More Police and Prisons Anybody?
Have you noticed that most of the same people who advocate individual rights and less taxes also advocate bigger police forces, military expenditures, and police state laws? Schizophrenic isn't it? Sure is -- and paranoid too! Ever notice that the same people who call themselves Pro-Life are the same ones who demand more prisons, stiffer sentences, increased penalties, and capital punishment? Contradictory? Yep, confusion does not exist in a psychological/spiritual vacuum, but rather has causes.
Some people advocate more police, more laws, more prisons, even abdicating their preexisting rights. Why, because of fear, desire for security, order, meaning, and "safety". Are they paranoid, are they mentally disturbed, are they confused? The answer is of course, yes! Only very ignorant, disturbed, frightened, and confused people would enslave themselves willingly. There is a lot of pain there, but its causal remedy is not to escape or avoid the pain, but rather to understand its source. They have lost trust in themselves and mankind in general. "They/we" have lost touch!
The "real" danger in the USA today rather is not that there are too little repressive laws, police, jails, and external rules,, but rather in reality there exist too many people who are in prisons already and too many people who want to build more prisons (we will later show that external prisons are the result of prisons of the mind). We already have the world's largest per capita incarceration rate, and it has been proven that prisons are counterproductive i.e., the criminal who gets out of prison is more likely to commit a crime after the prison experience than before it. We already have too high an overhead of excessive laws, too many lawyers, too many prisons, too many guards, too many police, too many invasions, too many criminalizations, and the air is getting worse, the crime worse, the violence, worse, etc. What we need is sane and creative thinking, not more reactive fear based dysfunction. that would make daily life more livable and less oppressive.
The Drug laws as an Example of Dysfunctional "Thought"
The police state mentality has proven inefficient, counterproductive, and dysfunctional. It is one more example of the failure of repressive legislation designed to impose religious values or moral values upon the unwilling. MJ (Marijuana) is a good example. Not that I advocate MJ, but it is something that I can live with given the more offensive alternative witnessing a young pot user rotting away in a violent prison. I feel that any country that benefits from an awakened populace (as in a "healthy" democracy) would also not want to live in such dysfunction. Indeed there are many things "wrong" about the US government and society, but it is far too overly simplistic to cast the blame on the use of herbs, albeit an easy scapegoat. We all seek security (safety) and peace, but it is only a confused animal which seeks safety behind the bars of over legislation (or taken to the logical conclusion of repressive legislation) a totalitarian state. As such, phobias and fear (such as fear against drugs) in general tend to feed demagoguery and prejudice serving to divide citizens and distract them from the reality of the real milieu; i.e., exploitation, manipulation, and power mongering.
In fact there exist many many millions of Americans on prescription drugs, mood elevators, prozac, sedatives, pain killers, stimulants, and so forth. Many of these legal drugs. alter their reaction time, impair judgment, and ability. Some have severe side effects. These powerful prescription drugs are legal, but many herbs which have consciousness altering effects and are sacraments in various native religions are illegal! Certainly we do not want to restrict the pharmaceutical/medical industry the right to advertise, but who is regulating them? Can an educated and informed citizen pretend that the pharmaceutical/medical industrial complex are not tooting their own horns? In America the Pharmaceutical guys certainly run the AMA, the medical colleges, and the FDA. This is a huge industry which has a huge lobby group in Washington and also has a large interest in the media.
Political and social beliefs are conditioned by psychological states of mind, which in turn are conditioned by past events and people are in our lives. Manipulating people's fear and lack of self worth due to previous trauma, pain, and lack of self worth toward transference to an identifiable enemy (imagined or not) is an old tool of tyrants and demagogues. Emotionally healthy "problem solvers" have been stifled for years trying to place some "reality" into the national debate about MJ because of these psychological traumas which have created emotional insecurity and destabilization. It seems that the general populace, who have not garnered their own ability to think for themselves, assume the reality of external authority figures (political correctness) in compensation for the lack of their own inner authority and inner order. Thus an ersatz security is achieved through identification with the external order, whose epitomized conclusion is a repressed society governed by excessive laws enforced by police and military --a police state and/or military dictatorship where any such aberrant behavior is not permitted.
