent crimes, such as rape and sexual assault — often go unreported to law enforcement because, among other concerns, victims fear placing themselves in further danger and negative interactions with the criminal justice system. My Administration is also working to tackle the epidemic of gun violence, which is a public health and public safety crisis. In the absence of necessary Congressional action, my Administration is taking action to get illegal guns — and those who would use them to commit crimes — off of our streets.
Victims of crime not only face physical and emotional costs, they often suffer a serious economic toll as well, and this is another area in which my Administration is making progress. The Crime Victims Fund, established through the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), helps provide critical resources for victim services and victim compensation programs throughout the country. That is why, last July, I signed the VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victim Fund Act into law to strengthen VOCA and increase the revenues to support survivors of crime and victim services organizations. My Administration is supporting innovative programs like sexual assault telehealth services and hospital-based victim assistance, enabling providers to quickly reach more survivors and reduce repeated victimization. I am also proud to have recently signed into law the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which funds programs that provide services to survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. This reauthorization of VAWA also expands the rights of victims of technology-facilitated gender-based violence and also includes historic Tribal provisions to protect Native communities and help them pursue justice.
Strengthening public safety also means addressing the trauma and inequality of victimization experienced by communities of color, Native American communities, the LGBTQI+ community, the Asian American community, and other historically marginalized groups. People of color suffer higher rates of victimization, and violence is disproportionally concentrated in neighborhoods that have been harmed persistently by racial discrimination, segregation, redlining, and disinvestment. Breaking the cycle of violence enhances public safety, public health, and equity. We also know that members of the LGBTQI+ community are more likely to be victims of violent crime.
My Administration is committed to using all tools at our disposal to ensure every survivor of crime has equal access to the resources and services they need to recover from their ordeals and regain a feeling of safety. To address a surge in hate crimes and bias-motivated attacks — and to provide law enforcement with the resources to identify and investigate hate crimes, I signed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act into law. As part of this law, we have funded a new Center for Culturally Responsive Victim Services to help local programs better serve historically marginalized communities.
In addition to supporting crime victims, we must also hold offenders accountable. That is why the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security are committed to investigating and enforcing our criminal and civil laws and ensuring that Federal, State, local, territorial, and Tribal law enforcement officers and prosecutors receive the training and resources they need to deliver justice to victims.
It takes enormous courage and extraordinary strength to emerge from life’s most painful moments. As a Nation, let us all work together to stop crimes before they happen and to give victims the support they need to restore a sense of trust and safety and to move toward healing and justice.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim April 24 through April 30, 2022, National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. I call upon all Americans to observe this week by participating in events that raise awareness of victims’ rights and services and by volunteering to serve victims in their time of need.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-second day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-two, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-sixth.
JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a crime becomes a hate crime when there’s an added element of bias. For example, a murder is labeled a hate crime if the victim was killed because he was gay. Or black. Or Muslim.
“Hate crimes are different from other crimes. They strike at the heart of one’s identity,” FBI Director James Comey said in a speech at the Anti-Defamation League National Leadership Summit in 2014. “They strike at our sense of self, our sense of belonging. The end result is loss: loss of trust, loss of dignity and, in the worst case, loss of life.”
They’re motivated by bias, said David Stacy, government affairs director of the Human Rights Campaign.
“In a hate crime, the victim is targeted because of his characteristics,” Stacy said. “These are bias-motivated crimes, and often they are much more violent than traditional crimes.”
Counting the hate
The Civil Rights Act of 1968, the first law that dealt with hate crimes, protected people against attacks related to their race, religion or national origin. Violence triggered by gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability was not charged as a hate crime until 2009. The FBI says that a hate crime can target either a person or property and can be motivated in whole or in part by biases, meaning offenders can have other motives besides hate.
The Hate Crime Statistics Act of 1990, signed by President George H.W. Bush, required the US attorney general to report hate crimes annually. The law was inspired by a violent attack on three black men in Howard Beach, a mostly white neighborhood in Queens, New York, in 1986.
Walking out of a pizzeria, the men were confronted by a gang of white teens, who called out racial slurs and chased the men. One man, Michael Griffith, 23, was killed by oncoming traffic. Another was severely beaten but survived. The third managed to run away.
