I am an African-American male

Jones, A. L.



I am an African-American male convicted in trial for a non-violent drug conspiracy charge. Convicted from the testimony of co-conspirators who were proffered by the government to agree to law enforcement's version of alleged violations of federal laws, in exchange for a sentence reduction for supplying prosecution with uncorroborated hearsay testimony. I want to inform [crossed out: our community] the world about what I’ve witnessed in my experience being processed through the American criminal justice system. When I was a kid watching the local news channels because we couldn't afford cable, a drug bust consisted of undercover drug buys and drug recovery by law enforcement, which produced "dope on the table" for all the world to see. Real police work was evident. Now, because of the way drug policy has been written up, little or no police work is done and officers don't even need to leave the police station to get authorization to round up sometimes hundreds of people at a time [crossed out: of] for _susptected_ drug offences. I underline "suspected" because no undercover buys or recovery of narcotics by law enforcement need to be completed. This "round up" of suspected drug offenders is a prosecutorial weapon called "conspiracy". Let me be clear to state that I am in no way promoting the sale of any mind-altering chemicals deemed legal or illegal by our government, because any common citizen can see that the authorization to sell and use any substance depends upon taxability and distribution control of said product. It's never been about the public safety because the products that are regulated the most kill the most Americans and people abroad. Firearms, alcohol, and tobacco kill more Americans and people around the world than all illegal substances combined. The legalization of marijuana proves that money and the control of the revenues generated from the sale of said products is far more important than public safety. I'm not talking about moral ramifications associated with drug use and distribution (sales), because statistics support that both command equal participation in all communities across America. Since this is true, America's prison system's inmate population should reflect this equally. It does not. The obvious problem is that the majority of the offenders look like me. Transported to court in shackles down to the Dirkson Federal Building downtown Chicago from a private, for-profit detention facility that I was housed in, takes my soul back in time. The holding pens at the Dirkson as well as the facilities that federal inmates are housed in give minorities an eerie feeling that can only be explained in the slave accounts as a "social death" that Walter Johnson details in his book entitled "Slavery by Slavery". I see a whole community of black men awaiting prosecution as if we are the only users and dealers of illegal narcotics. We are targeted for offenses that the whole of America is willfully engaged in. Michelle Alexander, the author of the "New Jim Crow", confirmed what every black man in the United States already knows - we are targeted with prosecution for violation of every statute, code and regulation on every level of American governance. This same government that regulated the enslavement of a people for a profit is the same government that regulates the targeting of the descendants of [crossed out: the] those slaves for a profit still. On January 9, 2014 in Washington, Senator Rand Paul said, "I think if we talk about these ideas, we take them to the minority community, often the African—American and sometimes the Hispanic community 3 out of 4 people in prison are black or brown. But if you look at surveys on those who use drugs, whites and blacks and Hispanics used at about the same rate. You don't have as good an attorney if you don't have money. Some of the prosecution has tended to go where it's easier to prosecute." We are targeted specifically for the illegal activities that all of American indulges in and our government's policy has been and continues to be our community's number one enemy after our moral shortcomings of course. The institutional racism that is demonstrated against [crossed out: us] minorities can be proven by the statistical data compiled in any almanac. The 2013 World Almanac on page 149 entitled, "Law Enforcement Civilian Employees and Officers 2010", states that in the 14,744 city, county, state, college and university, tribal agencies around the country collectively employed 1,013,608 full-time law enforcement workers to service 291.4 million people. According to information, there are 355 full time law enforcement employees and 204 sworn officers per 1,000 residents. African-Americans comprise only 12.2% and Hispanics only 16.3% of the U.S. population for the year 2010 (page 673), 1,000 residents are used to represent a sample population of the American public, then 30% or roughly 300 people of the 1,000 residents are minorities. This sample population of 1,000 is serviced by 6.9 law enforcement employees" Without breakiny down the categories of crime and having all parameters within demographics (black, white, Hispanic) being equal, it's impossible to have 3 out of 4 people in prison to be black and brown - unless we are targeted. The analysis of a statical layman such as myself reveals that 75% of the 6.9 law enforcement or 5 out of 7 officers target their resources on policing the 300 residents represented in the 12.2% and l6a3% that the African—American and Hispanic communities represent respectively, out of the 1,000 resident sample population from the whole U,S, population of 291.4 million. The remaining 25% (or 2 out of the 7 officers) officers of the 6.9 law enforcement resources are available to service the 700 residential majority of the 1,000 residents that are used as a pie slice of the whole of American To get these numbers we, the minority community, must be profiled and targeted. My community is no less or more sinful than any other community residing in the United States of America. There is no justification to warrant government policy that focuses more than 70% of the country's law enforcement resources on specific groups of American citizens, as the current incarceration rate reflects. This is racial profiling that the average citizen is too distracted to discern. We are targeted! President Obama was targeted by Republicans to the point of a Florida GOP leader resigning because of it. Trayvon Martin was targeted because he was in a neighborhood that someone thought he should not be in. Frederick Douglas was targeted for attempting to run away from slavery. Marcus Garvey, for attempting to mobilize and remove millions of consumers from America's control, Martin, for attemnting to dream, Malcolm for loving white women first, then loving his community afterwards. I was targeted because of my moral shortcomings that allowed me to engage in an activity that all of America indulges in, yet we are specifically _profiled_ and _targeted_ for prosecution. This intent to possess/distribute the government charges does not address common sense questions as to why these vices are so prevalent in communities that are logistically incapable of producing, manufacturing, transporting, and distributing such large quantities of drugs and illegal firearms that account for the majority of the offenses committed. We are victims of a much larger conspiracy to perpetually handicap an entire race of people while defrauding the whole U.S. population of valuable tax dollars to fund the warehousing of minority and poor people. I can promise you this, not even the most radical of right wingers would consider spending their own individually earned dollar on excessively warehousing non-violent drug offenders and neither should the collective. Thanks be to God! Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) and the initiators of the Smarter Sentencing Act, which cuts all drug mandatory minimums in half, are awakening people to the injustice of mass incarceration. However, this does not address the targeting and racial profiling tactics and schemes that fill the majority of the criminal justice system with minority citizens. This targeting issue must be addressed because when the corners are cleared in a round up, there is always someone available to take the alleged dealers places and no drug addict ever misses a high, This vicious cycle has impacted my community more so than any other community in America. This government policy entitled, "The War on Drugs" has failed and has only succeeded in ostracizing the most historically downtrodden, neglected and abused people to ever grace the shores of this great nation. Liken to military serviceman Bowe, we are the political prisoners of this war. The victims of this war are the fatherless children, wives turned into widows and parents left childless, This soldier spent 5 years as a prisoner in a failed war because of bad policy, How ironic it is that the mandatory minimum for possession of an illegal substance averages out at 5 years. Another analogy from above situation is the Marine who was incarcerated in Mexico for illegal entry and gun possession. The true victims of his crime, his family, has produced 100,000 signature petitions demanding his immediate release. As such, communities around the country are flooding the streets to demand the release of the political prisoners of this unequally prosecuted and racist "War on Drugs". On February 4 2015, the Chicago Tribune covered a story by Anna Fifield, where she quotes President Obama from an interview with YouTube about North Korea, President Obama was quoted saying "It's brutal and it's oppressive." How much more can be said about an institution such as America's criminal justice system that has been actively engaged in the brutality and oppression of minority communities who have been afforded through citizenship, the right to dream of obtaining a better life in this country void of state sponsored racial profiling. When God is trying to tell us something, it's best we listen. It's time to demand fairness and equality in this country's criminal justice system.

Author: Jones, A. L.

Author Location: Illinois

Date: October 23, 2016

Genre: Essay

Extent: 6 pages

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