I think it’s broken.” That’s what Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy said about the justice system when he testified before the House Appropriations subcommittee recently. (Click)
Despite agreement among experts in the scientific community as well as those working in the justice system, the public turns a deaf ear to arguments for prison reform. Not only is there no concern about fairness, but too many hold the opinion that people sentenced to jail deserve to be miserable. Such people ignore data showing that significant numbers of the convicted poor are guilty of nothing more than the inability to afford a skilled defense attorney.
Take Anthony Ray Hinton, for example, number 157 of those who, since 1973, have been found innocent of the charge of murder and released from death row. For 16 years Hinton languished in solitary confinement, pacing in an a 5 x 8 cell while every day the state tried to kill him. (Click) Under 8th Amendment to the United States Constitution, surely his circumstance represented cruel and unusual punishment. (Click)
Unfortunately, people who are incarcerated have few advocates. If men and women of good conscious chose to listen to the voice of justice inside them, one day that might change. It’s time to wipe the spirit of Hammurabi from our books. (Code of Hammurabi Click) It’s time for Congress to pass the by-partisan prison reforms bills before it. A fair justice system is the right of even “the least of these.” (Matthew 25:40)