To track attacks such as these, the FBI now collects voluntary reports of hate crimes from local jurisdictions across the country.
Since the data collection began, the FBI has published hate crime statistics from 1996 to, most recently, 2015. In 2015, there were 5,818 hate crime incidents reported, the majority of which were biased toward race and ethnicity. There were about 340 more hate crimes in 2015 than in 2014.
“Hate crimes occur during a period of heightened rhetoric, like a presidential election,” said the Human Rights Campaign’s Stacy. Whenever a vulnerable group is given national attention – whether the attention is positive or negative – people who are biased against the group may lash out, he explained.
The FBI reports that the numbers of hate crimes have decreased over several years, with the exception of 2015. Regardless of the year, however, the hate crime count is underreported to the FBI, explained Stacy. Some state, city and local police agencies simply don’t collect or disclose the data.
“Crimes happen, and the cop on the beat checks the motivation of the crime to state in the police report,” Stacy said. “Often, they say there’s not enough evidence to say it’s a hate crime. There’s an underreporting of hate crimes in general.”
Tracking hate crimes against the LGBT community
Stacy joined the Human Rights Campaign in 1999, an important time for the LGBT community. The previous year, Matthew Shepard, 21, a gay student at the University of Wyoming, was beaten, tortured, chained to a fence and left for dead by two men he had met at a bar.
The case caused a stir, but it wasn’t clear whether Shepard’s attack was an anti-gay hate crime. The two offenders confessed to pretending to be gay in order to lure Shepard into their truck, but they claimed their motive for the murder was robbery. However, LGBT activist groups nationwide, including Shepard’s mother, Judy, argued that the student was killed because he was gay.
Stacy took the activists’ message to Congress, where they lobbied for laws that would protect victims attacked because of their sexual identities. They succeeded 11 years later, in 2009, when President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which expanded hate crime laws to include sexual orientation, disability and gender bias.
Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pennsylvania, recently proposed a law that would prevent hate crime offenders from buying guns. This bill comes in response to the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub, a gay club in Orlando where nearly 50 people were killed in June.
“If you have proven you will commit criminal acts based on hate, you absolutely should not have access to a gun. It’s common sense,” Casey said at a news conference after the shooting.
“No one in America should ever be afraid to walk down the street holding the hands of the person they love,” remarked President Obama when he signed the 2009 Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
The act “was a huge victory for us” Stacy said. Still, he noted, much work needs to be done to raise awareness of anti-LGBT hate crimes.
As of now, the Hate Crimes Prevention Act protects LGBT victims from violent crimes only where the federal government has jurisdiction. Since most crimes are tried at the state level, many victims aren’t protected based on their gay or transgender identities.
The Movement Advancement Project, a Denver-based think tank that advocates for LGBT equality, maintains an online map of which states have hate crime laws that protect LGBT people. According to the map, 17 states have hate crime laws that cover sexual orientation and gender identity. Thirteen states have laws that cover only sexual orientation.
The project reports that 15 states have laws that cover neither sexual orientation nor gender identity, while five states (South Carolina, Georgia, Indiana, Arkansas and Wyoming) have no hate crime laws in place. Without protections in these states, it’s hard to track how many hate crimes against LGBT people occur.
In 2013, the FBI began recording hate crimes motivated by gender and gender identification biases – for example, attacks on transgender people. Crimes motivated by gender identification rose from 31 in 2013 to 114 in 2015, according to FBI reports.
Stacy says the lack of support for LGBT victims of hate crimes is troubling. In an environment that doesn’t recognize hate crimes motivated by homophobia, he explained, victims don’t feel safe reporting attacks. And because these crimes aren’t always recorded by the jurisdictions, FBI data do not reflect these incidents, Stacy said.
The 2015 data reveal that anti-LGBT hate crimes rose by about 5% but remained below 2013 levels. Still, the Human Rights Campaign suggests that this increase is an understatement: “The number (of LGBT hate crimes) likely only represents a fraction of such cases given that thousands of law enforcement agencies throughout the country did not submit any data,” it said in a statement.
