Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Deviance and Social Class in Chicago

In the United States, do poor minorities have less rights than those with power? Why or why not?




At every step of the criminal justice system, the poor and minorities are more likely to remain in the system than get freed.

One example is a story that broke in February of 2015 about Chicago's secret detention facility in Homan Square on the west side.
The Homan Detention Center


From the Guardian via Gawker:
In February, the Guardian published a deep investigation into Homan Square, a shadowy facility where the Chicago Police Department takes suspects without booking them, entering them into any official database, or giving them access to a telephone or their lawyer. A new Guardian report claims that more than twice as many people have been “disappeared” into Homan as officials initially disclosed...The paper obtained documents showing that more than 7,000 people were detained at Homan between 2004 and 2015—about 6,000 of whom were black. Less than one percent of those detainees were allowed to see their lawyers during interrogations. Attorneys described a system that seems deliberately engineered to make it difficult to find their clients; others said that they were turned around at the door. “Try finding a phone number for Homan to see if anyone’s there. You can’t, ever,” an attorney named David Gaeger told the Guardian. “If you’re laboring under the assumption that your client’s at Homan, there really isn’t much you can do as a lawyer. You’re shut out. It’s guarded like a military installation.”
And from an August 2015 Guardian report:
Of the thousands held in the facility known as Homan Square over a decade, 82% were black. Only three received documented visits from an attorney, according to a cache of documents obtained when the Guardian sued the police.  Documents indicate the detainees are a group of disproportionately minority citizens, many accused of low-level drug crimes, faced with incriminating themselves before their arrests appeared in a booking system by which their families and attorneys might find them.
One of my former students was detained there:





From the Guardian,

Marc Freeman is the 11th person to come forward to the Guardian detailing detention inside Homan Square – and the first whose police record details how long he was stuck inside. ‘At no point was I ever processed, I was never asked for my information, they did not take any fingerprints,’ he said.

Here is the John Oliver bit on Civil Forfeiture that Mr. Freeman mentioned:




Another more disturbing example is former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge who tortured suspects for decades to get them to confess.

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