Sadhbh Walshe

Marissa Alexander Has Been Released from Prison - But She Still Isn't Free

Marissa Alexander, the Florida mother who was sentenced in 2012 to 20 years in prison for firing warning shots at an allegedly abusive husband, will leave prison on Tuesday to spend the final two years of her reduced sentence in the relative comfort of her home.

Keep reading... Show less

Teenagers in U.S. Prisons: It's Time to End the Savagery and Neglect

When Inmate H, a teenager serving time at New York’s Rikers Island, fell asleep during a class, a female corrections officer wrapped metal handcuffs around her fist and hit him in the ribcage to rouse him. The tactic worked – Inmate H woke abruptly and shouted an obscenity at the officer. For this, he was: dragged into the corridor; punched in the eye; kicked in the face, head and back repeatedly by multiple officers; kicked in the mouth; and pepper-sprayed directly into the eyes. While the horror show was unfolding, two teachers inside the classroom reported that they heard the young prisoner screaming out, crying for his mother.

Keep reading... Show less

The Real Legacy of the OJ Simpson Trial - You Can Buy Your Way Out of Jail

Twenty years ago this week, the OJ Simpson murder case began. It ended, of course, with a not-guilty verdict that brought into sharp, cable-TV focus the gaping racial divide in the American criminal justice system. It is an over-simplification to say that white people gasped in shock while black people cheered, but many people in the African American community clearly felt that Simpson's acquittal represented a rare moment of almost real justice.

Keep reading... Show less

The Real Way to Curb Binge Drinking

The summer before I went to university in Dublin, I was in a state of high anxiety – not about the prospect of leaving home or the coming course work so much as my ability to drink alcohol in any quantity. To my young mind, being able to drink a lot was as important a part of college life as being able to write a good paper. So I put in a lot of effort – to drinking – until I was able to knock back pints with the best of my new classmates.

Keep reading... Show less

Why Is Pope Francis Throwing Nuns Who Share His Beliefs Under the Bus?

In the earliest days of his tenure, Pope Francis became one of the world's most admired religious figures, due in large part to his vocal support and actions on behalf of social justice. So, to many Catholics, there is more than a little disappointment that he is turning a blind eye to the Vatican's ongoing crackdown on America's nuns.

Keep reading... Show less

American Justice: A Rich Child Rapist Goes Free, But a Poor Woman Trying to Feed Her Kids is Jailed

In 2009, when Robert H Richard IV, an unemployed heir to the DuPont family fortune, pled guilty to fourth-degree rape of his three-year-old daughter, a judge spared him a justifiable sentence – indeed, only put Richard on probation – because she figured this 1-percenter would "not fare well" in a prison setting.

Keep reading... Show less

The Woman Facing Life in Prison for Delivering a Still-born Baby

Seven and a half years ago, a Mississippi teenager named Rennie Gibbs went into premature labor and delivered a stillborn baby girl named Samiya. Initially, experts attributed the baby’s death to the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. But when traces of a cocaine byproduct showed up on the autopsy report, a medical examiner declared the stillbirth a homicide and cited cocaine toxicity as the cause. Shortly afterward, the 16-year-old Gibbs was charged with murder, specifically “depraved heart murder”, a charge that can carry a sentence of up to 20 years to life in prison.

Keep reading... Show less

The Right's Poverty Plan: Shame Poor Kids and Vilify Their Mothers

So many of life’s problems could be solved, according to conservative provocateur Ann Coulter, if the poor could just learn to keep their knees together until they got married – and if their wealthy and educated counterparts just weren’t afraid to shame them into doing so. These pearls of wisdom, particularly the “shaming is good” part, were greeted with loud applause over the weekend at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

Keep reading... Show less

Justin Bieber Is Lucky He's Rich - Poor Immigrants Don't Get Off So Easy

Anytime I feel called upon to devote column inches to the antics of a teenage pop sensation in meltdown mode, I die a little. But after seeing a petition to the White House calling for the deportation of Justin Bieber for allegedly egging his neighbor's mansion and subsequently driving under the influence has already gathered nearly 80,000 signatures, it seems necessary to take up his cause. This is not, I assure you, because he turned in what must be the sweetest mugshot ever or even because I'm so terribly concerned about his ultimate fate – I think we all know he's going to be just fine – but simply because many other legal immigrants in the same position would almost certainly not be. 

Since Bieber came under investigation earlier this month for the egg throwing incident, lawyers at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and elsewhere have been trying to use his case to highlight the fact that, if convicted, the potential consequences could be much more severe for Bieber, who is a legal immigrant from Canada (he has a US visa for his extraordinary ability in the arts), than they would be if he were an American citizen. As the ACLU's Diana Scholl pointed out in a recent blog post, if the damage to his neighbor's property were found to be over $400, Bieber could be charged with felony vandalism under California law and, if convicted, could be subject to mandatory detention in a privately run immigrant prison before being deported back to his native Canada. This is because under US immigration law, any legal alien convicted of an aggravated felony faces mandatory detention and deportation and many Americans might be surprised to know just how many crimes are classified as "aggravated felonies" when they are committed by immigrants.