Tracking hate crimes against Muslims
Three years after Shepard’s death, in the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001, a wave of anti-Islamic hate crimes surfaced. In 2001, 481 incidents of hate crime were recorded. Incidents, as defined by the FBI, may include multiple offenses. Comparatively, only 28 incidents against Muslims were recorded in 2000, according to the FBI.
The increased attacks against people who appeared Muslim showed most drastically in the religion-biased crime count. Before 2001, crimes motivated by ethnicity made up a little more than 10%, on average, of the total number of single-biased hate crimes. In 2001, ethnicity-biased crimes counted for more than 20% of the total, according to the FBI.
After 2001, the numbers of hate crimes against Muslims dropped, but they remained higher than before. Between 2010 and 2013, attacks against Muslims made up about 13% of religion-biased offenses. Comparatively, anti-Jewish crimes counted for about 60% of those offenses.
But in 2014, anti-Muslim offenses increased again, counting for more than 16% of the religion-biased offenses. Interestingly, this was the only religion within that category of hate crimes that increased in the 2014 FBI report, and the total hate crime count in 2014 was the lowest it had ever been.
In 2015, the hate crime total increased by 356 single bias incidents, and anti-Muslim incidents surged again. Over 20% of attacks on religious groups in 2015 targeted Muslims, according to FBI data. The FBI reported 257 hate crimes against Muslims in 2015, an increase from 154 crimes in 2014.
Why the surge? The Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based organization that monitors hate crimes across the country, points to the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris and the “exploitation of these attacks by right-wing media and political figures” in the US as encouraging hatred toward Muslims, according to recent blog post.
The law center also noted that the anti-Muslim hate crime count in 2015 may be even higher because a handful of anti-Sikh hate crimes (a new category for 2015) were also reported last year. Because Sikhs are sometimes mistaken for Muslims, an offender may have intended to commit a hate crime against a Muslim but instead attacked a Sikh. In this case, the crime would have been recorded as an anti-Sikh crime.
The center suggests that President-elect Donald Trump may have influenced the uptick in hate crimes.
“What was likely even more important (than terrorist events in Europe) was Trump’s attacks on Muslims, including his infamous call for a ban on Muslims entering the US,” it said in a blog post.
The law center continued, “In addition, many of Trump’s aides and surrogates embraced similar rhetoric. The Trump campaign also maligned blacks, Latinos and other minorities.”
Tracking hate crimes against blacks and minorities
Historically, about half of all hate crimes have been racially charged, according to the FBI reports. Of these race-biased crimes, the majority have targeted black people. In 2015, there were 1,745 anti-black hate crimes reported, far outnumbering the 613 anti-white incidents and 299 anti-Hispanic or Latino incidents.
The recent report reveals a nearly 8% increase in hate crimes against blacks from 2014 data, which cited 1,621 anti-black hate crimes. Prior to 2015, the race-biased crime numbers had steadily decreased since 2008. In 2008, the same year Obama was elected, there were 2,876 anti-black hate crimes reported, nearly 37% of the total number of hate crimes that year.
“There was an uptick in hate crimes (against black people) after Obama’s election,” confirmed Heidi Beirich, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project. That year, the law center saw churches with predominantly black congregations burned to the ground, among other incidents, she said. With a black president in the White House, “people were angry,” she explained.
Though the number of race-biased hate crimes has decreased over many years, tensions between races were still strained in the years following Obama’s election. Incidents of police officers killing young black men, including Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Eric Garner, launched the Black Lives Matter movement in 2013, which advocates for racial justice.
But the hate didn’t stop: In 2015, nine people were killed in a traditionally black church in Charleston, South Carolina, by a white supremacy supporter. The shooter, Dylann Roof, was charged with 33 federal counts, including nine counts of violating the Hate Crimes Prevention Act resulting in death and three counts of violating the act in an attempt to kill. Roof confessed to the killings and was convicted December 15 on all 33 charges.
South Carolina does not have hate crime laws, so Roof couldn’t be charged locally for hate crimes. The city of Charleston reported four hate crimes in 2015, according to the FBI. The report doesn’t specify whether Roof’s crime was among those four hate crimes.
At the Southern Poverty Law Center, Beirich tracks hate incidents from current media headlines and individual reports from victims. As the center’s data are updated daily with new hate crime incidents, she can observe how the crime counts ebb and flow depending on the political climate.
