Prison Industrial Complex #occupysanquentin
Prison Industrial Complex #occupysanquentin (Photo credit: @bastique)

Had to repost and share with you all….

By Michael Wood


Within the prisons and correctional facilities of California right now, we are facing a true humanitarian crisis. Even the Supreme Court has had to admit that the overcrowding and poor state of healthcare and education within the prison system constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, violating the 8th Amendment. Because of this and draconian practices such as solitary confinement, prisoners have began to demand justice.

Sparked by the policy of solitary confinement in prisons, with some reports of prisoners being kept there for decades, many prisoners have engaged in a hunger strike to protest their brutal treatment at the hands of the State. Kept in conditions which have been known to cause mental illness, depression, suicide, and extreme alienation from society, prisoners have decided that they will no longer silently tolerate being treated like animals.

Of course the state of California will not allow this to go on. Nothing says bad publicity like dozens of dead prisoners who would rather starve themselves to death than face even more time in such brutal punishment. California has recently begun force-feeding prisoners who refuse to eat, violating a very basic human right: the right to control your own body within the bounds of the law.

The need for reform in the face of treatment like this is clear. When violent offenders are caged like animals in hopes of punishing them rather than rehabilitating them, when non-violent offenders are forced to endure overcrowding and abuse comparable to that seen in refugee camps, we have to question, what exactly is wrong with our justice system. In the past 40 years, wehavefacedawaroncrimeandawaron drugs, and where has it gotten us? It has gotten us the highest incarceration rate in

the world, even higher than China. We have ended up with privatized prisons, prisons run for profit by independent companies who have an incentive to lock as many people up, guilty or not, as they can. We are facing the greatest humanitarian crisis in the United States since the civil rights movement and the mainstream media hardly even acknowledges it.

In the United States, we have a faulty idea that all transgressions must be punished and that the threat of punishment is enough to subdue the threat of crime. This is simply false; we can see it on the streets today. If criminals were able to evaluate risks and rewards as well as normal people, they would not commit most crimes. Even in the heat of the moment or when perception is altered by drugs,thisisnotarealisticexpectationof even the most good and rational people.

I stand with those striking in the prisons today, nearing their second month of the hunger strike because they are asking for something so simple and so decent that their past decisions shouldn’t even be brought into consideration. They are asking to end the torture and punishment and begin rehabilitation. No, they are not asking to be let loose on the streets immediately, they are willing to serve the remainder of their sentences, given that they are not tortured further. This is perfectly reasonable and should be granted without a second thought, yet, in this environment where submission to authority is more important than personal progress or rehabilitation, it is thought to be ridiculous to give in to these requests. Well fuck, just call me ridiculous then for thinking that prisoners are people too.

Via Union Weekly



4 thoughts on “HUNGRY FOR JUSTICE

  1. Without question, reform is needed. The question is: What is to be done? My proposed solution is to cut the American prison population, including the California prison population, in half. This can be done by enacting legislation at the state level allowing judicial corporal punishment in lieu of incarceration. The average American prisoner only has 2.1 years left on their sentence. Murderers cannot go free after 40 lashes, but a bunch of thieves, drug offenders and others who are serving less than about 3 years might avoid prison altogether. This would also help those who remained behind bars. Please read my law review article in The Criminal Law Bulletin, “Prison Overcrowding Cure: Judicial Corporal Punishment of Adults,” Volume 49, Issue 4, Criminal Law Bulletin (Summer 2013). This article is available on Westlaw. The facts will surprise you. All 4 presidents carved into Mt. Rushmore favored judicial corporal punishment on white (and black) people … and it’s in the Bible: Deuteronomy 25:1-3. It is better for all concerned in many cases. People can only appreciate judicial corporal punishment when they know how bad prison is … most offenders would rather take their licks in one hour than be cooped up for a year. So, please continue to tell folks how bad prison is … because those who know are more likely to advocate change.

    John Dewar Gleissner, Esquire


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