After last week praising Governor Deal’s expressed concern for the wasted lives, drained treasury and depleted workforce left in the wake of the nation’s war on drugs, Georgia Green Party leaders today rejected Deal’s specific proposals.
“None of this will meaningfully impact the budget, end the state’s social control of non-violent and victimless behaviors, nor undermine the racial caste system created by our current policy,” said Hugh Esco, Secretary of the Georgia Green Party. “The state’s disparate enforcement and prosecution of the drug use of working people while ignoring that of wealthy people costs our communities in ways far beyond those mentioned by the Governor the other day. The impacts are as venal as Jim Crow.” . . . .
Governor Deal is quoted as saying: “For violent and repeat offenders, we will make you pay for your crimes. For other offenders who want to change their lives, we will provide the opportunity to do so with Day Reporting Centers, Drug, DUI and Mental Health Courts and expanded probation and treatment options. As a State, we cannot afford to have so many of our citizens waste their lives because of addictions. It is draining our State Treasury and depleting our workforce.”
Greens have criticized Georgia’s policy of mass incarceration, which rises to the level of recreating a racial caste system. As so well documented in a recent book on the subject by Michelle Alexander, it is legal to discriminate in matters of housing, public assistance, education, employment, participation on a jury and voting for those labeled criminal. And a series of Supreme Court decisions have made it impossible to effectively challenge the disparate enforcement, prosecution and sentencing which leads to the disproportionate
incarceration of black men and the immigrant community.
“The cost savings proposed by the Governor are a fraction of what we might enjoy were we to actually address the real harm caused by our rush to lock up our neighbors,” said Bruce Dixon, Press Secretary of the Georgia Green Party. “Most of the costs of this misguided policy are born by the families and children and communities of those we lock up. Deal has not even offered much here for the taxpayers. We had hoped for more.”