Council (Or What’s Left of It) Discusses Prison Reform

     

    But in all seriousness, guys, come on. If I have to be here, so do you.

    VP External Affairs Olamide Noah and Campus Organizing Co-Director Bruno Huizar began with a presentation on behalf of UCSA’s FIRE campaign. With so many letters in caps, I was understandably titillated.

    FIRE stands for Fighting Incarceration Reclaiming Education, and is an incredibly valuable campaign on prison reform, which focuses on keeping teenagers out of prisons.

    Huizar argued that African American and Latino students in particular are targeted by public schools, often being pushed out of education and into prisons. 

    “California prisons are also the worst prisons for reincarnation,” he said. 

    Say it ain’t so! Something must be done!

    He immediately caught his mistake, and continued, “Sorry. Rehabilitation.”

    Both speakers attributed so many young people in prisons to incarceration for nonviolent, drug-related crimes, a practice that has been controversial since Richard Nixon declared a “War on Drugs” in 1971. 

    As a sterling character with impeccable personal scruples, Nixon was the right guy to determine our country’s code of ethics.

    Noah and Huizar, not to mention countless other analysts, pointed out that this war has led to an embarrassing overcrowding of California prisons, with most of the state’s 33 prisons functioning at almost 200 percent capacity.

    Earlier this month, a judge gave Governor Jerry Brown 20 days to find a way to cut down the prison population or be held in contempt of the court. 

    UCSA and FIRE are working on bills that they believe will help the situation.

    Assembly Bill 420, for example, aims to weed out the idea of “willful defiance” as grounds for expulsion. California currently has the number one expulsion rate in the nation, and willful defiance is a vague category that includes talking back.

    At some point in the meeting, a picnic began happening behind me. I looked on jealously, and somewhat judgmentally, until they offered me chips.

    Council was scheduled to vote a reform towards their election bylaws, but too few voting members were present. Aliens. I’m telling y’all.

    Council also debated a resolution to fund the General Store since they will lose revenue after the smoking ban kicks in at UCSD.

    In other news, an A.S. Council columnist position is optimistically up for grabs here at the Guardian. 

    We don’t pay you, and you have to go to meetings for 3 to 4 hours, but you get to sit in a corner and make snarky comments to yourself. And sometimes, people will give you food.

    No extra terrestrials need apply.

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