*amend the 3 Strikes Law
*end the death penalty
*fair treatment for prisoners (medical care, etc.)
*stop trying juveniles as adults
*no more shackling of pregnant women
among many others. Our nation is spending billions of dollars incarcerating 2.4 million people, the majority of whom are nonviolent offenders. Prisoners work (often grueling) jobs for 12 cents an hour, profiting companies who contract with prisons for cheap labor. It's incredible to think of the education and rehabilitation (community centers, tutoring, arts programs, therapy, scholarships, school resources) that could happen if we weren't spending so much on prisons.
Working on the latest Voice of Witness book really made me think about how, with the right combination of bad luck/family neglect/natural disaster/etc., any of us could end up in prison.
Here are some pictures from the event:
wall of guards inside the East Gate
(the gate I go through every Monday night to teach class)
fence where folks were encouraged to leave notes for prisoners
(photographs of the fence will be shared with inmates)
It's always really powerful being surrounded by people who are so committed to justice. There were around 700 people at San Quentin, demonstrating solidarity and passion for positive change. It was a really diverse crowd: people like Matt and me, who have worked in prisons and juvenile halls; people who had served time in juvenile hall, jail, and prison; activists like Barbara Becnel (Stan Tookie Williams' best friend and co-author); etc. I'm glad we brought Jasper, too--he was focused on his Nintendo DS most of the time, but in the end, we had some great conversations with him about what the movement is about. That kid is sharp as a tack, I tell you.
Here's the San Francisco Chronicle article about the event, here's an interesting and well-written article on the Prison Industrial Complex if you're interested, and here's Matt's blog post about our Monday at San Quentin.