Before any concerned Beliebers start flinging their bras over the barbed wire fences of one of our many immigrant detention centers that are mostly run by for profit corporations like the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO Group, Inc, I should stress that it's highly unlikely that Bieber will end up in one of them. Although his neighbors have claimed the damage to their property is in the region of $20,000, well over the threshold that would make the egg attack a felony, investigators who subsequently searched Bieber's home unsurprisingly failed to uncover any evidence against the performer. (As the Guardian's Marina Hyde succinctly put it, "What were they looking for? An omelette?") But even if the police had unearthed a nest of egg bombs in the star's kitchen, chances are Bieber would still be safe, simply because the kind of immigrants that get deported do not tend to be either Canadian or rich.

Keep reading... Show less

Bedroom Inequality - Why Sex Is More Stressful for Poor Women and Possibly More Dangerous

It seems that everything comes more easily to wealthy people, even stuff that doesn't (necessarily) have to be paid for, like sex. Rich people, rich women in particular, are having a better time in the bedroom than their poorer counterparts according to a recent analysis of the first Spanish Sexual Health Survey by researchers at Barcelona's Public Health Agency. This disparity in enjoyment levels between the rich and the poor has little to do with what you might be thinking — that the wealthy can buy their way to better quality lovemaking — and more to do with the disturbing fact that sex is more stressful for poor women because they are less likely to practice safe sex and more likely to be abused by an intimate partner.

Keep reading... Show less

Catholic School Teacher Fired For Same-Sex Marriage Received Suggestion to Get Divorce to Save Job

Have you heard the one about the gay teacher who was being fired for marrying his male partner, then was told he could possibly stay on if he got a divorce? This may sound like a joke – in theory the church is equally opposed to both divorce and gay marriage – but it was an actual suggestion made to Mark Zmuda, a vice principal at the Eastside Catholic School in Seattle, Washington, who was being forced to resign from his job a few weeks ago when school administrators learned that he is both married and gay.

Keep reading... Show less

Direct Your Rage at Greedy Rich not Wolf of Wall Street Film

Greed is still pretty good. Con enough people out of millions of dollars and you'll get to live a life of hedonistic luxury where you can surround yourself with chimps on roller skates, pay women to have sex with you and enjoy midget throwing contests during slow days at the office. You might crash the odd helicopter during quaalude-fueled binges or sink the occasional yacht off the coast of Italy, but all in all, it will be a good life. You'll be the envy of many, and even if your treachery finally does bring about your downfall, the landing will be relatively soft.

Keep reading... Show less

McDonald's Scam on America

You've got to feel for McDonald's. Every time the misunderstood corporation tries to offer its' low-wage employees a hand, it backfires. First the fast food giant was ridiculed this past summer for dispensing helpful budgetary advice to its struggling workers (in a nutshell: get another job). Now the company is in hot water again after a recordedcall to its' McResource helpline, in which an employee who reported not being able to make ends meet was advised to sign up for food stamps and other government assistance programs, went viral online. Strangely though, the very people who ought to be most upset about this state of affairs – small government loving republicans who don't want anyone relying on federal assistance for anything – have raised little or no objection.

Keep reading... Show less

Contrary to Popular Myth, Americans Not Very Litigious

I went swimming at a lake upstate this summer with some friends who were visiting from Canada. From a distance it looked like a magical spot to cool off on a particularly sticky day. When we got there, however, we learned that the only place we were allowed to swim was a tiny cordoned off area that was further divided into even tinier subsections. As if that wasn't enough to drain any possible pleasure out of the experience, the lifeguards, who could pass for navy Seal trainees, were so authoritarian that a five-year-old girl was ordered out of the toddler section because her rubber duckie ring was not a "coast guard approved floatation device".

Keep reading... Show less

Beer Offensive: The Koch Brothers Try to Bribe College Students Not to Sign Up for Obamacare with Brewskies

What's a family values conservative to do when every effort to protect millions of Americans from the scourge of affordable healthcare fails?

Keep reading... Show less

Are Americans Dumb? No, It's the Inequality, Stupid

Are Americans dumb? This is a question that has been debated by philosophers, begrudging foreigners and late night TV talk show hosts for decades. Anyone who has ever watched the Tonight Show's "Jaywalking" segment in which host Jay Leno stops random passersby and asks them rudimentary questions like "What is Julius Caesar famous for?" (Answer: "Um, is it the salad?") might already have made their minds up on this issue. But for those of you who prefer to reserve judgement until definitive proof is on hand, then I'm afraid I have some depressing news. America does indeed have a problem in the smarts department and it appears to be getting worse, not better.

Keep reading... Show less

How Prison Undoes Family Values

 When Laura Kaeppeler was 14 years old, her father was sentenced to 18 months in prison for mail fraud. She found the experience of having an incarcerated parent so traumatic and shameful that when she was crowned Miss America in January of this year, she announced that rather than using her position to champion a nebulous cause like world peace, she would be focusing any attention that comes her way on what has become a very American problem, the growing number of childrenwho have lost a parent to prison.

Keep reading... Show less
BRAND NEW STORIES