In this election year, as our country continues to go through the convulsions of shaping its identity, News Inside recognizes that incarcerated people are included despite being blocked off by walls and gates. That’s why we dedicated much of Issue 6 to politics.
In this election cycle, thousands of formerly incarcerated people around the country were able to vote due to changes in state laws. But rarely discussed are the 745,000 people held in local jails who have the right to vote but don’t because they assume they can’t and facilities aren’t good about getting them the necessary information. “Many of the people working to unlock the vote in jails say the result amounts to voter suppression on a national scale,” wrote The Marshall Project’s Nicole Lewis and Slate’s Aviva Shen in “Unlocking the Vote in Jails.”
Criminal justice issues such as defunding the police, legalizing drugs and violent crime were major subjects of debate during the election. People on the inside, devoid of internet access, had those debates without much supporting evidence. That’s why we included a data-driven look at whether or not some cities were full of “mayhem and anarchy,” as President Trump repeatedly claimed during his failed reelection campaign (“Is Violent Crime Rising In Cities Like Trump Says? Well, It’s Complicated).” We imagine the article gives folks a leg to stand on during the daily war of wits at rec time.
Another piece debaters can use as their Google is “RBG’s Mixed Record on Race and Criminal Justice.” It will give incarcerated people surprising insight into how the much-celebrated and recently deceased Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg handled these issues.
Since we received a letter from someone who believes their conviction was tainted by a false confession, we included “Your Zoom Interrogation is About to Start.” The information may be helpful for future legal writings.
To round out the issue there’s a personal essay, “I Wonder If They Know My Son is Loved,” and a piece about formerly incarcerated people putting out California wildfires (“The Former Prisoners Fighting California’s Wildfires”).
All in all, we are here to feed the minds and spark the ideas of people on the inside and give others who haven’t experienced the system a deeper understanding of how incarcerated people live in it. This is more than our job, it’s our duty.