We live in a nation that imprisons 25% of the world's prisoners. What is more astonishing is citizens in America serve more time in prison than any other nation. Equally, unbelievably, the myth that "we need to build more prisons and make the punishment more harsher."
While taking a class in Lewisburg Federal Prison in 1978, I was privileged to have an Economics Professor explain in detail the public policy which was going to imprison millions of unemployed, desperate citizens who will get caught up in the criminal system. In the process of this public policy, massive imprisonment will be the solution to a broader issue of world economics.. The professor gave us a simple example of a nation that once provided millions of jobs but suddenly the corporations in mass began closing down steel mills and factories that moved to China and other nations. Obviously, the unemployment would cause trauma.
As a result of this economic unhappiness and shock violence, within the home, and property crimes and gangs would emerge from this social disaster. As a substitute for employment, drugs would become an economic escape from poverty.
Public policy became a voice for law enforcement, and more police were put in the urban zones because the crime rate increased. Massive prison construction took place in order to imprison poor whites and blacks for extended periods of time. This is where we inherited massive imprisonment of Americans.
Extreme prison sentences were instantly created by state and federal lawmakers. They will not tell us the truth, but this policy was engineered by our social scientists and politicians to imprison the young men and women who were unemployed as long as possible. The idea is based on centuries of study that crime is committed by the youthful. The nation's leaders had to find a solution to a human problem. The cost was of no concern because the taxpayers always foot the bill.
The transfer of wealth will not trickle down to the common people. The corporations have left America for China, Asia for good. This transfer of labor he said, "has had the effect of an atom bomb dropping on the inner cities."
We have to become educated in the areas of economics, saving, developing your businesses. This knowledge is the only solution to the unemployment and crime in the communities across this country. Most of the prisons are built in rural America. Prisons only provide a certain number of jobs. At the same time, millions of men and women are taken from their inner city homes, and transferred into far away federal and state prisons. The money that would remain in the city is now going into the state budget to take care of each prisoner. Families lose the economic contribution that their imprisoned loved one could have provided. The people lose at both ends. Society as a whole loses and the nation becomes a divided society. We don't want this type of society, nor do we need that kind of world.
But this public policy is manufactured by men who are greedy and heartless. We must come to understand that everyone is not involved in making america a safe and happy place for all its citizens. There are policy makers, leaders, professors, scientists who believe a capitalistic system must have at least 6% or more unemployment at all times. There are others who believe that prison is a safety net for the poor. We have an obligation to demand that our government change the public policy and reduce the prison population because it is inhumane, unjust, and unconstitutional. The implication of this horrible policy, was rooted in a false premise. Additionally, the massive imprisonment battle cry was not fairly, legally, and humanely discussed and researched with public input. The entire massive imprisonment was a product of political, emotional, and prejudicial components.
Our message is an attempt to educate you about the massive incarceration and how it affects our families and communities. The $80 billion and more used to imprison human beings is taking money from other services of the community. In every major city public schools have closed down. In the last 25 years hospitals and clinics in urban cities and rural areas have closed down. Why? Your tax dollars are being used for prisons, guard salaries, police salaries, judges, and court houses being built. There is no money left for human services and education. This phenomenal disaster has taken place across America.
The public policy along with social scientists are aware that large numbers of young healthy women and men, who are unable to earn a living, will convert to some form of crime. The plot to imprison the idle poor worked perfectly.
We are now in the very nightmare that Dr. Martin Luther King spoke of. The same arguments that he made in the '50s and '60s remains today. He warned us about racism, poverty, militarism and materialism. Our great warrior went on to teach America that the whole society was rooted in the four evils. He revealed that the sickness was systematic rather than superficial flaws and suggested that radical reconstruction of society itself is the real issue to be faced.
All Lives Matter, Black Lives Matter:
My friends, this is why black lives matter, massive incarceration matters, and judicial and legislative repression matters. We have to recognize the forces that prevent our community from enjoying peace, happiness, freedom, and the right to life. It is our right to agitate, that is a duty of each citizen to create the circumstances that demands the men or power to listen, and change the structures that offends our fundamental human rights.
