Ms. Kemba Smith is a mother, wife, domestic abuse survivor, former incarcerated prisoner, author, a motivator speaker and an advocate. In her book, Poster Child, The Story Kemba Smith Story, she shares her story of how making poor choices blinded by love and devotion can have long-term consequences.
These youth live in poverty, have endured homelessness and hunger, witnessed death and murder, and survived sexual, emotional, and physical abuse. It could be argued that because the youth do not know any other way of life that they should not be held accountable for their actions. However, when poor often black youths commit a crime, they do not have the financial resources available to afford the best attorneys or expert witnesses. As a result, these youths are more often found guilty and given harsher sentences relative to the crimes that they commit. The inability to afford proper legal representation has allowed many black youths to serve time in prison for crimes they didn’t commit.
The case starts with the arrest of Clarence Earl Gideon who was charged with breaking and entering with intent to commit a misdemeanor. Gideon was a runaway, having left home around eighth grade he became a drifter. He wandered around from place to place and spent time in and out of prison of prison for many non-violent crimes. He eventually found some part time work at a pool club, the same club room he was accused of breaking into and robbing.
J\t first viewing of the doetnnentary ·"Gideon·s Army.· you tnay become overwhelmed by the dire situation of the criminal justice systen1 in the South. specifically with regard to the poorer and less educated population. To observe how stressed the public defenders are, how tapped the resources. and how desperate the defendantsyou struggle with the notion that there tnay not be anything that can be done and its too big a problem to overcome. But delving into the professional. and, at tirnes, personal life of Travis Williams, a public defender in Georgia,
According to a statistic by the U.S. Department of Justice and their collaborators, the number of prisoners in the U.S. has grown by over 700 percent since the 1970s. This extreme increase in incarcerations means that people disregard the law and constantly commit crimes. But these crimes are not all equal. Crimes range everywhere from murder to simple drug use. Law enforcement punishes almost all of them equally. This can be seen as unjustified and something should be done about it, but that does not stop the crimes from happening. The only way to do that is to deal with the people behind the crimes, either by doing more to support them or remove the cause altogether.
Throughout my experience in the Panhandle Promise Project, I had the opportunity to closely examine the injustice many of the clients experience based on their race, economic status, or in the criminal justice system. Since the starting of America’s war on drugs longer sentencing for drug offences that in violent crimes, there has been an increase of the number of minorities who are currently in prison (Wormer, Kaplan, and Juby (2012). For the children having a parent incarcerated affects them in several different ways, such as having a higher risk of being place in foster care (Andersen and Wildeman, 2014) , poor school performance (Eddy et al., 2014), food insecurity (Turney, 2014c), antisocial behavioral problems (Jarjoura et al., 2011f). For women who have been release from prison new barriers limit the assistance they will received, the ineligibility for food stamps (Travis, 2002), and in some cases the loss of their children custody (Welsh, 2014b). Having a criminal record affects how people who have done their time in prison can
The high incarceration rate of Black Americans has pervasive and chronically negative stigmas regarding the social and economic vitality of the Black American community, such as a lack of democratic participation and violence within urban communities (Burris-Kitchen & Burris, 2011). According to Forman Jr. (2012), some of 5 the negative affects of systemic racism of Black Americans born into the hip-hop generation who have been convicted include the ineligibility of public assistance programs such as health care, food stamps, public housing, student loans, and some employment opportunities. Additionally, many of the individuals suffering from the stigma of incarceration come from backgrounds of disadvantage such as single parent homes, low
In retrospect, the American Juvenile Justice System should treat children as children, provided that the youth is willing to make a change. It should also refrain from placing the youth of America into what could be considered as torture, solitary confinement. This kind of confinement can be detrimental to a youth’s physical, emotional, and psychological health; additionally, causing inevitable
The United States of America has been a long-standing symbol of liberty; the pledge of allegiance even states “with liberty, and justice for all.” However, digging not-so-deep into America’s government and justice system reveals anything but liberty or justice. Luckily, there are many people out there willing to push to reform the system and help those who have been treated unfairly. Bryan Stevenson is one of those people, and his anecdote about Walter McMillian intends to show the deep rooted problems in the justice system, as well as the fairly easy solutions to make strides towards repairing it and the people who have been wronged by it. He does this by using a somber tone about the life of McMillian, as well as using a hopeful one when
