Mass Incarceration. The New Jim Crow. The War on Drugs. Thanks to Professor Michelle Alexander these phrases are now intimately linked in the minds of social justice advocates and faith leaders as we begin a critical struggle for fairness, justice and human rights in the criminal courts, police precincts and prisons of America. The Next Movement is convinced that America can do better, and that the majority of Americans would want us to do better, if they knew the truth. The truth ─ about systemic incarceration, structural second class status, completely uneven law enforcement practices, oppressive and selectively enforced laws ─ that is filling the prisons of America.
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Tomorrow the Illinois House Judiciary Committee is once again pulling out the "Get Tough on Crime" card, this time in the form of HB2265, legislation that adds extra time (two years typically) to Mandatory Minimum Sentences for a wide variety of gun crimes. While on the surface, and in light of the recent highly visible shootings in Chicago, this seems to be a reasonable reaponse, IT IS NOT!
Once again our legislators and other public officials, including Anita "What Torture?" Alvarez, Police Chief Garry McCarthy and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, are seeking emotionally satisfying, but ultimately ineffective legislation, to fight our problem with gun violence.
These changes in laws will create one more vector in the epidemic of mass incarceration by reducing further the power of our Judges, to judge. There is absolutely no evidence that a longer sentence will stop anyone with a propensity to violate a gun law, to suddenly think twice. Instead this will grow our already crippling prison population and contribute to the destruction of families and communities . . . while making us no safer!
Please click here today and tell he House Judiciary Committee how you want them to vote on HB2265 (this will allow you to submit a slip to the committee in opposition to the bill).
Once you've voiced your opposition to this ineffective, no damaging, bill, please click here to sign a petition supported by a coalition of churches in the Chicago area, including Trinity UCC and the Faith Community of St. Sabina, that asks for Sensible Gun Legislation that will really help to make our streets safer. Things like titling a gun like a car, so that it is always known who legally possesses a weapon, and banning military style assault weapons.
Trinity UCC Prison Ministry-The Next Movement committee