Twenty-First Century Slaves


Everyone has an opinion, and it doesn’t matter the subject but when it comes to the prison system and incarceration in America, it’s usually driven by skin color. Some view it as the New Jim Crow and, of course, there are others who see nothing wrong with the system at all.

There are agencies that clearly profile based solely on race – “Stop and Frisk” for example. “Stand your Ground” is another law designed to empower vigilante’s to kill based on a perceived fear of a person of color that take us back to a time when the slave catcher had ultimate authority to take and control freedom.

Thankfully our president has made this an issue and hopefully a priority for the rest his administration. The system of over incarcerating people and those who have languished for years in tombs called prisons; and in some cases for crimes they did not commit. The sad irony of people unable to afford the cost of justice being given extreme sentences and put to death fall into this category. Yet, more shameful is the execution of the mentally disabled and life sentences for minors. Further, the lifelong effect once a person is released from having their voting rights taken away forever.

This could easily be compared to the slave catcher and the system of slavery; particularly when there is a long history of lynchings, chain gangs, and the free labor derived from this system. It is a fact that the land of the free has more people in prison than anywhere else on earth, which is a shame. It was not until recently that the disproportionate sentencing of powder cocaine and crack have been modified and shown to be unfair. Still hundreds suffer from the extreme punishment.

It always comes back to the Constitution where it is written under the 13th Amendment that when your freedom can be taken away, which means you then are a slave or at best a system called the New Jim Crow. This is to include the most extreme punishment of being put “in the hole,” where inmates are shackled and locked up for 23 hours per day in solitary confinement if he refused to work. The sad part is this means children too.

All inmates are expected to work for little or nothing, the poorly paid, unsafe work the inmate must do in my opinion has crossed legal boundaries. Let me say clearly that it is not my position that laws and punishment are not necessary. What is disparaging is that it disproportionately affects the minority population of the citizenry.

Most prisons suffer from overcrowding from draconian sentences like twenty-five to life imposed for minor drug offenses, and three-strike laws are akin to chattel slavery. The system has run amuck mainly because of privatization, and it’s time to end the “War on Drugs” and find a better solution to the problem instead of throwing away the key.

Did you know the clothing worn by our soldiers are made by the cheap labor of the incarcerated? In closing, let me suggest that you read Michelle Alexander’s book “The New Jim Crow”. Maybe a good solution would be to incarcerate the real crooks; the so-called “white collar criminals”. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

About Thought Provoking Perspectives

Welcome to Thought Provoking Perspectives a blog designed to be a potent source of empowering knowledge to broaden the information base with those who share my passion for the written word and the empowerment of thought. View all posts by Thought Provoking Perspectives

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