In the annals of political careers, few actions cast as long and dark a shadow as those that betray the trust of the public and exploit the vulnerable. It is with a heavy heart that we revisit the troubling tenure of a former Attorney General, who, reports indicate, kept hundreds of black men incarcerated beyond their release dates to benefit from their labor at a pittance.
The revelations about this practice have stirred deep unease among citizens and advocates alike. It was during the former Attorney General’s time in office that a strategy emerged to retain non-violent offenders behind bars, not for the sake of public safety, but to maintain a steady supply of cheap labor for the state. This decision came despite a Supreme Court ruling that mandated the reduction of California’s overcrowded prisons due to conditions that amounted to cruel and unusual punishment.
Just remember, VP Kamala Harris extended sentences of prisoners to keep them and use them for cheap labor for the state of California when she was a prosecutor.
She also sent people to prison for weed, and laughed when asked if she ever smoked weed.
More Dem contradictions.
— Brandon D from Tennessee 🇺🇸 (@BoPelotero_41) February 4, 2024
In a move that harkens back to some of the darkest periods of American history, these inmates were reportedly used for various state-run programs, including one that involved fighting wildfires. They faced the flames for approximately $2 a day—a sum that starkly contrasts with the peril they encountered. This exploitation of inmate labor raises profound ethical questions and casts a shadow over the legacy of the former Attorney General.
The implications of such actions are far-reaching. Not only does it suggest a disregard for the rights and dignity of the incarcerated individuals, but it also points to a systemic issue where economic benefits are placed above human values. The use of prison labor, especially under such exploitative conditions, undermines the very principles of justice and rehabilitation that the criminal justice system purports to uphold.
As AG, Kamala Harris argued in court to keep prisoners in California, because the state could not afford to lose the cheap labor, I shit you not. https://t.co/zro6Vj7hFu
— End the Duopoly #AusterityKills (@keidekay) February 3, 2024
Moreover, the decision to keep these men incarcerated for the sake of cheap labor did not occur in isolation. It was part of a broader context where slow-walking the parole process became a subject of legal contention. Plaintiffs accused the state of dragging its feet, an allegation that the Attorney General’s office denied, yet court filings revealed a different story—one where benchmarks were met, but the release of potential parolees was resisted to avoid impacting the labor programs.
The consequences of such policies extend beyond the prison walls. They affect families and communities, perpetuating cycles of poverty and disenfranchisement. When the state opts to treat humans as commodities, it sends a message that economic expediency trumps social justice—a message that reverberates through society, eroding trust in public institutions.
As the nation reflects on this chapter of its history, it becomes clear that accountability and reform are paramount. The use of prison labor, particularly when it borders on coercion, must be scrutinized, and safeguards must be put in place to prevent the recurrence of such abuses. It is incumbent upon leaders and citizens alike to ensure that the pursuit of justice is never again compromised by the pursuit of profit.
In closing, this episode serves as a stark reminder of the vigilance required to safeguard the rights and dignity of all individuals, especially those within the penal system. It is a call to action for a society that aspires to live up to its ideals of liberty and justice for all, to examine its practices and to correct its course whenever it strays from these foundational principles.