Wednesday, December 10, 2003


I'm off to Tim's soiree so I only have a moment to tell you about the great workshop I'll be attending in January and the best part is it's within walking distance. I just discovered the Real Cost of Prisons Project when Lois Ahrens, Founder and Project Director, had a really strong and articulate letter to the editor published in the local paper this week.

I emailed her about it and received this in response.

You are invited to attend a two and a half hour workshop focused on the Real Cost of the War on Drugs taught by Mark Brenner and Eduardo Velazquez.

....The workshop is designed for those who want a greater understanding of the role of the war on drugs on mass incarceration in the U.S.

It looks like an important project and I'm thrilled to be attending a local workshop before they take it on the road. Looking at the curriculum outline, I have a feeling this will be a bright spot for me in an otherwise long cold winter.


I really do have to get to the party so I'm closing with a long essay that I ask you read in full. Harry Browne posts an articulate defense of the Bill of Rights and a compelling argument to continue to perserve our oldest constitutional protection.. Harry's voice of reason is the last one to speak tonight.

But the Bill of Rights wasn't written to protect criminals. It was designed to protect you:

• To make sure a zealous prosecutor can't take you to court over and over again on the same charge — searching for a jury that will convict you.

• To make sure the police can't break into your home unannounced on the mere chance that you might have some drugs or illegal weapons stashed in your closet.

• To make sure politicians can't confiscate your home or other property to fulfill some dream of social reform.

• To make sure you don't have to answer questions put to you by the police — so a ruthless policeman can't twist your words out of context or browbeat you into confessing something you didn't do.

• To make sure your attorney can cross-examine any accuser or any witness against you.

Of course these safeguards protect the guilty as well as the innocent. But brushing them aside gives government employees the power to do as they wish — to harass whomever they claim is guilty.

The piece is fittingly named, Your Innocence Is No Protection.


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