Inequities of mass incarceration are true in Dutchess tooGeri Willmott, Valley Views
Published 1:29 p.m. ET April 4, 2018
More and more concerned citizens in this county and beyond believe our criminal justice practices need to align more closely with our constitutional rights. Recently in Poughkeepsie, Just Leadership USA (JLUSA) and #FREEnewyork co-sponsored a town hall along with our End the New Jim Crow Action Network (ENJAN) and the Social Justice Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Poughkeepsie. The event featured formerly incarcerated men and women who highlighted the inequities of mass incarceration for: Blacks, Latinos, women, the poor, the mentally ill, and addicts.
Picked up in a neighborhood sweep when she was a 20-year-old mother, Rasonia Squire explained through her tears why she gave up her right to a trial, and pled guilty to a felony, although innocent. “I had to get back to my daughter,” she repeated emotionally. Besides, ”I knew my family could not afford a lawyer,” she noted. Along with others on the panel, she revealed the shame of being arrested and having to tell her mother.