I am wearing orange today in solidarity with Plain Human, a group of artists and designers in San Francisco and Northampton Massachusetts who are making March 11th Prisoner Awareness Day.
This week and last, prison issues have been prominent in the mainstream press, as more Americans are starting to see the physical and fiscal realities of rocketing incarceration rates, even if they have yet to feel the profound suffering it causes individuals, families, and communities. A Pew Center on the States report, which came out February 28th, offered the startling statistic that one in 99.1 adults in the United States is behind bars. Overwhelmingly, those incarcerated come from the least educated, most impoverished neighborhoods. If the distress of low-income communities and communities of color hadn’t got anyone’s attention, the price tag for putting and keeping people in jail or prison finally has. States, alone, are paying nearly $50 billion annually, on a par now with their spending for higher education. (more…)