When we think of “political prisoner,” we usually have in mind someone imprisoned either for their political beliefs or their anti-government activity.
In the United States today, very few people are recognized as being political prisoners. In reality, there are tens of thousands who should be recognized as such; not because of their political beliefs or actions, but because their continued incarceration is due to being exploited for political gain by politicians, prosecutors, and judges.
They may not start out as political prisoners, but they become political prisoners when they continue to be incarcerated beyond any justification and are refused release simply due to political calculations.
Tough-On-Crime rhetoric and false claims about the deterrent power of harsher sentences have been used by politicians for over four decades to get elected.
Joseph Dole Is An Incarcerated Writer, Co-Founder & Policy Director Of Parole Illinois