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  • Government Name: Roderick Sutton
  • Register Number: 60128-066
  • Age:33
  • Time Served:8 yrs.
  • Home Town:Easton, PA
  • Sentence:17 yrs.
  • Current Charge:Armed Bank Robbery; Firearm; Possession 5 grams or more of cocaine; Aiding & Abetting
  • Alias:Roach
  • Release Date:2019
  • Prison Affiliation:None
  • Circle of Influence:
  • Institution:Allenwood
  • Here is where everyone loses and what everyone does, time! Time takes, but time teaches.

Marginalized: The Criminalization of a Race

As the cycle of mass incarceration continues, prison will be an expected rite of passage into manhood for an even greater number of African American men. Sadly, most will consider their prison experience to be a badge of honor.

Truth be told, more than any other ethnic group in this nation, people of African descent, particularly males, have endured the somber and debilitating impacts of prison. In 2010, African Americans comprised nearly 50% of the incarcerated population in America while making up only 13.5% of the nation’s total population. It’s estimated that 2.5 million African Americans are arrested and charged with a crime compared to a whopping 6.5 million European Americans, yet we are some how incarcerated at an extremely higher level.

A study recently conducted by U.C.L.A. professors found that African American boys as young as ten years old were viewed as older than, and not as innocent as, European American boys the same age. Other studies show that African American boys are more likely than European American boys to be be disciplined and sent to remedial programs for the same acting-out behaviors in school. Thus insuring that the pipeline to prison will begin in the hallways of elementary school for African American children.

Roughly 20% of all young African American men between the ages of 25-30 are behind bars, compared to less than 2% of European American men; another third of African American males are under the watchful eyes of the criminal injustice supervision. The majority would sped more time in prison than attending college, serving in this nation’s military, and participating in the labor market.

It’s clear to see going to prison is no rare occurrence among this nation’s most marginalized ethnic group. Rather it’s some how completely normal and anticipated! A shrouded reason for this train of thought is because of widespread assumptions about the criminal tendencies of this group that affect far more than those who actually engage in crime. The anonymous African American male is usually an ambiguous and imposing figure who arouses the utmost caution and is generally considered dangerous until he proves he is not. Particularly in this nation and other European societies, we have always been regarded with suspicion and fear; a stereotype that is deeply embedded in the collective consciousness of Europeans and European Americans even in this so-called post slavery, post civil rights, and post Obama-era.

The 13th Amendment: Prisoners are slaves of the state

In the eyes of most European Americans and the political elite, the U.S. criminal injustice system represents an effective tool to identify and segregate those who they consider the objectionable members of society, mainly people of African descent. This thought pattern gives credence to the shrouded purpose of the Thirteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The Amendment states, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, EXCEPT as punishment for a crime where of the party shall have been duly convicted, SHALL exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” If those words that were drafted by this nation’s political elite are carefully dissected you will clearly see we are living in a system of modern day slavery.

The Thirteenth Amendment gives legal sanction to the political elite to continue involuntary servitude to justify the punishment of a crime as long as it is instituted consistent with due process. A controversy settled in the landmark case; Ruffin vs. Commonwealth. 62 VA 790. 796 (1871) when the court remarked prisoners were “slaves of the state”. The courts put to rest any notion that convicts were legally distinguishable (different) from slaves. See also; Jones vs. North Carolina Prisoners’ Labor Union, Inc. 433 U.S. 199, 53 L.ed 2d 629. Most people think incarceration is intended to serve as a punishment for individuals  or as rehabilitation for those who have broken the law. That is the not the case!

Let’s delve deeper into the punishing effects of incarceration because the effects DO NOT end upon our release.

Unbeknownst to the majority of the tax paying society, rehabilitation behind these walls is literally a feign concept. The crucial economic and vocational skills needed for a productive and prosperous reentry into society do not exist due to the so-called budget cuts. But contrary to those reports there has been a budget increase for the fiscal years of 2015 and 2016.

Where is this tax payer money going?

Now, behind these walls, we must choose between inertness or a way to self rehabilitate, like I was forced to pursue. Self rehabilitation requires a strong support system beyond these walls. It becomes a real mental and financial strain on the families that are left to cope with the incarceration of their loved one(s). Unfortunately, for most behind these walls that support system is non existent, so the majority resort to inertness. They end up being released back into society unrehabilitated and many times worse off than before going to prison.

Re-entry

Now, upon release, we must attempt to reintegrate into society; a society that will frown upon us with even more contempt. This reintegration will consist of seeking meaningful employment, housing, education, and transportation. But the mark of a criminal record could greatly hinder the ability to achieve such basic feats because our dealings with the criminal injustice system can be easily accessed by a wide range of individuals, such as prospective employers, educational institutions, housing agencies, land-lords, and even creditors, which results in our exclusion from valuable social and economic opportunities. Exclusion from federal and state funded student loans, public housing, voting, and in most cases meaningful employment.

Finding steady, quality employment is one of the strongest predictors of desistance from crime and yet incarceration itself purposely reduces these opportunities for us. In essence, those of us who have been subjected to the criminal injustice system are eventually punished more than once for the crime(s) we committed! Once released from prison, it’s clear to see this may in fact exacerbate the very conditions that caused most of us to delve into crime in the first place.

Studies show that two-thirds of us who are released back into society WILL return to prison within the first three years of release. RECIDIVISM IS REAL! The same politicians who these so called ”black leaders” praise and jive with will NEVER fully address this disparaging fact. Their duty is to ALWAYS remain steadfast to European privilege.

This privilege has meant that there has NEVER been and will NEVER be, in the history of this nation, a generation of European Americans that has to compete on equal footing with people of African descent or any other so called minority for jobs or services. They therefore never have to respect or even consider our positions as legitimate concerns, because they’ll continue to have the privilege to decide who can prosper and who will not.

For every person of African descent, like myself, who is incarcerated and enslaved under the criminal injustice system, we’ve made it that much easier for them.

Recent studies conducted show that a European American male with a criminal history has an extremely greater chance of obtaining meaningful employment than a African American male without any criminal history!

In some very real aspects, ALL African American’s are punished for the intended punishment of the few!

Truthfully speaking, we’ve made it possible for the political elite to create and continue an institution similar to slavery. It’s called prison. And they get to employ a host of handpicked privileged European Americans as overpaid overseers, just like the good ole days!

A Serious Question

To all of you who read this, I want to pose a serious question. If it was within your authority, would you make a conscious decision to employ someone with a lengthy and violent criminal record like myself?!

  

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