Monday, June 2, 2008
U.S. Drug War and Incarceration System are Themselves Criminal
In the United States in 1900, less than 0.1% of the population was in prison. Now, its close to a full 1%, nearing 3 million people in prison or jail. An astonishing number of them are for non-violent drug-related offenses. Note the percentages in this graph -- more than five times as many people are incarcerated for non-violent drug-related offenses than for violence.
Read some of these heart-wrenching stories of normal women who've had their lives taken away by a system created by and for people who value mandatory minimum incarcerative sentencing and punitive justice more than they value recovery, rehabilitation and the power of restorative justice. The context in which these women are guilty of crimes worthy of incarceration still fails to convince me of its correctness in any way. It is a context of oppression, against the lower class, against African Americans and Latinos, and against those who choose personal freedom, plain and simple. Our system of legislation, law enforcement, and incarceration, is one of the key elements that is making the United States LESS FREE for common people, only retaining freedom for those who have certain privileges among the upper class. Note that certain celebrities and politicians get away with these same crimes, but the women above do not.
I see just and reasonable alternatives to this system, which require a change of assumptions. Making a change of assumptions is something that conservative folks do not easily do, but I guess that's what I'm asking. When somebody gets caught in a non-violent drug offense, they should go through rehabilitation and counseling, not just get thrown into the cogs of an inhuman penal system. We could and should have significantly less resources in the U.S. going toward prisons and law enforcement, if we focus on true crimes where people are killed, robbed, or raped. This has been said thousands of times before, and the people who make the laws don't listen and don't make changes. God damn it! God damn you people! What does it take???
We live in a society that glamorizes violence in the movies, and makes the violence of war look like video games. We live in a society where there is constant violence against every individual because social structures and networking are discouraged, or difficult to build when living hand to mouth. Every individual must run on their treadmill to be exploited for investor's gains, or get caught in the cogs, or tossed out of their homes onto the street.
And people who want to escape from all that violence get mandatory minimum sentencing laws. And people who could be productive members of society, caring for their parents and children, having children while still in their reproductive years, are instead wasting away in prison cells for 10-20 years.
Its about making angels illegal, damning them in a way. In the U.S. you have freedom. But you're not free to do the things that are declared illegal. You're free to question why things are illegal, but not free to avoid examination for asking questions, and not free to get a reasonable answer. A long time ago when I was in college, I saw Lou Reed on an interview saying (I paraphrase) "You're free to smoke cigarettes and alcohol, but not marijuana or cocaine." "Why?" "Because we say so." Oh." To me, it really seems like that. Here's another statement that's been said thousands of times. Alcohol and cigarettes cause more deaths than all other drugs combined, by far. Why are they somehow legal, and marijuana is not? Its just another form of prohibition, and many people are wondering, "Who benefits?" Certainly not the peaceable non-drug-using people of America, because there's still plenty of violence and other crimes going on, not to mention the general rat-race. In fact, its easy to argue that the drug laws themselves CAUSE violence.
The U.S. war on drugs, and the incarceration system, and those who continue to advocate for them are standing against love and justice, and are themselves criminal.
The truth in right and wrong
The boundaries of the law
I think you missed the point
Arresting for a joint?
From Fucking Hostile, by Pantera
mood: so tired of this. soul tired.
chant/prayer/mantra: going to go out and breathe some fresh air.
agape to all,