Commentary

Mothers of Parchman Prison inmates shout for justice at Team ROC rally

I’m frustrated and I’m tired (but) I will not stop until Parchman is shut the fuck down!”

This impassioned promise by the mother of a Parchman inmate captures the anguish of mothers whose sons suffer deplorable conditions at the Mississippi State Penitentiary (known as Parchman Farm).

Although entertainment mogul, Jay-Z (founder of REFORM Alliance with rapper Meek Mill), and Yo Gotti spearheaded the Team Roc rally in Jackson, Mississippi yesterday, I was most excited by news footage of mothers at the forefront of the campaign to shut down Parchman.

As the mother of a now-deceased son who spent most of his adult life in New York State prisons, I understand their fury and frustration. As a writer and podcaster, I advocate for mothers to joint the fight for criminal justice reform.

It is not easy to for the mothers of those incarcerated to overcome feelings of helplessness or hopelessness or to put their faith in court and prison systems that mete out overly harsh sentences or promote unequal justice.

The antidote to inertia, however, is action.

We are many, and our voices and votes do count.

The recent deaths of 10 inmates in Mississippi state prisons are the tip of the iceberg.

The current paradigm for America’s prisons leads to the exploitation, damage, and stigmatization of individuals with mental illness, low literacy, drug addictions, histories of abuse or economic disadvantage.

According to the The Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights, “Prisoners and others involved in the criminal justice system are overwhelmingly poor, disproportionately non-white, and in overall poor health.”

Those of us most affected by “mass incarceration” should shout loudest for reforms or the dismantling of prisons nationwide.

Another mother at the Team ROC rally said it best:

“I’m sick of it. I’m fed up…Let’s fight. I want justice now!

 

 

 

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