Sunday, August 01, 2010

The Blacks are Out!

Yes, I am happy that the first of the blackberries are ready for picking. They're going to play a big role in the dessert element of tonight's family supper.

But there's also another Black who's out. I have to admit, I never thought I'd be rooting for Conrad Black, but the piece he wrote for yesterday's National Post had me cheering. If you'd like to read it in its entirety, click here.

So much for a few thoughts on blackberries...

In it, he decries the absurdity of the US's War on Drugs, pointing out how ridiculous it is to have so many people in prison for marijuana offenses. He also reminds us of the injustice of penalizing sellers of crack cocaine so much more harshly than sellers of the rich man's nose powder. Okay, he doesn't put it quite it that way, but he makes it clear he realizes that the unbalanced sentences are a reflection of the institutionalized racism that seems to be built in to the US penal system. Sadly, our penal system is no different, even though those most frequently incarcerated here are members of our First Nations, rather than those of African heritage.

One thing I noticed in Black's article is his reference to computers in the Florida prison where he spent his time. And not only computers, but computers capable of email.

Sadly, the prisons I've entered here have no such access available. And yet, I always have to scratch my head: How can anyone in the year 2010 expect to reintegrate themselves into mainstream society without experience using the Internet? Where's the rehabilitative element in a system as backward as that?

Like I said, I can't say I admire Mr. Black, but I do have to thank him for using his position to publish an article that so clearly incriminates the prison system.

Now, if only Steve Harper and his crew could see the truth in Black's remarks and apply them to Canada -- if only they'd look at the evidence to see just how wrong-headed they are with their 'tough on crime' stance.

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