White Lives Matter:
Massive incarceration is not a separate problem from the everyday struggle of unemployment, violence, miseducations, and fear. Massive incarceration should include all citizens. There are white people sitting in prison, rotting away. They also have been framed for crimes, as well as unconstitutional sentences. Because they were white and poor. The difference is black people in the media are bringing attention to the public policies of massive unjust imprisonment. The issue does not discriminate. Every person regardless of skin color or status in society, come and join us in this struggle.
There has been a total lack of recognition that white men and women have also been unjustly convicted, and denied parole. Too many injustices go uncorrected by our system because the face is usually of a black man. We must change the narrative and educate with truth.
A Time for Unity:
Let us remain awake in these times of great change. Some of us need to come out of our coma. We have been economically suffocated in a society flourishing in wealth, and the condition has worsened for millions of citizens. Whites are poor and blacks are poor. We should not let race divide us. Our unity is necessary if we want to make change.
Dr. Martin Luther King mentioned in one of his speeches before some church leaders that how many times have someone knocked on our door at midnight seeking help, hope, and love , and in return received rejection and told to go away. His message was for the church to meet the needs of the people and how the church is supposed to be the Conscience of the State. It must be a guide and a critic of the State, and never its tool
Knock at The Door:
There is a knock at the door for all people to answer the call for change. The social order requires us to wake up and not sleep while the time is now for a complete change. We don't want to go down in history as being asleep in the time of evolution. Let history be a lesson to us.
We welcome everyone to help us change the criminal-judicial-legislative-prison-parole-police systems. Each of these entities are one. They have specific functions that support one another. Each feeds off the other.
Thank you for reading this blog and expect more information. Feel free for dialogue.
Charles Karim Diggs
Graterford, PA 19426
A change is needed, America. One out of every three black men comes to prison. This is too many healthy men leaving the community. The absence of fathers and husbands creates many other serious problems. One major and deadly result is children growing up without a father. The damage this does to a child is long-term. More children drop out of school, their fathers are usually in prison or dead.
Mothers are left without husbands or a solid wage earner to do his part of caring for the woman’s needs and the children. Everyone in the family suffers. There is an economical cost and mental health element that is being ignored by the family, community and government. The mental health effects large number of men missing in the family has created a community existing as if their husbands and fathers, and now grandfathers, are in a war. The only problem is the males are being enslaved and when they return to the community, they are rejected and unable to earn a living. The effects of war continue to destroy the community of citizens who need economical, mental health assistance.
I would suggest everyone come to a conclusion a change is needed. But, where does the solution come from? Our system punishes crime with mandatory sentencing. In fact, extreme sentences have been the solution against black Americans for a very long time. Only recently have community and some citizens become involved. As a result, some states have reduced some low-level drug crimes to community sentence and a certain degree of drug programs and drug courts. But the vast majority of courts and legislatures have continued the march to longer and longer sentences. Everyone has ignored that 95% or your crimes including murder, the defendant using drugs or involved in both selling and using. However, the dedication to imprisoning black men and women in prison forever, rejects the mitigating factors.
Change can happen if more of the families and community get seriously involved. Legislatures are saying, “The families are not testifying at the senate hearings when relating to sentencing and criminal justice issues.”
The long sentences almost guarantee that defendants return to crime. The reentry system is useless. Men and women need to leave prison and work while they’re in jail and have weekends home with their children, this is the only way to maintain a family.
For each day in prison, a day should be taken off the sentence. Additional days taken off for educational and work achievements. Long-term prisoners should be released and place a chip in their arm and allow them to work and remain free, and have them monitored. Thus has worked in New York and on various prisoners. Lifers would make perfect candidates. The Lifers that are home never return to prison. Why waste millions keeping them in jail?
