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By: Daniel J. Simms, Imprisoned Author/Podcast Host/Reformist

Holocaust in Slow Motion?: America's Mass Incarceration and the Role of Discretion. By Mark Osler and Mark W. Bennett. 7 DEPAUL J. SOC. JUSTICE 117 (2014). Slow Motion Lynching? The War on Drugs and Mass Incarceration: Reflections on Doing Kimbrough Justice and a Response to Two Third Circuit Judges. By Mark W. Bennett. RUGTERS L. REV. 873, (2014). I believe this wholeheartedly. We are watching a true slow motion holocaust and figurative lynching occurring in prisons across the Country. Critics argue that harsh and cruelly long sentences for gun crimes are necessary for public safety. That trope is exhausted and tired. It is entirely inconsistent with the facts. The truth is even when crime is down, or up, it does not matter. Either way incarceration rates will still go up. Crime Rates Are Down, Yet U.S. Incarceration Rates Are Still Amongst the Highest in the World. By Campbell Robertson. Public safety is not a problem in our Country. The problem is a free slave labor profit motive. It is truly repugnant. Politicians use their bully pulpit to demonize troubled Americans Every measure of political and social scientists has recognized that our Nation's mass incarceration strategies have been a "moral, legal, social, and economic disaster" that "cannot end soon enough." Editorial. End Mass Incarceration Now. (May 24, 2014)(p. SR10).

The crime decline of the 1990s did coincide with a large increase in prison populations. But the large crime increase during the preceding period coincided with an even bigger jump of imprisonment, and incarceration rates continued to climb after 2000 even though crime rates were relatively static. Cook and Lugwig. Public safety is not the concern. The government knows how detrimental long sentences are. How ineffective they are to reduce crime. Nevertheless they continue to ignore the public's outcry. We must organize against these abuses. Otherwise you, your children, or your children's children, will have a fifty-fifty percentage chance to wake up incarcerated based on past data.

I personally sympathize with those ensnared by these schemes. They are tragic but for me it is deeper than that. The State of Washington has done it to me. The State is essentially murdering me with a cruelly slow death sentence of slavery, misery, and anguish even though no one was killed or even severely hurt in my case. State v. Simms, 151Wn. App. 677. Those of you that have read my book, Hopeless in Seattle: A Fosterkid's Manifesto, know that I grew up roughly on the streets of Seattle. It is hard to believe now looking back. I was a different person then. There were times where it felt necessary to be armed. But the case I am incarcerated for now could of happened to anyone. Any person that has ever bought street drugs from a street dealer could be sitting here. Yep. It is troublesome. I was at a season of my life when I was self medicating on street drugs. I went to a drug house to buy some substances. When I gave him some money for the drugs, he took a toke of drugs, blew it out, and forgot I gave him money. He refused to give me my drugs or money back so it got heated. Before I knew it we were in a full blown dispute. I wanted my drugs, or money back, but he would not give me either one. I grabbed a gun to get it back. Since I was in his drug house his friend grabbed me from the back while the drug dealer hit me in the head with a ball peen hammer. Then others in the house jumped in and beat me senseless. I struggled to the door and got outside. And there were two police officers. The owner of the house had, unconnected to my incident, called the police because a past evicted renter's car was there. It was bad timing for me because all the occupants of the house accused me of Robbery. So here I am. Foreclosed from society to die behind bars. Obviously I regret deeply my bad decisions. I hurt many people, not fatally or seriously, but I still hurt them. I have immense remorse. I wish I could go back to change so many things. I am sure many would love that. I am not the only one in the world that has made bad decisions. Thankfully I have grown as a person. I have not used addictive drugs in many years. My sobriety is fairly secure. Recently I was woken up by the nurse wanting to draw my blood. After almost twenty years incarcerated it is clear I am getting old so they wanted to examine my blood for age related illnesses. A couple weeks later the doctor called me out to speak. This is rare. Usually results come back on a piece of paper. Not this time. They had some bad news. My blood results revealed I had really high cholesterol and would most likely have a stroke in the next ten years. Both my parents and grandparents died of heart attacks or strokes so there is familial history of hereditary illnesses. I was prescribed medications for the high blood pressure. My release date is scheduled for 2039. Therefore it is likely I will not make it out of prison alive. It is almost assured I will die here. Even though I did not kill anyone to deserve this slow death sentence. It is morally and ethically despicable. But I am only one of hundreds of thousands other Americans that this is happening to. This is the reason why I am so passionate about our people's future if prison reform is not enacted. At least I tried to make a impact, however small, in humanizing the Americans being piped into prisons.

The community to prison pipeline is pervasive across the Nation. Low income working class neighborhoods are the hardest hit. These communities are over policed, over regulated, and over incarcerated. Redlining, where banks refuse to loan funds to develop or mortgage houses in certain neighborhoods, compounds it by keeping communities impoverished.

Continued in part 3

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