Essay to be included in archive

Broussard, Brad A.



Brad Broussard Beeville, Texas 78102-8696 APWA 198 College Hill Road Clinton, NY 13323 August 10, 2014 RE: Essay to be included in archive: To whom it may concern: I present to you one of the biggest and most powerful problem of todays time. This is a matter that should be of concern by every citizen in America and around the world. The continuation of our mass incarceration of prisons and all non positive institutions in the U.S. There is not enough movement of concern by our statesmen and Government and the peoples advocates toward this State of emergency. This mass incarceration system has shelled out a burden upon the greatest nation in the world with some of the most complex venues to solve this problem that some may think are complicated, allow me to explain: Does America really have to incarcerate as many people as it do or can a majority of those with discrepancies with the law can be cured through programs such as counseling or out or in patient programs that would actually cure the problem and not just put people in holding facilities for years on end and then push them back into society with out ever addressing their specific issues or problems. I think our Nation handles way more complex scientific and astronomical decisions daily than some slightly imbalanced individuals with problems that are as common as addictions, alcoholism and mental illness that causes them to commit such crimes. Who's going to help the sick? There's a survey that 80% percent of crimes that are committed are committed by people under the influence of some mind altering substance, so why don't every time a crime is committed in America, don't we immediately administer drug screening and breathalyzers for alcohol, so we will know what we're dealing with, or a mental evaluation if the first two tests don't come back positive or all three due to these being our main problems. If we know the problem and constantly ignore the solution to our problem does that mean we don't care? or it might mean that its not by habitat that we constantly allow this crime burden to be a thorn in the sides of our tax payers and Governments, its actually by design to keep a certain degree of infliction or burdens upon this lower class of minorities and also monopolize off their down falls. You see there is revenue within the criminal justice system. Just like there have been in every penal system in America that have been eventually waived. We understand that there has to be penal institutions in place for the criminally insane. But we are not using our help first method upon crime like we should, whats the first thing the common American citizen pushes for to rehabilitate any problem that surfaces into their life or their family life. Counseling, they impose this practice upon the whole world, and they find it very effective for every problem that enters their worlds. Now why does the same sector of people use their best method last or even if its used at all when it comes to criminal activity. This is something we all have to think about. I'll give you an example of what happened in America and how we came to be where we are today with the mass incarceration problem. Me, I'm from Texas, one of the worst of the worst when it comes to targeting and handling crime opposed to smart tactic's for curing the problem as every one knows we hold the record for executions upon capital punishment ever since it became law again and also we lead the country in wrongfully convicted since it became law again and also we lead the country in wrongfully convicted so that alone will show you a good manner of place to take into good consideration in mass incarceration. Before the acclaimed war on drugs that Ronald Reagan prounced in the mid 80's and up through the nineties. There was twenty something prison units in Texas roughly. By the time nineteen ninety three (1993) there was more than one hundred and twelve built and needed to filled to capacity. Be mindful that prison are like "HOTELS", if you have vacancies then your not making money. Not only in Texas was this crime principle imposed but on every State in America and became the tot'em pole of the new reality of the ware housing of the so called social rejects. We can't pen-point it but theres evidence that our Government at the time let a mass amount of cocaine into the U.S. through central America to create the war on drugs. Does Noreaga and Pablo Escobar ring a bell? Well as we go through it, it all lines up and starts to make sense, on the racket of the conspiracy of the mass incarceration. I'm sure in every State across America there were harsher sentences and punishments imposed, so since we all have all this new space to house inmates we have to make sure we make it to where they have to stay there longer. Here in Texas in nineteen ninety three (1993) the law was passed by the Legislation to change the guidelines on when you come up for parole from one fourth (1/4) of the time you serve on your sentence to half (1/2) of the time the Courts gave you. For example... if you got a fifty year sentence under the one fourth law you had to do twelve flat years before being eligible for parole. now under the new half (1/2) law you have to do twenty five (25) flat years before becoming eligible for parole. But hold on now ! we have all this space we just built, we have to make some changes to accommodate to our new influx and find a way to keep space full. Remember, "HOTELS". Now that Texas State tactic's was one way of dealing with what they had to do individually to capitalize on crime, now thats where all kinds of vices set into place to cripple the sick, in some States there was the