No matter who speaks about crime, punishments, and prisons, there is an economic cost. There are a few trying to reduce the prison population. For the most part, the commonsense approach has thus far been rejected by state and federal law makers. Mandatory sentencing maintains an over-populated prison system. It also requires building more prisons.
A significant percentage of every tax dollar is spent in criminal justice, judicial, police, prison, legislative systems.
The imprisonment of citizens has become a necessity. It has become public policy for massive imprisonment. These policies were a direct result of war on poverty which turned into war on poor people. The billions of dollars that were supposed to be used for poverty was used to hire more police in the communities that needed jobs, training, and education. Only 4% of the billions set aside for human development was used for the communities.
POLICY, POLICY, POLICY
Elizabeth Hinton wrote WAR ON POVERTY TO THE WAR ON CRIME, a historical journey explaining how we reached this horrible place in history. She explained that President Nixon believed that blacks were the problem in America and we were causing all the trouble with the hippies. He, along with the FBI, under J. Hoover, used every part of government power to destroy the liberation groups: civil rights organizations; anti-war groups and peace movements. The destruction of these citizens’ voices included creating illegal activity within the groups and bringing drugs into the communities in order to disrupt the freedom movements.
The destruction of the freedom movements was successful. The voices of citizens were silenced. Charges were made in every area of America life for the African Americans, women, and those who were shut out of the political and economic systems in America. But his great achievement did not allow the vast majority to rise out of poverty. The disease of slavery and discrimination continue to breed deeper pockets of despair and apartheid. The substitute for one nation, equal justice, and happiness for all American was abandoned.
The government’s participation in creating our present day massive imiprisonment, is a direct and intentional public policy sold under the myth of LAW AND ORDER. It was a myth to have presidents elected and senators re-elected. It worked at the expense of becoming the WORLD’S CHAMPION OF THE LARGEST POPULATION OF PRISONERS WHO SERVE MORE TIME BEHIND BARS THAN ANY PERSON ON EARTH.
Until persons of color are considered as human as others, the public policy will remain cloaked in a false premise that law and order is the reason for massive imprisonment.
It has been proven that the citizens accept closing schools and build prisons across every state. Those who don’t’ agree with closing schools in exchange for prisons have no influence in changing public policy.
The more policy we have the more policing we get. Because in order to enforce these public safety policies, lawmakers believe they need men and women with guns and tanks to make sure the citizens realize the State will kill its citizens if we disobey the policy.
Prison systems are operating on the same policy theory. New rules were instituted a few days ago in the prison. No curtains in your window to block out 100° heat. If we disobey we may go to the hole or suffer some punishments. No clothing lines to dry your clothing. Policy is no lines. Policy is to punish all prisoners who disobey. I believe there is an absence of respect for human beings. There is an absence of fairness in the American systems that we exist under. The policy and systems that is cherished was never created to be applied equally to all citizens. They were created for the wealthy and privileged. This is why they have not worked. The government persons who are in charge refuse to consider the various voices in society. The people’s votes don’t count. This is why so many millions of people don’t vote.
Citizens should not have to march, riot, demonstrate, and possibly get beat or killed by police simply because they are petitioning change. The truth is the citizens are not free. We are allowed to go along to get along. That is not freedom.
If the majority rules then the rest of the people suffer under the foot of the majority. The founding fathers said, “The majority must protect the rights of the minority because history has shown us that the majority will execute TYRANNY against the minority” See Federalist Papers No. 10—Madison.
Unfortunately, the fear that the founding fathers envisioned would happen has taken place. The majority has turned their positions of power to oppress the minority. Our legislature, judiciary, and executive have disobeyed the founding fathers, whom they praise as the wisest men on earth.
Madison, in Federalist Papers No. 51, informed us that if men were angels, no government would be necessary. A government of men over men, however, needs institutional design. Massive imprisonment is a result of men who have lost their way and have used their majority power to make laws that ensure more police, more prisons, harsher sentences, and billions of dollars wasted on prisons that torture the very souls of women and men.
