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Mon May 3, 2021, 09:33 PM

Nothing Has Made Me Feel More American Than Going to Jail



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The Marshall Project
@MarshallProj
“There was a casual sadism that pervaded everyday life. It was meant to destabilize and confuse the incarcerated population and actively prevent healthy reintegration,” writes Ravi Shankar, who spent 90 days in jail for violating his probation.

Nothing Has Made Me Feel More American Than Going to Jail
I was born in D.C. to South Indian parents. But it wasn’t until I had to personally negotiate the criminal justice system that I fully realized what many Americans of color have to deal with.
themarshallproject.org
6:27 PM · May 3, 2021


https://www.themarshallproject.org/2021/04/29/nothing-has-made-me-feel-more-american-than-going-to-jail

Hartford Correctional Center (HCC) is located on an urban stretch near car dealerships, fast-food restaurants, a seedy-looking motel and an enormous post office. Driving by, you might not even notice it, except for the glinting barbed wire encircling the grounds.

As an English professor at Central Connecticut State University, and someone who had lived in six countries, I never expected that HCC would become one of my homes. But then I violated my probation for a misdemeanor* by driving with a suspended license. I was sentenced to 90 days of pretrial detention to “satisfy the state.”

Whenever I hear that phrase “satisfy the state,” I visualize the fanged Hindu goddess Kali, with her long lolling tongue, flailing multiple arms and necklace of decapitated human heads. I think of a goddess who needs to be propitiated with human sacrifice. I probably make that association because I am a Tamilian Brahmin American whose parents immigrated from South India in the 1960s. Though I was born in Washington, D.C., and I have largely benefited from the very systems of discrimination that I would later suffer, I haven’t always felt like an American.

As it turns out, nothing made me feel more American than being incarcerated. Before I went to jail, I was peripherally aware that our criminal justice system tilts the axis of power toward those who create the laws and exert political influence. But it was not until I had to personally negotiate the criminal justice system that I fully realized what many Americans of color have to deal with on a regular basis.

*snip*


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Reply Nothing Has Made Me Feel More American Than Going to Jail (Original post)
Nevilledog May 3 OP
Solly Mack May 3 #1
WhiskeyGrinder May 3 #2
captain queeg May 3 #3
crickets May 3 #4

Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Mon May 3, 2021, 09:39 PM

1. K&R

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Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Mon May 3, 2021, 09:50 PM

2. K&R. As my sig line says...

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Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Mon May 3, 2021, 09:52 PM

3. Those that can afford lawyers can escape the experience

Poor people end up behind bars till their court date. Wealthy people are released immediately and are much more likely to avoid serious consequences.

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Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Mon May 3, 2021, 10:37 PM

4. K&R for visibility.

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