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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Parole professional discusses justice and peace

Do not use without permission.
Blacks who have criminal records often live in sidewalk
tents or abandoned buildings. (Photo in Atlanta by Tomi Johnson)
If you're wondering why "unidentified" police sources release negative information to the media about a suspect they have killed, it's because shining the light on the deceased takes the heat off them. This is what is happening in the case where a homeless man was shot dead on a Los Angeles street corner.
Charlie Barber is a parole agent at the Michigan Department of Corrections. Barber supervises prisoners operating in and outside the grind who have spent between 8-15 years in prison. When first contacted for an interview, I asked him, "What will it take to ensure justice and peace in the world other than Jesus coming back again? Is there anything man can do?"
"It's the end time," he said, quoting biblical prophecy.
"When you look at the general population in the United States, you see 87% white and 13% people of color. In prison, it's the other way around."
Barber says sociologists once claimed Blacks were genetically inferior to Whites. Then they said Blacks were in a downtrodden condition because of environment, socio-economic status, and low education levels. Then they said it was their criminality and addiction to drugs that placed them in desperate circumstances.

"Whites do drugs just as much as Blacks, but their parents are able to pay their way out of the system or lessen the punishment," Barber said.

Once you get in the system, it's hard to get out. Some states used to have lifetime parole regulations, however, most states have done away with them.
One in forty-five adults is on probation or parole
and 1 in 100 is in prison or jail.
---The Pew Charitable Trusts
"Texas, Ohio, Michigan, Florida, and California have more people in prison than anywhere else on Planet Earth," Barber said. 
Barber said transparency in the criminal justice system is blurred and in need of reform. We both agreed that fear is fueling racial tensions, and it is being played out in the streets.

"Living in fear - that's when problems happen," Barber concluded.

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