Across the ages, many wise men have uttered, spoken and written words about Justice. It has been defined by many of the greatest minds to ever live, but justice has one simple outcome and one simple result. According to the dictionary, justice is the quality of being just; righteousness, equitable, and or using moral rightness. It means to act or treat justly or fairly. It calls for the administering of deserved punishments or rewards without prejudice on a fair basis.
We Must Understand that the most important thing is that one simple outcome and one result comes down to how honest we are about the way we treat one another and how we look at one another. Frederick Douglass once said. “Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.” Ask yourself how safe, confident and secure can we be when we know ugly injustice lurks just outside our doors and driveways. In Harris County, past records and reviews demonstrate how lacking in the definition things are in the county. Harris County is the largest County in Texas. It incarcerates more Blacks and Browns than any other place in the state and rivals statistics in other states with large Black and Brown populations. Justice has not been as blind as we thought – as a matter of fact over the past 40 years, justice in Harris County has had 20/20 vision for the color Black. Harris County would do well to reexamine its definition of justice and listen to the words of William Penn who said. “Right is right, even if everyone is against it, and wrong is wrong, even if everyone is for it.”
We Must Understand that something is wrong in Harris County with targeting African Americans and Hispanics with shoddy drug law enforcement policies and practices. While Blacks make us about 19-percent of Harris County residents, they made up almost 50-percent of those arrested for felony drug possession between October 2011 and September 2012, and they comprised 65.8-percent of those being incarcerated by Harris County in state prisons or jails for felony drug possession, the study revealed. Current racial and ethnic stereotyping and enforcement policies that paint Black and Hispanics as criminals and communities as magnates for drug sales and use contributes to the lack of trust and damages the image of law enforcement in those communities. According to a 2013 report by the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, drug enforcement law in Harris County has been considered as an effective crime control strategy with predominantly Black drug users targeted with increasingly levels of enforcement, unconnected to crime or drug use rates. This has caused a vicious cycle of arrest, incarceration, conviction, release and re-arrests has created a permanent underclass of thousands of Houston area residents with multiple felony convictions. Many are not criminals, but citizens with addiction problems. The study also said that Harris County fails to identify those needing treatment or provide adequate services leaving jails at capacity because many cannot afford bails or bonding. It was Joseph E. Stiglitz who said. “Rather than justice for all, we are evolving into a system of justice for those who can afford it…” About 75 percent currently in jail or awaiting trial and are in jail because they cannot afford to post bail.
We must Understand and tell our elected officials that Enough is Enough!!! We must demand better. It was Benjamin Franklin who said. “.”