three (3) strike laws and in the Federal System where theres mandatory sentencing guidelines under drug laws. Now I think this was the greatest disaster in the whole history of penal systems and prisons ever. By nineteen ninety six (6) the Legislators and Senate enacted a Bill that Bill Clinton signed into law that changed the prison system into the worst thresh hole a prisoner would ever cross. The clutch will enable a prisoner to file a writ of habeas corpus to get out of prison due to any errors the State or Federal Courts may have did to him in the course of his incarceration process. Its called the Anti-Terrorism Effective Death Penalty Act, (A.E.D.P.A.) Its designed to stop Death Penalty convicted inmates from filing writ after writ trying to prolong their sentence of Death and effect the Terrorist from filing writs also we guess. But look what it actually does. Its denying citizens that pay taxes all their lives and still paying in prison to file a writ of appeal to bring your claims into the Courts attention, because the act is imposed on all prisoners, everybody, not just Terrorist or Death Row inmates, what the act said, so we have people denied their rights in prison under Due Process, that could actually file an effective appeal and get out of prison but can't because the law prohibits them from doing it, so now we have all these people who's constitutional rights have been violated and are illegally held in prison because they can't bring it to the Courts attention, because they will not hear your case a second time or if you are over the one year limitations period that is set in place. If we look into the Constitution the writ of Habeas corpus is essential and Bill Clinton' Congress was out of line for ever tampering with your rights to file an appeal, but Bill Clinton later said it was an attachment Bill and he signed it not knowing the damage it would do. I don't believe that because he also signed other Bills into act that damaged the prison system and help they could receive, like cutting programs in prisons and making inmates pay filing fee's for lawsuits that they file. The Government had to play its part into the mass incarceration because they were the soul providers of the whole operation. This is not just something we dreamed up or fairy tales, its all in place and we can see it. Now where do we go from here, we see what have been done, we know the history of it and we lived it and standing here today to tell you the injustice from proof and examples. Well as of now the Obama Administration have taken action against the racial discrimination within the drug sentencing upon the mass incarceration they placed into law that crack cocaine and powder cocaine has the same disparities and they are the same family but some kind of way people getting busted for crack was receiving harsher sentences than people who got busted with powder cocaine, do we know why? and it doesn't take a scientist to figure that out, certain classes of people are getting larger sentences to keep them stored away from society, by design of mass incarceration. So since this have taken place Obama told Congress to set up a special claim through the attorney General and he said if the Congress doesn't want to come up with a Bill, I'll give them all clemency and he's signing and letting them all out right now, the stipulation is if your in Federal prison for crack and you've done ten years or over and you don't have any violent history in prison you can file for clemency at this time. Do we really understand why Congress are dragging their feet with this Bill, I do; these people are thinking, man, this is about to open a door we are not ready for, they set this whole system up about thirty years ago and its about to back fire in their face, did they think it would last forever? Its history in the working, you can only do wrong for so long, you can not manipulate and exploit people all the time, you can only do it some of the time, until it catches up to you. I know there thinking, do this guy realize what can of worms he's opening up, because if there was illegal and racially motivate systematic locking up of people within the drug cases, so what about every other case in America, is there a chance that if we go State and case by case, what would we find in the impartial and biasness or illegalness of the just so happen Mass Incarceration. As we're looking into the future, no one is going to want to be labeled as being part of the mass incarceration error just like slavery was, its going to be out lawed and illegal and unjust and prohibited. The investors are backing out now and dropping the stocks that was invested into the prison system, because its real fragile right now, theres not much holding it together. We see some of the most notorious places that was labeled for tough on crime trying to back pedal out of mass incarceration, but they are not moving fast enough. It was sort of like slavery for the people that it benefited, it was not easy to let that livelihood go, because it was so profitable, and this is the same way, just think about it everybody getting a piece of a great pie, all types of brands of law enforcement, from Police Dept to Lawyers and Correctional Officers, the Criminal Justice degrees are really hot right now because there have been over amount of demand for every field involved in its system. But eventually its going to burst and the bottom will fall out and maybe sooner than we think. At this time we have hard core republicans pushing for criminal justice reform and looking to be smarter on sentencing and crime, because they created this monster and they can see and feel where its going and where its at right now. I