The psychological results are broken men and women who return to society unable to adjust to a system that rejects them. Families and entire communities are wiped out and poverty becomes a tradition. The inequality of power is the major problem, because without power our voices for change go upon deaf ears. And public policy, public safety is louder because it is backed up by state force. These political institutions smother the people’s voice.
A NEW STORY NARRATIVE
How to break these structural institutions is the dilemma we face. We must continue to influence those in power to change the systems that do not address the human needs. We need to convince these structural leaders that all human beings have certain innate traits that should allow the structural system to allow those prisoners to return to their communities. The people who control have to be forced by reason, debate, and protest that the systems they are enforcing is not divine and should not be applied any longer. The twenty-first century requires us to use our intelligence. After all, we are the enlightened nation and exceptional. My suggestion is we hold the majority to their claim as the greatest nation on earth—ever.
RETURN OF THE MISSING CITIZENS
America has almost 3 million human beings in prison on any given day. Prisons have become a cemetery for hundreds of thousands of women and men who have died and those who will die. The elderly population is over 10% of the population. In some prisons it is much more. The secret being kept from the public is that prison has already turned gray. Already many prisons are ⅓ elderly. When you add in the stress and diet within prisons, aging begins faster. Certainly after serving many years in prisons, a person should be able to show that they have redeemed themselves and recognize and accept their contract with society to be a productive citizen, honoring the lives of others.
If there is ever to be justice, it will have to be a panel or group of citizens who are looking to see if the person has redeemed themselves and changed into a new person. Because as long as the present system is public safety, the people who would review for parole will always decide for public safety. The person will forever remain in prison. Prison should not be DBI (Death by Incarceration) under no circumstances.
I hope you find ideas and strength in my essay. Feel free to continue this conversation. Remember, the America systems of prison, judiciary, legislative, and economics has never been emancipated from the old world order. The American economy punishes too many people. And the ex-slaves have been crushed along the way, and this inherited condition has driven the prison system from the inception of prisons in America. We may never get any liquid wealth, but it is possible for us to obtain basic justice. Democracy requires no less.
Charles Karim Diggs
Graterford, PA 19426
WHAT IS NEEDED
History teaches the nature of men who rule the human family. Governments change when the people create such tension, they are forced to meet our demands. But, we must get enough education in the heart of the people. America has allowed its citizens to make comfort, games, and enough food to cause us to be tolerant. The people who should be in the streets and demanding change are sleep and afraid. Our fight is very difficult but it must be fought. I see women are the key to this struggle. Some men yes but women are going to move this revolution forward, then more men will step. It is going happen, in a way we don't conceive. Because the rulers are blind with comfort, counting their money, traveling the universe and maintain ugly police and military assassination agencies. They all carry funds and are hired murders. I noticed for years when a women and her children are evicted from their home, the sheriffs come armed. How can we call our society a free nation. I remember when Kent State protest and the national guard killed all those white people. I heard many white men and women say to many of us,that power does not see color and they will kill their mother without a second thought. That statement is true today.
Continue the conversation...
Attn: Right To Redemption
PO BOX 244
GRATERFORD, PA 19426
THE HOLY QURAN
Charles Karim Diggs
RIGHT TO REDEMPTION
The Holy Quran is a wonderful book, a message for all humanity. It is a guide and indeed a mercy.
What amazes me about the Quran is it recognizes Issues, Moses, and Abraham as all Brothers and Messengers and Prophets from the one GOD Creator, and they taught the same message. Muhammad is simply the last Messenger. I tell people our rituals are a little different.
Greed and fear along power is a dangerous disease. Poverty has also a man made defect that is horrible and dehumanizing to such an extent is drives man and women to act, and think inhumanly, contrary to our honorable nature. Poverty leads to cruel suffering and reactions.
This triumph health care change is going harm millions of people. We need people who love people to lead America. We need love and new economical systems. Until that happens we will experience the same and worse.
Remember, if there is no struggle, there is no struggle. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.
Thank you for the human contact. The key to massive imprisonment is tall prison walks isolation and fear. Be safe and courageous.
With kind thoughts,