Healthy or creative change in such a paranoid milieu may not be realized because of such psychological prejudices (due to widespread lack of self worth, subsequent prideful false identifications, denial, guilt, and fear). The mechanism of how this works despite the widespread denial is elementary. people who have been stripped of their ability to form their own opinions, critical and creative thought, and their inner wisdom by definition have lost contact with their inner meaning, self confidence, inner authority, and self empowerment. This breeds a great fear which we will call chronic insecurity and paranoia which is somewhat compensated for and assuaged through a transference upon external authority figures, external order (read law and order), more police, more armies, defense expenditures, more prisons, and eventually a militaristic police state or totalitarianism. This fear psychology is the essential ingredient which supports military dictatorships and police states (which by the way are more numerous on the planet than true democracies) -- it is not uncommon. those who exploit this fear are also insecure, but they are driven more by selfishness, greed, jealousy, and lust, than by fear. The mechanism of deceit that they use to manipulate and exploit their soldiers and workers is the false identification of pride -- the compensatory mechanism of lack of self worth which replaces the disconnection from their inner wisdom/inner authority. Reinforcing this false identification (in terms of nationalism, racism, ethnicity, religious pride, or other chauvinistic methods fixates the victim to the identification with the externalized authority figure, the external order, or in most cases the "state" or the "religion". Subsequently, intolerance toward those who do not conform, arrogance, hubris, symbolic prideful associations with conformity, coupled with associations of survival, status, privilege, success, wealth, and other symbolic rewards that replace self worth and fulfillment are doled out. Alternative methods of gaining satisfaction, fulfillment, or meaning are marginalized, depreciated, demonized, or even made illegal.
In this regard big money interests, avaricious game playing, status quo brokering, and power mongering are contributing factors. Thus the pre-existing emotional, psychological, and spiritual insecurities are easy game for exploitation. For example; (at least in the US), health authorities (read the pharmaceutical/medical complex) here have said that almost 1/3rd of our young children are suffering from what they call ADHC and that their recommended treatment is life time medication. Frightened parents who want to give their children a chance at success are being bullied into drugging them at very early ages (every one wants to do the "right" thing for their kids). As stupid or barbaric as this sounds to outsiders, it is never-the-less true. Such can only happen when the masses are severely dissociated from the factors which govern their own emotional, psychological, and spiritual health and well being and that of their families , friends, and society. It should be obvious that there exist definite underlying psychological needs not being addressed in our daily lives and values in light of our recent propensity to drug our adult population as well as addict our children at early ages, This is worth further scrutiny.
Dr. Andrew Weil, that on a strictly physiological or medical basis there is little evidence for any health detriment to the use of most psychotropic herbs (especially if they are not smoked). On the contrary there exist well known and official medical uses of MJ and/or similar herbs. Besides the obvious negative physiological effects of alcohol, cigarettes, secondary smoke, firearms, and other such legal consumables, no such negative physiological effects can be ascribed to MJ or herbs. Rather one can drink too much water and drown too! As a matter of fact there are more lives lost through drowning and hyperventilation than there are through taking herbs. No one (yet at least) is advocating creating new laws prohibiting or regulating against these things -- as if only those who are qualified or authorized will be allowed to use them.
So one may then at least put to rest once and for all any medical
argument against MJ usage that would support criminalization, comparatively
speaking (i.e., as compared to the health hazards in the air that we smoke or
other legal substances that we ingest).
Even if the herbs are smoked, the possible lung damage is much less than the average smoker of cigarettes because a daily joint can not be realistically compared to the average smoker's pack or two a day. Secondary smoke is thus also reduced. If however one should claims that this is a major health risk (secondary smoke included) and should be made illegal, then one must also advocate (in order to have any integrity) that cigarettes be banned first. Also automobiles create even a far greater health risk to the lungs as well as industrial pollutants etc. Should not one ban these also? In short, the physiological detriments of MJ have never been proven, other than lung damage such as done by cigarette smoking (but here most MJ users consume less than one MJ cigarette a day).
