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Central Park Five: A Travesty of Justice

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The conventional point of view holds discrimination mostly ended in the 1960's with the Civil Rights movement reforms.  After all we have a black president, Oprah Winfrey's rich and we have many black professionals.

Michael Tonry writes in Thinking About Crime: Sense and Sensibility in American Penal Culture:

"While historically crime and punishment intensities have often been poorly correlated, the scale and lack of balance of the present USA criminal justice activity and penal system have turned it, according to Alexander, into a system of social control unparalleled in world history.  Its targets can be defined largely by race.  The rate of incarnation in the U.S. has soared, while its crime rates have generally not been higher than those in other western countries, where the incarceration rates accordingly have remained stable.  The current rate of incarceration in the USA, six to ten times greater than in other industrialized nations, is therefore not related to the actual rates of crime or their increase, but can be traced to a great extent to the artificially invoked "War on Drugs" discriminatory policies."

The Central Park Five case is an excellent example of how broken our system of justice is.  At this point it functions more as a system of injustice .  Systemic corruption runs throughout our entire judicial system.  These kids were thrown into prison for a crime they didn't commit while not one banker who caused the global meltdown has been questioned let alone prosecuted.  Whistleblowers are being prosecuted for exposing war crimes.  Pfc. Bradley Manning is charged with a number of offenses, including communicating national defense information to an unauthorized source and aiding the enemy, a capital offense for exposing the Collateral Murder footage and the U.S. Diplomatic Cables.  Former CIA officer John Kiriakou, has been sentenced to 30 months in jail for exposing waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques and yet not one person has been prosecuted for torture or for starting an illegal war based on lies.  I guess they're still looking for those WMD's.  The message is very clear.  If you're rich no matter what you do you walk except for Bernie Madoff whose real crime was stealing from rich people.  Let's be honest, if you're poor or black or tell the truth you'll pay.

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."  George Orwell

The "Central Park Five" documentary shows with amazing clarity, and facts using actual footage.  These kids were framed and the DA, the detectives, police officers and the prosecutors knew these kids weren't the perpetrators of this crime and yet they prosecuted and convicted them anyway.  They got their promotions and their notoriety and now that the truth is out they're not only denying it but fighting it.  

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Justice did not prevail.  Corruption did. 

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Jill Dalton is a recovering army brat/writer/performer/activist who has appeared in film and television as well as performing her solo plays in New York and around the country. Most recently she can be seen in and consulted for William Hurt on the (more...)

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