Many of you know that earlier this year, my husband Josh was incarcerated in early March and sentenced to 2-4 years in prison.The aftermath of this event has been immensely difficult not only for Josh, but for our entire family, in particular our 10 year old daughter Maddy.
When a person makes a poor decision in their life, naturally we pay consequences for our choices, and like most Americans, I feel that if someone has done something to warrant prison time, then justice is being served by keeping that person off the streets, so to speak. In actuality, MOST of our nation's prisoners have NOT done something to warrant incarceration, but have instead become victims of a very real, very harsh, very unjust and very racially discriminatory war on drugs. In 1971, president Richard Nixon declared an all out war on drugs and 35 years later, over 1 million non-violent drug offenders live behind bars, which means that up to 87% of the united states prisons are currently populated by non-violent drug offenders. The United States has approximately 5% of the worlds population yet we have about 25% of the worlds prison population! This is a BIG problem. It costs tax payers over $100,000 per year, per inmate, to keep them behind bars. And countless young men and women who are suffering from the disease of addiction are stripped of their rights and dignity instead of being given proper treatment for their disease. There are many, many studies showing that the proven solution to help people with addiction is through support groups such as AA and NA, as well as inpatient and outpatient treatment.
Josh's situation is no different, for although he was charged with a violent felony, the only true act of violence that he committed was against himself, by succumbing to these very real and very consuming addictions. Josh takes ownership for his poor choices related to using and agrees he should have consequences for his actions. However, don't you think that we should be focused on helping find a solution for Josh and the millions of other people who find themselves locked behind bars with little to no treatment options? If we took that $100,000 annual cost to house an inmate in prison and put that money towards treatment facilities and other treatment programs to help create a solution rather than lock these citizens up, our nation would be drastically improved: safer, more just, and more economically sound.
Josh is a wonderful person and a devoted father, and while I don't condone his choices while in the grip of a drug relapse, I don't believe for one second that throwing him in prison for years and providing him with little to no support for his addiction will help anyone.
Our daughter Maddy has suffered a great deal as a result of her dad's incarceration. To her, he is just Daddy, the guy who tucked her in at night and the one who taught her to ride a bike and to feel safe in this big big world. She is just on of many children who is carrying the stigma of having a parent in prison, when all she should ever be worrying about is being 10 and playing with her friends. It is time we change the perception of this disease and bring awareness to the very broken system known as the 'prison industrial complex'.
I do hope you will take the time to listen to my brother's video and consider making a donation today no matter the amount, to help me and my family continue to advocate for Josh's rights and to provide our daughter the opportunity to be reunited with her father as quickly as possible.
I thank you so very much,
If you'd like to learn more about the prison industrial complex, while, remarkably, being entertained at the same time, check out this piece by John Oliver.
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