4 Jail Sentences That Prove There’s Something Wrong With the Prison System

Abusive cops. School-to-prison pipelines. Lifetime sentences for minors. These are just a few of troubling realities of the current justice system, which overwhelmingly disfavors people of color, low-income families and other marginalized communities.

If there was any doubt that the Lady Liberty isn’t playing fair at all, take a look at these absolutely outrageous sentences and other examples of abuse of police power.

1. Eight years in jail for “illegal voting”

The GOP loves to claim that voter fraud is rampant, but the truth is that there are almost no cases of people illegally voting. Maybe that’s why the Texas courts are so eager to prosecute the one case that they have found to the highest extent they can.

Rosa Maria Ortega, a permanent resident from Mexico with a 6th grade education, was sentenced eight years in jail for wrongfully citing that she was a citizen and voting in elections. While everyone admits that what Ortega did was wrong, even the voter fraud crusaders are reticent to say it is worth nearly a decade of prison time.

Patch.com reports:

The case has drawn a broad range of criticism given its harsh sentence, and not just from Democrats or progressives. Conservative pundits, too, have painted the case as overly punitive — particularly given its net effect of throwing a mother of four in the slammer. ‘I’m a law & order person and support voter ID,’ conservative pundit Bill Kristol tweeted about the case. “But this sentence is nuts, & it’s unseemly for the Texas governor to be chest-beating about it.”

2. Jail time for arson because an investigator withheld evidence

Linda Poplawski was just trying to be helpful when she told a store worker that there was a fire, but instead she ended up in prison and home detention. After she approached, the employee told police that Poplawski actually threatened to burn down the store.

Her month in prison and seven months of monitoring prior to her trial never would’ve happened if the fire inspector had told prosecutors the truth: An anonymous tipster named the real culprit, who admitted to the crime.

When that information was finally offered — the night before Poplawski’s trial — the charges were dropped.

3. New Jersey woman faces police conspiracy

Krya Harrison of New Jersey was simply driving down the road when she was pulled over for allegedly passing a police officer on the right. The officer added that he “did not like the way she was wearing her seatbelt.”

Harrison, an African American woman, claimed that she felt uncomfortable with the way the police officer was approaching her and called 911 to request a sergeant be sent to the site to witness the interaction.

Before other officers arrived, however, Harrison was allegedly told by the officer that she was resisting arrest. She was then dragged from her car and physically assaulted.

According to MyCentralJersey.com, the officer in question:

… also issued 13 motor vehicle violations to Harrison, including failure possess driver’s license or registration, maintenance of lamps, failure to wear seat belt, delaying traffic, obstructing the passage of other vehicles, failure to keep right, improper passing, unsafe lane change, failure to yield right of way to emergency vehicles, failure to pull over emergency vehicle, reckless driving, careless driving, and unsafe operation of a vehicle.

Police even allegedly faked her name on a Miranda form, misspelling her first name. Harrison then spent two years fighting a charge of calling 911 without a purpose, as well as more false charges. Harrison is now suing the department for malicious arrest, conspiracy and civil rights violations.

4. Officers confuse meth with cotton candy

For Dana Fischer, it was bad enough that she was pulled over for driving in a car with “too dark” of a tint on the windows. It was even worse that after agreeing to let the car be searched, police found a suspicious substance. Officers tested the material on site, and they discovered it was positive for methamphetamine.

But perhaps the worst part of the saga was that because she couldn’t afford an unreasonable bail amount, Fischer was forced to stay in jail for over three months — the time it took for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to run a more reliable test on the mass and find out that it really was just cotton candy.

Or that even after that was discovered, it still took a full week for a report on the findings to be written — and another five days after that for them to actually release Fischer from jail. Despite the well-known fact that field test kits are notorious for giving false positives, they still appear to be enough evidence to put a person away for months without any sort of recourse.


ali a
ali a4 months ago

These people have been given power to protect people not to mess up with people's life. Petition this too if you can. http://www.thepetitionsite.com/2/justiceforaa/

Latoya B
Latoya Brookins4 months ago

For every messed up ruling we hear of there are a thousand more messed up ones we don't.

Chad Anderson
Chad Anderson4 months ago

Thank you.

Dr. Jan H
Dr. Jan Hill4 months ago


Tabot T
Tabot T4 months ago


Irene S
Irene S4 months ago

No only the prison system seems to be improvable. Not to mention all the black people shot to death before any formal accusation.

Lorraine A
Lorraine Andersen4 months ago


Toni W
Toni W4 months ago


Toni W
Toni W4 months ago


Toni W
Toni W4 months ago