Upton Sinclair, The Jungle
The first case is of a young man charged with armed trafficking of cocaine, a crime he absolutely did not commit. The prosecutor offered him thirteen years on this false charge, even knowing that neither the gun nor the drugs belonged to him, even knowing that the actual dealer had been identified and had fled the scene prior to the raid. She did this because she could — because his name was on the hotel registry, because no one would testify against the real dealer, and because the young man was not a sympathetic defendant. What he was actually doing was prostituting girls in a different hotel room, girls that were hooked on heroin. No one will cry for this scumbag, the prosecutor told herself, and so she broke the law and all standards of prosecutorial ethics in order to put him away. Luckily, his mother hired a private attorney at the last minute who demonstrated the impossibility of the gun charge, and the offer of thirteen years dropped down to three years in prison. He could not sign a plea to that false charge fast enough.
The third example of overcharging is a case in which a man was charged with selling his own pills to an undercover cop. Although these were prescription painkillers and he did not buy drugs from any upper-level traffickers, he was “persuaded” to enter into a substantial assistance agreement with the police; which is to say that he agreed to assist the police on setting up other people who may or may not have been selling drugs before the police decided to target them. The reason he did this is that the police officer who set him up threatened to arrest his pregnant girlfriend and charge her with trafficking if he refused. The prosecutor went along with this despicable deal, and the agreement was signed. He ended up being sentenced to eighteen years in prison, having neglected to set up anyone else, and his girlfriend tragically miscarried the child.
The point of isolation and a diet of artificial slop we would not feed to our dogs is exactly what the inmates say it is: psychological warfare. Even in general population we are locked in our cells for seventeen hours per day; given canine toothbrushes cleverly repackaged as “no-shank” toothbrushes (which is to say that someone in York County who sells dog toothbrushes is friends in the good ol’ boys club here with someone involved in providing vendor contracts to York County Detention Center); prohibited dental floss and mouthwash; forced to shower in stalls with black mold so atrocious it is a wonder the entire building is not evacuated and shut down by the health department. Yet really, these are all just inconveniences, not even worth mentioning in comparison to what ills have befallen every man here, innocent or not, in the outside world.