Press Release

Fodder of the Prison Industrial Complex

IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 11, 2018

Contact: Linda Wilkins-Daniels, AAC-NCDP President
Telephone: (919) 288-9362
Ldaniels2@nc.rr.com

RALEIGH, NC – “That’s the sound of the men working on the chain gang!” Lyrics from “The Chain Gang,” a classic song by Sam Cooke released in 1960, laments the painful life of those incarcerated and forced to work for the penal system as their punishment. No one seemingly cared for the hardships of these inmates or the reasons they were incarcerated in the first place.

Never mind the demographic target market for this immoral cruelty are the most vulnerable — homeless, drug addicted, mentally ill, unemployed, poor Whites, undocumented immigrants and people of color. This vast collective group of society’s throwaways provide the mortar and grist which are the building blocks for this self-propagating institutionalized system that turns youthful mistakes into a lifetime of punishment.

What is the Prison Industrial Complex? PIC is used to attribute the rapid expansion of the U.S. inmate population to the political influence of private prison companies and businesses that supply goods and services to government prison agencies. The PIC is a mutual web of relationships between interdependent government agencies and private corporations.

Activist Angela Davis first coined the phrase in an essay written from the view of a former prisoner turned professor entitled ‘Masked Racism: Reflections on the Prison Industrial Complex. To quote her, “Imprisonment has become the response of first resort to far too many of the social problems that burden people ensconced in poverty.” She goes on to add, “These problems are often veiled by being grouped together under the category “crime’ and by the automatic attribution of crime to people of color.”

In accordance with the endless drive toward profiteering prison personnel and safety aren’t paramount; Nor is rehabilitation, mental health or medical treatment. Private profiteering interests are rewarded by having as many people locked up as possible. There’s much more profit in the treatment than the cure.

Aggressive prison lobbying has surreptitiously and insidiously convinced lawmakers that mass imprisonment will magically make societal ills disappear. In accordance with the endless drive toward profiteering, prison personnel and safety aren’t paramount; Nor is rehabilitation, mental health or medical treatment. Private interests are rewarded by having as many people locked up as possible. There’s much more profit in the treatment than the cure.

Subsequently, the U.S., leads the world with the highest number of people incarcerated. The U.S. is 5 percent of the world’s population but accounts for 25 percent of the population imprisoned worldwide handily beating out China and Indonesia with populations exceeding 1 billion.

Apart from egregious crimes such as murder, rape, child exploitation, kidnapping, etc., the African American Caucus of the North Carolina Democratic Party supports the idea of abolitionism. The present judicial system is corrupt and broken and feeds into a system of predictable misery and recidivism. Let’s abolish a rehabilitation model that produces pain, drug abuse, poverty, sexual assaults, rampant violence and psycho emotional damage. Let’s replace it with a system that’s asymptomatic and helps to heal the rift between criminality and making these individuals viable and productive citizens.

We support the following policy ideas:

  • Change the laws so that non-violent drug offenders aren’t incarcerated;
  • Make it illegal for a company doing business with Department of Corrections, Federal Bureau of Prisons or private prisons to contribute to any candidate, party or campaign;
  • Create a prison tax from the companies that use inmate labor and/or operate within the prison system to provide scholarships for former inmates and/or family members;
  • Stop rewarding mega corporations and big government at the expense of human beings, community safety and taxpayers;
  • Invest more in failing schools and create a level playing field for all children;
  • Invest more in programs for at risk youth;
  • Sentence non-violent offenders do more in the community to foster positive change;
  • Target funding for anti-gang programs;
  • Increase funding for anti- drug abuse programs;
  • Increase funding for successful recidivism programs;
  • Create a shield law for background checks which won’t exclude violent criminal histories but makes it possible for non-violent felons to have gainful employment; and
  • Establish a comprehensive plan to end poverty.

“That’s the sound of the men working on the chain gang!” We hear the plaintive cry. Pay it forward and let’s dissolve this broken system.

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The mission of the AAC-NCDP is to promote political participation and education within the African American Community, encourage African Americans to seek public office, represent issues and concerns of its membership to the Democratic Party Leadership and to work towards strengthening the Democratic Party.

Open Letter on NC Court Reform

IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 24, 2018

Contact: Ronald L. Newton, AAC-NCDP Communications Director
Telephone: (919) 425-1277
Newton_615@mns.com

RALEIGH, NC – The year 2017 marked the 50th Anniversary of the major over haul of the North Carolina Court System. Collectively our Courts must serve the needs of justice, but, they must also be the pinnacle of fairness. Recently, North Carolina GOP legislators attempted to gerrymander Judicial Districts. As President of the African American Caucus of the North Carolina Democratic Party (AAC-NCDP) it is my duty to bring awareness to this effort by expressing the long and arduous history surrounding the reformation of our court system.

In 1955 Governor Luther Hodges convened the Bell Commission and requested that the issue of court reform be studied. Jesse Spencer Bell, who was an Attorney, and state senator established a plan for the North Carolina Court System that was acceptable and approved by a majority vote of the NC Legislature. The Bell Commission Plan was accepted in 1967. The passage of Mr. Bell’s plan is thought to have been instrumental in the passage of the Constitutional Amendments that provide legal protection for all citizens where are Courts are concerned.

