This statement was delivered on Oct. 20 at a rally outside
the Cook County Jail in Chicago.
I am here on behalf of my husband Richard Flood, who cannot
attend this rally today. On March 24, 2001, my husband was arrested for
protecting me from harm's way. Last month, he was sentenced to ten years in
prison. I am also here to join in the fight against racism, police brutality,
and unjust laws that happen to everyone everyday.
This rally is for those who have been violated by our legal
system or who have been harassed because of their political beliefs, for the
families who have felt the pain of a loved one's misfortune.
There are many people who are suffering because of laws
that are not thought through properly, such as the extended-term law. If I
remember it correctly, a criminal who is convicted and who has served a prison
term is said to have paid his debt to society. But the new extended-term law
abolishes that idea. Prisoners are already being punished for their past
mistakes; they pay dearly for them with their freedom, the loss of time with
their children, their severely damaged marriages. Aren't these hardships enough
to satisfy our Justice Department's thirst for empowerment?
It's a well-known fact that the majority of employers do
not want to hire ex-convicts. Most families do not survive the prison term, and
even if they do, they often suffer irreversible damage. That is more than enough
payment to society. It should also be more than enough to satisfy these
politicians who are so eager to destroy our families in order to boost their
Consider how hard it is for those who have been imprisoned
for a period of time, whether short-term or long-term, to be released back into
this society, to regain faith and trust, to begin the healing process for lost
time with their children and spouses, and most of all to try to find a place in
our society, where forgiveness is rare, and understanding and compassion almost
nonexistent. When prisoners are released, they need to find a place where they
feel they can fit in, without being pulled back down into the neverending cycle
of injustice that has plagued our society for many generations.
We must come together to continue the fight against unjust
laws throughout our nation. I thank you all.
Published by News and Letters Committees