Jeff Sessions will fear-monger and stoke anti-Blackness by using everything from casual racism to deeply racist stereotypes, to justify the mass incarceration of Black people for non-violent, victimless “crimes” like marijuana usage.
The Trump Administration is in full White Supremacy mode.
“‘Of 28 examiners with the FBI Laboratory’s microscopic hair comparison unit, 26 overstated forensic matches in ways that favored prosecutors in more than 95 percent of the 268 trials reviewed so far.’ The shameful, horrifying errors were uncovered in a massive, three-year review by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Innocence Project. Following revelations published in recent years, the two groups are helping the government with the country’s largest ever post-conviction review of questioned forensic evidence.
Chillingly, as the Post continues, ‘the cases include those of 32 defendants sentenced to death.’ Of these defendants, 14 have already been executed or died in prison.”
In many places in the US, the fraught job of clearing out a homeless encampment is given to professionals. In San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York, for example, the job often falls to city employees in public works or sanitation departments, who might get paid upwards of $16 an hour.
But in Portland, which prides itself on being a paragon of progressive politics, inmates at the county jail get $1 a day – enough to buy a Butterfinger at the commissary – to do the work.
Some of the inmates sifting through or dismantling homeless dwellings were previously homeless themselves, making for a bizarre merry-go-round. The job can make it feel as if their worlds are colliding.
Jeff Nelson was homeless for 13 years and on an inmate work crew for six months. He remembers dealing with a well-tended tent in Portland’s Hollywood neighborhood – like one he might have lived in himself.
“You looked in there, and the bed was all made, and family pictures, and that was someone’s home,” he said. “And they made us take that down, and throw it in the fucking trash. And it’s like, what are you doing?”
He added: “It’s just straight up bullshit, but that’s the way the system rolls, and we have no choice [but] to roll with the system.”
What a lot of people don’t understand is that the prison industrial complex goes far beyond just the fact that prisons exists.
It’s every single major corporation in the world benefitting from paying slave wages for prison labor
It’s private prisons enforcing quotas to incentivize the state to arrest and convict at higher rates
It’s the war on drugs treating (mostly black and latino) non-violent drug users as hardened criminals
It’s the school to prison pipeline
It’s a country where homelessness is criminalized
It’s mandatory minimum prison sentences
It’s imprisoning civilians for years without bail Before they get a trial
It’s prisoners leaving prison in debt because the slave wages they were forced to work for didn’t cover the cost of food and a bed
It’s former prisoners losing the right to vote
It’s employers discriminating against former prisoners
It’s abuse and substandard living conditions.
It’s a corrupt police state that falsifies evidence and unfairly targets minorities.
The problem is that a lot of y'all still just think of prison as a place where bad people go. It’s not. Most of the bad people are in board rooms, on the golf course, at the bank, in the white house. The truth is, prisons in America are just a business. The lie that they keep you safe is just an ad they can run.
Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of leaders…and millions have been killed because of this obedience…Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves… (and) the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem.
Step 1: Insist that prisoners be used as a source of slave labor, because it costs a lot of tax money to imprison them.
Step 2: Ignore the fact that if we repealed laws against victimless actions, we’d imprison fewer people and save a lot of tax money.
Step 3: Ignore the fact that if we rehabilitated criminals to make them less likely to reoffend instead of turning them into life-long criminals, we’d imprison fewer people and save a lot of tax money.