Black Texas Woman Sentenced To 5 Yrs For Voting

Crystal Mason(left) was sentenced to 5 years in prison for voting in Texas

We’ve all heard about or should have heard about by now, the case of a Black Texas woman who was sentenced to five years for voting in the 2016 general election. The woman, Crystal Mason, was on parole after a felony tax fraud conviction at the time she cast her vote. Mason’s defense was that she did not know her felony conviction precluded her from voting–an argument Texas prosecutors totally refused to entertain

Well, according to CNN’s Brianna Keilar, there are two White Texas women who engaged in similar conduct, but only got probation. One of the women apparently voted twice for Trump.

This report by Keilar fits what many in Texas have long thought–that Mason’s Black race had a lot to do with the harsh 5 year sentence she received. Many also believe her prosecution and harsh sentence was intended to scare minorities away from the ballot–a subtle voter suppression tactic if you will.

Mason’s case is yet another illustration of the growing public sentiment that the criminal justice system only “works on” people of color. Yours Truly has raised this issue on several occasions.

The systemic racism that belies the criminal justice system resulting in dramatically different and harsher consequences for people of color is something that has to be addressed. It is quite encouraging to see some Democrats running for President in 2020 addressing criminal justice reform. Almost all the talk about criminal justice reform by Democrats however is centered on uniformed officers on the street–police brutality, profiling etc.

Rarely do they address those that sit on top of the criminal justice system pyramid–prosecutors and judges. We need to have a frank and honest debate about the systemic racism in the criminal justice system and how it affects prosecutorial decisions and sentencing (DAs & Judges).

Bottom line folks, any serious criminal justice reform initiative must address this question; Why are poor people of color more likely to get criminally prosecuted and upon conviction(a near certainty), end up with harsher sentences than their White counterparts for similar conduct? Yeah, that’s for you Kim Kardashian.

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You may reach the author via email at author@grassrootsdempolitics.com or author@emolumentsclause.com