Archive for November, 2010

Fostering Fear video

November 16th, 2010 Comments off

You may now stream or download video of our recent event on anti-immigration hysteria and Islamaphobia .

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Militarizing The University

November 10th, 2010 Comments off

Friday Nov 12
Fine Arts 209


Militarizing the University

A public lecture by Hugh Gusterson of George Mason University

Hugh Gusterson is an anthropologist with expertise in nuclear culture, international security, and the anthropology of science. He is the author of including Nuclear Rites (UC Press, 1996) and People of the Bomb (Minnesota, 2004) and co-editor of Cultures of Insecurity (Minnesota, 1999) and Why America’s Top Pundits Are Wrong (UC Press, 2005)

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State detention system wrong for upstate and at-risk youths

November 10th, 2010 Comments off

State detention system wrong for upstate and at-risk youths

by William Martin

Last month, another young man — Alexis Javier Cirino-Rodriguez — died after being restrained in a nearby youth detention facility. Reports of rampant abuse and deaths in detention have led in recent years to separate federal and state investigations of the state’s youth facilities.

From these have come a common recommendation that facilities be closed and social services be expanded in troubled youths’ home communities. The day before Cirino-Rodriguez’s death, the New York Times called upon the governor to continue to close facilities.

This is important to people across the Southern Tier; most youth facilities, like adult prisons, are located in upstate New York. This has led many to rally behind retaining upstate detention centers and prisons.

Meanwhile most in these facilities have come from downstate black and Latino communities.

It remains the case, however, that these facilities simply do not work well for most “at risk” youth. Even at the enormous cost of $200,000 per youth per year, most youth sent to them are not successful in leaving the facility-to-prison pipeline, while the facilities are often woefully understaffed and dangerous for staff and youth alike.

Yet what those who wisely call for closure of these facilities often fail to acknowledge — much less guarantee — is that adequate assistance will be provided to youth in their home communities as well as to the upstate communities that have come to depend upon them for employment.

Much money will be saved by closing facilities and prisons, but, as in the closing of mental health facilities a generation ago, poor youth are most likely to be dumped onto the streets and into homeless shelters — and thus be diverted back into the prison pipeline as adults.

What we need are policies that ensure assistance to those who need it, especially the youth. This also must include upstate communities, which shouldn’t have to endure another generation of a dysfunctional system that leaves the northern part of the state playing the invidious role of a plantation for the problems of downstate New York.

Given the significant financial gains from closing prisons and youth facilities, we can do much better — and must for all the youth and communities involved.

Martin is a professor of sociology at Binghamton University.

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