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Posts Tagged: criminal justice

Landmark Cash Bail Reform: The Decriminalization of the Poor

Harris County, Texas encompasses a vast amount of land in the greater Houston area. The county has a population of 4.653 million Texans. It is the nation’s fourth-largest city with the third-largest jail population. The overloaded and overworked jail system is rampant with thousands of Texans serving time while awaiting trial because they cannot afford bail. The bail system has led to the unjust incarceration of poor defendants who cannot pay their bond. It has also led to the gross misconduct of judges. There have been several instances of judges increasing defendants’ bail with petty justifications. The system discriminates against poor and presumably innocent defendants. In 2016, three people with misdemeanors charges filed a lawsuit against the county under allegations of unfair incarceration because of excessive bail amounts. The following… Read more »

California Thinks Prisoners Are Expendable Labor

On Friday February 26th, Shawna Lynn Jones, 22, became the third inmate to die while working alongside firefighters as a part of the California Conservation Corps. Shawna was struck by a falling boulder while putting her life on the line to battle a brush fire in Malibu, California. The Conservation Corps, instituted in 1976 by then Governor Brown, is a government-funded program that pays prisoners like Shawna $1 an hour to endanger her own life while working to keep residents and natural habitats safe from the State’s increasing risk of fire. Shawna’s death spurred media responses that applauded her service to the state of California and framed her death as a tragedy because she died while working to protect one of the most affluent cities in California. Let’s all be… Read more »

Beauty and the Beast: Kalief Browder, Mental Illness and the Black Community

Mental illness. Depression. Schizophrenia. Bipolar disorder. Anxiety. Whatever one suffers from, mental illness has always been the elephant in the room, especially in the African-American community. It’s taboo, something to be brushed off, kept quiet, a simple “storm or phase” that a person is going through. But the African-American community has been caught in a vicious storm for as long as I can remember. Slavery was the beginning of a long history of mental abuse, with slave masters raping, killing, beating, and verbally and physically abusing African-Americans, which gave many Black the mentality not to show weakness and survive this inhumanity. This long suffering abuse (something which America tells us to simply ‘get over’ in various ways through the media and government treatment) did not go away when slavery was… Read more »