guess they know it would not last forever and they see it crumbling before their eyes but it always hard to let good things go especially when its benefitting. Theres always profit when you have people oppressed within a system because you monopolize off the system like prison sell multiple items through stores that they have set up in the penal system and phone systems, where they over charge you for phone service and like in Texas, you even have to pay for Medical Care, its one hundred dollars, and thats illegal, how can you be charged for something that you have no control over and plus you are a ward of the State, if thats the case they should charge you for feeding you and for your room and board, let me not give them any idea's. The Texas prison closed three small transfer prisons and made it a land mark to show that they are indeed trying to close more even larger prisons and use their parole system and utilize the smart on crime antic. But theres some people that oppose to that because do you remember their arre people invested in this system and those ninety prisons didn't just jump up by themselves in the early nineties, it took money and lots of it. So now they are saying okay we don't mind letting the stock (inmates) go because we believe and know a lot of them was not supposed to be there or not for that length of time anyway, but the big question is what do we do about our property that we are losing the buildings and the land, that it takes to occupy the prisons, how do we compensate ourselves for this real estate, well there was an article talking about this and they were saying that its hard to resale prisons because what are the people going to use them for, most prisons are in rural areas and thats not going for business advertisement and their not good to reconstruct into buildings such as offices because the size of the cells are too small for offices. So how are we going to reuse this establishment that we set up for years to come. Thats also whats holding back the breaking down of the mass incarceration error. But its no different to when they declared slavery unconstitutional the fuss was, who's going to pay the owners for their investments of their property. At one point in time slaves was the largest economy in America at 4.5 Billion in total revenue, it was even more than the rail road system and every other profit in 1863. Our Nation is numb, President Obama said this month while announcing his my brothers keeper initiative. So numb that we are nonchalant about the overwhelming numbers of black and Brown boys who end up in prison. "We just assume this an inevitable part of American life, instead of the outrage that it is"., Obama said. Why should this disturb us even more is that prisoners have become a commodity, thanks to the growing relationship between private prisons and State Governments. The State that go into business with for-profit prisons sign contracts that essentially agree to maintain quotas on the number of prisoners. If they can't keep the prison populations at the agreed upon level, that States must pay the differences. Often, private prisons also want inmates who are younger and healthier which makes them less expensive to house. Older prisoners tend to be white and younger inmates tend to be minorities. In Texas for example, 69% of prisoners in these private institutions are people of color, compared to 57% in the public prisons. The two largest private prison companies are Correction Crop of America and the Gro Corp, together they own and operate 132 facilities nationwide that generate $3.3 Billion annually. As I said earlier, our minority communities have been targeted in ways partially in the drug war that would be unthinkable in white communities, but in recent years, bipartisan congressional and Obama Administration efforts have begun to ease the negative impact of the war on drugs. In 2010, congress passed the fair sentencing Act closing the wide disparity between sentencing for possession and sale of crack cocaine (used and sold more by blacks) vs powder cocaine (used and sold by more whites). Last year when Senator Rand Paul, R-KY, co-sponsored the justice safety valve act to ease mandatory sentencing, he equated the war on drugs with racist Jim Crow Policies. Hopefully, with a republican Senator making that move into reforming mass incarceration this will help States like Texas rethink of doing business with private prisons, but it should also awaken our nation to the immorality of selling prison cells to the highest bidder, and then using controversial quota policies to fill them with younger inmates, who tend to be predominantly black and brown. If we continue to ignore this trend, our nation and our modern prisons will look no different from the plantations of old. But don't get me wrong things are changing slowly but surely and this is what we wanna think so much, in perhaps the most symbolic development in this erosion of support for hard line justice policies, six states have abolished the death penalty in the past seven years. It had been a movement fueled in part by the exonerations since 2008 of 20 people who had been languishing on death row for crimes they did not commit. The latest one; Glen Ford, freed this year after 30 years awaiting death at the Louisiana State penitentiary. Prisons represent only one pillar of costly just system that are being dismantled or rolled back, drug addicts that were swept up in masses are being treated as medical patients rather than criminals. Marijuana once regarded as the gateway substance in the war on drugs, is increasingly being decriminalized. Stiff sentences for repeat offenders, meted out in dozens of States, have been eased, as has