Death for Dadah

Over 30 years ago when I was traveling in SE Asia, I was scared by the awareness that, in many of the countries I visited, a death sentence was imposed for possession of drugs. There were big signs declaring Death for Dadah on walls and road sides. I heard the horror stories of kids, like me, serving life sentences for possessing weed. Their parents would spend every penny they had, sometimes selling their houses, to buy their children’s freedom, all for naught. I did not possess any drugs but I was always alert to the possibility that some scurrilous individual could put their drugs in my backpack. I said I did not possess drugs. I knew people who possessed drugs and, unlike Bill Clinton, I did inhale some Thai stick. It may not seem like it to you now but I was quite cautious regarding drugs while I was traveling. Once, I had to leave the house where I lived because someone named Rodney was running heroin from Chaing Mai back to Australia. All through that time I was grateful to be native to a country where justice prevailed and people were not sentenced to death or life in prison for non-violent, drug related offenses. That was over 30 years ago.

I know I’ve carried on about the privatization of the prison system in the US here. It really frosts me. We cannot expect justice to prevail in a country where incarceration is a profit generating industry. Let’s keep in mind that the People are paying for this. We’re paying for Three Strikes and we’re paying for minimum imposed sentences. We are not paying  some poor slob employed by the state or the federal government to put in her/his 30-40 years until retirement. No, we are NOT. We are paying the shareholders for Corrections Corporations of America. Look at this revealing little nugget I found on Wikipedia- In a 1990s report, Prudential Securities was bullish on CCA but noted, “It takes time to bring inmate population levels up to where they cover costs. Low occupancy is a drag on profits… company earnings would be strong if CCA succeeded in ramp(ing) up population levels in its new facilities at an acceptable rate”.[21]

My oldest and dearest friend hooked me up with this opinion piece from NYT.com, which just managed to piss me off all over again. The country I grew up in no longer exists. It’s primarily people of color and poor people who are getting locked up for good. We know how that works don’t we? Handicapped people and white women will be next in line, if there are any middle class white men left they’ll be next.

I don’t do anything any more. I don’t drink, I don’t take drugs, I no longer smoke, I work all the damn time, I pay my taxes and  I wear my effing seatbelt. For several years I’ve been plagued by the  unsettling notion that I am no longer innocent until proven guilty. Neither are you.

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About elroyjones

Married, no children, responsibly self-directed, living happily.
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21 Responses to Death for Dadah

  1. They are some pretty fucking scary stories…especially the fact that CCA make more money when the prisons are more full; a contractual obligation to keep them at 90%? It makes me shiver.

    • elroyjones says:

      I’m not sure how this plays to the 20 somethings, they seem to be oblivious for the most part. The US is running out of industry, we don’t manufacture anything here. Privatization of institutions that are supposed be for the public good has become the new money maker. Pharmaceutical companies have flooded the marketplace with opioids. Addiction is flourishing as are pain management centers where people can score drugs legally and “treatment centers” where people can replace one drug dependence for another. It only makes sense that we should incarcerate them for life to ensure the money never stops rolling in.
      The population is aging, which presents another demographic to be exploited and more horror stories to unfold.

      • The assumption that if you’re in power then you must know what you’re doing, is very hard to let go of for some people; it’s an idea that leads to chaos and having to sort out these problems yourself. The flip side to that is that the assumption is correct; the people in power know exactly what they’re doing and in no way is it good for anybody but them…it could lead to chaos and having to sort out these problems yourself.

  2. I was living in SE Asia about that same time and equally unnerved by the signs in my area – big and bold – Dadah means Death. I was convinced Dadah would be found in my luggage despite never having used…

    In our state we have a couple of privately run prisons and interestingly they (I’m told by some I work with who do counselling work inside) have the most compassionate staff…something in their favour?

  3. horror stories abound … yes, it’s become a very sick system.

    • elroyjones says:

      It worries me, Teresa. I like to concentrate on the happiness I have in my little life; however, I feel like I should be vigilant too. Sometimes I feel hopeful because the ordinary people outnumber the elitist plutocrats and others I despair because look at the oppressed Chinese, there are an unlimited number of people and they’re completely controlled by the gov’t.

  4. I happen to know a little something about our prison system… just sayin’…

  5. John says:

    This is true … but, as a middle-aged white woman, I think you’re in safer category … the darker your skin, the more likely you are to be assumed guilty…

    • elroyjones says:

      My sister-in-law and nephew are Thai so my brother constantly advises them of their rights within the law if they get pulled over. Sadly, there is a caste system of justice in the US.

  6. Even if you’re innocent now, and they get you, it’s fair, because you were probably guilty many times during your past and didn’t get caught. At least that’s what a policeman once told me.

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