Activist Five Mualimm-ak has started a petition on Change.org which helps you tell our government to stop putting juvenile prisoners in solitary confinement. Solitary confinement -- long ago regarded as a more humane alternative to hanging or public flogging -- has, like many tools, been overused and abused over time, and current scientific research tells us that the sensory deprivation and lack of human contact associated with solitary can lead to, or exacerbate, mental illnesses. Plus, it's not even particularly effective -- as early as 2006, researchers associated solitary confinement with more violence inside prisons and more crime committed by prisoners after release. And here we are, the beacon of civilization, putting children in solitary! Their brains aren't even developed enough to make adult decisions, so how are they supposed to cope? If it's true, as some folks say, that kids are worse than ever, that only means we, as adults, have to do better by our children. And we don't do better being crueler to them.
Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders addressed Wall Street reform last week, and while I'd go farther than he would in some areas, I agree that we need to bring back the Glass-Steagall "wall of separation" between banking and securities, so Demand Progress helps you tell your Congressfolk to support S. 1709, the 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act. Would it help us "break up the big banks," as so many of us would like to do? Yes, it would, merely by requiring the biggest banks to spin off that part of their corporation that plays the stock market. And why should we break up the big banks? Because big corporate power strangles freedom just as surely as big government surveillance does, and while you can make your government more accountable to you by exercising your rights as a citizen and organizing other citizens, you can't stop a bank from buying more unearned tax breaks for itself from Congress -- unless you're a shareholder, and you can organize enough other shareholders, and maybe not even then. And frankly, I prefer the club I was born into more than the club I'd have to buy into.