Similarly it is well known that alcohol, tobacco, and firearms have far greater negative health consequences than MJ, yet we all know the failure of prohibition (of alcohol). One however is right to bring up that driving an automobile under the influence of MJ or performing work requiring concentration (depending on the severity of the dosage) should be addressed. It would be an easy solution to scientifically determine what is the dangerous level that impairs judgment and ability to drive or work and then legislate that such levels would be illegal and punishable (similarly to drunk driving). For example if you can't walk a straight line, you could be required to submit to a urine sample if you were stopped driving suspiciously or some similar test. Most likely even less invasive tests could be developed in such potentially dangerous situations. If some one were to actually do some "real" experiments, one would probably find that talking on the cell phone was far more disorienting than the average MJ dosage. However, this impairment of judgment in high dosages could be effectively addressed in a similar fashion as is done with alcohol or the use of other drugs such as testing. This should not remain a stumbling block, except for the millions of Americans who are daily taking legal prescription medications such as pain killers, mood elevators, sedatives, stimulants, and such who would undoubtedly have difficulty in passing such tests.
The psychological factors influenced by MJ, other psychotropic herbs, and/or mushrooms are certainly another matter. First however it is essential to be able to discern between the two (physiological health impairments versus psychological). From the actual real research that is available, MY and herbs are most definitely far less dangerous than alcohol in regards to functionality or long term adverse effects. In many cases it is a relaxant and many creative people such as artists and musicians claim that it enhances their skills. Certainly for many others MJ can space them out or cause disorientation. This is an area where genuine unbiased private psychological research has been limited by both repressive and oppressive government laws and as such any negative definitive conclusion is premature. Quite the contrary there appears some definitive positive effects that MJ users claim. Not surprisingly, it is those who do not use MJ, who claim that the effects are negative, which lends credence that this negative conclusion is merely the result of personal preference, cross cultural value judgments, insecurity, intolerance, arrogance, fear and/or aversion than that of any objective unbiased study.
The Politics of Oppression
I was born and raised in the inner city of Chicago and had close connections to the police and organized crime in the past and I can tell you with certainty and complete honesty that illegal drugs makes big money, while legal drugs would seriously put a crimp in many illegal business (some of which are involved in international intrigue as most of informed people know). Personally, I feel that it is not in the interest of the citizens of the earth to support this clandestine activity which bears a great price (mostly unseen). These people are very rich and powerful already, and wittingly or not, it would be mostly in the interests of a society which is more free (not less) if we were rid of them (or at least not support them anymore by agreeing upon laws which subsidize this industry). Thus we have a growing police/prison/military industrial complex with decided links to drug smuggling, money laundering, clandestine activities and intrigue in foreign governments funded by illegal drug traffickers in league with government agencies. Many such exposes have been published in the past. Not only do such benefit from the criminalization of herbs and mushrooms, but also (as we have addressed previously) so do the pharmaceutical/medical industrial complex and how they benefit from legal drugs, but can not own patents on herbs and mushrooms.
Different people will necessarily have differing definitions of what constitutes civilization. the one that appears to grant the maximum freedom to the individual says: that the individual is free to do whatever they desire with their mind, speech, and body as long as it doesn't hurt any one else (as long as one is an adult and thus legally responsible for their actions). The US constitution actually is supposed to guarantee that right (the right to pursue happiness), but in reality, this is far from the case. As an adult, it is a natural inquiry to wonder why it is OK for me to buy guns that can kill people, chemicals that can make bombs and cause cancer, but not to access chemicals that can produce mind expansion drugs or possess herbs that affect consciousness? One can also wonder why possession of MJ can result in the confiscation of one's house, automobile, and personal property, but if one embezzled a billion dollars, killed or robbed some one, the law would protect them from government thievery. My conclusion is that obviously there exists an organized and profitable war against the use of consciousness expansion herbs which serves the interest of the few. To me such deceitful corruption and exploitation is barbaric and any one who participates in it is rapacious and greedy, while their many moral justifications and condemnations of the addict hold no water, but is vile hypocrisy.
