“Administrative power is the greatest threat to civil liberties in our era. No single development in our legal system deprives more Americans of more constitutional rights.” —T. S.—
I don’t like fighting. I’m not someone who walks around with a tough guy attitude. I am not invincible. However, I hold strong opinions about how we incarcerated are treated. I tend to speak my mind especially when it comes to incarceration, and I’m passionate about speaking truth to power. Someone has to do it. We all can’t remain silent.
Sometimes my opinions rub people the wrong way. Well, if that’s the case then I’m doing my job. Because if someone feels this way then I know they’ve been listening to what I have to say, and what I have to say isn’t always nice but it’s always the truth. Always.
I believe in civil liberties and our constitutional rights. And in this day and age they are being eroded before our very eyes. They are eroded in the criminal justice arena from the judiciary to incarceration, and it’s as if we’re all toads in a pan of water. The temperature slowly being brought to boil while we hop along none the wiser.
A good female friend of mine speaks on it this way:
“Administrative power is the greatest threat to civil liberties in our era. No single development in our legal system deprives more Americans of more constitutional rights. It is therefore not an exaggeration to say that this is our greatest threat to civil liberties. Administrative power threatens our constitutional rights. Put another way, administrative power is an evasion of law. They call this ” absolute power.” This is a threat to your constitutional freedom. The constitution was drafted to bar this danger. To allow YOU FREEDOM AS AN AMERICAN. Not just due process in court, but literally your right to PRIVACY, your religion that is a CIVIL LIBERTY, free speech, or carrying rights. It denies us our freedom to be bound only by laws made by our elected legislature. It denies us our freedom to be bound only by adjudications held in courts. It transforms our constitutional procedural rights from guarantees for the people into mere options for government. Even if you think of it as a win that states get to choose, it still lies in the hands of the courts and elected officials. This will be controlled; we’ve witnessed this already. Each of us has to stand up for our constitutional freedoms. It’s not about unborn lives saved and Christians winning and having a choice over your own bodies because of a situation. It’s more than that.”
It’s definitely more than that. My focus has been to draw awareness to the plight of the incarcerated, to draw awareness to how administrative power has shaped today’s incarceration narrative. How it has eroded our civil liberties and how it has somehow become accepted that the incarcerated and by extension their families are to be seen as a means to an end to the very states that imprison them.
In less than 8 weeks The Beacon Writing Project will go live, a collaboration between myself, the ACLU, and an amazing network of community organizations and individuals. We’ve worked hard to arrive here. The Beacon Writing Project is a literary project that aims to humanize the incarcerated through publication of their stories, while simultaneously helping those who write to become better writers through an one on one mentorship and community writer workshops. The project seeks to draw attention to injustices behind bars, to help the incarcerated with the grievance procedure and to provide a platform to tell their stories free from fear of retribution or judgement. The project is launching an internship training effort with Miami University graduate and upper-level undergraduate English students. All of it is aimed toward spreading awareness and understanding and to ultimately encourage and spur action toward advocacy. We have grants being approved as well. This is only the beginning.
With advocacy there are checks and balances. Without it what remains are abuses, the erosion of constitutional freedoms, and the loss of one’s civil liberties.
Every post on this blog is the voice and story of someone incarcerated or formerly incarcerated. Through these stories we seek to draw awareness and understanding and to spur action for change. Please share this post with others.