The Prison Policy Initiative has released a new study “Women’s Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2017”. In a pattern that is similar to the fate of men in our mass incarceration system that charades as justice, 60% of those in local jails are there because they cannot afford bail. 29% of these women held for lack of cash are charged with drug offenses.
Read the keystone essay – Justice, Police, & Prison System Justice, Police, & Prison System – the posts
Fairness, an equal shake, blind justice, jury of peers, rule of law…Amendments IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, and XIV…. these are all ubiquitous and universally applauded features of American life.
This is the delusion of the American justice system.
The reality is that legal representation for the indigent is worse than a charade. According to the ACLU 80% of those arrested for a crime can not afford a lawyer. But, no where in the country is a robust system of legal representation for these people in place. And as widely known, legal aid attorneys all too frequently meet their clients for a few moments before a court appearance and have no real resources to represent the client in a meaningful way. A result of this is that local, state and Federal prosecutors have enormous, compelling power to manipulate the alleged criminal into pleading guilty to a crime.
A central dogma of American politics and culture is the rule of law. The ever present blind scales of justice are trotted out with such regularity that the briefest glimpse serves to remind us that we live in a country with a uniquely fair and just system of law. Of course, if you have ever…