This is a fundamental milieu which discloses not only the above described preexisting phobic psychology which demagogues feed off, but also the entrenched institutionalization of the crime industry in American politics. I also find it appalling that an educated American could come to a conclusion that putting a "druggie" in jail is at all part of solving any problem, because all statistics prove the opposite effect (given the high rates of recidivism and prison violence). Such misconceptions not only reflects an inability to analyze cause and effect, but also is a testament to how pervasive and persuasive the media has become to mold the mindsets of most Americans.The American criminal justice system is admitted to by its chief administrators to be merely a penal (read punitive) system. Putting people in jail hardly can be justified as being in their own self interest. When such criminals get out of prison after being so abused, they serve a far greater chance of hurting others than before incarceration.
At the cause of such an abusive and punitive system lies an absence of heart which is also symptomatic of the greater spiritual malaise which we are addressing on these pages. Above we started with the assumption of repressive legislation has as its basis fear -- taken to its oppressive conclusion conclusion, paranoia leads to a stifling totalitarianism and military dictatorship. Fear and aversion as a motive force is the cause of the human plague. No doubt it is due from spiritual self alienation -- a disconnect from our intimate connection with God. As such love and wisdom is the opposite motive force from aversion.
Summary Suggestion (decriminalize herbs now)
The facts of any possible physical harm by MJ and related herbs actually have been in for many years (one can peruse the many good books by Dr, Andrew Weil for example, written as early as in the seventies), but there is a scapegoat emotional dynamic to the national debate which supersedes logic -- an emotional malaise which manifests as a desire to blame and condemn an enemy who is evil, making the accuser better, more moral, good, or right, etc. This goes further than surface intolerance, but is an attempt at self justification through condemnation and finger pointing. Why does one need to shift the blame, always the answer is guilt. Guilt explains the irrational strong emotions that are associated with those who are adamantly opposed to decriminalization. MJ has become a convenient scapegoat for alcoholics and repressed people who lack self confidence and self esteem and suffer from guilt (and a need for self justification by condemning or demonizing the "other").
In today's widespread spiritual disconnection from nature and a living spirit, governed by confusion, too many people have the neurotic need to dissociate "self" from "bad" or "wrong", by being "right' or "good" such as declaring that "I am not a criminal, but 'they' most likely are." To say that one prefers not to take drugs or herbs and that one does not advocate its use for others is VERY DIFFERENT when an emotionally unhealthy and defensive person disapproves others taking it, condemns them, or desires to punish or harm them, or put them in jail. This is more than just intolerance, but ill will reflecting personal abuse and a desire to inflict pain and sufferi8ng upon others. To me this is one adult imposing their values onto another adult punitively, which is a form of exploitation and intolerance bordering on enslavement (in that one is assuming that they have a right to impose their will and values upon other people). More over it is abusive and punishing and society should protect its citizens from such abuse. .
In other words by advocating making herbs illegal as in putting people in jail for its use does not help anybody except sick or greedy people. It is a statement that "others" who are gaining pleasure from an activity which we are not should suffer -- that they do not have the right to pursue their own happiness as long as it does not harm others -- that they need some one else's approval to do so.
Western culture is still in recovery from the dark/repressive ages, where "other" people i.e., in the form of external authority made the decisions for us (such as Pope and/or King). God was in a far off heaven, spirit was absent, embodiment was suffering, and simple hedonism (being joyful and happy) was a sin. Here suffering and denial were proper -- where some future reservation in a far off Heaven was "right" behavior. Otherwise one was a deviant, a misfit, or heretic.
In this milieu nature, the body, herbs, and wilderness became some what associated with the devil. Anything man couldn't control with his armies, police, or imposition of will and intellect became rather unpredictable and eventually came under attack as "the enemy" -- science if not the King and pope was going to save us from all this threatening stuff -- external order was going to compensate for the spiritual disconnect (replacing the absence of internal order and connection with an external representation in the form of repressive laws, sterility, big brother, police, armies, etc.
