by Solomon Abrams

It’s no accident that:
We learned about Helen Keller instead of W.E.B. DuBois
We learned about the Watts and L.A. Riots, but not Tulsa or Wilmington.
We learned that George Washington’s dentures were made from wood, rather than the teeth from slaves.
We learned about black ghettos, but not about Black Wall Street.
We learned about the New Deal, but not “red lining.”
We learned about Tommie Smith’s fist in the air at the 1968 Olympics, but not that he was sent home the next day and stripped of his medals.
We learned about “black crime,” but white criminals were never lumped together and discussed in terms of their race.
We learned about “states rights” as the cause of the Civil War, but not that slavery was mentioned 80 times in the articles of secession.
Privilege is having history rewritten so that you don’t have to acknowledge uncomfortable facts.
Racism is perpetuated by people (and systems) who refuse to learn or acknowledge this reality.
You have a choice.

Corrections

United States

There are over 2,000,000 people incarcerated in the US. This country has 5% of the earth’s population but 25% of those incarcerated. At least 2,500 children under the age of eighteen are in prison for life without the possibility of parole. 

Kentucky

Kentucky is seventh in the US for the number of people in prison. Thirteen percent of children in KY have a parent incarcerated compared to the national average of 7%. At this time there are  24,000 inmates in thirteen prisons, one which is privately run. The annual cost per prisoner is $25,594.

Of note, from 1985 to 2015 the overall crime rate declined by 19 percent, but during that same 30-year period the number of prisoners rose by 271 percent!

DOC

It’s called Department of Corrections, but is that a misnomer? Can we say there is “correction” when the recidivism rate is 35-40% and by the ninth year as high as 80%?

Purpose

What is the purpose of locking people in prison for years? Four possible motives for incarceration include:

  1. Retribution and punishment
  2. Incapacitation
  3. Deterrence
  4. Rehabilitation

If #1 how long is long enough? For #2 being locked away is the only answer. Number three indicates that the threat of prison prevents crime, but if that is so why do we have more people in prison than ever before? How much rehabilitation (#4) actually happens in prison? How does it happen?

It is easy to take imprisonment for granted. People commit crimes. People pay. It is not that simple. Each case, judge, jury and parole board is different. There is no “one size fits all” in corrections. 

We will discuss this subject further in the next posts.     

1 of 3 on this topic

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“America is the land of the second chance – and when the gates of the prison open, the path ahead should lead to a better life.” George W. Bush

 

The SOURCE of most of this information is a class at Bellarmine University taught by Gaye Holman, Author, “Decades Behind Bars: A Twenty-year Conversation with Men in America’s Prisons.”

Photo and Graphic by Pixabay

Book Review – Born A Crime

Book Review

If you love comedian Trevor Noah you will like his autobiography. Noah, host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central, was born in 1984 in Johannesburg. In his book, “Born A Crime” he tells what it was like to grow up in South Africa during and immediately following Apartheid. It was particularly difficult for him as neither a white child nor a black one. 

His father was white and his mother who raised him was black. His devotion to his strong-willed mother is evident throughout the book, but his maternal grandmother, who is still living at 92, was very influential, too. 

“Born A Crime” is enlightening about life in South Africa as well as about Trevor Noah. It is a quick read and I recommend it. 

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“The color of my skin is beautiful, like the soil of Mother Africa.”Nelson Mandela

 

Similarities?

th
Cesar Sayoc
bowers
Robert Bowers
gregory-bush
Gregory Bush

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do these people have in common? 

Aside from being charged with horrid crimes last week, what do they have in common? They are not people of color. They are not immigrants. They are not Muslims. No, they are angry white men.

Rather than fearing the “other” perhaps it is time we look within to identify the evil that is tearing apart our nation’s soul.

 

“Forget everything and run or Face everything and rise.” Zig Ziglar