There’s a New Prescription Drug on the Market (Possible Side Effects: A short-sighted, political commitment to mass imprisonment)
A few months ago, I noticed that a strange ailment had afflicted almost every presidential candidate, the primary symptom being an inability to articulate his or her views on criminal justice issues. Their websites were infected with a particularly virulent strain of the virus, erasing any mention of the mind-boggling size of our prison population, the lost drug war, the difficulty of prisoners’ reentry into society, the immoral use of the death penalty, the impact of prisons and zero tolerance policing on poor communities and communities of color, the disenfranchisement of people with felony convictions, and the Census Bureau’s undemocratic policy of counting inmates as residents of the counties in which they are incarcerated, to name only a handful of criminal justice issues wiped off the screens of campaign sites. Only Dennis Kucinich, apparently, had taken proper precautions against this malady (presumably a vaccination consisting of fiscal sense and human compassion), as he was the only one able to address substantively any of these issues on his campaign site.
I have been trying to figure out why our nation’s leaders only talk about criminal “justice” issues when they are beating their chests to tough-on-crime rally cries, or pounding their fists on podiums demanding capital punishment, or making steely-eyed declarations about “cleaning up our streets”, and yet barely and rarely manage a whisper about the countless disastrous consequences that have resulted, in fact, from America’s crime-fighting fiasco.
Thanks to the Drug Policy Alliance, I have finally figured out the primary cause of our politicians’ short-sightedness: a powerful prescription drug called Incarcerex, which when ingested enables our candidates to deny or even relish in the irreparable harm generated by our policies of mass imprisonment, and when taken in large doses instills in candidates the ability to use costly, simplistic, inhumane, and reactionary incarceration policies to distract voters from other important issues both within and outside of criminal justice.
How can we rehabilitate our lawmakers and presidential candidates from this harrowing addiction? If you suggest throwing them all in jail for decades, then you must also be addicted to Incarcerex. Instead, we must begin by finding them appropriate rehabilitation programs (I know one called “Reality”), and take it from there.
Without further ado, here's a short animated promotional video about Incarcerex. Since this video is tongue-in-cheek (literally as well as figuratively), viewer discretion is advised.