Wealth Gap Grows – White families have 20 times that of Black families median wealth 1984-2007 npr http://www.npr.org/2011/09/15/140428359/making-it-in-the-u-s-more-than-just-hard-workhttp://www.npr.org/2011/09/15/140428359/making-it-in-the-u-s-more-than-just-hard-work
“State-by-state data from 2006 show that blacks were arrested for drug offenses at rates in individual states that were 2 to 11.3 times greater than the rate for whites” March 2, 2009 Decades of Disparity HRW
Blacks are 33% more likely to be detained awaiting felony trials than whites facing felony trials in some parts of NY state. NYState division of criminal justice services, 1995 study in disparities in processing felony arrests.
“All too often, defendants plead guilty, even if they are innocent, without really understanding their legal rights or what is occurring… The fundamental right to a lawyer that America assumes applies to everyone accused of criminal conduct effectively does not exist in practice for countless people across the United States.”
American Bar Association 2004 Gideon’s Broken Promise
Only 3-5% of criminal cases go to trial – rest are plea bargained.
“Who wouldn’t rather do three years for a crime they didn’t do than risk 25 years for a crime they didn’t do?”
Sentencing? Since 2005 (US v Booker) Black and Latino men receive federal sentences 10-23% longer than whites. Report - March 2010
African Americans comprise 13% of population and 14% of monthly drug users but 37% of persons arrested for drug offenses, and 56% of people in state prisons for drug offenses. May 21 2009 testimony before Congress of Marc Mauer The Sentencing Project
Consequences for Drug Felons No public housing OK to discriminate against in private housing OK to yank right to vote OK to discriminate in employment No food stamp assistance No jury service Prohibitions on associating with others
Criminal “Justice” and Mass Incarceration Racialized System of Social Control
1700s - Birth of Slavery 1863 - Death of Slavery 1877 - Birth of Jim Crow withdrawl of federal troops 1950s-60s - Death of Jim Crow 1980s - Birth of Mass Incarceration
Stigma of criminality functions in much the same way as Jim Crow: Legal boundaries between them and us; Social and economic boundaries between them and us; Cannot vote; Can legally discriminate in jobs and housing; Warehouse a disposable population;
Poor whites and people of other ethnicity are also subjected to this system of social control because if they are out of line they are treated just like poor blacks – the worst possible treatment
Recognize, This is as much about Liberating Ourselves as Liberating Others In fact We cannot Liberate Ourselves Without engaging in Liberation with Others
Anthony Mello: First, realize that you are surrounded by prison walls, that your mind has gone to sleep. It does not even occur to most people to see this, so they live and die as prison inmates. Most people end up being conformists; they adapt to prison life. A few become reformers; they fight for better living conditions in the prison, better lighting, better ventilation. Hardly anyone becomes a rebel, a revolutionary who breaks down the prison walls. You can only be a revolutionary when you see the prison walls in the first place.
A radical approach to injustice means to go to the root of the problem not trimming the leaves not pruning the branches but ripping up by the roots the injustice.
We need a radical redistribution of economic and political power…
Justice Says People Are More Important Than Property Rights
What to do? Free Your Mind Learn How Social Change Happens Work with Organizations Immerse Yourself in Human Rights Solidarity Love
Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are people who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle.
Work with Organizations of People Impacted by Injustice