I wrote prisoner theory because I want to be free. Free like Thomas Jefferson wrote I'd be. I wrote prisoner theory because the prisoner class in America demands it. Humanity demands it. Right now in America, nearly 100 million human beings are a part of the largest growing section of the population-the prisoner class.
I am a poet, a witness, and a member of the prisoner class in America. I have spent nearly 10 years in the prisoner-industrial-complex as a slave, all for less than $10,000 (that works out to be about $1,000/year).
I am 08547-023 & 100139. When I came out of the darkness of self and confinement I only wanted to hide from the sun. I wanted to be apart from a world that had passed me by; left standing in line: at the chow hall, the parole office, to give urinalysis, to submit to search. And all that time in the quay of orange jumpsuits and commissary soups I started to look around.
I saw a Nation fading into a trap of corporate slavery and the political addiction of self-gratification. And I knew that all of us were in trouble, both free and prisoner. I had paid my bill to society, but society won't close the bill. So I had to get smart and get to work.
Designed by endless correction
U.S. Bill of Rights 1789
There is no indication that the prisoner population is going to decrease anytime soon as shown in the table above. The continued prognosis for the criminal justice system in America is out-of-control growth: “Some of the growth in the federal prison population is attributed to policy changes over the previous three decades, including:
* increasing the number of federal offenses subject to mandatory minimum sentences,
* changes to the federal criminal code that have made more crimes federal offenses, and
* eliminating parole” (James).
But what is most alarming is that the crime rate has not risen, but has actually dropped in proportion to the amount of incarcerations in the United States. Over the last 30 years the crime rates of violent crime, larceny-theft, and property crimes have steadily gone down, while the incarceration rate in the United States has gone up over 500% (Sentencing).
The National Academies issued a report in April 2014 that gives several concrete ideas for the current imbalance of the Nation's prisoner-industrial-complex:
“The unprecedented and internationally unique rise in U.S. state and federal prison populations, from 200,000 inmates in 1973 to 1.5 million in 2009, occurred because of policy decisions such as mandatory sentencing, long sentences for violent and repeat offenses, and intensified criminalization of drug-related activity. Stricter sentencing policies were formed initially during a period of rising crime and social change; however, over the four decades when incarceration rates rose steadily, crime rates fluctuated” (National).
The key identified by the report is the “intensified criminalization of drug-related activity” in the United States, which can be considered as victimless crimes (Victimless crimes include public drunkenness, narcotic and other drug abuse, gambling, and certain sexual behavior between consenting adults. Source. McDonald, W. United States. Dept. of Justice. Victimless Crimes - A Description of Offenders and Their Prosecution in the District of Columbia. NCJ 050019. I-1. Jan. 1978. Web. 24 June 2014), and thus arbitrarily manufactured by the master morality:
“The war on crime, though ostensibly waged on behalf of crime victims, has been first and foremost a war on victimless crime. The paradigmatic crime of the war on crime is not murder but possession; its sanction not punishment but forfeiture; its process not the jury trial but plea bargaining; its mode of disposition not conviction but commitment; and its typical sentencing factor not victim impact, but offender dangerousness as 'evinced' by criminal record” (Dubber).
The “intensified criminalization of drug-related activity” (National) can be seen in the rise of drug abuse violations illustrated in the graphic below, which charts and projects the arrests for victimless crimes between 1980 and 2010. While the number of arrests for other victimless crimes such as gambling, prostitution, and drunkenness, have gone down in-line with the U.S. crime rates. The number of drug abuse violations continues to climb with the prisoner population.
Dubber, Markus. Victims in the War on Crime: The Use and Abuse of Victims' Rights (New York: New York University Press, 2002,) 14. Print.
James, Nathan. United States. Library of Congress. The Federal Prison Population Buildup: Overview, Policy Changes, Issues and Options. Congressional Research Service. R42937. 15 May 2014. Web. 22 June 2014.
National Academies. “U.S. Should Significantly Reduce Rate of Incarceration; Unprecedented Rise in Prison Population 'Not Serving the Country Well,' Says New Report.” News from the National Academies. 30 Apr. 2014. Web. 24 June 2014.
Sentencing Project. “Trends in U.S. Corrections.” Fact Sheet. The Sentencing Project. Apr. 2014. Web. 24 June 2014.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.
1. An American prisoner class exists that does not have the same rights, opportunities, or citizenship enjoyed by the rest of society.
2. All media regarding this prisoner class is negative and exists to further the marginalization of this growing group of Americans.
3. Institutional mechanisms exist to further isolate and marginalize this prisoner class. The most recognizable of these mechanisms is the second application (2ap), the question found everywhere - Have you ever been convicted of a crime?
4. The 2ap creates a line in society that can be answered yes, or no. Those who answer the 2ap yes are forced by application to accept second-class citizenship in the form of substandard housing, employment, and education.
5. As the prisoner class grows every day, an inevitable disruption of American society will occur.
In 2008, the National Employment Law Project (NELP) estimated that 65 million Americans have an arrest or a conviction that will show up on a routine criminal background check, which is about 1 in 3, adult Americans, or 33%. These are 2008 numbers; it can be extrapolated that in 2014 the number is closer to 1 in 2 adult Americans, or 50%.
Half of the adult population is a very large number of Americans. The only other social identifying groups that approach these numbers are male and female. And since the prisoner class is made up of both groups (and every other social division group) it is more appropriate to separate the adult population into two groups: freeperson and prisoner.