The presence of private prisons in America gives some groups in power an incentive to not unite the American people. These prisons exist on a capitalistic profit motive and are either required to hold a certain amount of prisoners to receive funding or are required to pay the government for every empty cell. Despite this, proponents of private prisons argue that they save the country money. While that may be true, they ruin American lives. The private sector that owns them has an incentive to lobby for mass incarceration, and unfortunately the people victimized by society are the most likely to be incarcerated and forgotten about. For example, although private prisons are only 8.4% of the nation’s prisons, they hold nearly 50% of its immigrant detainees. In addition to that, African Americans are convicted at rate more than five times greater than white Americans. Many of these convicted citizens are also impoverished, and this factor along with their race makes them valued poorly by society. This corruption is evidenced by many of these charges being drug related, despite both races using drugs at similar rates, in tandem with the fact that private prisons spend millions of dollars every year lobbying for harsher drug laws. Not only is the net effect of this unjust, it helps to create stereotypes against African Americans. With private prison counts more than doubling since the start of the 21st century, Americans must stand up to the injustice of current private prisons before the problems of persecution and oppression they create become
America has the most overpopulated prisons in the world and that is because we would rather put a person (or in this case child) in prison for life than address the root of the situation. Data analyzed by Ashley Nellis, Ph.D., Research Analyst with The Sentencing Project, a project that advocates for the reform of justice policies and tackles the disparities in race and gender in the criminal sphere, reported, “ Survey research in the past 10 years consistently shows a majority of the respondents to favor trying juveniles in adult court for serious felonies, with roughly 75% of the typical adults surveyed believing that violent juvenile offenders should be treated as adults” (Neils) this attitude towards juvenile criminals is insidious to America’s youth, and does nothing to lower the crime rate. The real question is not when should juveniles receive life sentences, but how can we prevent it? How can we reform the Juvenile Court System in a way that actually addresses the crimes (and the needs) of Juvenile criminals so that they can be punished, rehabilitated, and reintroduced to society to actually love their lives? It is not until we see the bigger picture that we can make this
Shot by George Zimmerman in 2012, seventeen year old Trayvon Martin had his life cut short. Zimmerman, who volunteered for his local neighborhood watch committee in Sanford, Florida, and while out on watch one February night, he claimed to see a suspicious subject wandering around houses. Zimmerman called 9-1-1, and the dispatch operator told him to stay put and wait for authorities to arrive. Instead, Zimmerman took action and went after Martin, and during the altercation Martin was killed. Zimmerman claimed Martin began attacking him before Zimmerman decided to protect himself. When the case went to trial, Zimmerman was acquitted of the homicide of Martin, even though he contradicted orders given to him by police to stay put and to not try
The United States of America is known across the world as one of the biggest superpowers, both in its military and economy. It is a democratic nation that runs on a successful capitalist system, which especially benefits those in positions of power. In the 1960’s, 200,000 people were incarcerated across the country, however this number has increased rapidly in the last fifty years and now more than 2 million people are incarcerated in prisons and detention centres all across the United States, leading to what is described as an age of mass incarceration. There is evidence to suggest that mass incarceration does benefit the American capitalist system and that the institution of criminal justice is beneficial to capital gain. America is a nation that prides itself on truth and justice for all its citizens, however it could be argued that America values its capitalist advancement more than the individual rights of the people who live there and consequently marginalises and discriminates against its African American and Latino communities in order to further its capitalist system.
Grow in South Baton Rouge wasn’t easy for Justice at all. While living in South Baton Rouge he attended McKinley Senior High School, which was a nightmare for him. He was bullied and it made him feel like he was nothing. He had already lost his dad to a car accident, and that was something he couldn’t get it out his head. With all this going on he knew he couldn’t let his mom and sister down. So, he started working at a nearby corner store and he started pursuing his dream in playing by trying out for the team and making it.
California’s number of incarcerated men have clearly grown throughout the years and so has the number of gangs who more often than not organize themselves along racial or ethnic lines. Conflict among racial gangs has lead to tremendous amounts of violence and death resulting in the disturbance of prison security. Time and time again these violent racial riots occurred and California state penitentiaries who for years were left to manage this chaos, left without other means, tried to prevent future violence by racially segregating inmates into cells by their race…..