“The United States has 5% of the world’s population, and 25% of the world’s prisoners.”

My friend, Dr. Sylvia Scholar, has been an unfailing source of encourageent to me in my literary efforts, especially in regards to my recently published novel, Song of George: Portrait of an Unlikely Holy Man, which is set in the mental ward of a fictional U.S. Federal Prison.

It’s through Sylvia that I’ve become aware of the remarkable UK based forum, “Open Democracy-free thinking for the world“. The following series of posts from The Unheard Voices Project, published by Open Democracy, clearly reveal the devastation caused by America’s stubborn and brutal insistence on waging the drug war on their own hapless individual citizens who are easily detained and prosecuted. Long term prison sentences and life with a record for these, while the real corporate criminals of our society live high and easy.

These articles are not of the world of fiction. “Truth is stranger…” as the very profound cliche’ states. Please take a few minutes, go to the website http://www.opendemocracy.net/unheard-voices and read about this most American phenomenon as reported by The Unheard Voices Project.

As always, thanks for stopping by. You’re certainly more than welcome to comment.
                                                                                       jesse s. hanson


The Unheard Voices Project

The Unheard Voices Project is a documentary archive of testimonies from offenders, ex-offenders, family members, and experts on the far-ranging consequences of the American criminal justice system.

Unheard Voices was inspired by Steven Spielberg’s Shoah Foundation Institute, another documentary archive project that gathered video testimonies from survivors and other witnesses to the Holocaust. In many respects, the American criminal justice system, and the drug war that has driven its explosion, has resulted in a cultural holocaust. So many people are in prison, so many families and communities have been destroyed, and so many generations have been lost, that those who do succeed us will need a living record of the devastating impact these policies had on American society.

The United States has 5% of the world’s population, and 25% of the world’s prisoners. At 2.5 million, the US has more prisoners than China. Not more prisoners per capita, more prisoners. And there are an additional 5 million under what’s known as “Correctional Supervision” (probation, parole, and court monitoring). On top of that, the security and livelihood of millions more has forever been altered by an arrest or conviction record. This so-called “Land of the Free” punishes more of its citizens than the rest of the world, prompting even the conservative Economist to declare that “never in the civilized world have so many been locked up for so little.”

The testimonies of The Unheard Voices Project testimonies will help put a human face on a critical social issue that has been overwhelmed by fear, politics, racial prejudice, and intolerance, in an era where the public attitude has been, “out of sight, out of mind.”

When the stories hit home, the policies begin to change. 

Thursday 30th September

Charles Shaw, 30 September 2010
This is the story of Anthony Reed, a promising young man with a very bright future who was arrested and charged with a felony under the infamous “Analogue Act” for possessing one dose of 2C-I, what he thought was a “legal” substance. Includes an interview with Alexander “Sasha” Shulgin, the inventor of 2C-I.

Tuesday 28th September

Mark Weiss and Charles Shaw, 28 September 2010
We lead this week with the release of the much anticipated trailer from Charles Shaw and openDemocracy’s The Unheard Voices Project, a testimonial documentary about the far-ranging consequences of the American criminal justice system.

Sunday 26th September

Charles Shaw, 26 September 2010
The Unheard Voices Project has just released a four-minute trailer of their documentary archive of testimonies from prisoners, ex-offenders, family members, and notable experts on the far-ranging consequences of the American criminal justice system.

Monday 5th July

Charles Shaw, 5 July 2010
The Unheard Voices documentary project is seeking interviews and testimonials from offenders, ex-offenders, family members, and relevant experts on the far ranging consequences of a criminal conviction.