Cory Booker, Rand Paul Shine Light on Shadow Side of U.S. Justice System

Cory Booker, Rand Paul Shine Light on Shadow Side of U.S. Justice System

There comes a time in every society when it must face its shadow side — and deal with it.

Societies have myths, legends, and superheroes that lay the foundations for national identity, reinforce beliefs about the self and the other, and shape nations’ collective memory. They exist to make us feel good about ourselves, but as a result, they lie to us and distort collective memory.

As prophets did in the days of abolition, the anti-lynching movement, and the Civil Rights movement, modern-day leaders, like Michelle Alexander, have traversed the country shining light on the myth of equal justice in our justice system.

And on Tuesday, the unlikely duo of Sens. Cory Booker (D – N.J.) and Rand Paul (R – Ky.) joined together to address this myth by introducing the REDEEM Act.

"I will work with anyone, from any party, to make a difference for the people of New Jersey, and this bipartisan legislation does just that," Booker said in a news release. "The REDEEM Act will ensure that our tax dollars are being used in smarter, more productive ways. It will also establish much-needed sensible reforms that keep kids out of the adult correctional system, protect their privacy so a youthful mistake can remain a youthful mistake, and help make it less likely that low-level adult offenders reoffend."

The measure aims to cut recidivism rates by helping restore people who serve time to right relationship with their communities upon return. REDEEM would redirect minors away from adult courts and into the juvenile court system, automatically seal or expunge juvenile records upon release, and create a path for adults to have their records sealed upon release. The measure would also restore access to SNAP and welfare for low-level non-violent offenders upon release.

“Our current system is broken and has trapped tens of thousands of young men and women in a cycle of poverty and incarceration. Many of these young people could escape this trap if criminal justice were reformed ...,” Paul said in the news release.

From slavery to peonage to Jim Crow to the drug wars and “tough on crime,” the shadow side of our society has repeated the same pattern of confinement and control. Thus, this partnership across the aisle signals a move long in the making: a shifting tide toward a common goal. To illustrate the point, here is a closer look at the shadow side of our existing system:

  • The U.S has 25 percent of the world’s imprisoned people, but only 5 percent of its population.
  • From 1980 to 2010 incarceration rates in the U.S. have increased from 500,000 inmates in jail and prison to more than 2.2 million.
  • From 1980 to 2011, the “War on Drugs” triggered massive increases in the U.S. prison population from 41,000 drug offenders to half a million.
  • For-profit prison companies often demand around 90 percent occupancy from the states that contract with them.
  • Two of the nation’s major private prison companies, CCA and Geo Group, have helped shape policies that favor mandatory minimum sentences.
  • African Americans make up 45 percent prison for drug violations, but only represent 13 percent of the U.S. population and use drugs at the same rates as people of other races.
  • The likelihood that a black man will be imprisoned in his lifetime is 1 in 3. For Latino men it is 1 in 6. For white men it is 1 in 17.

Over the past year people of faith — both Republicans and Democrats — have turned their faces to the shadow side of the American justice system. As a consequence, they have vowed to push for the transformation of our system of retributive justice into a system that more closely reflects the biblical vision of restorative justice — that which seeks to restore the offender back to right relationship with society. They have also vowed to work toward racial equity in the distribution of justice.

Also, over the past year, the Obama administration and Congress have put forward several measures that together have real potential to transform our justice system into one we can truly call just, like Sens. Dick Durbin (D – Ill.) and Mike Lee’s (R – Utah) Smarter Sentencing Act of 2014 and Attorney General Eric Holder’s SMART on Crime Initiative.

“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaimed to you, that God is light and in [God] there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with [God] while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true: but if we walk in the light as [God] is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus [God’s] Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:5-7)

We are living in historic times. For the first time in the history of our nation, light is shining full on the shadow side of America’s justice system and we are all beginning to walk in it. Now, may Jesus cleanse us.

Lisa Sharon Harper is Senior Director of Mobilizing for Sojourners and co-author of Forgive Us: Confessions of a Compromised Faith – forthcoming September 2014, Zondervan.

Images: Cory Booker, Eugene Parciasepe / Shutterstock.com; Rand Paul, Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.com

Comments

I have to point out my love for your kindness in support of men and women who have the need for help on that area. Your special dedication to passing the message across was incredibly valuable and has allowed workers much like me to achieve their objectives. Your own insightful suggestions entails so much to me and further more to my peers. Many thanks; from each one of us.

