Louisiana’s Un-Unanimous Jurist Verdicts are Giving more Blacks Mistaken Life Sentences as the Prison System Profits

As we all know by now, blacks are more likely to be racially profiled than whites are; meaning that a completely innocent person can be looked at as a criminal solely based off of the color of their skin. Complete ignorance and fear can determine the faith of ones future. In fact, Southern Poverty Law states that “law enforcement has failed to create policies and procedures to prevent or stop racial profiling”. The fact that they are completely aware of this issue and have done nothing to limit these disparities dresses up the fact that the more bodies that fill up the for-profit prison industry, the more money those big wigs who are directly linked to it profit. So rather a person is innocent or not, if convicted, the better for the pockets of those benefiting financially. If racial profiling is helping that dollar amount gain, then we can be certain that no procedures will be in place to help limit this huge, very well known, concern.

Lets face it, prison is modern day slavery and in Louisiana it’s placed boldly in our faces. Easily overlooked by those of us who are not directly behind bars; but the prisoners who are feel the pressures of it everyday. Particularly, in more urban areas such as Baton Rouge and our historically rich city, New Orleans where 5,000 black men are doing state prison time compared to 400 white men. Resources are concentrated in high crime areas, minor law breakers are searched, frisked, and arrested before the kid who attends college in Uptown with the illegal side hustle. On top of that, once in prison, there is seemingly no hope for advancement. Instead of aiming to better or reform prisoners who could benefit from education further than GED classes or inmate run Alcohol Anonymous support groups in an environment where they are forced to detox anyways. Teachings such as skills training and literacy programs when most of the prisoners have a 5th grade reading level, could be more than beneficial. However, Louisiana ensures that they will hold on to their money as tight as they can before spending any additional funds to aid to the growth of it’s prisoners. Instead, prisoners are forced to work labor jobs that benefit and profit companies that are already making millions of dollars while prisoners make little to no money.

Furthermore, the amount of money spent on a Louisiana prisoner is $24.39 per day. This is the least amount of money invested in any inmate per state. They ultimately have to sit steady their entire sentence twiddling their thumbs day by day until their sentence has been served. Once released, they have little to no chance of survival without doing what ultimately placed them in the prison system in the first place, that includes walking while black. While $182 million dollars goes to the prisons sheriffs or private companies that run it. Even a fraction of this amount of money could be a huge turn around for Louisiana’s poor and failing public schools, rehabilitation for our growing mental health community, homeless victims, or even helping at risk youth stay flourish. That’s a bit far fetched to think they’d ever consider those endless amounts of possibilities to better our low-income community, possibly to ethical for their narrow brains to wrap around along with the greed that such a massive amount of money brings.

Here is the another mouth dropper, Louisiana is the ONLY STATE in the world who states that only 10 of the 12 jurors have to say a person fighting a felony case is guilty, and in turn, causes that person to be sentenced to life without parole. Those other 2 jurist votes are just lagniappe; basically sitting there for decoration. If they say “not guilty” it does not count. All other states require an unanimous decision from their jurist, not Louisiana, currently a non-unanimous vote can determine the faith of your freedom, your child’s freedom, and/or your loved one’s freedom. This law targets blacks without a doubt, blacks are literally overflowing the prison systems with both major and minor criminals and completely innocent individuals. Actually, More than 40% of all those who have been recently exonerated (freed) were (mistakenly) found guilty by non-unanimous juries. Yes, 40% were locked up for no reason at all and given a whoops, you can go now. Possibly, only freed to make room for new prisoners to come in.

November 6th, 2018 get out and vote for Constitutional Amendment #2.

It will require unanimous jurist verdict in all felony cases, helping the fight against this Jim Crow era practice of purposely denying black citizens their equal access to justice.

 

Tae Smith

 

 

 

Resources:

https://www.nola.com/crime/index.ssf/2012/05/louisiana_is_the_worlds_prison.html

https://www.splcenter.org/news/2018/09/18/splc-report-racial-profiling-law-enforcement-widespread-across-louisiana

https://www.unanimousjury.org/press-releases/2018/10/19/conservative-district-attorneys-join-bipartisan-effort-to-repeal-jim-crow-era-law-in-louisiana

 

 

 

 

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