Since the end of the Civil War, the rise of America’s prison industrial complex has been a shameful elephant in the room for American society. Now that activists have begun to force the issue into the open, the plague upon our national society has finally started to receive some long overdue attention. Yet its profiteers continue to excuse and to deter us from the truth.
Until today. (Video below, via Shaun King.)
Louisiana’s Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Pattor took the podium at a press conference today to oppose criminal justice reform with a truly shocking degree of candor. Pattor made no pretense as to why he wanted to keep good men in jail.
He doesn’t want to lose the slave labor.
“They’re releasing some good ones,” Pattor explained, “that we use every day to wash cars, to change the oil in our cars, to cook in the kitchen… well, they’re going to let them out!”
The United States incarcerates more of its citizens than any other country in the world. Millions of our fellow Americans — mostly male, predominantly African American, and many convicted of non-violent or even victimless crimes — are being lost from our communities to a prison culture that views them as expendable, less than human.
This has become so normal that Sheriff Pastor apparently felt comfortable openly discussing his inhumane of view of his own prisoners — but the stoic expressions on Black officers’ faces behind hims says it all.
This should shake us all to high alert. This sheriff views even “good ones” as slaves and thinks we should too. He is not alone in his belief, and that is why the rest of us need to speak up.
With the disclosure that “good” men are being kept in jail because they are useful slaves, suddenly taking a knee in peaceful protest may not seem so out of line.
It is long past time for America to reject this heinous view of incarcerated human beings, and we all have a responsibility to help end our culture of mass incarceration.
In 38 seconds Steve Prattor, Sheriff of Caddo Parish in Louisiana, tells you why he REALLY likes keeping “good” Black men in jail. pic.twitter.com/7YtxixE1rU
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) October 12, 2017