mass incarceration

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This judge had exactly the right reaction to the shameful way nonviolent prisoners are treated in US jails

A woman was denied pants or tampons after being arrested for not completing a diversion course that was part of her sentencing from a shoplifting charge. But see how the judge reacts when she finds out that the prisoner’s humiliating treatment is apparently routine.

Gifs: Raw Leak

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People say all the time, ‘Well, I don’t understand how people could have tolerated slavery?’ 'How could they have made peace with that?’ 'How could people have gone to a lynching and participated in that?’ 'That’s so crazy, if I was living in that time I would never have tolerated anything like that.’ And the truth is we are living in this time, and we are tolerating it.
—  Bryan Stevenson, 13th on Netflix
Political prisoner Leonard Peltier once wrote, “When you grow up Indian, you don’t have to become a criminal, you already are a criminal.” Through the drug trade, U.S. government has effectively marketed the policing and imprisonment of minorities as the key to public safety, and therefore marked them as targets of state terror. This unearths how Native men can be incarcerated at four times the rate of white men, how Native women can be incarcerated at six times the rate of white women. It demonstrates how the flooding of crack cocaine into Black communities during the ’70s correlated with a sharp increase in minimum sentencing laws that helped put 1.7 million Black people under some form of correctional control. It reveals how native Hawaiians, who represent just 20 percent of the state’s population, can comprise 40 percent of the its incarcerated. […] Indeed, of minorities and the poor it fashions enemies of the state with the intent to exercise terror. From the origins of police, to the school-to-prison-pipeline, to the vast network of U.S. incarceration, this has been the enduring legacy of the American judicial system — not safety, and certainly not justice.

The 13th amendment says Slavery is unconstitutional…..UNLESS you’re a criminal.
Which isn’t really any consolation when it’s easier to be criminalized then ever nowadays, from a gram of weed to being arrested for “resisting arrest”.
Then once you’re inside you almost always go back.
The system isn’t broken.
It’s working exactly how it was designed to.
Modern day slavery.

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Traffic violators are being held in grotesque conditions in de facto Missouri debtors’ prison

The city of Florissant, a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri, is being sued by five named plaintiffs and others who have been targeted by the city’s de facto debtors’ prison system. Those targeted most often tended to be black and poor, and are arrested using trivial municipal codes and petty justifications.

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huffingtonpost.com
A City Near Ferguson Is Still Caging Humans In A 'Grotesque' Debtors' Prison
Lawsuit alleges the city of Florissant was running a "modern debtors' prison scheme" and locking the poor in jail over minor municipal code violations.

“Once locked in the Florissant jail, impoverished people who cannot afford to pay the City endure grotesque treatment. They are kept in overcrowded cells; they are denied toothbrushes, toothpaste, and soap; they are subjected to the constant stench of excrement and refuse in their congested cells; they are kept in the same clothes for days and weeks without access to laundry or shoes or underwear; they step on top of other inmates, whose bodies cover nearly the entire uncleaned cell floor, in order to access a single shared toilet that the City does not clean; illnesses and even infected wounds go untreated and uncovered; they endure days and weeks without being allowed to use the moldy shower; they are housed in short-sleeve jump suits; shoes and flip-flops are not permitted, so those who are not arrested in socks go barefoot on the dirty cement floor; they huddle in cells kept intentionally cold in order to quiet detainees, forced to retreat under a single thin blanket as they beg guards for warmer coverings; they are not given adequate hygiene products for menstruation; they are routinely denied vital medical care and prescription medication, even when their families beg to be allowed to bring medication to the jail; they are provided food so insufficient and lacking in nutrition that inmates lose significant amounts of weight; they suffer from dehydration out of fear of drinking foul smelling water dispensed from an apparatus covered in blood and mucus on top of the toilet, without sufficient pressure to drink from without pressing their lips to the contaminated apparatus; and they must listen to the screams of other inmates languishing from unattended medical issues as they sit in their cells without access to books, or legal materials. Perhaps worst of all, they do not know when they will be allowed to leave their disorienting and timeless cage, deprived of windows and perpetually flooded in florescent light.

Jail guards routinely taunt impoverished people when they are unable to pay for their release,” the suit claims. The lawsuit says that the plaintiffs were “held in jail indefinitely without either the legal representation of the inquiry into their ability to pay guaranteed by the United States Constitution. Instead, they were threatened, abused, and left to languish in confinement until their frightened family members produced enough cash to buy their freedom or until City jail officials decided, days or weeks later, to release them free of charge ― after it had become clear the City would not be able to extract any money from them.  

The “whites only” signs may be gone, but new signs have gone up - notices placed in job applications, rental agreements, loan applications, forms for welfare benefits, school applications, and petitions for licenses, informing the general public that “felons” are not wanted here. A criminal record today authorizes precisely the forms of discrimination we supposedly left behind - discrimination in employment, housing, education, public benefits, and jury service. Those labeled criminals can even be denied the right to vote.
—  Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow
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“History is not just stuff that happens by accident. We are the products of history that our ancestors choose, if we’re white. If we are black, we are the products of the history that our ancestors mostly likely did not choose. Yet here we are all together, the products of that set of choices. And we have to understand that in order to escape from it. -Kevin Gannon; Professor of History at Grandview University [From the film "13th” on Netflix]