The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

$2.50 a Year for His Life

Jan 23, 2017

Lawrence McKinney, a black man condemned to life in prison in 1977 for a rape he did not commit, was finally freed in 2008. He was released thanks to DNA testing, and then given $75 in “compensation” by the state of Tennessee when he was released.

McKinney has asked the Parole Board of Tennessee twice to exonerate him. Both times, despite the evidence, the board voted against it. If the parole board or the governor of Tennessee exonerates him, he is entitled to much more compensation.

There are 20 states in the U.S. that don’t even give a penny to compensate a person for falsely imprisoning them. But the Tennessee gesture of $75 shows real contempt for those imprisoned by its injustice system. The worth of this black man’s life was judged to be $2.50 per year!

Overturning this man’s wrongful conviction will not be enough to stop racist judges or racist prosecutors from continually putting thousands of black people, especially poor young men, in prison every year.