YAL students take prison stand


Young Americans for Liberty at Pima Community College continue their activism for social change.

This semester, club members decided to launch “Incarceration Nation” events at West Campus.

They distributed fliers and invited students to pose for a picture behind a mock prison.

Raymond Johnson, a war veteran who helped out at the information table, was passionate in explaining his views about freedom and liberty.

“Our democracy has been robbed by greedy corporations,” he said. “In fact, private corporations are now running our prisons here in Arizona.”

YAL has more than 600 campus chapters and 204,000 activists nationwide.

Chapter president Brandon Huerta posted an online message to members, saying how important it is to get involved.

“A significant portion of individuals were in prisons for non-violent offenses and served for longer time,” he wrote. “This is the result of a broken criminal justice system. Because of this, YAL wants you to take a stand.”

The U.S. contains 5 percent of the world’s population but has 25 percent of the world’s prison population, according to YAL. Since the 1980s, the federal prison population has increased by 800 percent. Prisoners incarcerated for non-violent offenses total 93 percent.

YAL collaborates with Families Against Mandatory Minimums, which advocates for fair sentencing laws that are fiscally responsible, enhance public safety, protect individual liberty and strengthen families.

FAMM continues to lobby Congress to repeal mandatory minimum sentencing laws that automatically apply to federal drug crimes.

The U.S. spent 30 percent of the federal crime-fighting budget on prisons in 2014, according to FAMM. On average, it costs, $29,000 to keep one person in federal prison for one year.

Students who visited the YAL information table received a small card to help deal with police.

Information printed on the card included suggestions on what to say to the police like I do not consent to any search or I choose to remain silent. I want to see a lawyer.

It also included tips on how to deal with police like always be calm, don’t agree to a search, don’t admit anything, report misconduct later and film the police.

Brandon Huerta simulates imprisonment to support prison reform in the United States. (Caleb Foster/Aztec Press)



What to say to the police:

• I do not consent to any search.

• Am I free to go? Or am I being detained?

• I choose to remain silent. I want to see a lawyer.

• I can’t let you in without a warrant.

How to deal with police:

• Always be calm and cool.

• Cops can lie. Don’t get tricked.

• Don’t agree to a search. Ever.

• Don’t just wait. Ask: “Am I    free to go?”

• Don’t do shady stuff in public.

• Don’t admit anything. Remain silent.

• Ask for a lawyer.

• Don’t let them in without a warrant.

• Don’t panic. Report misconduct later.

• Film the police.

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