This legislative session had high hopes about bringing about real and meaningful change to the ways our state incarcerates. Two of the chief concerns presented before legislation were the impact on state finances and the disparaging impact on communities of color. This session was in good standing to make real changes. A Democratic State Congress and a Democratic Executive who all said black and brown people are being abused by the legal practices that fill up prisons at rates that represent them much higher than their free community counterparts. In one study, black people were just 4% of the community and over 18% of prisons. Hispanic and Native communities have been decimated just as bad.. But, this legislative session was going to change that… and they were on their way because Covid had crippled the state financially and equity had the upper hand. Something had to give, right?

Not so much. President Biden had given this Blue State the bailout it needed to shut down all true and meaningful changes. Those with “Buck Rogers” time structures will have no effective relief. Juveniles that were put up against multi-decade sentences were hoping for… hope. But to no avail. Those that were looking to the Department of Corrections’ own Budget Reduction Strategy had hopes. Another fail. The billions that could have been saved won’t be. That can got kicked down the road for another time, to be handled by another body of elected officials years from now. Instead of spending that stimulus money on rehabilitating the community to ensure prisons aren’t the financial drain they are, the lip service of liberal policies continue. Nobody wants the doors of prisons just opened and they shouldn’t be. But don’t sell the public on racial equity… right up until the cash comes in. Shit like that shows the true colors of a movement and a disingenuous legislative body.

by Rory Andes

At least we can tax marijuana, right? Priorities…

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