State of MN ignores deaths at State prison hospital in Faribault
”Today there are more African-Americans under correctional control — in prison or jail, on probation or parole — than were enslaved in 1850… Our system of mass incarceration…has devastated many of our communities…literally turning back the clock on racial progress in the U.S.”
— Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in An Age of Colorblindness (New Press, 2010)
So who will lead the battle against this injustice of mass incarceration? Churches, nonprofits and government agencies, whose jobs rely on keeping the status quo?
No. The gritty work is being done by courageous Black mothers, whose numbers will grow into a national movement (think of the Argentine mothers marching daily at the Plaza de Mayo to protest the 30,000 that were “disappeared,” 1975-1983).
Were it not for the mothers of two African American inmates, Courtney Clark and Robert Hosely, at the Minnesota Corrections Medical Facility at Faribault, Minnesota, they would die without notice (see my columns of July 18 and July 25, 2012). Since mid-2012, at least nine inmates, both Black and White, have died at Faribault as a result of the State of Minnesota and its Department of Corrections policy of genocide against those who, for whatever reason, have been targeted.
Mr. Clark and Mr. Hosely have both been retaliated against by the Department of Corrections (and, thus, the State of Minnesota). Death warrants have been issued in a state whose constitution forbids capital punishment. But being sent to Faribault means it is only a matter of time before a form of capital punishment could take place.
Both Mr. Clark and Mr. Hosely are being denied medical attention and their medications. Both of these men have previously suffered, at different points in time, serious and massive strokes, which have confined them to wheelchairs and, in the case of Mr. Hosely, caused serious brain damage.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune and this column have worked together to bring to the public’s attention the Department of Corrections policy of retaliation and the issuance of death warrants to both Black and White inmates. This is not unique to Minnesota. Pennsylvania newspapers have been reviewing circumstances of a gentleman by the name of Robert Mims, who was transferred from a Pennsylvania institution to Faribault, where he was allowed to die without medical attention.
Regrettably, shamefully, there is little interest, little concern, and little compassion for human beings who have been informally sentenced, without a formal charge or formal sentencing, to capital punishment by the judiciary system’s policy of death warrants. “Why?” is not the issue; the issue is the injustice of not providing constitutional protection against executions, without due process, in a non-death penalty state.
Once again: If it was not for the tenacious and loving care of two African American mothers, these two men would be allowed to die without a legal, formal sentence of death. If you have a loved one in the MN correctional system, pray you don’t receive a call telling you they are being transferred to Faribault, as it could easily mean a life-ending death warrant.
The appeals of these two mothers to the director of corrections, the governor and members of the legislature have been met with silence and indifference. So much for Minnesota compassion.
Whites need to consider this: What will you do now that the government that had been doing this to us is now also doing it to Whites?
As long as churches and nonprofits treat symptoms (crime, poverty) and not causes (poor education, training, family breakups, lack of jobs), they turn their back on “lost sheep” and perpetuate the status quo.
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