the application for solitary confinement. It cost the United States about $80 Billion per year to house more than 2 Million in jails and prisons. Law makers, criminal justice officials and analysts say there is a growing philosophical component to this shift that is raising fundamental questions of fairness. For the first time in a generation is collectively acknowledging that some of the most extreme punishment policies have largely failed. If I told you that one out of three African American males are still prevented from voting because of the "War on Drugs", you might think I was talking about Jim Crow 50 years ago, Senator Rand Paul, R-KY, told a Senate panel last September, referring to long standing voting bars for convicted felons. But as I said there is something really profound going on, there is a movement on mandatory minimums (sentencing) there is movement on solitary confinement, and there is a movement on death penalty. "What ties them all together", is the basic recognition that the application of power without justice is brutal and there is nothing democratic about brutality. Now sort of the end of our analogy we gonna have to talk about the diversion of the focus on violent crime, but first in the five decades since african American won their civil rights, hundred of thousands have lost their liberty. Blacks now make up a larger portion of the prison population than they did at the time of Brown vs. Board of Education, and their lifetime risk of incarceration has doubled. As the United Sates has become the worlds largest jailers and its prison population has exploded, black men have been particularly affected. Today, black men are imprisoned at 6.5 times the rate of white men. This is why the focus on the war on drugs diverts is from discussing violent crime - a troubling oversite given that violence destroys so many lives in low income black communities and that violent offenders make up plurality of the prison population. This is one of the biggest misconceptions about the way we view mass incarceration as exclusively (or over whelmingly) a result of the war on drugs. But drug offenders constitute only a quarter of our nations prisoners, while violent offenders make up a much larger share: one-half, accordingly, an effective response to mass incarceration will require directly confronting the issue of violent crime and developing policy responses that can complete with the punitive approach that currently dominate American criminal policy. The idea that the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2006 there was 1.3 million prisoners in State prisons, 760,000 in local jails and 190,000 in Federal prisons. Amon the State prisoners, 20% for drug offenses and 8% for public offenses. In jails, the split among the various categories was more equal with roughly 25% of inmates being held for each of the four main crtime categories (violent, drug, property, and public order) Federal prisons are the only type of facilities in which drug offenders constitute a majority 52% of the prisoners, but Federal prisons hold many fewer people overall. Considering all reforms of penal institutions together, more prisoners are locked up for violent offenses than for any other type, and just under 25% (550,000) of our nations 2.3 million prisoners are drug offenders. This is extraordinary and appalling number, but even if ever single one of those drug offenders were released tomorrow, the United State would still have the worlds largest prison system. Moreover, our prison system has grown so large in part because we have changed our sentencing policies for all offenders, not just drug offenders. We divert fewer offenders that we once did, send more of them to prison, and keep them in prison for much longer time. An exclusive focus on the drug war misses this larger point about sentencing choices. This is why it is not enough to dismiss talk of violent offenders by saying that "violent crime is not responsible for the prison boom". It is true that the prison population in this country continued to grow even after violent crime began to decline dramatically. However, the States response to violent crime - less diversion and longer sentences - has been a major cause of mass incarceration. Thus, changing how Governments respond to all crime, not just drug crime, is critical to reducing the size of prison populations. "As a society", their decision to heap shame and contempt upon those who struggle and fail in a system designed to keep them locked up and locked out says far more about us than it does about them. Since it is especially difficult to suspend moral judgment when the discussion turns to violent crime, progressives tend to avoid or change the subject. To see how mass incarcerations critics can be regarding the subject of violence, see how they describe Jarvious Cottons great-great grand father could not vote as a slave. His great grandfather was beaten to death by the Ku Klux Klan for attempting to vote. His grand father was prevented from voting by klan intimidation. His father was barred from voting by pull taxes and literacy tests. Today, Jarvious Cotton cannot vote because he, like many black men in the United States, has been labeled a felon and is currently on parole. Well to bring the cause and effect of the reasons why we are dealing with a inevitable unjust monster of mass incarceration has many heads and they all are worthy to be accountable. As we all know the U.S. Department of Justice does not ensure equal justice or fairness, and our various departments of Corrections in our great and lesser States have no succeeded at correcting criminal behavior nor have they given evidence of a desire to do so. The Democratic