In short our natural harmony, connection, peace, ease, trust, and primal positive relationship with mother nature became usurped and corrupted -- alongside with it came the split off rom the right brain, our spontaneity, our feminine side, our appreciation of wilderness and wonder -- all of which was supplanted by the institutionalization of our fear of it. When fear becomes a driving force, there can be no lasting emotional security no matter how many laws, prisons, fortresses, or walls one builds up in the compensatory desire for protection and security. Where fear replaces love, we as a civilization lose our vision and sense of purpose -- a light goes out in our lives that can not ever be adequately compensated for and hence we become a neurotic nation of consumers and paranoiacs -- unhappy and always craving -- always blaming some one else -- the enemy -- the messenger who would deflate our delusion and comfortable and arrogant prideful false identifications of superiority.
This same kind of guilt and denial is the psychology which allowed and justified the American invasion of Panama and the arrest of President Noriega (who is still in US prison). The real story is that Noriega cut out the CIA drug organization in his dealings, but the greater tragedy is that the US citizens bought this war (and paid for it) on the basis of a total lie. This portends the greater folly and danger where a mass psychology of hysteria heralds in further abuse, hostility, suffering. and barbarism.
Indeed addressing the subject of "Individual and States rights" (a marker of a free society), the US Supreme Court recently rejected the appeal of proponents of the medical MJ Initiative in California. It seems that the citizens of the State of California (almost 1/3rd population of the US) voted to legalize MJ for medical use under various limitations. The Supreme Court however decided that the federal government had more rights to prohibit than the state. This is a good example of how individual freedoms and states rights are being abridged and abrogated in an ever growing totalitarian centralized state.
It has been proven that laws such as these support international organized crime, corruption, illegal trade for weapons, international intrigue, spying, and wars and at the same time sanction the apparatus for a police state to invade the privacy of citizen's lives, harass, search, confiscate property, and intimidate them, let alone easily plant evidence on them. It serves as a convenient a weapon for state terrorism. Not strangely on this issue Negroes in the Ghetto, White antigovernment extremist organizations, American Indians, Hispanics, and many on the far right and far left concur. Those who do not seem to identify with the status quo -- the mythical "middle America".
Would not the decriminalization of MJ as well as other herbs free up the police to pursue white collar crime, violent crime, and robbery and others? Couldn't the huge cost against drugs be better spent on health care for the elderly, affordable housing, job training, cleaner air, energy self reliance, better education, proactive crime prevention programs, etc. Could not the hardy hemp plant make a significant dent upon the use of pesticides for myriad clothing items which are now grown with pesticide rich cottons? Could not the use of hemp be utilized greatly in the production of paper and other traditional forest products thus allowing the us to afford the natural benefits of intact water tables, wildlife, sports, and recreation? Would not being freed from the economic burden of almost 1 million drug related incarcerations free up enough money for universal health care as well as allow the police to provide more needed services? Is not our scarcity and paranoia in reality self induced as it is our own ignorance (more than those who would manipulate it) which is at fault. The good news is that regarding this causal ignorance of which we have absolute control.
So we must conclude that barbarism is in the eye of the beholder -- it is dependent on values, definitions, and semantics -- of psychology, emotional intelligence, and living spirit (or its lack) -- Nature and Reality, "THAT" investigation is the province of the true seeker. A free and healthy civilization must stand for and reflect healthy and free values -- it must be based on Love!.
Now do I advocate MJ for recreational use? Yes, I tried it, but no, I personally find it a sleepy and dulling substance, but I support an adult's right to do so as long as they do not hurt others. So I stand behind it's decriminalization in order to increase the quality of life as well as to reduce unnecessary taxes, size of government, and arbitrary oppressive disparities in its enforcement which support police state totalitarian tendencies. I advocate its usage in agriculture (in hemp production) where its robust nature has great potential in revitalizing organic small farms as well as its contribution toward ecological sustainability (for example substituting hemp for trees in paper production, hemp seed oil in food production, and hardy hemp as a substitute for pesticide ridden cotton and synthetics for clothing production). As a matter of fact there exists manifold uses for hemp (especially as an alternative for paper) and it grows easily without vast amounts of pesticide or fertilizer assistance.
In conclusion, much of the above may explain many of the "real"
forces at work which maintains support of the illegal MJ and herbal businesses
(besides making lotsa money for organized crime, the lawyers, pharmaceutical/medical
industrial complex, and the police state/industrial/military complex). Following
is an astounding example of the US Police State build up in recent years that
makes the US number one in incarceration rate per capita. The land of the Free
-- not any more.
