The World According to Humphrey

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Part two: The Injustice System

Posted by humphreysworld on July 8, 2011

Anthony Graves- 20 years.
Barney Brown- 38 years.
Michael Green- 27 years.
Ronald Cotton- 11 years.
Dean Cage- 14 years.
Central Park Five- 12 years.
John Jerome White- 30 years.

What do these men have in common? For one, these are just a few of the men that were thrown in the clink for crimes they didn’t commit. Besides having lost up to half their lives in prison, these men experienced a ‘justice’ system that is designed to keep them locked up like animals. They were also convicted in a court of ‘law’ based on shaky and in some cases, falsified information. Did I mention they were also black?

We have two justices systems in this country, one for whites and one for nots. Had Casey Anthony been a woman of color she would’ve been found guilty, as she should be. As I mentioned in part one of my ranting on this case, I paid very little attention to this case. But what I read left little doubt that she at a minimum had something to do with the death of her child, and in all likelihood was the one who ended it. In most of the cases above*, they were falsely identified by witnesses or victims and in spite of professing their innocence, they were convicted and sentenced to live life in prison. And Casey goes free. Huh?

I realize I’m stating the obvious, but there is an injustice in the system. Many would argue (and I would agree) it is designed to keep the brown and poor (often one in the same) confined. The stark differences in between how people of color and whites are treated when suspects, on trial, in jail, etc. makes it hard to argue otherwise. Just last month I came across a startling article stating that there are more black men in prison now then there were enslaved in the 1850’s. WTF! One could argue that today’s prison industrial complex model is nothing more than modern day slavery. Once inside, you are stripped of your rights, your dignity and you work for next to nothing. Sounds a lot like a plantation to me.

Now before you send me nasty notes, call me racist or whatever the hell else you can come up with, let me clarify two things. One, white people do go to jail (duh). And they aren’t always poor whites; every now and then the ‘justice’ system throws the public a bone by catching a white collar thief like Madoff and sends them up the gucci river without a paddle (how many get away with their crimes is a post for another time). To say that jails are filled with only blacks and latinos would be horse shit. Now are the rates of incarcerated whites to black and latinos imbalanced? Yup. According to recent data, there are more than 2 million people in the slammer. And while African Americans make up just over 12% of the U.S. population, we account for nearly 40% of the prison population. As for my latino brothers and sisters, they comprise of 16% of the U.S. population and yet account for 20% of the prison population. Point number two, there are people of all races who without a doubt deserve to be behind bars. There are rapists, thieves, pedophiles, murderers, drunk drivers, etc. who have no business being on the street. They deserve to be in jail and I am in no way suggesting anything otherwise.

But I am suggesting that this system is quite simply, fucked up.

Caylee Anthony will likely see no justice in her day. Neither will the hundreds of black and brown children who have been kidnapped or murdered that have cases unsolved. Neither will any black woman who has been assaulted who had her case ignored. Neither will some people- brown or otherwise-, wrongly accused who may die in prison before they get the opportunity to exonerate themselves. And yet Casey goes free. There is a pattern here and it seems to be pretty, well, black and white.

There seems to be no justice in the justice system…or maybe it is I who is colorblind. What do you think?

*The young men involved in the Central Park Five case originally confessed to committing the crime without a lawyer or adult present.


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