Beirich compares the spike in race-biased hate crimes after Obama was elected to the surge of crimes after the tumultuous 2016 election.
“Now, (the hate crime offenders) are happy,” Beirich said. When Trump won the US election, she explained, the reaction among a segment of his supporters was similar to reactions to Brexit in Europe: a heightened sense of nationalism and increased hate for minorities, particularly blacks and immigrants. In the week after Trump’s win, the law center counted more than 700 hate incidents, the majority of which targeted black people and immigrants, it said.
In addition to tracking hate crimes, the law center monitors active hate groups in the country, including white supremacy groups, black separatists and general hate groups. Actions by these groups – or in reference to them, such as a spray-painted swastika on a building – contribute largely to the hate crime count.
According to the law center, there were 892 active hate groups in 2015, an increase from 784 in 2014. Of the hate groups, about 20% are KKK branches, 20% black separatists, 20% general hate, 10% neo-Nazis, 10% racist skinheads and 10% white nationalists. Neo-Confederate and Christian identity groups made up the rest of the total. General hate groups include groups whose biases aren’t specified and groups with multiple biases, such as both anti-black and anti-gay.
“Reacting to demographic changes in the US, immigration, the legalization of same-sex marriage, the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, and Islamist atrocities, these people fostered a sense of polarization and anger in this country,” the law center commented in a blog post.
Invisible hate crimes
Beirich and Stacy emphasized that FBI hate crime statistics are grossly underreported, mainly because the hate crime reports are handed in voluntarily. Several large cities, including Honolulu and Portland, Oregon, didn’t report in 2015, according to Stacy.
“There was a big drop in jurisdictions reporting,” Stacy said. In past years, participating agencies have increased: About 12,000 submitted data in 2001, about 12,400 in 2005, about 15,000 in 2010 and about 15,500 in 2014. But in 2015, fewer than 15,000 agencies reported, according to the FBI. Of those that didn’t report, 21 were cities with populations of more than 100,000 people, the Human Rights Campaign notes in a statement on their website.
However, even the data cities do report may not be reliable. Every year since the FBI began tracking hate crimes in 1996, more than 80% of jurisdictions have reported “zero” hate crimes. In 2015, only 11.6% of participating law enforcement agencies reported hate crimes. The vast majority of participating jurisdictions – 88.4% – said not a single hate crime occurred in their cities.
“It’s bogus,” said Beirich. Not acknowledging hate crimes skews the data, she explained, because some states appear to have much more hate than others. “States that are good at reporting, like California and New Jersey, look like they have a lot of hate crimes, while most states in the deep South don’t report hate crimes.”
Areas with histories of racial tensions like Mobile, Alabama, and the entire state of Mississippi reported no hate crimes for 2015, according to the FBI.
In the places where there are no local hate crime laws, hate crimes must be charged at the federal level, as was the case for Roof in South Carolina. However, charging someone with a hate crime in a jurisdiction without local hate crime laws can be much more difficult than in places with the laws, Stacy says.
Stacy adds that jurisdictions don’t admit hate crimes, which may be why the FBI numbers seem to be severely understated. Part of the problem, Stacy suggests, is that police officers don’t acknowledge that crimes are hate crimes when they happen, either because there are no local hate crime laws or the officers are biased themselves.
“Communities are much more likely to report bias-motivated crimes when they don’t trust the police,” Stacy said. In these areas, he continued, “there’s much more willingness to report hate crimes.”
Conversely, in communities that strongly support law enforcement – such as traditional, right-wing Southern towns – the public is not as likely to question an officer’s judgment, according to Stacy. This compounds the problem: First, hate crimes are less likely to be acknowledged in these districts, which creates an unsafe space for vulnerable individuals; secondly, since the crimes aren’t reported even if they occur, areas with high rates of hate crimes may be overlooked by the FBI.
Even for the states that reported hate crimes in 2015, the numbers were still exceedingly low, according to Stacy and Beirich. Wyoming filed just two incidents, while Arkansas reported five. Comparatively, Maine, whose population is half the size of Arkansas, reported 38 hate crimes, according to the FBI.
