Grigoris wrote: ↑
Tue May 01, 2018 8:51 am
TharpaChodron wrote: ↑
Tue May 01, 2018 3:33 am
Concentration camps aren't really the same as prisons. You can argue about the injustices and disparity in US prison populations, but that still doesn't make them "concentration camps." I think most Nazi concentration camp victims and other political prisoners would feel insulted to compare their experience to the gang life prison world of US prisons, where most often people are there because they did commit an actual crime.
Being poor, Black or Hispanic is a crime?
I work with prisoners and felons here regularly. While indeed there is serious racial and deep class disparity in the justice system here (in fact, that doesn't even touch the tip of the iceberg - it's abhorrent), a good number of them are in fact guilty of various crimes
Now, whether or not they can be held culpable for these crimes, or whether their "crimes" merited incarceration is another story entirely. But yeah, lots of people in prison did in fact commit crimes of some sort. That includes blacks and hispanics.
Surely there are a percentage who are completely innocent (they all say they are!), but I can tell you from personal experience that a number of felons are fully guilty of what they were placed in prison for, whether or not incarceration makes sense in the first place, which it often does not. The kind of sentences, the criminalization of drug use, the class and racial disparities are a huge deal, one shouldn't minimize those.. but the idea that there's this large chunk of people locked up here with no connection to committing crimes simply doesn't match reality. People commit crimes when they have few other options, It ain't rocket surgery.
Some states and localities are moving towards community custody and things like Drug Courts, it still is massively unfair in some ways, but it's much better than incarceration and produces better outcomes.
Prisons also vary massively by state, in some states they practically do resemble camps, in more progressive states the prisoners have reasonable access to education, assistance upon getting out, and people within the system advocating for their rights as prisoners. Even these states seem to use them for nearly free labor though, which is disgusting.