Unbelievably, the “home of the free” incarcerates more of its citizenry than any other nation. Moreover, it invests more in prisons than its educational system. In prisons today, we incarcerate the guilty, but also the poor, the sick, the old, the young, and the innocent. While the rich pay bail and go free, the poor are incarcerated until trial–if they don’t take a plea bargain. All the while, families are left without fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters. In this blog post, Bill Moyers and Jon Oliver provide a wealth of information about our culture of imprisonment, and Pope Francis offers his sage advice.
As noted by a CNN Money graph entitled, Education vs Prison Costs, data from 40 states depict how much government money is spent per year to educate an elementary/secondary school student compared to the cost of keeping an inmate imprisoned.” In addition, Online Degrees provides a list of the 10 States That Spend More on Prisons Than Education.
Bill Moyers, Political Talk Show Host and Former White House Press Secretary, offers enlightening episodes via Moyers & Company in regards to incarceration, as you can see from the following episodic titles (which you can click on to see the episode):
- Stop Punishing People After They Have Been Released From Prison January 30, 2015 by Jeremy Haile
- These Five Corporations Are Making Millions From Mass Incarceration January 21, 2015 by James Kilgore
- The School-to-Prison Pipeline Starts in Preschool March 31, 2014 by Mychal Denzel Smith
- Higher Profits Explain Why There Are More People of Color in Private Prisons February 7, 2014 by Joshua Holland
- Just Kids (in Prison for Life) December 31, 2013 by Matt Stroud
- Land of the Free? US Has 25 Percent of the World’s Prisoners December 16, 2013 by Joshua Holland
- Report: “Low-Crime Tax” Keeps For-Profit Prisons Profitable September 20, 2013 by Joshua Holland
- Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Prison
- Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Mandatory Minimums
- Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Bail
- Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Public Defenders
By now, you’re asking yourself, what can I do? I know because you wouldn’t have read this far down the post, otherwise. So, yes, you can help. You can help by voicing your concerns to elected officials, advising them to invest in schools not prisons, and you can advocate for those who received sentences that do not or no longer fit the crime. We need pardons and commutations to reduce sentences that were mandatory, especially for judgments that no longer are applicable. You can also help “Witness to Innocence” produce a short documentary that shares the incredible journey of our many Witnesses to Innocence.”
Lastly, we can take the words of Pope Francis to heart and action:
“This time in your life can only have one purpose: to give you a hand in getting back on the right road, to give you a hand to help you rejoin society,” the pope said in the gymnasium of the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility. “All of us are part of that effort, all of us are invited to encourage, help and enable your rehabilitation.”
Pope Francis also rebuked society for not doing enough to rehabilitate prisoners. “It is painful when we see prison systems which are not concerned to care for wounds, to soothe pain, to offer new possibilities,” the pope said, speaking in Spanish through an interpreter. “It is painful when we see people who think that only others need to be cleansed, purified, and do not recognize that their weariness, pain and wounds are also the weariness, pain and wounds of society.”
Kennedy Forum releases 2nd edition of “Parity Resource Guide for Addiction & Mental Health Consumers, Providers and Advocates”
For those citizens who oppose yesterday’s SCOTUS ruling and think that states should continue to vote on a citizen’s right to marry, I offer you a quote from Rachel Maddow:
Finally, #SCOTUS is on the right side of #History.
Originally posted on Consumerist:
The Affordable Care Act scored a major victory today as the Supreme Court upheld provisions allowing the government to provide tax subsidies for consumers who purchased insurance through the program,although their statesdon’t have anofficial insurance exchange of their own.
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This is an interesting post that covers part of the sad and horrific slave-trade history in the Americas.
Originally posted on peoples trust toronto:
IRISH: THE FORGOTTEN WHITE SLAVES
They came as slaves: human cargo transported on British ships bound for the Americas. They were shipped by the hundreds of thousands and included men, women, and even the youngest of children.
Whenever they rebelled or even disobeyed an order, they were punished in the harshest ways. Slave owners would hang their human property by their hands and set their hands or feet on fire as one form of punishment. Some were burned alive and had their heads placed on pikes in the marketplace as a warning to other captives.
We don’t really need to go through all of the gory details, do we? We know all too well the atrocities of the African slave trade.
But are we talking about African slavery? King James VI and Charles I also led a continued effort to enslave the Irish. Britain’s Oliver Cromwell furthered…
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Please take a moment on this Memorial Day to remember the soldiers who have given their lives to defend our country.
The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war. – Douglas MacArthur