<a href="http://www.elsabech.com/nike-air-max-tavas-hommesthe-verte-chaussures-on... air max tavas hommesthe verte chaussures on vente</a> ,<a href="http://www.elsabech.com/nike-air-max-fury-tout-noir-chaussures-on-vente-... air max fury tout noir chaussures on vente</a>
boston red sox cap price used xiser http://www.georgebucur.com/boston-red-sox-cap-price-used-xiser-hatfree_no

I simply needed to say thanks once more. I do not know what I would have undertaken without the type of concepts contributed by you regarding that area of interest. This was a very depressing setting for me, however , finding out this expert fashion you handled that took me to cry for joy. I'm just grateful for your support and then hope that you really know what a powerful job that you are getting into training the others thru a web site. Most probably you have never encountered any of us.

<a href="http://www.nolaerran.com/nike-arizona-cardinals-40-pat-tillman-black-eli... arizona cardinals 40 pat tillman black elite jersey</a>,<a href="http://www.nolaerran.com/mens-cincinnati-bengals-30-cedric-peerman-green... cincinnati bengals 30 cedric peerman green salute to service hot pressing player name number nike nfl tank top jersey</a>,<a href="http://www.nolaerran.com/mens-kansas-city-royals-26-francisco-pena-light... kansas city royals 26 francisco pena light blue alternate baseball jersey with 2015 world series patch</a>
nike lebron soldier 9 youth online http://www.ediblemark.com/nike-lebron-soldier-9-youth-online-asport_ca

I intended to post you this tiny word to be able to say thanks the moment again with your exceptional views you've shared in this article. This has been quite surprisingly generous with people like you to give unreservedly what a lot of folks might have offered for sale for an e-book to help with making some money for their own end, particularly given that you could possibly have done it if you ever considered necessary. The tips additionally served to become a good way to be sure that many people have the same keenness much like my own to find out great deal more regarding this issue. Certainly there are several more enjoyable instances ahead for individuals who looked at your site.

It has usually been claimed that he who controls the media,
controls the minds of the persons. The printing
press gave an advantage to people who employed it.
Now, people who regulate the details have nearly unrestricted skills to manage and capitalize
on that info. Hence, facts technological know-how has been a
game changer in almost each sector perception its arrival.
The period of large facts is now the changer of the video game.
Ok so, who owns the long term in the future period?

Effectively, enable me consider a stab at it, but initially to capture you up
to pace on this matter, why not read through this
reserve beneath:

"Who Owns The Future?" by Jaron Lanier, Simon & Schuster,
New York, NY, 2013, 416 webpages, ISBN: 978-a hundred
forty five-16549-sixty seven. Also the author of "You Are Not a Gadget" which was 1 of his
earlier publications, revealed by Vintage Push, 240 webpages,
2011, ISBN: 978-030-738997-eight.

The creator operates now for Microsoft Investigation, prior he is had stints working with
all sorts of companies which use information and
facts to travel profits - he is worked with algorithms for large-frequency
investing, and subtle personal computers for insurance businesses
identifying threat examining all the huge info at their disposal.
He is viewed businesses like Google, Microsoft, Facebook shift
forward of the pack - providers like Cisco, Oracle and other
people build the units to get the activity to the greatest
degrees.

High-quality, and this helps make sense, his expertise, practical experience and observations are relevant for the
future and in hindsight. Now then, what of the upcoming, will
massive information continue to rule the globe or will AI,
Robotics, BioTech and NanoTech acquire the guide?
Well, I suppose I could submit to you, as could possibly Jaron Lanier, that in those sectors, large
info will enable all those companies leveraging that facts the greatest access the major and command and
personal those people industries.

Consider how critical huge knowledge and computing electrical power
is to artificial intelligence? Devoid of the computing power it is really not helpful at all is it?
What of robotics, exact point right, and you have
to merge AI with robotics to get to the fullest potential there, again, large info is keenly vital to good results.
In BioTech, the same point, we currently see that never we?
DNA just isn't very simple, it will take computing power to determine it all out.
Material science is basic in idea, but complicated to
make it function for you. It looks that big info, and information engineering
will rule the activity for the upcoming period won't it?
You should think about all this and believe on it.

Pages

Add new comment