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The Voice of the Black Community
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Opinion

Movement to end mass incarceration
Forum aims to find alternatives
 
Published Friday, April 25, 2014 9:14 am
by Madeline McClenney-Sadler PhD

In 2012, Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein released their account concerning why our political system is failing, it is called “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks.”  The title of their book speaks to the issue of mass incarceration as well.  

We want to see everyone on May 3 at 7 p.m. pulling up to park or getting off the bus at St. Paul Baptist Church to get informed, to speak out on the issues, and to take collective action at the Town Hall meeting because it is even worse than it looks much worse.  Men in Angola, Louisiana and inmates all over the country write to us regarding horrific conditions of confinement.  According to the latest figures from the Children’s Defense Fund, if you have three African-American boys in your family who were born in 2001, one is guaranteed to go to jail or prison in his lifetime.  

If you have 17 black girls in your family born in 2001, one will go to prison or jail in her lifetime.  The situation for white boys and Latino boys is just as bad.  The studies are clear. Punishment does not work. We can only threaten and beat down a person so much before the beating and threats lose their effectiveness.  

Eighty-six percent of those we lock up are victims of child abuse. Almost 96 percent grew up without a father in the home, and in 2010, the women we locked up were earning less than $10,000 a year.  We are not surviving the game. Our current system to address wrongdoing is so primitive and barbaric even Fred Flintstone thinks it is out of date. We claim that we only want to fund best practices.  Yet, our network of prisons is a worst practice, and we still fund it.

Unless convicted persons take advantage of the unique programs offered at Jail Central and North, they come out in the same predicament or worse.  Over the next 10 years, not only will punishment make our communities less safe; but also, the state of N.C. stands to lose over $230 million in tax revenues, and Charlotte banks will forfeit over $20 million in potential deposits because we do not employ people with records. What works to create safer families and communities is assigning someone who has lost his way to a loving therapeutic professional in a setting where rewards and consequences are fairly paired.  

The vast majority of our law enforcement officials are good people who have been given a dirty playbook. We owe it to the sacrifices that they make and the risks that they take to meet together on May 3 and to work toward exchanging this system for a Restorative Justice System. We owe it to the youth tried and sentenced as adults in N.C. and to people with nonviolent convictions facing long sentences to be present. We must be present for loved ones who cry themselves to sleep at night longing for their caged brother, sister or parent. Exodus Foundation.org is bringing Marc Mauer, an expert on race and criminal justice policy to answer your questions. We will remember victims of crime in a special video presentation. The award winning writer, producer, and director Quentin Talley will bring us a spoken word. We will honor the Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff Chipp Bailey as he retires for working arduously to reduce rates of incarceration. Erik Ortega, Dr. Earle Williams, and Steve Burns will be on the panel with Marc Mauer to discuss their time in prison and to give expert counsel to us.   Antonia Childs will join them with her insights on human trafficking. 

Come and prepare to sign our petition to President Obama, which may lead to an early release of our sons and daughters.  It is even worse than it looks.  So, let’s make a collective, multiracial, interfaith move toward radical change together on May, 3 at 7 p.m., at St. Paul Baptist Church located at 1401 Allen St. Join our mission to stop the flow of African-Americans and all Americans to prison. You can reach us at exodus@exodusfoundation.org or (704) 947-9090 x 104.

Madeline McClenney-Sadler PhD is president of the Exodus Foundation.

 

Comments

I think we should be EQUALLY FAIR. Everyone that is eligible for relief it is a blessing. However all these things dealing with the Clemency, Smarter Sentencing Act and All Drugs Minus Two are all for Federal prisoners. What about the STATE PRISONERS?? I created a petition. It is for those that are charged and serving time in STATE prison under the Mandatory Guidelines for drug charges. The senate is in the process of passing a bill for "Only" federal cases, which will lessen their time extremely. This petition supports that as well as fights for those that are charged in State Prison, since the bill is for federal cases. Please help me get this petition heard and have our loved ones home sooner. Also it will save taxpayers millions of dollars. All you have to do is Click, Sign, & Share. http://www.change.org/petitions/florida-state-senate-all-drug-minus-two-for-florida-state-prisoners I Thank everyone in advance for their support. Prisoners are serving yrs & life sentences in BOTH Federal & State. It has to begin somewhere. The fight starts here. God Bless everyone that takes a minute of their time to sign petition.
Posted on April 28, 2014
 
Rick Wershe, better known to the public as "White Boy Rick", is currently serving a life prison sentence in the Michigan Department of Corrections for a single drug possession conviction from January 1988. When he was arrested he was only 17 years old. Newly uncovered evidence proves he was led into the life of being a teenage drug dealer by the federal government. Rick was recruited by a narcotics task force made up by the FBI, DEA, and several Detroit Police Department detectives in 1984 as a 14 year old juvenile, encouraged to drop out of high school and eventually put to work as a paid undercover operative in some of the state's most dangerous criminal organizations for the next three years.
Following his conviction, he was sentenced under Michigan's ultra-tough "650-Lifer Law", a law erased from the books in 1998, allowing him to be eligible for parole.In the three times before the parole board in the last decade, he's been rejected every time. As of 2012, he was the only minor sentenced under that law in the whole Michigan prison system that remains behind bars. He is also the only person in the country convicted as a minor for a non violent crime facing the prospect of serving a life sentence.
In the 25 years Rick has been incarcerated, he has cooperated with law enforcement extensively. Prosecutors have said that without his help, the largest police corruption case in Detroit's history would not have been possible. Some of the people ending up being convicted included members of Coleman Young's family.
Rick's situation doesn't feel right in many ways. This site will hopefully educate people who are unfamiliar with his situation , however isn't intended for "fans" to glamorize or endorse his behavior.
Once a boy who made a mistake, Rick is now simply a man in his mid-40's in search of a second chance.

http://www.thefix.com/content/story-white-boy-rick-richard-wershe-detroit-corruption70041?page=all

http://www.ticklethewire.com/2013/09/11/column-the-michigan-parole-boards-crime-against-white-boy-rick/

http://www.deadlinedetroit.com/articles/6448/steve_fishman_parole_board_lacks_guts_to_free_white_boy_rick#.UkjCD8c0_Mg

http://www.detroitsports1051.com/drewlanepodcast/2014/01/15/white-boy-rick-from-oaks-correctional-facility#.UvLCVmYo7IU

http://www.theoaklandpress.com/general-news/20121119/white-boy-rick-collecting-donations-for-food-bank-from-behind-bars-with-video

https://www.facebook.com/freewhiteboyrickwershe
http://www.change.org/petitions/free-white-boy-rick-wershe
http://freerickwershe.com/Home_Page.html
https://twitter.com/freerickwershe
Posted on April 28, 2014
 
My brother is serving a life sentence for a non violent drug offense. He's been incarcerated since 2005.
Posted on April 27, 2014
 

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