Welcome back I hope you all found the prior posts engaging and inciteful.
Today I want to discuss arguably the second biggest issue on the upcoming measure ballots you all may or may not be voting for next Tuesday and that’s criminal justice. It’s important to note that even though issues pertaining to this topic may not be on your state’s ballot, awareness is just as important because it can have an impact on your state or nationwide legislature in the future.
The numbers support there is more of a concern for education reform than criminal justice. That being said, the most important as far as public and private relations, policy, and defense is surely criminal justice reform.
For a country that has 5% of the entire world’s population it holds a quarter (25%) of its prison population. This is more than China which has about 6 times the population of the United States of America.
Why this is such a huge public relations issue is because America has been regarded through time as the leaders of the free world. I can’t tell you how much growing up here in the United States you are beat in the head with the promise of being who you truly are meant to be. What makes America an ideal for immigrants looking to start a new life is having your basic human rights identified, upheld, and encouraged as a human is something that most of the rest of the world would beg to have. This is why the United States military is the best in the world and at the forefront of human rights issues worldwide.
However, there are still a great number of Americans who are getting slighted by a justice system that was built off profits, biased false propaganda, and perpetuated by politics. Issues on the ballot such as parole for nonviolent offenders, pretrial release reform, and death penalty all are direct reflections of this.
California has both Parole and the death penalty on the ballot. Parole for nonviolent offenders you would think makes sense especially for a prison system that is regarded by most intelligent people as overcrowded with prisoners but the criminal justice has had a few issues dealing with this topic.
Even Michael Hough who is a republican Senator for Maryland has been on record saying that government has been trying to keep people out of prison. However, Michael Hough is also a member of A.L.E.C (American Legislative Exchange Council) which through history has been a part of creating bills and introducing to legislature to enhance the profits for corporations benefiting off the increasing number of prisoners in the United States of America.
One of the people who help found A.L.E.C. was Lou Barnett who became the national political director of Ronald Reagan’s political action committee. Reagan leveraged the southern popular vote by introducing mandatory sentencing for crack cocaine and propagating the criminalization of blacks in the drug war started by Nixon a decade before.
During Reagan’s administration, we saw one of the biggest spikes in prison population history in United States. It grew by 2 times the amount it was just at the end of the previous decade adding 402 thousand prisoners.
It is important to note that A.L.E.C. is a network of conservative politicians and private sector corporation officials. The purpose of A.L.E.C. is to draft and share model state-level legislation for distribution among state-level governments. They’ve introduced bills policies on a wide range of issues in government.
A.L.E.C. have been instrumental for introducing various bills that has enhanced bias and has led to thousands of convictions in the criminal justice system. It’s important to note that the impacts of these convictions provide the leverage for politicians in elections by influencing media relations and stories, as well as affected convicts’ ability to vote. Corporations profit also by gaining free labor to produce their products to help maximize profits.
Bias in the criminal justice system has had an impact on the death penalty issue as well. Death Penalty is on the ballot of Nebraska and will surely be on other states’ ballots in the future. The best example of the importance of this issue as a human rights problem that should be noted is Donald Trump’s views on the what’s known to the public as the “Central Park Jogger case”.
The case was a murder and rape trial were 5 teenagers, 4 of them under 18, were prosecuted and sentenced from 6 to 11 years in prison until DNA evidence proved they were innocent. Donald Trump was so compelled by the case that he took out a full-page advertisement to give these kids the death penalty.
Malakia Cyril who is the Executive Director of Center for Media Justice documented the happenings in this case in a documentary titled 13th and stated “In this case 5 innocent teens went to prison because the public pressured to lock up these ‘animals was so strong’”
6 to 11 years… teenagers. Ault prison…
Although these might be extremes and not necessarily what we will be voting for next week I just want to point out that there is a reason people consider criminal justice, here in America, a system. The increase of private prisons and bills that support mass incarceration them is clearly a force that is ensuring these biases are exacerbated for profits and politics. From the 1970s when Republican Richard Nixon took office and we saw the first major increase in the prison population, there has been a domination of the republican party since. It’s important to acknowledge the dramatic increases prison population which correlates during this time growing by 5 times what it was.
You would think the staggering increase would be analyzed and assessed as there being other fundamental problems in the United States. There is less of an emphasis of mental healthcare and socio economic issues than there is on actual criminal issues. This illustrates that there is a fundamental human rights issue not being addressed.
Philosophically the best way to rationalize what exactly I mean is in the case of Dylan Roof. Many people are still wondering why he has yet to be prosecuted. He has admitted to killing 9 people in the church and has given motive. Sure, there are plenty people who believe the death penalty is appropriate however the reason the case is taking so long is because people are confused on if this should be treated as a mental health issues rather than a criminal issue. There is no denying he broke the law but how do he is prosecuted, judged, and sentence is determined based off this making this paramount distinction.
Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying we should let wound up, radicalized, psychotic, socio paths run the streets wreaking havoc and creating terror. However, when it comes to black people the law can’t be so cut and dry based off the history of this nation.
To deny the bias towards minorities is simply a fallacy. 40.2% of the prison population is black which means black men are 6 times more likely to go to jail then white men. That means 1 out of every 17 white men are imprisoned compared to the ratio of black men which is 1 out of 3. Men lie, Women lie, the numbers don’t.
Another issue in Criminal justice that people in America will be voting on is pretrial release reform which is on the ballot in New Mexico. Although New Mexico might not be the biggest player on the national scale pretrial release has had a major impact on the numbers of people imprisoned especially in low income socio-economical communities.
Kalief Browder is a great example of someone who was accused of a crime and was sent to jail. However, there was a $10,000 bail place for his release that his family wasn’t able to make so he sat in jail awaiting trial for over 3 years.
Here is probably the most wicked part of his ordeal. While his was awaiting trial, he was approached numerous times about taking a plea deal being trying to convince him if he went to trial it could be convicted for longer Even though he was innocent of the crime.
While being in jail he endured abuse from inmates and guards. He was so stressed that he attempted suicide twice. After waiting three years he was released free to go however time is one that’s hard to get back. Browder is just one example of plenty men who get lost in the system. People, a majority of the American public don’t ever hear about.
On 60 Minutes there was a lawyer(s), approved by the American bar association, on record saying that a few of us (lawyers) control the country by benefitting on the fact they create laws that protect them. If that isn’t a clear statement of a man’s abuse of power and influence, then I don’t know what is. Once a man is convicted it affects his ability to gain loans for school, ability to get a job, and ability to vote.
I commend individuals like Hillary Clinton who has acknowledged the need for criminal justice reform. Also, Newt Gingrich who has publicly stated no one who is white can understand what it’s like being black in America. As well as Warren Buffet for participating in philanthropic endeavors around the globe, all seem to be aware and identify the difference between human rights and criminal justice.
Even though criminal justice might not be the most popular topic on ballots across the nation it should be the most important. If the United States is considered the leaders of the free world it’s imperative that us as citizens have a grasp as to what that truly means. The United States has a private sector which is in cooperation with the government and has major influence on how other governments around the globe operate.