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Free Paris Hilton

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Message Michael Leon

via MAL Contends        

The media and indeed much of America got quite a laugh out of reports that Paris Hilton was sent back to jail in tears and emotional distress.

Hilton “was taken from a courtroom screaming and crying Friday seconds after a judge ordered her returned to jail to serve out her entire 45-day sentence for a parole violation in a reckless driving case.

"It's not right!" shouted the weeping Hilton. "Mom!" she called out to her mother in the audience.

Why is this funny? And no it's not right.

Taking away someone’s liberty should be a last resort of a society to inflict upon its citizens.

But in America, it’s done with appalling frequency: By prosecutors looking to inflate their win-loss record, by judges for whom taking away someone’s liberty can make them look tough, and by spectator citizens for whom watching Hilton is a sick sideshow.

Hilton poses no threat to society; she was convicted on charges of reckless driving and on probation violation,

Of-course, the United States leads the world in taking away the liberty of its citizens.

Reads the Sentencing Project:

Bureau of Justice Statistics figures for 2005 indicate that there were nearly 2.2 million inmates in the nation’s prisons and jails, representing an increase of 2.7% (58,500) over the previous twelve months.

The new figures represent a record 33-year continuous rise in the number of inmates in the U.S.

The current incarceration rate of 737 per 100,000 residents places the United States first in the world in this regard.

Or this from the Christian Science Monitor:

More than 5.6 million Americans are in prison or have served time … , according to a new report by the Justice Department released Sunday. That's 1 in 37 adults living in the United States, the highest incarceration level in the world.

And the incarceration rates are much worse for minorities, especially in urban America.

Something to think about the next time that the ass occupying the White House blares out “they hate us for our freedom.”


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Michael Leon is a writer living in Madison, Wisconsin. His writing has appeared nationally in The Progressive, In These Times, and CounterPunch. He can be reached at maleon64@yahoo.com.
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