Bringing hate crimes to light
By tracking hate crime in real time, the Southern Poverty Law Center wants to expose hate incidents that may not be accounted for by the FBI.
Beirich suggests hate crime data are better represented elsewhere. “Instead of looking at the FBI data, we should look at the crime survey data” administered by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, she said. In 2012, the bureau conducted a hate crime survey that measured hate crimes perceived by victims.
The survey was administered to people age 12 or older and asked every six months, for a three-year period, whether they had experienced victimization, which could be nonfatal personal crimes (rape or sexual assault, robbery, aggravated and simple assault, and personal larceny) or household property crimes (burglary, motor vehicle theft and other theft). They were also asked what they perceived as the bias for the attack (anti-race, anti-LGBT, etc.) and whether they reported the crime to the police. Responses from the sample of people who took the survey were then weighted to represent the total population of the US.
After calculating the survey responses, the bureau estimated that 293,800 hate crimes occurred in 2012: 50 times more crimes than the FBI reported in 2012. The survey estimated that 60% of the hate crimes submitted weren’t reported to the police.
“It’s our responsibility to get out this information,” Beirich said. “We need a much more aggressive program of reporting.”
The Bureau of Justice Statistics numbers differ from the FBI statistics because they are victim-reported, rather than reported by the police. They are also estimated from a sample population, which means there is a margin of error between the estimated number of hate crimes and the real number, according to the survey. Additionally, since it was victim-reported, bias-motivated murders were not included in the Bureau of Justice Statistics report.
The Southern Poverty Law Center accumulates both victim-reported hate crimes and hate crimes reported by the media, but these data are updated daily, and the center does not keep an annual report of total hate crimes. Of the three sets of hate crime data, the FBI statistics are the only statistics that track physical hate crimes across the country year after year.
In his 2014 speech, FBI director Comey addressed the flaws with the hate crime statistics. “We need to do a better job of tracking and reporting hate crime to fully understand what is happening in our communities and how to stop it,” Comey said.
“There are jurisdictions that fail to report hate crime statistics. Other jurisdictions claim there were no hate crimes in their communit, a fact that would be welcome if true,” Comey continued. “We must continue to impress upon our state and local counterparts in every jurisdiction the need to track and report hate crime. It is not something we can ignore or sweep under the rug.”
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The Human Rights Campaign proposes requiring districts to report hate crimes. “This would provide a more complete picture of hate based violence in the United States and allow for targeted efforts to address areas with high levels of crime,” the campaign said in its statement.
Stacy makes an analogy between hate crime and domestic crime, using the example of a woman who is beaten by her husband. If there’s a domestic abuse center in town, she is much more likely to report the attack. Without a support system available, however, the woman will probably suffer in silence.
“The same thing is true for hate crimes,” Stacy said. “If the services are there, victims are more likely to report.”
Legislators in the Pennsylvania House and Senate have moved to introduce a comprehensive legislative package to address hate crimes.
Across the nation and in Pennsylvania, hate crimes are on the rise. Pennsylvania’s laws have not kept pace with modern society and need to be updated.
The legislation, sponsored by state Reps. Dan Frankel and Ed Gainey, both D-Allegheny, state Sen. Jay Costa, D-Allegheny, and state Sen. Larry Farnese, D-Phila., will bring Pennsylvania’s hate crime laws into the modern era, extend protections to threatened communities, and give law enforcement the tools it needs to prevent and address hate crimes across the commonwealth.
This bill would step up civil and criminal penalties on those who target individuals or groups because of their race, color, religion, national origin, actual or perceived ancestry, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity. It would also provide tools to fight Civil Rights Violations such as preliminary and permanent injunctive relief against continued violators and people who solicit or provide aid to such violators.
With the number of hate crimes increasing by 17% across the nation according to the U.S. Department of Justice, it is time we provide our law enforcement officials with the tools they need to properly investigate, identify and report crimes of ethnic intimidation.
This legislation would require postsecondary institutions to offer online and anonymous reporting options for students and employees. Anonymous online reporting alerts campus police of a possible hate crime while at the same time serving as an early point of contact, when a victim can learn about the steps required to file a formal report.
