Pulling Back on the Barbaric Use of Solitary Confinement – The New York Times

“The Justice Department took a farsighted step last year when it banned the use of solitary confinement for young people in federal prisons. The decision — based on research showing that isolation promotes mental illness and self-harm — followed the widely publicized suicide of Kalief Browder, a young man who had been unjustly accused of a minor crime and sent to New York’s infamous Rikers Island jail complex, where he spent two traumatic years in solitary confinement.

The Justice Department ban has pushed several states to place new limits on their use of punitive isolation for young people. Federal courts have also started to weigh in, pressing states and counties to roll back extreme isolation measures.”


Strong Unions, Strong Democracy – The New York Times

“IF the questions that came up during oral argument in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association on Monday are any guide, the ruling bloc of conservative justices appears ready to render a decision later this year that would significantly weaken public sector labor unions.By stripping these unions of key financial resources — their fair share of fees provided by nonmembers — the court would upend a longstanding precedent. A decision in favor of the plaintiff would effectively slam the door on an era in which some conservatives joined liberals in recognizing that vibrant unions help make our democracy work. This is radicalism, not conservatism.”

I wish I could see clearly through this swamp of conflicts. To stop moving like a yo yo, I need to bring up ultimate goals. First, we need to make Police and Prison Guard unions illegal, because too often they protect bullies, scoundrels and criminals. Ideally, we would simply dismantle these unions, because they have played a part in crimes against humanity by overprotected police officers and prison guards. If necessary, I would weaken most unions, just to dismantle these two types, because crimes against humanity are not acceptable. These people are our guards and enforcers. Who guards the guards is a critical part of our safety, and should not be up to the guards themselves. The guardians of public safety require external oversight. Their unions are guilty over and over again of protecting their bullies and scoundrels from external oversight.
I might support the new restrictions under debate, because teacher unions are guilty of putting seniority over quality, their comfort over excellence in education. Since they have not acted in the public interest on such core matters, they should be trimmed down till they wake up to the need to take care of their students, as well as themselves.

Source: Strong Unions, Strong Democracy – The New York Times