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The Nationwide Prison Strike: Beyond Mass Incarceration

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  • Part 1: The Nationwide Prison Strike: Why It’s Happening and What It Means for Ending Mass Incarceration
  • It was time to launch a national prison strike to raise awareness around the brutality of mass incarceration.
  • Part 2: Beyond Mass Incarceration
  • How the deleterious effects of the drug wars go far beyond just those who end up in prison, from stop-and-frisk to the use of police informants.

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

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Part 1: The Nationwide Prison Strike: Why It’s Happening and What It Means for Ending Mass Incarceration
 

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It was time to launch a national prison strike to raise awareness around the brutality of mass incarceration.

Janos Marton, ACLU / Rise Up Times

August 21, 2018 | Earlier this spring, violence broke out in the Lee Correctional Institution in South Carolina, resulting in seven deaths and many injuries. Incarcerated leaders in the South Carolina prison system decided they had had enough. Brutal treatment from corrections officers, deteriorating prison conditions, and incredibly long, punitive sentences had led to a condition of hopelessness in South Carolina’s prisons.

Leaders within the South Carolina prison system began reaching out to incarcerated allies across the country, including the Free Alabama Movement, who had led a prison strike in 2016. A decision was made: It was time to launch a national prison strike to raise awareness around the brutality of mass incarceration.

Janos Marton, State Campaigns Manager, ACLU Campaign for Smart Justice,  ACLU

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Part 2: Beyond Mass Incarceration


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How the deleterious effects of the drug wars go far beyond just those who end up in prison, from stop-and-frisk to the use of police informants.

Jonathan Blanks, Demnocracy Journal

May 31, 2018 | Earlier this month, the Trump White House held a bipartisan event supporting prison reform, including good time credits for low-level offenders. Mass incarceration has indeed become the primary focus in the world of criminal justice reform, with many of the most popular reforms focused on sentencing and community reentry for nonviolent drug offenders. And although much can and should be done for those who have been incarcerated, there are many more victims of the the drug war’s abuses than just those who end up in prison. In addition to the millions of people arrested each year for misdemeanor drug possession, countless people who will never step foot into a jail or prison nonetheless have been harassed and searched by police looking for drugs or their proceeds.

And the same incentives that drive police to make so many arrests and searches can also influence them to lie about how and why any search or arrest was legal. For example, if a police officer says he “smelled marijuana” emanating from a car during a stop, he can use that as probable cause to search a car, whether or not the smell was real. In addition, low-level dealers who are arrested are sometimes coerced into becoming informants and setting up stings with larger dealers, often at their own peril. What’s more, the potential profits in the illicit drug trade can lead unscrupulous officers to use their authority as cover for criminal enterprise. In other words, on both the individual and institutional levels, prosecuting the drug war has corroded the integrity of law enforcement and its officers.

Jonathan Blanks is a Research Associate in Cato’s Project on Criminal Justice. His research is focused on law enforcement practices, overcriminalization, and civil liberties.

Full story …

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