Hip-Hop Fridays: Our Issue: The Prison Industrial Complex and Criminal Justice Reform
The Hip-Hop community has been ignored by the political establishment on issues of criminal justice. There is no getting around it. Criminal justice reform in the form of reduced incarceration for non-violent drug offenses; an end to the growth of the prison industrial complex which profits from prison labor; an end to police brutality; an end to racial profiling; and the reform of human beings who turn to a life of crime and who are trapped in the prison system in a cycle of recidivism, should be the number one issue championed by the Hip-Hop nation and presented to politicians from that community.
In California on Tuesday, we saw the passage of Proposition 36 which could go a long way toward addressing some of these problems in California, which has more prisoners within its borders than any state in the Western Hemisphere. If the right people and organizations are involved in the counseling and rehabilitation of those drug abusers and those arrested for non-violent offenses , then California has taken a huge step toward slowing the rate of incarceration and accelerating the rate of human redemption.
But the Hip-Hop community has to take the lead on this issue and has to stop waiting for the two-party system to address it. They never will unless the Hip-Hop community puts its money and its votes where its mouth is on this issue.
And the Hip-Hop community has to get better acquainted with independent political parties like the Libertarian Party that actively push for the reform and revolution of America's so-called War on Drugs.
The Hip-Hop community has to fund education efforts and referendum and initiatives that can address the problem on a local level like what was done in California. And we have the dollars and man and woman- power to do just that.
The Hip-Hop community also has to pressure those elected officials that represent them to support legislation in the U.S. Congress pushed by members of Congress like Rep. Maxine Waters which seek to address sentencing disparities at a federal level. The community also must support her efforts to punish the banking community for the admitted role that it plays in laundering drug money.
For some devastating facts about this issue please visit The Sentencing Project.
Let's go to work.
Friday, November 10, 2000