April 2, 2008 -- Santa Fe Reporter (CA)
Unlock The Truth
Since Dave Maass' article, "Inside
Out," [Cover story, March 19] was published last week,
I have received calls asking what people can do about the incarceration
pandemic in the United States. Yes, we have the highest per capita
incarceration rate -- in the world. TWO MILLION plus, each year.
As a society, we have moved from the presumption of innocence
to the assumption of guilt. I can't count the number of times
I've been told that if one is arrested, one must be guilty. Habeas
corpus effectively disappeared a decade agolong before anyone
realized it was happening.
The euphemistically named WAR ON DRUGS was
the first never-ending, failed war. And the house of cards it
was grounded on was also fear.
What can you do? Educate yourself. Don't believe
the "spin" associated with prisons and prisoners. Go
to your search engine and keyword "wrongful convictions"
and/or "prosecutorial misconduct." You will learn that
our "justice system" isn't just.
Once you know more about what is really happening
-- contact your elected representatives. The Federal Bureau of
Prisons has only Congress as its overseer; and Congress hasn't
been watching. After all, felons usually can't vote. Contact
Sen. [Jeff] Bingaman and Congressman [Tom] Udall, ask them what
they are doing about prison issues.
Offer your support -- time and money -- to
organizations that are working on prisoners' issues. Locally
you can contact Mara Taub, of the Coalition for Prisoners' Rights
at 982-9520. Mara and her group of volunteers have been publishing
a newsletter for more than 30 years on a shoestring budget. They
can use your donations and your time as a volunteer.
Nationally you can join The Innocence Project
You have probably heard some of their success stories, innocent
people freed after serving decades of time.
The November Coalition at www.november.org,
whose "members educate the public about destructive, unnecessary
incarceration due to the US drug war, and advocate for drug war
The American Friends Service Committee at
has many valuable articles, including Bonnie Kearness' landmark
"Torture in US Prisons," a must-read.
Thank you to Mr. Maass and the Reporter's
editor and publisher for allowing this article to be done. And
thank you to all who have supported us during these grueling
Sabin Bailey, Santa Fe