Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Jena Six Activist Sentenced to Fifteen Years in Prison

Last week, one week past her 31st birthday, civil rights activist Catrina Wallace was sentenced to fifteen years in prison. This was first arrest for Wallace, a single mother who became politically active when her brother was arrested in the case that later became known as the "Jena Six."

On March 31, a 12-person jury with one Black member convicted Wallace of three counts of distribution of a controlled substance. At her June 1 sentencing, Wallace received 5 years for each count, to be served consecutively. Even in Louisiana, the incarceration capitol of the US, fifteen years for a first offense is somewhat exceptional. However, vast discrepancies exist across parishes. For example, an Orleans Parish man recently received probation for selling pot. Then, when arrested for the same offense a few miles away in St. Tammany Parish, he was sentenced to life in prison.

"Unfortunately, I'm not shocked by the sentence," commented Jasmine Tyler, deputy director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. "We used to use prisons for the people who really caused problems, and made us concerned about public safety. Now we use them for the people we're mad at."

Photo: Catrina Wallace, right, with Caseptla Bailey.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is really sad and it's not just for people we are mad at. By allowing prisons to be privately owned it has become another money making institutional system failing the people. It's sad but our men and especially men of color are paying the price.

Anonymous said...

How in the heck are we continuing to be silent on these issues. We should be outraged within the Black community about these outrageous incarceration rates. And just what will children do while she's in jail for this nonsense? There are no jobs, and if they are highering, they ain't hiring us. So what are we supposed to do, die? This is a matter of genocide within the Black community.

4peac2b said...

The slave patrol is not having funds cut one of the reasons why this country has looked up more people 2.3 and counting then any government in the history of human kind. No! This is not the land of the free!

Anonymous said...
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Paula said...

Studies have shown that the majority of drug users in this country are white people, yet prisons are filled with black and brown people. These sentences are equal to 5 years in prison for a parking ticket. It is ridiculous, no other first world country incarcerates more citizens than the USA. This is the only country that criminalizes poverty. Something has to be done!

Anonymous said...

Read Michelle Alexander's New Jim Crow...she lays out exactly how this works...in laymen's terms...buy it read it talk about it pass it on and take action!!!

Anonymous said...

Yes some thing has to be done about this so called "JUSTICE SYSTEM". Its horrible & ashame how we have more people in prison in louisiana alone than any other state or country put together & they "say" they wonder why, well I'll tell you why b/c they are locking people up for the most rediculous charges. Instead of going after real hard criminals, they entrap petty addicts, the ones that live in poverty & they know cant afford or find an attorney that would acctually work on thier side. No they get paid for us to take these pleas, so they push us through the motions on to the next one when thay have rehabs & other alternatives to life skills they could & should be sentencing. Doctors give us drugs then the justice system locks us up for them & what about our children? They dont even care what they are doing to our next generation. We gotta stand up & figure out how to when back our FREEDOM !! & by the way I am a single WHITE woman & they have done the same to me, so its about money not just race.