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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

May 4, 2014 at 4:17 PM

Drug clemency: Our system disadvantages the poor, minorities

Leonard Pitts in his syndicated column “A nation divided, with liberty and justice for some” [Opinion, April 27] describes the two-tiered system of criminal justice in this country.

I would go further to say the laws and government of the nation are biased toward the middle class and wealthy and increasingly disadvantage the poor, especially poor minorities. For instance, land-use laws, practices, and taxes benefit landowners to the detriment of renters, causing more people to risk losing housing.

School systems and systems of higher education still divide the country, with people in poor areas frequently left with substandard schools and then the threat of great debt if they try to go to college.

Furthermore, the predatory credit system divides the nation into good-credit haves and have-nots, making good credit a necessity to get decent jobs and housing, thus subjecting everyone to the “borrow to play” mentality of consumer credit, unjustly rewarding those with good credit to many benefits while further penalizing the poor.

At the same time, more Americans face the threat of great debt burdens, including for education, health expenses and housing, with no way to dig their way out of debt for decades. Thus, the divided criminal justice system is merely part of the much larger system of bias against the poor and minorities that threatens this country.

Leslie Jordan, Shoreline

Comments | More in drugs, Income inequality | Topics: drugs, income inequality, Leslie Jordan

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