by Mutope Duguma
Revised March 2021
How much more time must a person be imprisoned after being locked up for 10, 20, 30, 40, or even 50 years? 90% of prisoners come from lower class oppressed communities, exclusively people of color. The US is a Christian nation, where the core idea is “vengeance is mine”; this is used to justify the deliberate destruction of lives of those held in captivity, their family, and community.
Sanctioned under the 13th amendment of the US constitution is the justification of the mass incarceration and indefinite sentencing of many throughout this nation.
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
All incarcerated individuals that are held, stem from the idea that each and every offense should suffer a consequence. Thinking about humans held indefinitely inside prisons should bring about raw emotions in anyone.
We must continue to shine a bright light on race and class contradictions. The rule of law comes from a prejudiced/ racist judicial system that subjectively applies and designs the lto imprison people. These laws were designed and applied with the intent to kill folks held for more than half-century in some cases.
Reflecting on these elders’ state of mind when they were youth and came to prison allows us to understand their reality at that time. In dealing with the many social ills, plagued by poverty, consider how the inadequate educational institutions failed these men and women, who were youth: teenagers and young adults, ranging from age 15 to 25.
The Senate Bill 260/261, introduced by the Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC), was supposed to correct this grave injustice, but what we see with the Board of Parole Hearings, (BPH), is a blatant disregard for SB260/261.
Frivolous rule violation reports (RVR’s), confidential information, one’s political views, juvenile history, controlling offense, etc., are all used in these BPH Hearings.
You can meet with a psychiatrist for two (2) hours and subsequently receive a diagnosis of a pathological social disorder meaning “one has a problem with authority”. This is extreme--based solely on the dialogue of past events, meaning. So, to have a prisoner come before the BPH, who has been in prison for 10, 20, 30, 40, or even 50 years, and deny them for another 15,10, 7, 5, or 3 years, is cruel and unusual punishment. Many of these men and women are weak, fragile, and suffering from aging illnesses, yet, their minds are still healthy and strong.
If the US government takes authority over another (although by force) one would think that government would be responsible to the other humans to be fair in all of its proceedings. Unfortunately, this is not the case because racism exists in all the institutions that govern them (PISC) prison industrial slave complex is still plagued by hatred and the exploitation of people based on their race and class status.
The system (PISC) is committing murder by proxy, by way of execution -all prisoners whose politics or lifestyle is contrary to mainstream society and the government. If any of these prisoners held for 10, 20, 30, 40, or 50 years who have educated themselves, were reviewed by an unbiased board they would be deemed suitable for parole; since paying their debt to society for crimes they were convicted of as children and youth. How can a system be considered humane when it has no mercy for fellow human beings?
Many prisoners emasculate themselves to be paroled. I’ve heard some sad stories from men and women who deliberately went to their BPH and cried, lied, and subjected themselves to all kinds of humiliation, trying to get paroled. What is a prisoner to do, if he or she has been given a hate sentence, that will lead to their death in prison? We have innumerable evidence that racism exists inside the prison industrial slave complex. How are the people able to deal with the abuse of such a racist system? By waging a campaign that deals with the continued gross injustices of prisoners who have been in prison for over 10, 20, 30, 40, or 50 years. When we begin to look at these cases individually, we see something seriously wrong with this system. We can also look at the many elderly prisoners who are on their death beds, seriously ill, or who have passed on, to prove that the PISC is using this racist system to kill men and women unfavorable to them. This validates the need for the legislative body of California to mandate these men and women released.
How much more time does a prisoner have to do, after 10, 20,30, 40, or 50 years, before he or she is released?
Life is life, whether lost by first, second, or third-degree murder, manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, etc.
With Love and Respect, Mutope!!!