This legislation would require, as a condition of probation or parole, an individual who is convicted of ethnic intimidation to perform community service or complete educational classes relating to the motivating factor of the underlying crime. For example, an individual convicted of ethnic intimidation against an individual who is Jewish would be required to take educational classes relating to Judaism.
The legislation would require, as a condition of probation or parole, an individual who is convicted of ethnic intimidation to perform community service or complete educational classes relating to the motivating factor of the underlying crime. For example, an individual convicted of ethnic intimidation against an individual who is Jewish would be required to take educational classes relating to Judaism.
Under this legislation, MPOETC will be required to train all law enforcement agencies under its jurisdiction on how to investigate, identify and report offenses based on race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, sexual identity, age or disability of the victim.
Senate Bill 946 would require postsecondary institutions to offer online and anonymous reporting options for students and employees. Anonymous online reporting alerts campus police of a possible hate crime while at the same time serving as an early point of contact, when a victim can learn about the steps required to file a formal report.
This legislation would give the Attorney General the power to track hate group activity across the state in an information database system, allowing for better protection of our constituents, the marginalized, and other communities that are often the primary targets of hate. The information in the database would only be accessible by law enforcement agencies across the state, to better inform them of the hate group activity in their region.
Reported increases in far-right violence have led policymakers to search for new solutions. Because these attacks on vulnerable communities are often investigated and prosecuted as hate crimes or violent crimes, part of the solution is ensuring that they are accurately tracked and reported. Unfortunately, federal hate crimes data is flawed and incomplete. This is due in large part to the Department of Justice’s reliance on voluntary reporting from state and local law enforcement to fulfill its obligation to report national hate crimes data.
There are wide disparities in the protections provided by the various state hate crimes laws, resulting in unequal protection from similar violent crimes in different jurisdictions and the frustration of efforts to collect and maintain accurate national data regarding these attacks. Six Five states — Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, North Dakota, South Carolina, and Wyoming — do not even have hate crime laws.
The table below illustrates the differences in hate crimes laws among the states and U.S. territories. It includes all state hate crimes statutes as well as laws that protect against activities commonly understood as hate crimes, such as displaying a noose or burning a cross. The table tracks whether the statutes establish independent hate crime offenses or if they are used to enhance penalties on underlying crimes. It also notes statutes that require data collection, hate crimes training for law enforcement officers, or provisions for alternative resolutions to addressing the harms caused by such crimes.
In this passage, God gives us several examples of how he protects us: both in fire and flood. These are two of the most destructive elements on earth, yet God promises to keep us safe from the harm of both the “sweeping waters” and the “flame.” He promises that we will not be overcome, even in the midst of danger. What a mighty God we serve! What a Savior is this!
When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.
This is one of my favorite Gospel Passages. It’s a question that I have often used for meditation both for myself and for classes I have taught to both teens and adults. It’s a question that I think we need to reflect upon often as we can lose sight of the importance of Jesus in our lives. And the answer can change. He might be friend, brother, Lord, Savior, shepherd, leader, companion – or just someone we have heard about. One teen answered the question by saying that Jesus was a nice man. Is that all he is? What about the Son of God – Divine? Does it make a difference in my life if I believe that Jesus is God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity who came to save me from eternal death by his dying on a cross? Does it make a difference in how I live if I believe that this is not the end? This is a time for getting to know him better so that I can also live eternally in heaven with the Father. I know this because of the resurrection. Yes, Jesus can be my friend and companion, but he is so much more than that. By his life, I know how to live. By his dying and rising, I can face my own death and the death of those I love because he has shown me that this is not the end. In this today’s gospel, Jesus tell us that we must pick up our cross and follow him. Are we willing to deny ourselves in order to follow Jesus? What am I being asked to change in my life, right now? I am so glad that we are reminded each we read this question that Jesus asks – not just the disciples – but us as well. Who do I say that Jesus is for me, today?
