Day 4- Let Justice Prevail! – Tiffany Burrows

June 15th, 2016

justice-prevail-2Today Todd led the group to Equal Justice Initiative, “private, nonprofit organization that provides legal representation to indigent defendants and prisoners who have been denied fair and just treatment in the legal system” (IJE website).

Their main location stems from Montgomery Alabama, but they also work “across the United States. [T]housands of children have been sentenced as adults and sent to adult prisons. Nearly 3000 juveniles nationwide have been sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Children as young as 13 years old have been tried as adults and sentenced to die in prison, typically without any consideration of their age or circumstances of the offense” (EJI website). Many of these children and adults are people of color.

I had heard that people of color are more likely to be sentenced to prison, proven guilty or not, but I did not realize how our own government system is set up to continue this cycle and not even pardon the many mistaken prison sentencings. What’s even more shocking is that on a economic stand point, it would be cheaper to implement rehabilitation programs than to continue to expand prisons and sentence people to death. Even so, millions of our tax dollars are taken to do otherwise. I began to question the people in power and posed the question, “How can our government leaders grow to such a position of power and manage people lives in such manner?” But then I quickly learned that people of power and influence tend to have little personal experience with someone imprisoned, poor, of color, etc… So, when they see this person who supposedly committed xyz crime, they are seen as a unredeemable criminal and not a human-being.

I want to be clear that not all people of power have this mind set and that there needs to a correction system in place for people who committed a crime(s), but full evaluation for whether the person even committed the crime should be a must and an equivalent sentencing should be made, along with programs set out to educate inmates and get them back on their feet post imprisonment.

A greater population of people that have committed a crime are less likely to commit a crime again. And if these people received the tools and opportunities to live a better life how much more would society improve.

Above all, the most profound moment for me is that our history of slavery and inequality amongst minorities is one of the influences for kind of system we have today. It’s said that slavery ended in the mid 1800’s, but I beg to differ. It now disguised within our government system. And worst of all, many don’t even know it. One of the best ways to keep injustice going, is to trick people into believing that it does not even exist. Even so, I truly believe justice will prevail and that we all can play role in getting the truth out. We do not need to worry about saving the world. We can start the work within ourselves and stem out from there. If we all play our part, we can all make a difference. It’s up to you to discover your role and like Nike, “Just do it!!”

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