Give Americans Some Slack, Not Jail Time
by Weam Namou
On Monday, an L.A. Judge announced that a 74-year-old grandmother would be released from prison after serving 32 years for a murder she did not commit. In 1981, Jones’ abusive boyfriend kidnapped two drug dealers and then forced Jones at gunpoint to drive them into an alley, where the boyfriend shot one of the men. Jones ran from the scene, expecting to be killed too. Instead, the teacher’s aide and churchgoer with no criminal record was charged with and convicted for two counts of murder and other crimes.
Also on Monday, the Real Housewives of New Jersey Teresa Guidice, a mother of 4 children, was sentenced for 15 months of jail time for fraud charges. Her husband was sentenced to 4 years.
The majority of Americans are hardworking people who try to give back to the community. They want to do the right thing, they try to help, they pretty much follow the rules, which is not so easy given the number of rules they have to follow. They are good people, and yet they get slapped pretty hard for being human and making mistakes or in Jones’ case, being caught in the wrong situation.
“Over-incarceration in America destabilizes families and communities,” writes Piper Kerman, in Orange is the New Black. “We have a racially biased justice system that over punishes, fails to rehabilitate and does not make us safer.”
Read Amanda Scherker’s article in the Huffington Post and you will see how easily a person can be locked up as a “criminal” for a non-violent offense, which not only ruins his or her life but that of his family, and in return affects us greatly as a community while making corporations quite rich. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/16/us-prison-size_n_5398998.html
It’s pretty scary! According to the article, the total prison population has grown by 500 percent over the last 30 years. Currently, one-third of the world’s entire imprisoned female population is awaiting trial or serving sentences in the U.S., mostly for nonviolent crimes. Many are mothers. And we lock up more juveniles than any other developed country.
Americans do not deserve this type of harsh treatment – especially not while the real criminals are out there, happily sauntering around, living rich off of others’ destruction.
Such a good piece, Weam, and so sadly true. It is scary that way anymore. And it grieves me how many women are incarcerated who were abused and trying to survive. Don’t even get me started on the way things are these days in this country. I have been very upset over this kind of thing; far too much injustice and mis-justice.
While we sleep, some people are building our future for us. We must wake up so that we can participate in the decisions they’re making for us.