Latest in a series of posts on the Arts in Bethlehem
Kimberly Schwartz is a student studying Sociology & Anthropology at Moravian College. She is passionate about criminal justice reform, equal rights, feminism, and climate change. This piece was originally written for a course at Moravian titled Writing as Activism, taught by Dr. Joyce Hinnefeld, in which students are encouraged to consider topics such as mass incarceration, migration, and how to change the world through writing.
What I Know, Right Now, About Incarceration in The United States:
A History of Learning Through Experiences and Exposure
According to the Treatment Advocacy Center, nearly 383,000 people suffering from serious mental illness were incarcerated in 2014 (Treatment Advocacy Center, 2016).
I am 24 years old, and the world has just begun to change in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. I am following the news and have recently heard that Pennsylvania will consider releasing non-violent offenders from local jails and postponing trials in order to combat the spread of COVID-19 in jails and prisons. My boyfriend receives a call from his father, who tells him that his younger brother has just been detained on a warrant because he was not paying legal fines from a vandalism charge he acquired two years ago. His brother spends 5 days in jail because many courts are closed and legal processes are moving more slowly than usual. Once released, his job forces him to quarantine for two weeks. This job does not pay him for the days he is unable to work, and he is now in even further debt with less money to pay his fines.
eighth part in a series . . .