It is conservatively estimated that over 50% of those imprisoned in the US are there due to drug related offenses. Approximately 2 million people are currently incarcerated in the US with many more on supervision ( parole and probation). That is fast approximating a rate of one in every hundred citizens (including children) or easily 2% of the ADULT male population. Statistics show that arrests for drug related crimes are five times more for black men than for white arrests even though statistics show that white and black men are using drugs at approximately the same rate.
Over 40% of prison inmates nationwide are black, while blacks constitute approximately only 12% of the population. There is much more evidence that American drug laws perpetuate continued racial exploitation, intimidation, and oppressive polices in an attempt to preserve the status quo. After an "objective" (non-emotional/guilt-ridden) investigation, it is impossible to conclude otherwise (although most whites are in denial).
Remember justice does not equal punishment. Justice is a far deeper subject -- while preventative measures (in order to prevent crime in the first place requires some integrity of mind and passion -- you have to care about people in order to go further other than to simplemindedly blame some one and punish them after the fact. Kinda costly that. A country full of prisons is a country whose people's minds are imprisoned. A country of empty prisons should be a long term goal.
Sunday March 25, 2001 5:40 PM EST
U.S. Prisons, Jails Hold Record 1.9 Million Inmates
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The record number of people in U.S. prisons and jails
increased to nearly 1,932,000 inmates last June, and will surpass 2 million
late this year, the U.S. Justice Department (news - web sites) said Sunday.
The department's Bureau of Justice Statistics said the total number of
inmates in state and federal prisons and in local jails went up by 3
percent, or 56,660, over the 12-month period that ended June 30.
Two Justice Department statisticians said in the report that the nation's
inmate population is projected to reach 2 million by the end of December,
based on current policies and practices.
According to the report, prison incarceration rates have risen sharply since
1990, although the rate of increase has slowed in recent years. It said the
number of prisoners in state facilities went up by just 1.5 percent for the
12 months ended in June, for the smallest annual increase since 1971.
The report gave no reasons why the prison population has been increasing
from year to year.
But experts have cited tougher laws that impose longer sentences, more drug
offenders put behind bars and an increase in the number of parole violators
returned to prison.
Since the end of 1990, the total incarcerated population has risen by more
than 783,000 inmates, nearly a 70 percent rise, according to the report.
Privately operated prison facilities held more than 76,000 state and federal
inmates on June 30, a more than 9 percent rise in six months. Four states --
New Mexico, Alaska, Montana and Oklahoma -- had at least 25 percent of their
prisoners in private facilities.
There were 7,615 people under 18 in adult jails on June 30, down from 9,458
a year earlier. The number of state prisoners under 18 fell to 3,915 from
4,194 a year earlier.
The following AP article appeared in the New York Times, June 8, 2000
Race Analysis Cites Disparity in Sentencing For Narcotics
By STEVEN A. HOLMES
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Nearly twice as many black men and women are being imprisoned for drug offenses than are whites, even though studies show that there are five times more white drug users than black ones, an international human rights organization said today.
The report by Human Rights Watch joins a growing body of evidence compiled by liberal advocacy groups showing racial disparities in the country's soaring prison population. That population has quadrupled since 1980 and is expected to surpass two million next year.
"These racial disparities are a national scandal," Ken Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch said. "Black and white drug offenders get radically different treatment in the American justice system. This is not only profoundly unfair to blacks, it also corrodes the American ideal of equal justice for all."
The report noted that the overwhelming bulk of the increase in the prison population could be attributed to drug offenses. The report said 62.7 percent of drug offenders sent to prison in 1996, the last year for which complete statistics were available, were African-American, while 36.7 percent were white.
The Census Bureau estimates that blacks currently make up about 12.8 percent of the population and that whites, including Hispanic whites, are about 82.3 percent.
While the Human Rights Watch underlined the racial disparities in the criminal justice system, other experts in the field said the issue was more complicated than racism.
