Jailed for Life for Stealing a Coat

There’s something very wrong going on.

A shocking new study by the American Civil Liberties Union has found that more than 3,200 people nationwide are serving life terms without parole for nonviolent offenses. Of those prisoners, 80 percent are behind bars for drug-related convictions. Sixty-five percent are African-American, 18 percent are white, and 16 percent are Latino…

Go read the full article/interview on NPR.

This kind of issue is exactly why feminists have been using intersectional analysis for years now – to look not just at gender and how it oppresses people of all genders, but how race, class, and other axes of identity cause one person to go to rehab and another to be sentenced to life in prison – for the same “offense”.

I don’t know where to start to fix it, but I’m very pleased that the ACLU did this study – the full title of which is A Living Death: Life Without Parole for Nonviolence Offenses – so that maybe we can start to examine how and why we are imprisoning people for life who did so little wrong.

One Reply to “Jailed for Life for Stealing a Coat”

  1. I think the flawed economic policies being followed generate poverty. Specifically the belief that a certain percentage of the population must be unemployed or underemployed for the health of the system. It’s called NAIRU for non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment by mainstream (orthodox) economists but is just known as trouble to many heterodox economists. Poverty pressures many into crime.

    Some heterodox economists prescription of a job guarantee provides a meaningful federally funded job for any unemployed person at a rate which would define the minimum wage. To compete for labor the private sector would have to beat that rate or at least be better employers. Because federal money is created (fiat) money there is no real limit (other than the artificially created debt limits) to how much can be spent on this up to the point at which everyone is employed, at which point inflation could become a significant problem.

    Currently, it would appear there is an inexplicable preference to spend money on the prison industrial complex rather than implement such a program.

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