Is that all? Is all forgiven?

I wrote this originally in December, 2009 and posted it to my original blog site. With the recent release of Raymond Towler this month after spending 30 years in prison for a crime DNA tests proved he did not commit, I feel this is a good time to repost this commentary:

This week in Florida, James Bain was exonerated and released from prison after spending 35 years incarcerated for a crime he never committed. Mr. Bain was convicted in 1974 and sentenced to life for allegedly kidnapping and raping a child.
Today’s DNA testing technologies categorically excluded Mr. Bain from having committed the horrendous crime.

Only after attorneys with the Innocence Project took up the case last year did a judge order DNA testing of the evidence. Prior to this every petition made making the same request was denied.

The Innocence Project was founded in 1992 and according to their website is “dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted people through DNA testing and reforming the criminal justice system to prevent future injustice.” Thus far the organization has exonerated 248 persons, 27 in 2009 alone.

Mr. Bain was 19 years old when he was convicted, today he is 54.
In 2001 the state of Florida passed the Victims of Wrongful Incarceration Act. The statute defines wrongful incarceration and provides a detailed set of guidelines a person would need to meet to receive monetary compensation of $50,000 for each year wrongfully incarcerated.

For James Bain that amounts to $1,750,000.

$1,750,000 and all is forgiven? The state took (stole) 35 years of a man’s life by mistake. That is one helluva oops! He was only 19 when he was incarcerated. Think for a moment what you were doing at 19 and then of all the experiences you have had since. That is just a blip of what Mr. Bain has not experienced, and the experiences he did have maybe unimaginable to those who have never been incarcerated.

Now think about these facts from the US Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics Bulletin of Prisoners in 2008:

  • As of December 31, 2008 the prison population stood at 2,474,279 persons.
  • Roughly 1 in every 133 US residents was in the custody of a state, federal, or local jail.
  • The imprisonment rate for men was highest for those aged 30 to 34, followed by those aged 25 to 29.
  • Women aged 35 to 39 made up the largest percentage of female prisoners, followed by those aged 30 to 34.
  • Of all sentenced prisoners under state and federal jurisdiction approximately 38% are Black, 34% White, and 20% Hispanic.
  • Men are incarcerated at a rate 15 times higher than Women.
  • Black Men are incarcerated at a 6 1/2 time higher rate than White men.
  • According to the International Center for Prison Studies at Kings College, London UK the United States leads the world in incarcerated persons. (By the way, China is a very distant 2nd.)

How many persons now incarcerated is actually guilty of the crime they have been convicted of? How come justice is not blind? What happened to knowing right from wrong? What happened to educational and economic advancement opportunity? How many other James Bain’s are in the shitsdom and will NEVER get a fair hearing? Is $1,750,000 enough to regain a lifetimes worth of experiences? Is $1,750,000 enough to pay Mr. Bain’s legal bills prior to the Innocence Project? Are we as a society hell-bent on vengeance, retribution, and has embraced an “eye for an eye” mentality abandoning truth and fairness?


About The Soul Brother

An observer to the world. I have a unique view of the world and want to share it. It's all in love from the people of the "blues". Love, Knowledge, and Sharing amongst all is the first steps towards solving all the problems amongst humanity.
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