Experts at the Bureau of Criminal Justice Statistics, a division of the Justice Department, say that while studies indicate there are five times as many white users of illegal drugs as black users, drug abuse among African-Americans tends to be more chronic and involve harder drugs such as crack cocaine and heroin.
Indeed, studies suggest black incarceration rates are still being fueled by the crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980's, which helped produce a cadre of chronic drug users, most of whom are above the age of 30. Many of these abusers have either been imprisoned for long sentences or have been in and out of a criminal justice system that fails to provide very much in the way of drug treatment, said Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.
"Regardless of how severe you wish to be on punishing them you simply have to give them a drug-free prison environment," Mr. McCaffrey said. "And there has to be a follow-on component. That, I would allege is the largest issue."
In today's report, Human Rights Watch based its study on prison admissions statistics in 1996. States voluntarily provide statistics to the Justice Department, and the study does not include figures for the 13 states that chose not to report statistics.
In much of the country, though, the report paints a picture of stark disparities. In Illinois and Maryland, Africans-Americans represent 90 percent of those who were incarcerated for selling or using drugs. In five other states -- Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia -- blacks make up more than 80 percent of those imprisoned on drug offenses.
Researchers from Human Rights Watch point to a myriad of causes for the disproportionately high number of blacks incarcerated for drugs.
They note that because so much of the drug activity in poor black neighborhoods is conducted on the street, sellers and users are easier to spot and arrest. In addition, they contend that law enforcement agencies direct much of their resources to combating drug activity in black areas, rather than in white neighborhoods where drug sales and use tend to occur behind closed doors. Also low-income African-Americans often cannot afford lawyers to win them more lenient sentences.
Whatever the reason, Human Rights officials say, the numbers of African-Americans being sent to prison far out of line with the proportion of blacks and whites shown in studies to use and sell drugs.
And they say that the disparities need to be addressed by politicians, including the two presidential contenders.
"I think racial disparities in the criminal justice system is like the elephant in the room that no one is talking about," said Jamie Fellner, associate counsel of Human Rights Watch and the report's author. "I find it incomprehensible that neither of the Presidential candidates is talking about this. There still is a timidity to say anything that would lend them being accused of being soft on crime. Nobody is willing to say enough is enough."
Copyright © New York Times Company. All rights reserved.
John Trudell, has said: "The more evil the empire, the more paranoid the society." It is equally true that a paranoid society is capable of inflicting much harm as they are out of touch enmass with who they "really are".
Disparities Regarding Incarceration and Race (from Human Rights watch HRW.Org)
Legal Issues Affecting Native Americans (from NativeWeb)
Amerikkan Lockdown Index
Justice Policy Institute: An analysis of Incarceration rates in the State of Texas
Black Skin, White Justice: Race Matters in the Criminal Justice System
http://www.commonsensejustice.us/ Bob Newland's movement to decriminalize hemp in South Dakota
On the Prison Industrial Complex: Angela Davis
Carol Estes: On the Prison Industrial Complex: Making money off of Crime. Estes makes it clear that Punishment is not Justice! The failure of America's current "war on crime" band aid approach is merely symptomatic utilizing incarceration and punishment is compared with a more proactive and less harmful approach which is justice oriented and causal.
Common Sense for Drug Policy
Drug War Facts
Natl. Org. for the Reform of MJ Laws (NORML)
Institutionalized and Conditioned Racism: Guilt as Hatred - As an Escape From Self
A Call to Unite Blacks, Reds, Browns, and Whites who are all Colonized by Alien Beliefs and Structures that Emanate from those Beliefs
Creating, Manipulating, Exploiting, and Capitalizing on People's Fears and Lack of "Authentic Self" Esteem, Identity, and Confidence is an Old Game with New Clothing
Institutionalized Paranoia, Guilt, Denial, Dysfunction, and Co-dependence upon External Authority: How this all works together with with the status quo media to manipulate, exploit, oppress, enslave, deceive, and destroy (utilizing the Afghan War as example)
Denial, Dysfunction, Chronic Character Armoring, and Delusion in Modern America
Toward a Healthy and Vital Politics: Love against Hate, Fear, and Greed - Healing Against Harm
Back to Green Indigenous Politics
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