, 10 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
Writing about #Biden's role in mass incarceration this week.
Congress's mandatory sentencing laws during the Reagan-Bush years were the most Draconian in modern US history.
That's something Biden will have to explain if he ever campaigns outside white working class enclaves.
When I was teaching literacy in prisons & halfway houses while in the domestic Peace Corps in Louisiana & Pennsylvania, every one of my students was functionally illiterate. That means unable to read above a 5th grade level, the level deemed able to function as an adult.
These men and women were unable to read the instructions on a medication bottle, a food preparation label, a street map, an employment form. Imagine not being able to read how to prepare your child's meds or food, or apply for a job? Where does that leave you in adult society?
Functional illiteracy is a factor in mass incarceration. If you can't read, you can't get a job. If you can't get a job, you can't support yourself. If you can't support yourself, you have to find money another way,which makes you more vulnerable to illegal means for survival.
It's essential that we radically alter the pipeline that disproportionately sends young people of color to prison because of unequal educational opportunities in communities like my black neighborhood in America's poorest big city. Education keeps people out of prison. Period.
When @BernieSanders said at #CNNTownHalls that incarcerated people should be allowed to vote, it re-raised issues related to mass incarceration. I agree with Sanders that incarcerated people should be able to vote.
If folks are concerned that the prison population might be able to swing elections if they can vote, then MAYBE too many people are in US prisons. Certainly the 2%--TWO PERCENT--of Americans who are incarcerated could've altered the 2016 vote.

We need to address these issues.
We cannot ignore the voting records of these career politicians like #Biden and #Bernie. Yes, we all "evolve" on issues if we are thinking people who are engaged in our society. But both these politicians are intransigient on some issues and refuse to apologize for past votes.
If your argument is that you're the only person capable of leading the country, then you must be accountable for your record and how that has impacted the country--and its most vulnerable citizens like incarcerated people, immigrants, women, POC, LGBTQ.
It's all up for review.
America handwaved Trump's record (as well as Sanders') in 2016 because of a misogynist hyper-focus on #HillaryClinton's emails.
We cannot do that again in 2020. Every aspect of every candidate's record must be on the table for examination.
Don't dismiss it.
Welcome it.
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