Hold the Sheriff Accountable Event – 8/24

If you’re like me and you suffer from severe voter’s remorse for having chosen Alex Villanueva to replace Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell – or if you’d like to learn why so many Angelenos do – join us on Saturday, August 24, from 1–3:30 pm, at the Immanuel Presbyterian Church.

ACLU SoCal, Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, Community Coalition, LA Voice, Youth Justice Coalition, and others, are hosting a community discussion on the 33rd Sheriff of LA County. It will be an informative, thought-provoking forum on Villanueva, the country’s largest sheriff’s department and its attendant controversies.

And that sure is putting it mildly for a department referred to as the largest mafia in the U.S.

“Rape, Riots, and Rotten Food”

Inmate Cardboard Standup_Where-Excuses-Go-to-DieRape, Riots, and Rotten Food – Relearning Life Behind Bars

The sooner the public learns that it’s been chumped by the media into thinking it knows what offenders look like, the sooner the heart and humanity that also exist behind bars can be tapped in an effort to redirect –not recycle– offenders. And whether it’s the people themselves that matter to you or the countless billions of taxpayer dollars we can save by fixing this problem, it’s about time we get started.

And what do I propose? As a former inmate of the California Department of Corrections myself, my mission is to help change the public’s misperception that all inmates are illiterate, tattooed, Nazi-worshiping, meth-mouthed man-rapists. This is what Where Excuses Go to Die is all about, defying the caricatures and stereotypes that make it easier for us to believe that incarcerating our way out of crime is viable. Read more

Daughter Ignored

Happy Gratitude Awareness Day; please consider a Turkey Day re-post

Excuses, Dishonesty, and Tragedy 
A daughter’s collect call from jail interrupts Thanksgiving dinner

Jail is the New Grounded

Originally posted, Saturday, November 30th, 2013

To look at Everett and Ella, you’d never know they’re the parents of a troubled, incarcerated daughter. They’re both successful in careers they love and they both espouse the family values with which they were raised, albeit modernized ones. Their home, where my wife and I were guests for Thanksgiving dinner, sits on a nice street in a neighborhood just about any set of young parents could happily work with.

When the phone rang the air at the table thickened slightly, as if a fly had entered the airspace. If the fly knows what’s good for it, it had better not land. A second ring offered a perspective on what it’s like to be the fly, buzzing in during dinner, which for Everett and Ella is a consistently early evening affair.

It was their old-school land-line ringing, and because, like the rest of us, they live and work by their iPhones, that meant that whoever was being ignored was family. Who else, besides mom and dad, first dials a land line these days? Regardless, ring number three provided satisfaction in the parental example they were setting for their four-year-old boy: no matter who’s buzzing around, during dinner, nobody touches the phone or the television. Read more