Sunday, August 23, 2015
Prisoners of War in the Michigan Gulag
“We will wage a war on drugs”.
— Ronald Reagan, October 14, 1982
“Thus it is that no cruelty whatsoever passes by without impact.”
— Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago
“We should not tolerate conditions in prison that have no place in any civilized country … We should not be tolerating rape in prison, and we shouldn’t be making jokes about it in our popular culture.”
— Barack Obama, July 14, 2015
The US imprisons more people than any other country. Michigan spends more on prisons than on education. We cage humans as social policy.
Reagan’s “war on drugs” did to poor people what real war does – destroy infrastructure, maim men and women. We jail too many people for too long.
Right-wing politicians use imprisonment as the answer to poverty, mental illness, addiction… you name it. Taxpayers are stuck with the cost – the wasteful cost of warehousing non-violent people who otherwise might be sentenced to community service or rehab.
Cages are not for humans. Here are a few of the victims of the war on drugs:
Jeremy H, 17, was so scared he’d be raped in jail he hung himself.
Randy P, 20, arrested for drinking, was locked in solitary for 72 days; a jailer taunted him to commit suicide, so in despair, he tried; they cut him down after severe brain damage.
Larry J’s leg vein was blocked due to diabetes, which caused ischemic pain – crushing, unrelenting pain; his toe turned gangrenous, then his ankle reddened, then it moved up his calf. A prison guard found Larry writhing in pain in his cell; Larry begged for treatment for three months and got only Ibuprofen every other day. When he finally got to a hospital it was too late; they amputated his leg.
Scott W was sexually assaulted in jail; his PTSD is so bad he hyperventilates if asked about the assault.
We are not just beyond compassion. As a nation we have lost any sense of compunction.