They Sentenced Him To Prison For Shoplifting Cold Medicine

medicine bottles
Via Nappy
Zain Murdock
December 16, 2021

“[Shoplifting] was just to support my addiction and to deal with my homelessness, deal with my poverty,” said 58-year-old Reginald Randolph, who’s spent over 800 days at the infamously inhumane Rikers Island for stealing some cold medicine from a drug store in 2018. 

And yet, it might only get worse from here.

Despite a tumultuous childhood, two decades of houselessness, lung disease, and mental illness, Randolph may still end up in prison for four more years. That’s not “justice.” That’s called criminalizing poverty.

Court fines, expensive bail, and failing healthcare are some of many consequences of being one of the 46 million people in poverty in the United States. But instead of fixing the problem at the root, the criminal legal system piles on more and more punishment. 

Fortunately, Randolph has treatment and housing lined up to finally start his life on stable ground. But if he doesn’t receive clemency, those dreams are all over.

This country wants you to believe that billion dollar corporations are “harmed” more by some missing Nyquil than the impoverished Black person spending YEARS behind bars just to get released into more poverty. Does that make ANY sense?

This country stifles Black people’s chances at economic prosperity, then criminalizes poverty, then sends us into the deadly prison industrial complex. Why can’t we do better than that?

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