Public Correction of Political Corruption
Joshua 6:5 “All the people shall shout with a great voice
and the walls of the city shall all fall down flat.”
Isaiah 1:17 “Learn to do right! Seek justice, relieve the
oppressed and correct the oppressor.
“We are a small group of people who have joined forces at the grass roots level to enlighten and educate the public and citizens who pay to support the Prison System of Montana. We are committed to bringing enlightenment to others by shining the light on the current conditions of imprisonment of Montana. We hope to bring about a positive change in the manner in which Montana prosecutes, punishes and incarcerates its prisoners by the hundreds. Many prisoners have served the time required by the law and yet they remain behind the walls. Some die in the prison warehouses without ever getting justice. The time has arrived to address the injustice that is occurring in Montana at this time. As a group we can be a force to break down the Walls of Indifference, Prejudice, Poverty, Suppression of justice, and Bringing Accountability to the system. The actual cost in dollars and the waste of human resources is staggering. Keeping so many behind the Walls is overwhelming to many of us who think the time for change has come.”
Many good, honest and educated people are indifferent to the plight of prisoners and their families. When a loved one is locked away the entire family suffers and suffers. If you are in prison you belong there, is a popular belief of many. Lock ‘em up and throw away the key. We hope to help you understand this is not helping the State, its people, the economy, or society in principle. Many victims will disagree but taking an objective look at the results of what we consider just punishment will prove the point we are attempting to make. We agree that some crimes require that the offender must be taken out of society and remain behind bars to protect the population from being victimized gain and again. However, as a supposed enlightened nation, there comes a point when even the victims must forgive in order to move ahead in their grief and sorrow. Ignoring prisoners and denying the problems created by the current system does not move us into better world, a more humane or safe society.
Locking people up for long periods of time can have the consequence of punishing an entire generation, a whole community, infecting the minds and conscience of a nation by rationalizing the disenfranchising of a people to placate a media induced false sense of security and to support the financial motivations behind ‘the new slavery.’ Innocent people are serving life sentences and people who have served the time approved by law are being held hostage to an antiquated Parole Board. What our group is hoping to convey is that ‘indifference’ has never solved a problem or made a problem go away. We would like to ask your participation in our effort to overcome and tear down the wall of indifference to our fallen brothers and sisters.
It is more difficult to tear down the walls of prejudice than it is indifference as it is often inborn into our very being. From infancy many are conditioned to believe that people different from us should not be liked or allowed the same rights that we have claimed for ourselves. In Montana that stigma seems to fall on Native Americans, African Americans, and even our visiting minorities. This disparity has been looked at by many committees and governmental bodies yet no plan for redemptive change has surfaced without those discriminated against fighting for their rights. Vogue in Montana is the ’Good ’Ol Boy’ system which is begging for a cure! We need to challenge this issue together at the grass roots level and explore the depths and consequences of one race behaving as if they are superior to others. This idea is an offense to God and to many of us.
It is no secret that ‘Blacks’ and ‘Natives’ receive harsher sentences than their ‘White’ counterparts for the same offences. When such blatant disrespect is flaunted by the system’s refusal to accommodate personal hygiene products, or other cultural necessities including special days and remembrances, or legal recourse to organizations to help those being discriminated against, what would motivate people to want to cooperate or succeed? Respect is foundational to growth and maturation, causing many to question the DOC‘s real motives.
Prejudice and racism unfortunately seem to be at the core of the system designed by our forefathers which paradoxically was meant to insure equal rights and justice for all, as stipulated by the constitution they drafted. Yet those we elect to govern us seem predisposed to practice their prejudice in violation of the very system they pledge to uphold. Nowhere is this more evident than in our prison system. Stereotyping anyone is a contradiction of everything America claims to stand for, creating a social malignancy that infects the whole culture. Being different, African or Native American, or any minority should not hurt!!
Many of the prisoners that live behind the Walls of Prison are victims of being poor. This is their guilt, - being poor in a rich nation. A nation with conscience, with capabilities, with status in the world should demonstrate a better moral code than to flaunt such a terrible flaw in both principle and practice. Some actually believe that putting poor people in prison benefits society and reduces the tax base for local welfare by shifting the tax burden to the State and Federal Government, thus reducing the County and City taxpayers burdens. What has happened to us that we allow this flawed thinking to gain a foothold? Thankfully Cascade county has implemented a program of early legal representation for each defendant at the time they make their first appearance before a judge. In the past at an arraignment hearing, it had always been the practice a to allow the state or county to make any unfounded claim they chose to make about the accused while the defendant might have no representation.
This process has been changed thanks to a progressive Public Defender, Mr. Donahue of Great Falls, all because one man cared enough to do something about a problem that needed to be changed. Because of his initiative a long overdue process, essential to justice, is in place, that of requiring an attorney to be involved at the onset of the legal process.
