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“Prison is designed to break one’s spirit and destroy one’s resolve. To do this, the authorities attempt to exploit every weakness, demolish every initiative, negate all signs of individuality—all with the idea of stamping out that spark that makes each of us human and each of us who we are. Our survival depended on understanding what the authorities were attempting to do to us, and sharing that understanding with each other. —Nelson Mandela”
“In my forties, I chose to take my pain and turn it into compassion, and not hate. Whenever I experienced pain of any origin I always made a promise to myself never to do anything that would cause someone else to suffer the pain I was feeling in that moment. I still had moments of bitterness and anger. But by then I had the wisdom to know that bitterness and anger are destructive. I was dedicated to building things, not tearing them down.”
“The legal definition of “slavery” is “the state of one person being forced to work under the control of another.” The U.S. prisons are contracted by a range of government entities and private corporations to make their products. In most prisons, wages are well below poverty level. In some states prisoners aren’t paid. These working prisoners aren’t allowed to get benefits, they aren’t allowed to form unions, they aren’t allowed to negotiate the terms of their work conditions. It’s legal slavery to exploit prisoners in this way. Under the 13th Amendment prisoners are slaves of the state and are treated as such.”
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