I am totally loving Tori Williams Douglas' podcast White Homework! It is exactly what I was looking for. Forget reading #WhiteFragility if you want to know how racism exists around you this is the podcast to listen to. She's authentic, knowledgeable, insightful, and manages it to do it with humor and passion at the same time! Her laugh is almost as contagious as Jill Angie on the Not Your Average Runner Podcast.
Anyway in one episode I listened to Tori says imagine what life would look like if we were going to restore justice. Would we give North America back to the Native Americans? Would we quit leaving our homes to our children? Almost all white people plan to inherit their home from their parents. Where would we go? If we didn't give our home to our children. What would it look like?
So after thinking about it for a short while, I thought most of all, we need to start by rethinking our incarceration system. We need to turn that upside down. IDK where I read it but someone said once we could put every prisoner through a Harvard education for the cost of keeping them in jail. IDK if that's true but it sure seems like if we took the money to incarcerate so many people and put that into our schools and communities we would see real change.
I blame the media for much of it, but our schools are pretty bad too. When I tell colleagues that the average person on food stamps is on it for 6 months and gets $1.72 per person per meal, they say really, I didn't know that. I have worked side by side next to so many hardworking parents.
The other one, oh we can't change minimum wage and the only people who work for min wage are college kids or stupid people. Well when minimum wage is $7.75 or whatever it is, that means businesses can pay managers with college degrees $8.75.
When I worked at Head Start it drove me crazy that they had teachers who had no college education being a child's first experience with schools and dealing with parents who are already struggling.
I have said Head Start is segregation ever since I worked there. We need universal pre-school for every child everywhere, in our country, and everywhere in the world. We need to help every mother everywhere have access to healthy food, clean water and an education.
I am so sick of people telling me well why do they have so many children? Don't they know about birth control? Duh, of course they don't have access to birth control. We hardly have equal access to birth control in our country.
I hate people who say oh, people don't have health insurance because they are too lazy to get a real job or go to college. I'm so sick of Republicans that say I am not going to have my money that I work so hard for go to people to rip off the system and lay on their couch.
I have seen so many parents I have worked side by side with that work day shift and night shift so their kids have a parent home, barely see each other and still have no insurance option. Now some of that might have changed thanks to Obamacare.
Anyway my point today was about restorative justice. If you want a good primer on restorative justice and an easy read I love Ben Mickaelson's Touching Spirit Bear. Without a doubt incarceration isn't working in our country.
When I went to college back in 2003, I can still remember my reading teacher, Jan LaBonty drawing a circle on the board, and she said, 2% of the country that was the amount of people who really didn't understand right from wrong and belonged in jail. The other 20% just needed social help. That lesson has always stuck in my head. Most of what leads to people not being successful in life, turning to crime or whatever is a lack of HOPE. It really comes down to that.
I've said the same thing about parents who drink. It comes from a lack of confidence that the person themselves is able to provide the life their children need or deserve.
Anyway, enough of my rant, check out Tori's podcast, support her on Patreon and order the homework. Then do it. Yes it takes a long time. Oh, well. And THEN SHARE IT WITH YOUR FRIENDS.
Things I've learned so far. Most people in Montana jails are pre-trial and won't even be convicted of a crime. Montana has a lot of people in jail. And IDK if we have criminals from other states because we have a lot of Black people in jail?
In the US black people make up 13% of the population but 40% of our inmates?
May 28, 2014 - yes this table is 6 years old but the most recent I found.Race/Ethnicity
% of US population
% of U.S. incarcerated population
National incarceration rate (per 100,000)
2,306 per 100,000
831 per 100,000
450 per 100,000
Briefing by Leah Sakala
According to the ACLU:
Indigenous people comprise approximately 6.5 percent of the Montana state population and yet account for 20 percent of the men’s state prison population, 34 percent of the women’s state prison population, and 27 percent of the state’s arrests for failures to appear in court or for probation or parole violations.
Only about a third of the 720,000 people in jails on a given day have been convicted
Since the 1980s, the U.S. jail population has more than tripled
a massive increase in the number of people held before trial (the “pre-trial” population)
two real drivers of jail growth:
an increasing number of jails that run a side-business of renting jail cells to other authorities
Jail growth has occurred predominately — and in the last 15 years, almost entirely — in the number of people being detained pre-trial.
This confinement creates problems for individuals on a short-term basis and also has long-term effects. Research in different jurisdictions has found people detained prior to trial, compared to similarly situated peers who are not detained, are:
More likely to plead guilty.
More likely to be convicted.
More likely to be sentenced to jail.
More likely to have longer sentences if incarcerated.
And these harms accrue quickly: being detained pre-trial for just 3 days can impact employment , finances , housing , and the well-being of dependent children. In fact, studies have found that just 3 days of detention can make the lowest-risk defendants less likely to appear in court and more likely to commit new crimes. There is no question that wholesale pre-trial detention does far more harm than good.
Each of these individual harms can accumulate into community-wide harms when large numbers of individuals in the same community have the same experience.
Jail growth fuels cycles of marginalization, poverty, and incarceration, especially in communities of color.
Here are some interesting articles. I haven't found the exact gloucester study he was talking about but here's a fact check by Reuters
"Taking respective population sizes into account, and based on the link to 2013 census data at the bottom of the graph in the posts, Nuzzo interpreted the data as follows: If you’re a white person in 2013, based on the FBI data, your chances of being killed by anyone are roughly 13 in a million; if you’re a black person in 2013, your chances of being killed by anyone were 62 in a million, which is almost five times what the odds are for a white person.
If you’re a white person in 2013, Nuzzo explained, your chances of being murdered by another white person are approximately 11 in a million, and your chances of being murdered by a black person are two in a million. Meanwhile, if you’re a black person in 2013, your chances of being murdered by another black person are 56 in a million, and your chances of being murdered by a white person are five in a million."