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Public Defenders Key to Reducing Mass Incarceration


Public Defenders Key to Reducing Mass Incarceration

Jonathan Rapping

The well-known introduction to Law & Order—the longest running legal series in TV history—is indicative of the criminal justice narrative that dominates American thinking:

“In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important, groups: the police, who investigate crime; and the district attorneys, who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories.”


It frightens me that logic--as exhibited in the following 2 paragraphs--can receive a MacArthur "genius" award:

"But as a “tough on crime” mindset took hold of the public psyche over the past four decades, we forgot the importance of our constitutional obligation to protect the vulnerable. Instead we have created a community of “others”—almost exclusively poor and non-white—which needs to be monitored, controlled, and isolated from the rest of us. In our rush to punish, the right to counsel gets short shrift as we fail to provide adequate resources so that defense lawyers can serve all of their clients effectively."

The tough on crime mindset didn't occur in a vacuum. It was a direct corollary to the rise in anti-govt. pro Reagan-style views and values. These were propped up through an increasing corporate control of media. Taking a phenomenon and relating it without context or backstory is no different than the police reports that pretend that Black men "just so happened to die" in police custody. End of story. Shit happens.

"Indeed, we have cheered law enforcement while demonizing the populations that are locked up and the advocates who speak for them. In doing so we have fueled our generation’s greatest civil rights crisis—mass incarceration. Of the 2.2 million people locked up in America, almost all are poor, and disproportionately of color."

Did WE cheer? Or was it that gigantic corporate lobbying firms twisted enough candidates' arms (while making enough attractive campaign contributions) to set up a massive prison-industrial, New Plantation System? And to ensure used beds (in the same ways hotels hire P.R. firms to ensure high occupancy), recreational drug use was criminalized.

Do WE all cheer guns or is that the work of the NRA and its parent organization, the MIC?

I am sick and tired of these FALSE one size fits all frames.

They constantly turn policies designed by private interests--post facto--into what the public allegedly wanted. Is this same Falsified Narrative going to be used to tell US, the American people who know enough about TPP and TIPP to oppose these uber-authoritarian tactics, that WE wanted them, too? And that WE wanted wars based on falsified evidence repeated as damning truth day in and day out by a mass media beholden to make-war, nefarious Deep State powers?


Public Defender....what are you talking about? There no such thing! Public Defenders are a part of the prosecutorial department. They are the least experienced attorneys, fresh out of law school working their way up through the system. Their job is to present the coercive offer of the prosecutor. Plead to these charges for x amount of time. If the poor were to all demand a trial by a jury of their peers, the criminal injustice system would grind to a halt. Public Pretenders are not a key to reducing mass incarceration. Defunding the prison industrial complex is the first key to reducing mass incarceration. Using those funds for education and jobs would be a help. Ending state terrorism also known as "The War on Drugs" would also help.

Mass incarceration started in the early 90s with political movements like STOP" stop turning out prisoners". Before long every chuckleheaded politician was contesting to see who could be the toughest on the poor that were caught offending. Before long Wall Street found there was money to be made. Meanwhile our states are reducing educational budgets, and increasing concentration camp budgets.

Public Pretenders are the key to keeping the system in tact.