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"It is the death of humanity to know the price of everything but the value of nothing." ~Unknown

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Poor Are Enslaved In American Prisons


America turns its head to those who are incarcerated, especially those considered as brutal and thoughtless. The average American believes that the justice system is perfect and would never incarcerate those who are innocent. This line of logic is grossly inconsistent with reality, as thousands of formerly incarcerated inmates have been freed by DNA-evidence only. Our justice system is failing day by day, minute by minute. One wrongful conviction is one-too-many, and numbers are escalating well into the tens of thousands. Adequate legal representation is available to those who are able to pay; those who cannot, however, suffer. Consequently, inadequate legal representation mostly leads to an inevitable unjust verdict.
As a legal analyst, I’ve observed the legal processes in depth over the years, and watched those with money, resources and networks receive justice within a system allegedly designed to serve all. I’ve observed the poor and unknowledgeable suffer, as finances, resources, and networks are very limited or void!
It is our right under the Constitution to petition our courts for justice. What does this say for a Nation of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — Inalienable Rights?
Slavery Is Alive and Flourishing In America
Poor people are enslaved in America’s Prison Industrial Complex. Indigent legal representation unfolds as inexperienced, underpaid and overworked lawyers provide inadequate representation to the poor – resulting in wrongful convictions; thus, enslavement to the prison industrial complex increases. The use of felonious, unethical, and often, illiterate witnesses is an increasing vehicle for wrongful convictions. The financially disempowered are the burden barriers for society’s ills, but those with money and corporate networks never experience this enslavement.
As the poor suffer, prosecutors and law enforcement officers are becoming even more corrupt in their policies. America incarcerates more individuals, especially minorities, than any other nation in the world. Wrongful convictions are on the rise and corruption is escalating. Slavery is alive and flourishing in America. In my years of service to the community, I’ve come across two distinct cases that yield inconsistencies from the onset.
The case of Ali Khalid Abdullah is one of them. Ali Khalid Abdullah was released from prison on August 1, 2008 and has had multitudes of problems dealing with a new society, ever since. Ali describes his experience as “being freed from Prison but not free.” Ali served 19 years in prison for taking action against a drug dealer who had molested an 11-year old. How does a government release prisoners with no assistance, financial or social, and expect positive results? My opinion is, they do not. They expect and hope for recidivism as it is the key to maintaining The Prison Industrial Complex.
The other case is that of two sisters, Jamie and Gladys Scott. In 1994, Jamie and Gladys Scott were wrongfully convicted in the state of Mississippi. A corrupt sheriff used coercion, threats, and harassment to convict the Scott Sisters of armed robbery. The case of the Scott sisters is an intriguing one, with transcripts stating that perhaps 9, 10, or 11 dollars was stolen, at most. It’s important to note that no one was murdered or injured. One of the state’s witnesses, a 14 year old, testified that he did not have an attorney present when signing a statement prepared by the sheriff. Jamie and Gladys Scott have served 14 years of double-life sentences, thus far. That’s Double Life Each! The absurdity of their sentencing reaches new heights with the reality that neither of the Scott sisters had prior convictions. Sadly, the cases of Mr. Abdullah and the Scott sisters are becoming an accepted phenomenon in our society.
The Prison Industrial Complex is the 21st century slave master in the minority community, and unless we are made aware and trained to take action, the enslavement will continue to fester more and more rapidly in years to come.
Don’t Wait Until It Happens To You!
For more on the case, see Jamie & Gladys Scott and Black Commentator.


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