Money has always been the key to a good defense. The rich can afford the best while the poor must often settle for the least trained, least prepared, and in some cases least competent or least interested legal personnel to help determine their fate. Even a fool can predict the outcome of most legal contests. If the defendant is poor, of a minority race, sometimes handicapped by lack of education, poverty, isolation from family and friends, scared, maybe ill, addicted, the outcome can be less than just. Can a society remain sovereign with such a disregard of legal, moral, rectitude in its governing body? Rejecting change when a system has degenerated leads to chaos. It might be good to review the sins of Sodom listed in Ezekiel 16:49 Pride, over abundance of food, prosperous ease, idleness, they did not strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.“
The term ‘prisonization’ describes the culture of prison life that an inmate must comply with in order to survive in prison, making the idea of reform impossible. The prison structure, with few exceptions, provides no rehabilitation but in fact the opposite. Most of the people America incarcerates are non-violent drug offenders who, when subjected to the harsh environment of prison, adopt the ‘prisoner code’ and become associated with a group or gang, that will protect them from predators. This essentially demonstrates the unfortunate reality that prisons tend to function more as ‘schools of crime’, increasing the likelihood of future criminal behavior. Sexual assault is a terrible reality for many inmates, epidemic in many prisons. In one prison system over a 24 month period there were documented 2000 such assaults on 1500 victims by 3500 aggressors. The report further concluded that ‘virtually every slightly built young man committed to jail by the courts – many of them merely to await trial – is sexually approached within hours of his admission to prison. Many young men are overwhelmed and repeatedly ‘raped’ by gangs of inmate aggressors.
In 1997, 5 women held in a CCA private prison at Florence, AZ filed a lawsuit claiming that the institution’s guards regularly raped the women inmates.’ (The Perpetual Prisoner Machine’ by Joel Dyer pp46.)
There are many other dangers that include race wars, extortion, rival-gang conflicts, guard abuse – such as using a ‘hitching post‘, inmate loyalty that sometimes means committing other crimes behind bars. Inmates are treated in many institution as sub-human, forced to work long hours for a few cents an hour, completely suppressed and oppressed.
It has been estimated that 85% of those we commit to prison are non-violent offenders, that political and media hype has exaggerated the ‘crime statistics’ in order to further the profits derived from crime. No other nation on earth imprisons as many of its citizens as we do. The answer does not lie in creating more warehouses to hold people captive, but in the mentality of those who govern. We have allowed a deregulated, conglomerate media to teach us how to think, who feeds us on an addictive menu of violence and sex, and then we elect people who create laws that punish such behavior. America needs to wake up to reality, that building more prisons is not the answer. The answer is much closer to home – in the mirror!
Suppression of the Truth
The very structure of Montana politics leads to malice in prosecution as the Prosecutors office is the springboard or platform from which to launch oneself in to the political arena. A good conviction rate is critical to the public image of how well trained and dedicated to the Principles of Law and Order they are. Centurion Ministries, who came from out of state to represent Barry A Beach stated that Montana, even when confronted with the truth will not accept the fact it was wrong. In the case of the Billings man, Mr. Baumgartner, who served 17 years and was cleared by DNA our former Attorney General who was elected as Chief Justice of our Montana Supreme Court stated he was guilty of something, that he must have had an accomplice to cover up the DNA. This is corrupt and it is a standard practice in this state. As a people we should shout – NO, not in this state!!!
Judges who must know they are sentencing innocent people to life in prison must be removed from office. Judges who ignore evidence of ‘innocence” to protect attorneys who are not doing due diligence to the defendants should be removed from the Montana Bar which has failed to censor its own derelict members. Case in point, Attorney Roberta Drew – fired twice as Pubic Defender and three times has risen to Chief Public Defender of Yellowstone County. This attorney was awarded thousands of dollars in damages for her bad acts from the Human Rights Bureau of Montana.
The state spends millions of dollars to incarcerate humans behind walls at a cost of over $85 per day while supervised release of offenders outside the Wall costs $5 per day. Less than a year ago this state had a huge surplus in the General Fund of almost one billion dollars and the DOC went nuts with building new ’holding tanks’ for its inmate population. It became a must that each town or city have a Regional Prison System. It is time to look at the motives behind such actions and assess the real problem here. Many of these buildings are just buildings with an ever shifting population of the same inmates. The system just moves the inmates from building to building to show an increase in the number of inmates in the system.. Unfortunately the public is unaware of the manipulations and machinations involved in the profiteering racket behind the subjugation of people for profit. A well researched report ‘The Prison Payoff: The Role of Politics and Private Prisons in the Incarceration Boom’ by a non-profit group in Helena brings to light information the public is oblivious to, such as the relationship between campaign contributions and state legislative action. The Preface to this report states “ The incarceration boom in the U.S. and increasing trend towards prison privatization are matters that should be of grave public concern….We are locking up more and more Americans – most of them people of color, poor, and increasingly young. We are cutting the very programs that have been proven, time and time again to deter crime.” As the report continues, it is revealed that, ’The U.S. is currently engaged in the largest prison build-up in history. Since 1980 we have more that quadrupled our prison population…It is our conclusion that a major factor in the current incarceration boom is the influence of private prison corporations with vested financial interests in increasing rates of imprisonment….private prison companies have deeply insinuated themselves into the political process.”
America, can we legitimately hold to the slogan of being a safe haven for the poor and needy? Instead they have become the fodder of those who are using the system against them for personal financial gain.