Prior to my aborted visit I attended a meeting at the First Unitarian Society in downtown Denver. A wonderful group of folks met to discuss the Metro Denver Sanctuary Coalition, and First Unitarian's participation in the new Sanctuary movement. They have many lessons to share on education, legality, and communication as they recently hosted Arturo Hernandez Garcia for nine months while he waited for US ICE to grant a stay of deportation.
I had to plot a new course from the church to the detention center, one which took me right by the Denver Women's Correctional Facility and the Denver County Jail. These edifices are three minutes from the detention center, but you would never know where to find any of the buildings, hidden as they are in industrial areas with front doors on small streets. I have visited the Women's Correctional Facility before, so between that visit and the signs on I70 warning motorists not to pick up hitchhikers, I could piece together the incarceration focus of the area, but I was still horrified to drive by three large buildings holding thousands.
Did you know that the US has over 2.2 million people incarcerated - the highest number of any country in the world? Here's a quote:
The United States is the world's leader in incarceration with 2.2 million people currently in the nation's prisons or jails -- a 500% increase over the past thirty years. These trends have resulted in prison overcrowding and state governments being overwhelmed by the burden of funding a rapidly expanding penal system, despite increasing evidence that large-scale incarceration is not the most effective means of achieving public safety.
What do we think about this? What do we do about this? How do we explain this to our children?