I enjoyed the opinion piece by Cliff Perez, who wrote about the distortion in the rates of African American/Black incarceration versus Caucasian/White incarceration. Being of African descent and currently studying law, I found this article touched on a subject matter that is not often discussed.
Although most of my life I grew up in suburbia, this past summer I had the pleasure of studying law with an attorney that succeeded in overturning the sentence of Anthony Graves, a wrongly convicted black male on death row. Anthony Graves served 18 years for a crime that he did not commit.
When most people hear stories like this, they wonder how did the judicial system fail so woefully? The truth is bias and ignorance. It is not hard for an overly determined prosecutor in the south to paint to a mostly white jury that another black man should be convicted of a crime.
Even though Anthony was wrongfully convicted, one must wonder how an employer would react to an 18-year gap in employment. What kind of job would Anthony be able to get with an 18-year lack of work experience? Should these store-owners give Anthony a job because his sentence was overturned or should they allow a formerly convicted man a chance on their payroll? Let’s be honest. Society is taught to presume initial guilt not innocence. Upon release, society gives these prisoners a scarlet letter that warns them they will never be accepted. They will always be animals.