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September 9, 2017

"America must listen to its prisoners before we make a major mistake"

The title of this post is the title of this extended Washington Post op-ed authored by Heather Ann Thompson. Here is how it starts and ends:  

Forty-six years ago, on Sept. 9, 1971, almost 1,300 men erupted in one of the 20th century’s most dramatic prison protests. Their goal? To be treated as human beings even as they served their time in one of New York state’s most notorious penal institutions, the Attica Correctional Facility.  These were men being fed on 63 cents a day, treated brutally by prison doctors and forced to labor whether they were sick or well.  They finally had reached the breaking point.

One year ago, on Sept. 9, 2016, thousands of prisoners, this time men and women from across the United States, marked the anniversary of Attica by engaging in another dramatic series of protests for the very same reasons that Attica’s incarcerated had rebelled in 1971.  Conditions were terrible.  Overcrowding was severe, food was maggot-ridden, and prisoners were still being forced to labor....

On this 46th anniversary of that day when almost 1300 men stood together to tell the nation of the horrors of their confinement at Attica, and this first anniversary of that day when thousands of men and women again stood together, at equally enormous risk, to remind us all that conditions are still brutal in our nation’s penal institutions, we must listen to what they were trying to tell us: Everyone behind bars remains a human being and, therefore, no crime committed, nor punishment rendered, justifies abuse.

And should we forget this basic truth — one that was understood, accepted and stands as the very foundation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations in 1948 — the men and women who endure our nation’s penal facilities will, inevitably, remind us again.

As those who struggled for better conditions and suffered so much in Upstate New York in 1971 oft said, “Attica is all of us.” Indeed it is.

September 9, 2017 at 03:42 PM | Permalink

Comments

I agree. No one should endure past and current prison conditions. All should have been executed at 14, sparing crime victims and everyone around them the major human catastrophe that each caused for decades.

Crime victims are justified to feel threatened by people like this professor. They should defend their interests by holding her and her institutional sponsors accountable. The Post is owned by Bezos, homosexual rights activist. If crime victims and their families come upon him, just beat his ass, especially if a black loved one was murdered by one of her false victims. There is no talking to deniers like her and Bezos.

Disclosure. The Post Company owned my law school. When I was expelled from chat rooms, a friend and I pointed out California law against such retaliation. We threatened regulatory complaints. Post Counsel made them shut down the chat rooms entirely. Relationship was a little adverse.

Posted by: David Behar | Sep 9, 2017 4:46:32 PM

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