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Prison Reform Quotes

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I think there’s something to be optimistic about because I believe that many people throughout the country and world are starting to realize that we’ve made some deep, deep mistakes in terms of building prisons to the detriment and exclusion of building up our educational systems. Developing punitive programs for teens instead of focusing on programs that will really benefit and advantage our children.
-- Ellen Barry

We've entered a disturbing period that promotes a retributionist, punitive attitude toward people in our society who haven't 'made it,' who are underdogs, who don't have the financial means that other people have, and who may have disabilities like mental illness and addictions to deal with,"
-- Ellen Barry

We live in a country that is addicted to incarceration as a tool for social control. As it stands now justice systems are extremely expensive, do not rehabilitate but in fact make the people that experience them worse and have no evidence based correlatives to reducing crime. Yet with that track record they continue to thrive, prosper and are seen as an appropriate response to children in trouble with the law. Only an addict would see that as an okay result.
-- James Bell

“Society has used the juvenile courts to create a caste system where there are throw-away people.”
-- James Bell

“Our justice system is one of the few unaccountable systems in the country. It doesn’t make decisions based on best practices…or in the best interest of the young people and families involved. As a result, there is a 70 percent recidivism rate. The decision makers can administer this misery and not take any responsibility for the outcome.”
-- James Bell

If you want to address racial disparity in the juvenile justice system, everybody has to have a role in it. Everybody has some responsibility."
-- James Bell

There is a multi-headed, multi-tentacled monster out there devouring blacks who live in certain neighborhoods. Incarceration is just one aspect of this menace, but it is an overwhelmingly damaging aspect. Our job, in working to achieve fairness and equity, is to sound the alarm about the unjust criminal justice system and demand that our leaders and those in power act now to halt this destructive, unfair treatment of our brothers and sisters, especially of our children.
-- James Bell

Together we must challenge individuals, communities, cities, counties, regions, states, and the nation to be accountable for the outcomes of the justice systems at every level of government.
-- James Bell

"Torture is banned but in two-thirds of the world's countries it is still being committed in secret. Too many governments still allow wrongful imprisonment, murder or "disappearance" to be carried out by their officials with impunity."
-- Peter Benenson

"Open your newspaper - any day of the week - and you will find a report from somewhere in the world of someone being imprisoned, tortured or executed because his opinions or religion are unacceptable to his government."
-- Peter Benenson

"The candle burns not for us, but for all those whom we failed to rescue from prison, who were shot on the way to prison, who were tortured, who were kidnapped, who "disappeared". That's what the candle is for."
-- Peter Benenson

"Once the concentration camps and the hell-holes of the world were in darkness. Now they are lit by the light of the Amnesty candle; the candle in barbed wire. When I first lit the Amnesty candle, I had in mind the old Chinese proverb: 'Better light a candle than curse the darkness.'"
-- Peter Benenson

"The line that connects the bombing of civilian populations to the mountain removed by strip mining ... to the tortured prisoner seems to run pretty straight. We're living, it seems, in the culmination of a long warfare -- warfare against human beings, other creatures and the Earth itself."
~ Wendell Berry

"The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed."
-- Stephen Biko

 

* How do we redefine education so that 30-50 percent of inner-city children do not drop out of school, thus ensuring that millions will end up in prison?
-- Grace Lee Boggs


I believe that we are at the point now, in the United States, where a movement is beginning to emerge. I think that the calamity, the quagmire of the Iraq war, the outsourcing of jobs, the drop-out of young people from the education system, the monstrous growth of the prison-industrial complex, the planetary emergency, which we are engulfed at the present moment, is demanding that instead of just complaining about these things, instead of just protesting about these things, we begin to look for, and hope for, another way of living. And I think that-- that's where the movement-- I-- I see a movement beginning to emerge, 'cause I see hope beginning to trump despair.
-- Grace Lee Boggs

They are torturing people. They are torturing people on Guantanamo Bay. They are engaging in acts which amount to torture in the medieval sense of the phrase. They are engaging in good old-fashioned torture, as people would have understood it in the Dark Ages.
-- Richard Bourke

Prison Reform Quotes

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