America Is 5% Of The World’s Population, Yet It Is Home To 25% Of The World’s Prisoners , Yet The Majority Of Those Imprisoned Are African Americans
Ava Duvernay delivers yet another brilliant, provocative, ‘must see’ documentary film. Duvernay’s ‘ The 13th ‘ [which premiered over the weekend on Netflix], provides the historical context behind the origin of mass incarceration and its direct linkage to racial inequality in the United States.
The opening line of the film begins with the ratification of slavery, which many persons of color were led to believe was the end of a ‘wicked era’ but as one interviewer stated in film, as they got rid of one cancer, there was another cancer brewing – Mass Incarceration.
The 13th Amendment: Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction
Passed By Congress On January 31, 1865 ratified by the states on December 6, 1865.
The plantation to prison pipeline was birthed from this idea and Duvernay’s 13th chronicles the line from beginning- to-end which created a loophole to round up African Americans into the prison industrial complex.
Here’s few take away’s, I got from this film:
The ‘Jim Crow Laws’ [Reagan presidency], ‘FBI Crackdowns’ [Nixon presidency], ‘The War On Drugs’ [Bush presidency] and Bill’s Clinton 1994 ‘Crime Bill’ and ‘Mandatory Sentencing’ were all contributing factors of mass incarceration and with each decade the number of inmates grew significantly higher.
Clinton set up the infrastructure to incarcerate a mass of persons of color when he proposed in his 1994 ‘Crime Bill’. His three strike rule, and mandatory sentencing replace the role of parole and as a result many African Americans were charged with non-violent drug offenders, yet they received longer sentences than any other racial groups.
The Goal Simply Put Was – “Blacks Get Hurt More Than Whites”
Woodrow Wilson’s made the first ‘Birth Of A Nation’ film – and it was not about Nat Turner. The film debut following the passing of the 13th amendment deeming the ‘black male’ as a severe threat to society and a danger to white women.
George W. Bush [senior] won his election over George Dukakis by ‘criminalizing blacks’.
Police Brutality practices against African Americans post civil rights and now stem from the same systemic oppression that was set in place prior. Terms like ‘Super Predator’, ‘Thug’, ‘Radical’, ‘Terrorists’, were commonly used [back then] to define black men and women who were criminalized in the media. Interestingly, how these same words are used to describe ‘black men’ slain by police in media today and members of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ group.
From the public lynching, killings and hosing of black men /women in the 60’s, to the public arrests of black men /women from the 70’s and up was done intentionally to create ‘a bad image’ , ‘hatred’ and ‘stereotype’ of an entire race of people.
Civil right activists, community leaders, and or groups who attempted to expose these systemic injustices were jailed, killed and often demonized in MEDIA headlines which help to further the agenda of Mass Incarceration.
Mass Incarceration Is Heavily Monetized From Free Prison Labor
Alec: American Legislative Exchange Council is made up of politicians and corporations and has been around for decades. 1 in 4 legislators are ALEC members. They are responsible for making the laws / bills, and policy including state laws to create private-for-profit prisons.
Alec’s 1995 ‘Prison Industries Act’ allow prisoners to receive hourly wage but the 30% – 40% tax is taken from their pay supposedly to offset cost of prisons from taxpayers but instead the money is used to build more private prisons. Many of our favorite corporations were committed sponsors of Alec and made huge profits from prison labor.
Corporations like, Walmart, State Farm Insurance, Kraft, Tobacco, At&t , Verizon, McDonalds, Pharma, GM, P&G, Ebay, Coco Cola, NRA, J.C Penney, Victoria Secret all have benefited from their partnership with Alec. Some have stepped away from Alec amid recent exposure but Alec is still thriving in more than 40 states within the U.S.
1 In 3 Black Men Are Expected To Go To Jail In His Lifetime In Comparison To 1 In 17 White Men Who Are Jailed .
CCA [Corrections Corporate of America] is one of the leading partners of Alec; a multi-billion dollar company that gets rich off of imprisonment. So, despite how much crime is actually committed, CCA is committed to the goal of locking up individuals and securing mandatory sentencing.
Securus Technologies is a company that provides phone service to inmates at a higher rate. So a prisoner who works minimum wage would have to work and 1 hour and a half just to earn a 10 min phone call.
Alec’s 2010 Arizona SB1070 law targets immigrants. Immigration facilities are set up for single persons and family immigrants and there has been an influx of detainees living in unsanitary conditions.
Aramark Correctional Food supply came under heavy scrutiny last year after unified inmate protests after maggots and harmful chemicals were found in their foods.
There is much ‘rehabilitation’ and ‘reform’ urgently needed in the Criminal Justice system. A system that gives favor to the guilty and rich, than those poor and not guilty is a broken system in need of repair.
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