This is my favorite Proverb. It talks about two things that are so important to following God’s will. Honesty is so necessary in life. The person who lies has two things going against him. The first is kind of obvious. Once you know a person lies or is dishonest in business, how can you trust him or her? Even when the person is telling the truth, you don’t believe it. You wonder if you’re being cheated in business dealings. But there’s another problem for the person himself. The dishonest person can’t trust anyone else either because he or she figures everyone else lies or has an agenda that is out to get him or her. The second half of the proverb concerns balance. How much does any person need? I’m not asking how much a person might want, but need. It’s hard for the rich to realize their dependence on God. This is why Jesus said it was easier for a camel to walk through the eye of the needle than a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God. And the very poor can be tempted to steal in order to take care of their families, and thereby break the commandments and offend the God they love. When we think of the early Christian church, they seemed to understand this and they made sure that their goods were distributed so that all had enough, and no one had an excess.
Ecclesiastes is a fun book to read. About the only thing people recognize is in chapter three where we read about a season for everything – a time to live, a time to die, etc. – but we have much to learn from this book. I’m sure you have heard the phrase, “Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” This brief passage expresses the same idea. Just like the Israelites made the same mistakes over and over again, so do we. Yes, there are inventions today that we take for granted today that would never have entered into the imagination of peoples of earlier times, but they repeated the cycle of obeying God, enjoying prosperity, forgetting about God, doing their own thing, falling into the hands of the enemy, begging God for forgiveness, promising to do better, being forgiven by God and obeying – for a while, and so it went. How many times do we promise God that we will do better, we will treat people better, we will be more honest in our dealings with others, work better with our communities for justice – if God will just give us what we need now. How long did the promise last once our prayers were answered? We fall into the same cycle as the Israelites, we do the right thing or say the promised prayers, or whatever we promised for a while and then fall into bad habits and wonder what went wrong. Ecclesiastes is a short book, take some time and read it through. There’s a lot to learn here.
Many people do good things. The question here is, why? One summer I worked in the office of a major university where I recorded the donations that came in on cards with the name of the donor on them. I came across many names of prominent people who were quite familiar to me, but there was a notation on the top of many of those cards that said “anonymous.” Many of these people actually had two cards, one for the public and the other not. The public one was for far less money. They wanted to support the college, but didn’t want credit for their generosity. Obviously, people will be rewarded here for a generosity of spirit, they will be known for performing acts of heroism. We know the names of people who have worked to spread the gospel message and those who work tirelessly for justice. This does not take away from their sacrifice. But, there also are people who want to be known for their good acts and it is these that Jesus warns about. It is one thing for people to come to know the goodness of others; it is another for that person to call attention to what they are doing for their own glory. Do we act because as followers of Christ we are called to do what we do? Or, do we want attention?
C.S. Lewis – I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It’s doesn’t change God. It changes me.
Thanking God for everything shows your respect for the gifts GOd has given you. The moment we open your eyes, we need to be in thanksgiving of God’s blessing to live for another day. If you are a live God has a purpose for your life. We are here to serve God not people. We are here to love and help each other. With God’s faith in our hearts we are able to love one another even our eneimes. Thank God for everything no matter how small the gift is. Breathing His Spirit in our lungs praise needs to be on our lips daily.
Prayer before a meals, is showing faith in God’s love for you. Thanking God for the food He provided for you is blessing to your body and the Word of God is a blessing to the soul for the humans; I am able to receive the blessing God is willing to give us. Your Word blesses our soul when we joyfully thank You for everything. I thank You, Lord for this day and I thank You for watching over me when I sleep. Make me the Christ like woman Yo want me to be to glorify You. I want less of me and more of You In Jesus name, Amen
Jesus, gentle Shepherd, hear me. Bless they little lamb tonight. Through the darkness be thou near me. Kepp me safe ’til morning light.
I like to say I was a great prayer warrior, but that was not true. I often struggled to know how to pray and what to pray. If God had already decided what was going to happen, what difference did my prayers really make? My own thoughts had gotten in the way for my prayers. There are times I found praying to be boring, and repetitive. I been distracted and had other things on my mind. My mind would wander. We know how important prayer is and there are times we struggle with prayer; at times I would feel guilty and wondered what was wrong with me. Well, what was wrong I didn’t read the God’s Word when I was struggling or asked the Holy Spirit for guidance. I thank God I know the Model Pray for us all. The Lord’s Prayer is the prayer I pray when I feel like can’t pray. Jesus tell’s us to go into our private prayer room and pray