Over 2.2 million people are in U.S. prisons and jails, making the world’s dominant imperialist power far and away the world’s biggest jailer. The criminal “justice” system and its prisons are the true face of what workers confront under the dictatorship of capital.
All in all, there are just under 7 million people behind bars or on probation or parole.
Under capitalism, prisons are organized to demoralize and break those incarcerated and serve as a warning to millions of other working people to submit to the boss’s dictates.
Prisoners are subject to solitary confinement, use of Tasers by guards and other abuses and indignities.
Those in prison are disproportionately African-American, with one in 11 adult Blacks either in prison or on parole or probation.
And the denial of basic constitutional rights doesn’t end on release. Some 6 million prisoners or former prisoners who had been convicted or were forced to plead guilty to felony charges have been denied the right to vote.
Held in jail since 2016, cattle rancher Cliven Bundy is fighting alongside family members and supporters against government efforts to convict them for protesting the restriction of his family’s grazing rights and the seizure of their cattle. Support for the ranchers’ fight continues to grow. Oregon cattle ranchers Dwight Hammond and his son Steven were also framed up and railroaded to prison for fighting to be able to continue to run their ranch.
Those imprisoned for their political views and activities, like Leonard Peltier, Mumia Abu-Jamal and former Black Panthers Ed Poindexter, Jalil Muntaqim and Herman Bell, are fighting decadeslong frame-ups.
The parole setup is all too often used to push workers back into prison after they’ve been released. Rapper Meek Mill has been repeatedly dragged back into court and was sent back to prison last month.
Workers behind bars are part of a working class that has gone through years of depression conditions and attacks by bosses and their government. In addition, they’ve been run through the anti-working-class criminal “justice” system.
Many are looking for a way to stand up to the indignities and assaults inflicted on working people and are open to fighting for thoroughgoing change. The Militant offers invaluable information about working-class struggles and the revolutionary program and activities of the Socialist Workers Party.
We ask our readers to make a generous contribution to the Militant Prisoners’ Fund, which makes it possible for us to offer reduced-rate or complimentary subscriptions to workers behind bars.
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