Georgia Green Party Set to Contest 2010 Elections on Issue of Black Mass Incarceration

Bruce Dixon

At a recent strategic planning retreat in Dublin Georgia, members of the Georgia Green Party’s state committee agreed in principal to make challenging public policies which have created Black Mass Incarceration, a focus of its 2010 candidate recruitment efforts.

Bruce Dixon, an incoming member of the Georgia Party’s state committee wrote four years ago in the weekly publication he edits,

Public discussions of these policies are deracialized. (T)heir racially disparate impacts are a seldom discussed but widely known fact.

Dixon said that:

Green Party candidates will help Georgians question the incarceration binge by conducting campaigns for Sherrif, DA and State Assembly which openly challenge the failed experiments of mass incarceration and correctional and probation privatization. These strategies have not contributed to public safety and in fact have drained resources from programs that would.

In “One in Thirty-One: The Long Reach of American Corrections“, published this past Spring by the Pew Center on the States, the data shows that Georgia, with its one in thirteen adults under correctional control, has the dubious honor of driving the trend, followed by Utah (1:18), DC (1:21), Texas (1:22), Massachusetts (1:24), Ohio (1:25) and the national average (1:31). Compare those numbers with New Hampshire (1:88), Maine (1:81), Utah (1:64).

“We cannot build a beloved community, until we have dismantled the modern vestiges of slavery which still tarnish our nation,” said Hugh Esco, who in 1998 campaigned on the Green ticket for Lieutenant Governor, challenging the Miller administration on the moral depravity of tripling Georgia prison capacity in his two terms as Governor.

Greens have long called for:

  • a halt to the incarceration of juveniles for nonviolent offenses;
  • a thorough re-examination of so-called “zero-tolerance” policies implemented in Georgia’s public schools which have unnecessarily criminalized young people to the detriment of the educational mission;
  • that incarcerated juveniles be segregated from adults convicts;
  • an end to trying juveniles as adults and incarcerating juveniles with adults;
  • the repeal of all mandatory minimum sentencing legislation;
  • an end to all privatized prisons and jails, and the swift phasing out of piecemeal privatization of inmate health, food services and other functions;
  • an end to the price gouging and cronyism rampant in state contracting permitting private profiteers to exploit the families of inmates for toll phone calls and other services;
  • a restorative justice system and the protection of the human rights of offenders.

Dixon said:

Greens are concerned by the rising use of privatized probation services. The predatory practices of these court sanctioned loan sharks is an oppressive regime exercising a corrupting influence on democratic governance.

“The rising use of public policy imposed criminal sanctions to create captive workforces, more and more under the private management, has condemned the hours and working conditions of so called free labor to a downward spiral,” said Esco. “Our racism harms white families scrapping for a living in ways perhaps more subtle than our Black and Latino neighbors, more of whose families directly face the gulag, but these policies hurt all our families, whether our own brother is doing time or not.”

Dixon, a Cobb County Georgia based journalist, said:

More now so than when I first wrote those words, the shadow of prison squats at the corners of, and often at the center of nearly every black family’s life in this nation. I’m excited that the Green Party affords us with a vehicle to raise these important issues in meaningful ways. I look forward to electing Green sherriffs and DA’s who can begin to right these wrongs. We can not expect the Democrats who created these issues and colluded with the corrupting impact of privatization to craft a way out of this mess.

— 30 —

Why Democrats and Republicans Won’t Confront Black Mass Incarceration, and Why The Green Party Will

Platform of the Georgia Green Party

One in 31: The Long Reach of American Corrections

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