In 2018, multiple efforts to adversely affect this hallmark achievement have been evident. Republicans have attempted to infuse politics into how the NC Court System should be structured and administrated. Lady Justice is supposed to be blind, but, when you reduce the number of Judges on the Court of Appeals, gerrymander judicial district lines, refuse to receive the recommended appointments to fill vacancies by a sitting Governor, and attempt to restructure the NC Supreme Court, they (the Republicans) have gone too far.

There is a right way to reform our court system if something is wrong. Let’s obtain the opinions of our judges, court staff, citizens legal scholars, and NC Bar Association members. The Administrative Office of the Courts should be free to impartially carry out its duties and obligations. If we stand by and do nothing to express concern about this issue, North Carolina will join only 8 other states that elect all their trial judges in partisan elections. What do you think will happen then? The 2018 Midterm is a major election. As a Caucus, let’s lead the fight together in ensuring that our courts remain nonpartisan and the picture of clear transparency.

Linda Wilkins-Daniels
President, AAC-NCDP

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The mission of the AAC-NCDP is to promote political participation and education within the African American Community, encourage African Americans to seek public office, represent issues and concerns of its membership to the Democratic Party Leadership and to work towards strengthening the Democratic Party.

Martin Luther King, Jr, A Special Man, A Special Hero

January 15, 2018 
Contact: Ronald L. Newton, AAC-NCDP Communications Director
Telephone: (919) 425-1277
Newton_615@mns.com

RALEIGH, NC – Monday, January 15, 2018, marks a special day in American History. It is celebrated as one of America’s most important holidays. Dr. Martin Luther King must be remembered not just as a Civil Rights leader. He was a special man with an extraordinary vision. Dr. King once said, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

In North Carolina and America today, silence seems to be the only order of the day. Elected officials and leaders do not openly condemn that which they know to be wrong. Silence as an inaction will never institute change. Because Dr. King challenged every man by looking at his moral center, he could rise above the human frailties of life that often destroyed and imperiled the opportunity for change. Dr. King’s legacy was not just about social equality, justice, or voting rights. Dr. Martin Luther King’s spirit was about bringing people of the world together to overcome that which divided them.

In 2018, America still suffers from racial injustice and inequality in almost every phase of the human experience. There remains those that do not see the value of the American idea of creating a true melting pot that allows all races, colors, and creeds to come together in the unity of a common purpose. That purpose must be to love one another and be willing to share experiences. Our society may be viewed as classless. There remains only one division that creates the haves and the have-nots. The war that rages between these groups is not representative of Dr. King and his legacy.  Dr. King believed in unity of purpose. This special man believed so strongly in negotiating a better landscape for others that he gave his life for his cause.

Dr. Martin Luther King “is” a conqueror. Through his actions, he has motivated many others to carry the mantle of morality forward. Today, many will celebrate this very important day. My charge to you on this day is that Dr. King be remembered as this very special man and hero. Let not your celebrations be filled with vain enchantments that puff up political hopefuls. Measure your thoughts and give the most earnest heed to those things in which you have learned and experienced, unless we let them slip. More importantly, let every day of your life exemplify the stature of this true American hero, Dr. Martin Luther King.

Linda Wilkins-Daniels
President
African American Caucus – NC Democratic Party

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The mission of the AAC-NCDP is to promote political participation and education within the African American Community, encourage African Americans to seek public office, represent issues and concerns of its membership to the Democratic Party Leadership and to work towards strengthening the Democratic Party.

African American Caucus of the North Carolina Democratic Party Officers’ Swearing-In

December 28, 2017
Contact: Ronald L. Newton, AAC-NCDP Communications Director
Telephone: (919) 425-1277
Newton_615@mns.com

RALEIGH, NC – On Saturday, November 11, 2017, at the AAC-NCDP Election and Convention in Greensboro, NC, new executive officers were elected. This Saturday, December 30, 2017, they will be installed into office by the Honorable Michael Morgan, Associate Justice on the North Carolina Supreme Court.

The ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. at Goodwin House, 220 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC.

Officers that will be installed are Linda Wilkins-Daniels (President), John L. Moore (1st Vice President), Phyllis Perry (2nd Vice President), Natalie Murdock (3rd Vice President), Sandra Cooley (Secretary), Linda Johnson-Spence (Treasurer), and Corey Gee (Parliamentarian).

“The African American Caucus of the North Carolina Democratic Party is implementing a new strategic plan across the State. The plan is designed to take North Carolina in a new direction” stated Linda Wilkins-Daniels, the State Caucus President. “The strategic plan is a part of a bigger re-organizational plan being developed by the Caucus members.”

“The Caucus is moving forward with a purpose, and the intent is to unify the vote of all those whose voices are not being heard” stated Mrs. Wilkins-Daniels.

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The mission of the AAC-NCDP is to promote political participation and education within the African American Community, encourage African Americans to seek public office, represent issues and concerns of its membership to the Democratic Party Leadership and to work towards strengthening the Democratic Party.