Obama, Simon and my Personal Perceptions on Criminal Justice Reform

Rev. Abby Jo By Rev. Abby Jo, 28th Mar 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/3i2a5zni/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Society & Issues

David Simon produced an HBO series called, "The Wire." He was invited by President Obama to the White House for this interview which was published on YouTube two days ago. The article is my reaction to the interview.

Counter-Productive Government Police Policy

Nobody mentioned 3 strikes is a complete failure.
Nobody mentioned civil rights or the Constitution.
Nobody mentioned the immorality of the present custom & practice: "prisoners" are treated as objects, sub-human and they are mostly minority men. They are used for human experimentation. Boys never know their dads, a particularly sensitive issue to this President, who was raised by a single mother just as I raised my son as a single mother. It is important that we humanize not just the "shadowy characters" that sit in jail rotting away but the police brutality, such as we saw recently in Ferguson, MO and in the recent Supreme Court decision condemning it.

Regular people will not tolerate police being more brutal than the criminals and with "immunity" from any ethical, legal or moral consequences for their abuse of authority granted by good taxpaying citizens. That is also starting to change, slowly, as police are slowly being arrested, tried and held responsible for their heinous, violent, prejudiced and often sexist or racist actions. Until all persons who abuse their authority are held responsible in equal measure to the citizens they are arresting, we won't have equality in this country. As long as police think they are immune from the justice they wield, they are no more than thugs themselves.

The current American policy, which the rest of the world periodically jokes about as being the most repressive, the most Draconian with the most prisons and the most violence in the world, it is most certainly counter-productive to society.

This official policy destroys whole families. I have seen the following drama myself in California:
Dad goes to jail for his attempt to support his family by selling something he knows about.
The family has no breadwinner, children are taken away from mom who loves them.
Dad eventually gets out of jail, nobody will rent to an ex-felon. Nobody will hire an ex-felon. If anyone does hire an ex-felon, they pay sub-minimum wage. American minimum wage is already sub-minimum compared to other Western countries. If the only skill they had was selling drugs before that's the only way they will be able to survive after incarceration that does not rehabilitate them.

Current Police Policies are Racist

These policies mostly effect African American men. They are the prime losers. The prime winners are for-profit corporations that specialize in "security services" and in prison building and administration. California has a lot of prisons. It is a major business there. Are there no limits to the number of prisons that can be built? No limit to the number of bullets that can be cast? No limit to guns? How can we limit violence if the tools of violence are unlimited?

No rehab is involved here. The people who are put in prison, at a high cost to taxpayers are not fixed. They are broken beyond repair. Crime becomes the only available profession for them.

Drug Policy Reform

One thing we can do now is legalize marijuana on a federal level, providing some of these men with a job they know how to do and a means of using skills they already have to the benefit of both themselves and the communities they will serve.

Current federal policy keeping marijuana on schedule 1 is not enforceable and is immorally imprisoning some of the most courageous and honest of all American citizens for trading in an herb which current medical science has proven to be extremely effective in treating diseases such as Travet's syndrome, cancers of the skin, and without any known side effects. This is particularly true for CBD oil and tea, which is not psychoactive and which is currently traded legally in quite a few states and on Amazon.com.

Child Welfare Reform - Empower Parents to Parent

Stop pushing drugs on kids in the form of mandatory health care they do not want or need that is promoted by bad teachers who cannot handle bratty kids and by bad parenting that can be corrected if parents learn how to be effective parents. Allow parents to spank kids, humiliate kids and otherwise discipline kids without the fear of the kids reporting the parents for being parents. What did our parents do? Was it abuse? Then why is it now? When a bratty child goes to temporary foster care after a violent tantrum, he is treated like a victim and the parent is treated like a criminal. This rewards his maneuvering as well as rewarding the initial tantrum. The parent is presumed guilty and the child is presumed to be telling the truth, but we know many children do not tell the truth or even know any longer with the truth is. These policies dis-empower parents and produce children who do not know any limits. Children who grow up in foster care are raised by "parents" who are doing a job for a paycheck, the child is not loved but tolerated until the 18th birthday, then thrown out on the street like a sack of garbage. Children who remain with dis-empowered parents manipulate and control the parents by threatening to call authorities to make false reports. Not only is this counter-productive, it is a perversion of the word "family."

Why is Ritalin now being used for one in three or four boys when it is by all accounts "legal crack?" It does not work, it creates lifelong dependency, has a higher incidence of heart attacks and it is targeted for a certain group: boys who are active, inquisitive, question authority and do not easily go with the flow. Why are SSRI uptake inhibitors such as Prozac still prescribed for teens when there is a higher incidence of teen shooters on these drugs than ever before? It obviously makes teenagers violent. Why is it still being prescribed?

Often the smartest, most creative boys are the first to be forced to take drugs. Stop criminalizing parents and prosecuting parents who disagree with your healthcare policies, because of their religion or personal beliefs; those are protected under the First Amendment. That same First Amendment allows you and I to freely express ourselves even though you are an African American and I am a disabled single woman.

Engage in Meaningful Dialogue, Set Meaningful Limits such as the 2013 Cole Memo

We need ongoing meaningful dialogue to awaken average Americans about what tax dollars are being spent on and to engage average voters in meaningful dialogues online so that we can get more voter initiatives to correct or change what is not working. Circulating fewer petitions and getting more online town meetings going with live chats, where anyone can log in and the persons leading the talk can see each post as it is posted, incorporating comments as they go on with a live internet broadcast. This type of YouTube discussion is very effective, short, to the point and people can comment online at their convenience. We need certainly to humanize people who are rotting away in prison for non violent crimes such as growing or selling marijuana unless the activities clearly violate current standards such as those enumerated in the 2013 memo written by James L. Cole.

Redirect Police & CPS into the Communities where they are Needed with Better Communication Tools

Protect police and CPS workers by using their existing well paid labor unions to educate them to respond with empathy instead of brutality and force. Teach them what an emergency is and what it is not. Teach them what meaningful communication is and what it is not. Stop forcing services on people who need jobs and housing, not drugs and prison. You cannot have criminal justice reform by itself. You've got to also have child welfare reform, drug treatment reform, housing reform, and job reform. If the people are released out of jail and they have no job, no place to live and no treatment, they are not going to have any reason to stay out of jail, jail provides three hots and a cot. In countries like Holland, persons with substance abuse problems are referred to Dutch Health Service, not to prison. Whatever the moral injustices of Dutch royalty may be, their drug policy is morally better than ours is at this point. We can certainly, as a nation, redirect currently misused mental health services to productive use inside prisons providing realistic practical plans for work and housing options, communes perhaps such as moshavim and kibbutizm, worker owned cooperatives, run by ex-cons and recovering addicts, which exist within a democratic state and community and family re-building.


Crime Reform, David Simon, Obama, White House

Meet the author

author avatar Rev. Abby Jo
I am an ordained minister in my 50s. My ministry is online. I practice meaningful written dialogue, truth in all things. Ascending beyond past. I will be here regardless of pay.

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