Why do you even -want- to go to San Quentin?”

As I prepare for my upcoming trip to California, I keep getting the same question, repeatedly.

“Why do you even -want- to go to San Quentin?”

Because it is the purest distillation of our idea of “justice”. And it’s a fucking nightmare.

It’s something I wrestle with long after I come back home. Whose life is being spent in a cage, waiting to die, and can I look those people in the eye and say with conviction, “This is the correct system by which to treat you.”

The socio-economic implications have been exhaustively covered academically, but the visceral impact of LSP Angola can’t be ignored. I’ve stood there, watching lines of mostly black men, hoes over their shoulders, going to work in the fields under the watchful eye of the white patroller…why are we doing this in 2016? What have we gotten wrong, besides…everything.

These are the kinds of questions I need to be asking myself when I think about who I vote for and why. What kind of place do I want the U.S. to be, and how far from it is the status quo.

In order to even be able to construct these questions, is why I go.

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