society and enlightened are aware of the stains in our nation. The Honorable Sandra Day O'Connor, retiring Supreme Court Associate has repeatedly indicated that a poor defendant in our Courts of law have a poor defense. It is obvious when we see wealthy defendants spend millions of dollars to defend themselves that the amount of money spent has some linkage to the amount of justice received. Prison population since 1995, the numbers have been increasing on average of 43,266 inmates per year (3.4) percent that is equivalent of adding a city the size of Beverly Hills, CA every single year. This system is not fair when many of these persons are incarcerated not because they are criminals, but because they could not afford a good defense. The politics of prison and the retaining of those who are prepared to live free, rewarding prosecutors who secure convictions at any cost. A high percentage of members of congress and other elected officials have been prosecutors and they tend to protect the system that gave them success. How are most people victims of a system in need of repair? According to the department of justice 25-29 age group. An estimate 11.9 percent of black men are in jails or prisons, 3.9 percent of Hispanics and 1.7 percent of white men. In our inner city's our children are being forced to survive in concrete jungles, where they are rapidly devolving into one or two things, they are becoming either predator or pray, dead men and convicted felons don't count; dead men and convicted felons can't vote. For the majority of our youth, those that survive to experience the ripe old age of eighteen, an even more precarious monster is awaiting them, a prison industrial complex that is truly a multi-headed hydra of despair. This hydra has evolved into a job program for rural communities hit hard by BRAC. The Base Realignment and Closure Committee. It is a multi-Billion Dollar boom for an already wealthy corporate America, it is a population control monster that removes the men from our communities as convicted felons no longer having the right to vote; and it is a socioeconomic control mechanism as most employers will not hire convicted felons, thus limiting upward mobility and ensuring the prison industrial complex of a plentiful supply of inner city youths from the next generation. This prison industrial complex is a living organism because the more it eats the more it grows, the more young African American it ingest, the more prisons that it will need to build and thus it grows. Again the answer will not come easy! There exist a perpetual pendulum of violence that swings from one generation to the next, and for the sake of our survival we must discover why? Why do our children kill and destroy? What is it within their world that makes them capable of committing such atrocities? Why can one grand mother sit on her porch and safely watch the sun set while another must live in fear behind a barricade of shame chains, locks, bolts, and weapons? How can there exist two different worlds within one city or even within a few minutes driving distance from one another. Why is it that in this day and age, an african American grand mother feels lucky if she has only one grand child in prison? What have we as a people descended to? I believe the true tragedy is that it is a mirror image of many areas within urban America. Its not a special set of circumstances nor is it particular to a certain geographical area. The saga is played out all across America in all its epic violence and destructive tragedy. There are no easy answers, nor solutions for the conditions I've described. Midnight basketball games for youth, gun buy back programs, three strike laws, and federal minimum mandatory sentences will not solve our problems. Those are some one elses solutions to our problems, and it is our political marginalization that forces us to accept those impositions. Across the nation tens of thousands of young African American men donned red bandanas and blue ones and went to war with one another over absolutely nothing. We actually fought a civil war with one another over nothing. There is something inside of me that refused to allow those deaths to go unnoticed, unspoken of to be meaningless. I intentionally left out mentioning any african American fathers, it is done to highlight their absence in our communities. If I were to include one father, just one good and decent african american, I would have to cut down the despair by at least fifty percent. That's how much of a difference just one good black man being a role model with his community can make. Just one can change the lives of numerous children. Our children are dying, they are dying young and they are dying in vain. Our babies are being born and sacrificed to the inner city. They are in essence being born to die. That is why GOD our father have blessed me to bestow upon my heart with the gift and drive to be a youth minister and mentor to the youth that will be saved from the evil snare. So let us commit ourselves to working hard and rebuilding the communities so that we can end this tragedy within our generation. Ten years from now let this matter be no existence and let this subject topic become an alien concept to our lives. This is all said so that we could hopefully examine ourselves, our conditions, and if not find solution then at least begin to ask questions that would eventually lead to the solution to eventually stop once and for all MASS INCARCERATION. Thank you all for listening and may GOD BLESS you and keep you all !!!

Author: Broussard, Brad A.

Author Location: Texas

Date: August 10, 2014

Genre: Essay

Extent: 12 pages

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