Incarceration Nation: How We Got Here

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A Virginia prison. Still courtesy of "Life Is My Movie Entertainment."

A new documentary, which premiered last night in Washington DC, traces the evolution of America’s modern prison-industrial complex to its drug-war roots. Director Regan Hines tells TCR why he believes reforms must begin with an acknowledgment of that grim history.
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5 thoughts on “Incarceration Nation: How We Got Here

  1. More people need to take criminal justice reform seriously and it is good that films like these are being made. Mass Incarceration is taking its toll on us all. It isn’t just about the person in prison — it is also about their families — their parents, their children, their spouses, their siblings, their friends, etc. It is time we treat people incarcerated humanely — they are our people — Americans. We need to address the underlying issues that lead to incarceration such as mental illness, addiction and poverty. Our leaders need to not only address federal criminal justice reform, but they need to return to their states and also implement criminal justice reforms there. Let me give you just one more example…Lenny Singleton.

    Lenny committed a series of “grab & dash” robberies in one week while high on alcohol and crack to fund his addiction. He robbed a total of less than $550 and no one was murdered or even physically injured. No one claimed to be a “victim.” He did not have a gun. He was a first time felon with a college degree who served in our Navy before his addiction. The judge, without any explanation to Lenny or the courtroom, sentenced him to more time than rapists, child molesters, and murderers. Lenny received 2 Life Sentences plus 100 years. He is sentenced to die in prison while murderers and child molesters will walk free.

    Lenny has been in prison for over 21 years now. He works every business day, lives in the Honor’s Dorm, and takes every available class for self-improvement. During his entire time in prison he has never been in trouble for anything – very rare for lifers. In his spare time, he has co-authored a book to help others headed down the same path called, “Love Conquers All,” now available on Amazon.

    To keep Lenny incarcerated for the rest of his life will cost taxpayers well over a million dollars — for robbing less than $550 in crimes where no one was physically injured — this makes absolutely no sense. That money would be better spent on rehabilitation services, preventative education or rebuilding infrastructures — on anything other than keeping one man, who has served 21 years already, who didn’t injure anyone, who has a college degree locked up for the rest of his life. Lenny deserves to be given a second chance. When you multiply Lenny’s case by the literally thousands of cases similar to his, you begin to grasp the magnitude of the problem.

    Lenny’s case is possibly one of the worst cases in the country illustrating sentencing disparity. In fact it was so horrid that his story ran on the front page of The NY Times on July 4th, 2016, http://nyti.ms/29ik8sY and was picked up by AlterNet, http://www.alternet.org/…/ther… It is time everyone take criminal justice reform seriously.

    Please learn more & sign Lenny Singleton’s petition at http://www.justice4lenny.org. Justice will not have been served if Lenny dies in prison.

  2. It amazes me that drugs have remained in the criminal system. Rehabs and recovery experts have been saying drug addiction is a disease for so many years. Scientists have discovered the CREB gene that enables people to become addicted. Alcohol is treated completely separately yet it is a drug. We’re not jailing people for other diseases such as diabetes, why drug addiction?

  3. It is outrageous modern day slavery caging nonviolent offenders with tragic sentences for decades,some gravely ill seniors that dont want to die alone in prison and are no threat to society still incarcerated especially at Carswell Medical Center in Ft.Worth Texas that need to go home to be surrounded by loved ones. Give them clemency

  4. Pingback: Incarceration Nation: How We Got Here – Incarcerating US

  5. Pingback: Incarceration nation: how we got here | NC PDCORE

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