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Held hostage by the racist injustice system

January 17, 2003 | Page 12

Dear Socialist Worker,

The justice system here in Chicago is corrupt and racist. I'm a 17-year-old African American prisoner being held hostage here at Cook County Jail. I'm under 23-hour-a-day lock-up on a bogus charge of murder--a crime I did not commit!

Upon my arrest, I was placed in a near-freezing cell by police, with no blanket, sheet or pillow. Cops, all of them white, repeatedly choked, slapped, punched and tortured me until I falsely admitted to the crime. There is no physical evidence or eyewitnesses linking me to the crime.

I've had the honor of meeting Nathson Fields, a former death row prisoner here on the Special Incarceration (SI) unit. He has inspired me to speak out against this corrupt injustice system.

Despite my young age, the jail officers have provided me with no education programs, where I could get my GED. This is frustrating, as I was a junior in high school when I was arrested.

Conditions here at jail are sick and inhumane. My first day here on the SI unit, I was brutally beaten by two guards for no reason other than having the misfortune of being charged with a crime that I didn't commit.

This racist system is corrupt, and it must be fought. I intend to do this now--and once I am freed.

Cornell Milton, Chicago

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