LISTEN – PRAY THE SHOOTING STOPS – NO WINNERS EXCEPT PRISONS –
June 17, 2021 – In many parts of the U.S., some of the most severe policies implemented during the drug war are being scaled back or scrapped altogether. Hinton, a 37-year-old community organizer and activist, said the reckoning is long overdue. He described watching Black men like himself get caught up in drugs year after year and swept into the nation’s burgeoning prison system. “They’re spending so much money on these prisons to keep kids locked up,” Hinton said, shaking his head. “They don’t even spend a fraction of that money sending them to college or some kind of school.” Hinton has lived his whole life under the drug war. He said Brownsville needed help coping with cocaine, heroin and drug-related crime that took root here in the 1970s and 1980s.
His own family was scarred by addiction. “I’ve known my mom to be a drug user my whole entire life,” Hinton said. “She chose to run the streets and left me with my great-grandmother.” Four years ago, his mom overdosed and died after taking prescription painkillers, part of the opioid epidemic that has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans.
Hinton said her death sealed his belief that tough drug war policies and aggressive police tactics would never make his family or his community safer.