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In New York City and other cities around the U.S. violence in schools has grown from being a rarity into a matter of public safety. From the Columbine massacre in 1999 to the shootings at Virginia Tech in 2007, violence in U.S. schools has perpetuated into problems with bullying, stabbings and other crime like behavior.

New York City has been one of the few cities to take action against unsafe environments for today’s youth. Speak Up NYC is a city wide awareness and educational initiative working with the New York City council. The organization was created to provide young people enrolled in schools with the tools needed to build a safe and comfortable academic setting.

Speak UP encourages students to not only stray away from violence in their own lives, but to report any threats made to them or others in their schools and communities. For students who fear for their safety or would rather remain anonymous have the opportunity to call a toll-free hotline to report any acts of violence witnessed.

Speak Up NYC is promoted through New York City’s Cornerstone programs. In these programs, students come together to discuss violence and crime prevention in their communities, both at school and home. The goal of Speak Up NYC is to empower young people to use their voices to prevent unsafe environments of academia. In a city where violence and crime appear in alley ways, on street corners and in school systems, programs like Speak UP are positive outlets for young people to get involved and feel apart of solving the problem of school violence.


Unless you have been living under a rock for the last few months, you know about Lindsay Lohan allegedly stealing a $2,500 necklace. She was officially found guilty with a sentence of 120 days in prison by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephanie Sautner; which was a slap on the wrists compared to what she would have been sentence with felony grand theft. However, with an immediate appeal by Lohan’s attorney Shawn Holley, Lohan’s sentence was dropped even further to 300 hours of community service.


Lindsay Lohan has been sentenced four times to jail, but has only actually gone to jail once out of those four times. The one jail sentence she did serve ended up being less than half of her 90 day sentence; she remained in jail for only 14 days. She consistently violates her parole and shows no remorse within the courtroom, and yet she never seems to have to pay for her actions or receive some treatment to stop her criminal behavior.


View more videos at: http://nbclosangeles.com.

The Pitchess Detention Center in Los Angeles has brought in a 7 1/2 foot, what looks to be like a robot, but is in fact a machine that transmits a laser beam that creates a unbearable sensation. The center chooses not to call the object what it is, a laser, and instead refers to it as an “Assault Intervention Device.” In the video above a few officers test out the beam and, by facial reactions alone it appears to be a painful feeling that no one prefers to receive.

The “Assault Intervention Device” will be placed on the ceiling of a unit housing. It will act as a way for guards to keep control over the inmates, while at the same time remaining a safe distance away from prisoners who might try to retaliate.

Outside the Detention Center

A $74 million, five-story, 172,000-square-foot prison in Los Angeles remains completely vacant due to the lack of funds available. The Los Angeles Police Department is in a bit of an economic crisis with their budget and cannot seem to be able to employee the proper amount of guards to run the Metropolitan Detention Center.
What goes into a $74 million prison, you ask? The Los Angeles Times mentioned a few different technological advancements and architectural choices:

It’s wired with video cameras and has automated security doors and electronic fingerprinting stations. To better monitor inmates and cut down on overcrowding, the jail is divided into secure wings that are flooded with sunlight from skylights and kept cool by a centralized air conditioner. Sound-dampening panels even hang from the ceiling because studies show a quiet jail is a peaceful jail.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said that he never expected to see such a financial crisis. He was hoping tostart moving prisoners into this detention center as soon as possible but now with this budget freeze, the LAPD is forced to continue to fill there already crowded downtown jail.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca is responsible for the country’s most occupied/populated county jail. The recidivism rates in California are the highest in the country with the ratio of two out of three prisoners returning to prison. He has personally decided to create a local movement of Education-Based incarceration in hopes to lower recidivism rates within the state. Intellectual growth and competence is the main focus of Baca’s Education-Based incarceration, mostly because a large portion of prisoners are high school drop outs and without an education they can never become better prepared for life outside of prison.

Baca joked that prisoners are the “perfect” students because of their perfect attendance. However, he is confident that all the prisoners that take education courses while in prison become “model” criminals. They are able to take their new-found education and challenge themselves to learn and become more academically knowledgeable. This, in turn, causes the inmates (who are students) to asses their own lives and become less violent and a better prisoner in hopes to (1) get a shorter sentence along with a quicker parole and (2) attain an actual career and stable lifestyle after leaving the prison.

The Education-Based incarceration is still in the beginning stages and must show that a stronger education program actually does lower recidivism rates before it can be adapted by more prison systems. Baca believes that one should “incarcerate a body but not a brain” most prisoners will reenter society again and they need to be prepared to live and prosper in the United States. The employment rates are extremely high and jobs are very competitive now; people are losing out on opportunities because most jobs want at least a high school educated employee if not a college educated one. Without education in the prison system, inmates can never become fully prepared to leave prison.

“A day which will forever live in infamy. . .” President Franklin Delano Roosevelt proclaimed these words on December 7, 1941 following the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Some will argue that May 1, 2011 will now fall under that category as well. Osama Bin Laden, the well-known terrorist leader of Al-Qaeda was finally brought to justice after a secret mission was launched in Pakistan, which ultimately led to his demise. Cheers of joy rang throughout the United States that night after President Barack Obama officially announced his death. They were, however, heard the loudest in the state most effected by this individual — The Big Apple, otherwise known as New York City. Due to his instrumental hand in the tragic events of September 11, 2001, Osama’s death brought about mixed emotions for some New York-ians. Having the blood of nearly 3,000 people on his hands, it was no surprise that the general feeling running through the veins of Americans that night was pure elation. Finally, after a decade-long manhunt, this awful individual was brought to rightful justice, a fate some say was more than appropriate. There were, however, reservations about “celebrating someone’s death.” Seeing as most people don’t share the same hateful make-up of a person like Osama bin Laden, it was odd balancing act for individuals. Are we rejoicing his death or the long-awaited act of justice? Either way one looks at it, we all have something to be thankful for these days. The mastermind behind the world’s most powerful and influential terrorism groups has been removed. That should bring some sense of security to individuals everywhere, even if only for a short while. The question now becomes: “What next?” Some fear a strong retaliation from his followers while other are optimistic. Regardless, the world has become a better place for the time being and New Yorkers can finally rest with a sense of justice that they’ve been yearning for 10 years now.

Osama bin Laden, the man responsible for thousands of innocent lives

"Twin Towers, just after they've been struck"

To any teenager, the allure of Facebook stems from a desire for incessant social media interaction. However, recently in Washington DC, the detrimental nature of Facebook was seen in a new light.

“A 19-year-old Southeast D.C. man who posted a photograph of himself on the Facebook page of his burglary victim was sentenced to 44 months in prison,” DC police reported on Wednesday afternoon.

Downloaded from Facebook by Marc Fisher. (Downloaded from facebook)

“D.C. Superior Court judge Anthony C. Epstein sentenced Rodney Knight Jr. after he pleaded guilty to a charge of second-degree burglary in February.

Police identified Knight as the robbery suspect weeks after Washington Post writer Marc Fisher detailed the robbery of his home in an article.”

Apparently the key break in the case occurred when Knight confidently posted a photo of himself and cash that he had taken from Fisher’s house, on Fisher’s son’s Facebook page.

“Prosecutors said Knight stole about $400 in cash, along with the coat and two laptop computers.

Knight was arrested on Jan. 2 after police observed him in an alley in the 2800 block of Dunbar St. SE clutching his waistband and running. The pistol was loaded with one round in the chamber and one in the magazine, according to court documents.”

However, despite the result of his arrest, the nature of his arrest was a result of a misuse of Facebook. This should serve to prove once again to the youth of the world – more than just your friends are on Facebook.