Category Archives: Other

U.S. Feature | Prisoners with Disabilities

Seeking Justice for Prisoners with Disabilities in the U.S.


Source: Disability Rights Washington YouTube

The failure of prisons to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, ruled applicable to prisons in 1998, has created a quagmire within the criminal justice system: although people with disabilities are incarcerated at rates far higher than their demographic proportion and comprise nearly a third of the total prison population, they are funneled into systems that refuse to follow the law when it comes to adapting their protocols and facilities to those disabilities. Beyond the mass incarceration of people with disabilities, once incarcerated, disabled people face longer sentencing, solitary confinement, inaccessible vocational training, poor education administration, and limited medical access, exacerbating the negative effects of physical and mental illnesses and creating cycles of re-marginalization and inadequate preparation for release.

VICE News examines the impact of incarceration on people with disabilities and attempts to advocate on their behalf given the numerous conflicts of interest present in the reporting and petitioning process.

Read:
Punished Twice” (VICE News)

Related reads:
Making Hard Time Harder” (The AVID Prison Project, June 2016)
Disabled Behind Bars: The Mass Incarceration of People With Disabilities in America’s Jails and Prisons” (The Center for American Progress)
Know Your Rights: Legal Rights of Disabled Prisoners (The American Civil Liberties Union)

Cameroon News | Anglophones

Violent police response to protests by Anglophone Cameroonians leaves at least four dead
  • The killings took place when security forces fired live rounds in the air at a local market in Bamenda, the country’s second-largest Anglophone city.
  • Anglophone Cameroonians have demonstrated in recent weeks over perceptions of second-class status across issues including the dominant use of French in schools, police brutality, and unequal distribution and application of resources.
  • Cameroon’s bilingual administrative structure—a result of the colonial period when the country was split between Britain and France—has marginalized Anglophone Cameroonians, largely clustered in only two of the country’s ten administrative regions.

Read more:
Cameroon urged to investigate deaths amid anglophone protests” (The Guardian)
Bamenda protests: Mass arrests in Cameroon” (BBC)
Mass protests in Cameroon are exposing the fragility of its dual French-English system” (Quartz)

(Image Credit: Reuters, via The Guardian)

Kazakhstan Feature | Kazakh Language

Saving the Kazakh Language, One Film at a Time

Despite its predominantly ethnic Kazakh population, Kazakhstan has struggled to promote widespread use of the Kazakh language within its borders. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstanis have nevertheless demonstrated continued preference for Russian, with 84.4% of the population speaking the language. For film distribution, this has meant that Russian-dubbed foreign films—many coming from Hollywood—have been in considerably higher demand than Kazakh-dubbed ones. The government has sought to promote the integration of the country’s historical language via Kazakh’s status as the official language and laws requiring film distributors to dub or subtitle foreign films in Kazakh. EurasiaNet explores the challenges within the film industry of balancing cultural and political considerations with social demand for what some ethnic Kazakhs worry may become a marginalized language.

Read:
Kazakhstan: Movies Going Kazakh, But Distributors and Audiences Resist” (EurasiaNet)

(Image Credit: CityKey.net, via EurasiaNet)

Russia Feature | Adoptive Families

The Assisted Families of Russia

Image Credit: Irina Yakobson/The Moscow Times
Image Credit: Irina Yakobson/The Moscow Times

The Moscow Times delves into the intricate process of adoption in Russia, highlighting the legal and psychological challenges faced in a country that sees relatively high levels of adoption, but also high failure and dissolution rates. Couples discuss their attempts to celebrate their families and increase the visibility of adoption in Russia as the nation closes many of its doors to international adoption.

Read the full feature at The Moscow Times.

Myanmar News | Muslims, Interfaith & the Unmarried

Myanmar president signs bills perceived as targeting Muslim minorities, interfaith couples, and the unmarried into law
  • President Thein Sein signed four “Race and Religious Protection Laws” into being in the lead-up to November elections.
  • The laws include one criminalizing polygamy and unmarried cohabitation and two laws restricting religious conversion and interfaith marriage.
  • Buddhist nationalists in the country have promoted the laws as the latest in a series of measures restricting the activities and practices of the country’s Muslim minority.

“They set out the potential for discrimination on religious grounds and pose the possibility for serious communal tension.”

Read the full story at Reuters.

(Image Credit: Toru Hanai/Reuters)

Israel News | Incarcerated Palestinians

Israel looks to release Palestinian hunger-striker after months of charge-less detention
  • Israeli authorities have offered release to prisoner Mohammad Allan on the condition that he be exiled for four years.
  • Allan lost consciousness last week after having been on hunger strike for two months, but vowed to refuse basic nutrients after being revived.
  • One of a number undertaken in protest of Israel’s “administrative detention” of prisoners (overwhelmingly Palestinian) without charge, the hunger strike has continued even as the government recently passed a law allowing for the force-feeding of prisoners.

“I think that, under the circumstances, this is a realistic proposal that would be good if he accepts it.”

Read the full story at The New York Times.

(Image Credit: Amir Cohen/Reuters, via The New York Times)

U.S. News | Transgender

California grants first gender reassignment surgery to trans inmate
  • Following extensive medical review and testimony, the state agreed to pay for the surgery for trans woman Shiloh Quine, who will be transferred after surgery to a women’s prison.
  • However, the decision did not resolve the question of whether such surgeries are constitutionally guaranteed for prisoners, including the 400 in California alone who are receiving hormonal treatments.
  • In April, another prisoner, Michelle Norsworthy, won a court order to undergo reassignment surgery but was paroled before the procedure was carried out.

“Sex reassignment surgery is medically necessary to prevent Ms. Quine from suffering significant illness or disability, and to alleviate severe pain caused by her gender dysphoria.”

Read the full story at the Los Angeles Times.