Quote of the Day

[Content Note: Racism; carcerality; guns.]

"The real tragedy here is that one aspect of prison is the idea of rehabilitation. Here we have somebody who has led a perfect life for 13 years. He did everything right. So he doesn't need rehabilitation."—Peter Joy, director of the Criminal Justice Clinic at the Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, on the case of Cornealious Anderson, who, in 2000, was convicted of armed robbery after he and his cousin robbed a Burger King with a BB gun, and was subsequently, because of a clerical error, never asked to report to prison to serve his sentence of 13 years. In the intervening time:
[Anderson] spent the next 13 years turning his life around — getting married, raising three kids, learning a trade. He made no effort to conceal his identity or whereabouts. Anderson paid taxes and traffic tickets, renewed his driver's license and registered his businesses.

...[Anderson's attorney, Patrick Megaro] described Anderson as a model citizen — a married father of three who became a carpenter and started three businesses. He paid income and property taxes and kept a driver's license showing his true name and address. When he was pulled over for a couple of traffic violations, nothing showed up indicating he should be in prison.
When the clerical error was discovered, Anderson was not asked to report to prison; instead, a SWAT team armed with automatic weapons showed up at his front door while he was making breakfast for his three-year-old daughter.

Joy is right that "one aspect of prison is the idea of rehabilitation," but, in most prisons, it's just that—an idea and nothing more. And, here, even where there is clear evidence of rehabilitation (if living a good life aside from one bad, desperate act constitutes "rehabilitation," as opposed to merely offering evidence that it was indeed one bad, desperate act, which is a whole other discussion), the state is insistent on making Anderson serve his sentence for no other reason than punishment.

Despite the fact that the rationale for punishment is supposed to be either deterrence (which Anderson doesn't need) or separation from society to protect the public (which the public doesn't need). It's punishment for punishment's sake.

Fuck. That.

If only Anderson were a rich white kid who'd killed four people, he'd be on probation. Instead, he's a black man who committed a robbery during which no one was hurt, sentenced to thirteen years in prison.

And still expected to serve that sentence, even though it will serve no purpose and potentially derail the productive and safe life he was leading.

[H/T to Shaker Brunocerous. Sign the petition asking Attorney General Chris Koster to release Cornealious Michael Anderson III from prison.]

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