New York State Bill A1008/S323, cosponsored by more than a dozen state senators, would stop police and prosecutors from using possession of condoms as evidence of prostitution in specified criminal or civil proceedings. According to the summary of the bill, it “provides that possession of a condom may not be received in evidence in any trial, hearing or proceeding as evidence of prostitution, patronizing a prostitute, promoting prostitution, permitting prostitution, maintaining a premises for prostitution, lewdness or assignation, or maintaining a bawdy house.”
About time. Sign the petition here: http://www.change.org/petitions/tell-new-york-state-legislators-condoms-arent-a-crime
[I]n moments of desperation, a lie can seem like the only option. Anita McLemore, a Mississippi mother of two, faced one of those unfortunate moments when filling out her application for food stamps — and now she’ll pay the price, by spending three years of her life behind bars in federal prison. Thanks to a federal ban on food stamps for people with felony drug convictions, people like McLemore are out of luck when it comes to getting assistance with putting food on their tables. Though states can opt out of the ban, those that don’t (like Mississippi) deny food stamps even to individuals who have already served their sentences or overcome previous addictions. It’s true that McLemore’s past isn’t perfect — she has four felony drug convictions and one misdemeanor, which place her firmly in the category of people the federal government has declared unfit to receive public benefits. Hence, faced with the prospect of being unable to feed her family, McLemore lied on her application.
this woman has been in prison four times because she was sick with addiction. and now will be in prison again for trying to feed her family. this is what it means to be a mami in the US.
I still don’t understand why drug convictions bar you from receiving federal aid. No other crime does that including murder. If we want to rehabilitate people & reintegrate them into society wouldn’t it make more sense to make it easy for them to get back on their feet? Oh wait, I started thinking of prisoners as people. I already know that’s not part of the plan.
Doug Henwood recently commented on this in a post where he lamented the ideological confusion of the protesters, and quoted a 25-year-old photographer stating that the protests were “not about left versus right” but about “hierarchy versus autonomy”.
The uncharitable reading of this is that it reflects a naive avoidance of politics and the worldview of, as Doug puts it, bourgeois individualism. But a more generous reading is that this man is simply partaking of the same collapsing of ideology and partisanship that pervades the society he grew up in. If you’re 25 years old, there’s a good chance you haven’t had much or any contact with what remains of an actual “left” in this country; instead, your experience of politics will be one in which “left versus right” is used interchangeably with “Democrats versus Republicans”. In other words, a discourse in which ideology is reduced to an empty, symbolic partisanship. Rather than an attempt to deny ideology and politics, we can see statements like the one I quoted as an attempt, however confused, to reclaim them from the clutches of the major parties and their hack apologists.