Reading about the short, troubled life of Freddie Gray — who suffered lead poisoning as a child, was arrested for drug offenses more than a dozen times and died in police custody nearly two weeks ago in Baltimore — I recalled a description of the world of young men, mostly black, trapped in the American criminal justice system. It was written by an archconservative who was at the time a prisoner in a Florida jail.
“Many are victims of legal and social injustice, inadequately provided for by the public assistance system, and over-prosecuted and vengefully sentenced,” he wrote. “The failures of American education, social services and justice [are] unaffordable, as well as repulsive. In tens of millions of undervalued human lives . . . the United States pays a heavy price for an ethos afflicted by wantonness, waste and official human indifference.”
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