Correcting injustices of racist penal system

Michelle Alexander's book, "The New Jim Crow," wisely informs its readers that those criminalized and now incarcerated (1-5 years for drug use or possession) are facing the loss of citizen's rights (not unlike those who faced the same loss before Civil Rights laws). As she reveals facts, Alexander reminds the reader that most of those incarcerated for these crimes are blacks and Latinos.

I would urge the issuance of a Presidential Executive Order to the effect that, 1) a pardon be issued; 2) require rehabilitation and; 3) immediate employment - similar to the Civilian Conservation Corps - be made available to those pardoned. Those three steps, done in tandem, would begin to undo the injustice our present laws created.

The New Jim Crow denies "criminals" the right to vote, to own property, to receive appropriate employment.

Such an order would create immediate solutions to some of our vexing problems: 1) Remove "criminal" from the record of those pardoned; 2) permit persons to participate in a free United States; 3) reduce overcrowded prisons.

Recently, President Obama has commuted the sentences of some who had been incarcerated for drug use or possession. I and others with whom I have spoken agree with his actions and hope they continue.

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