On trial? Forget jail, learn English!

A judge known for creative sentencing has ordered three Spanish-speaking men to learn English or go to jail.
The men, who faced prison for criminal conspiracy to commit robbery, can remain on parole if they learn to read and write English, earn their GEDs and get full-time jobs, Luzerne County Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Jr. said.

This story is so weird and the fact that it plays up how kind and progressive this judge is creeps me out. Ordering men to learn English because you are frustrated that they can’t speak English and need translation is a type of racism. On the other hand, if this distracted the courts from incarcerating more men of color, that is cool.
But ordering people to learn English? If the state is forcing you to adopt culture and language in the context of incarceration, that is not in the best interest of the accused. It is part of the process of colonizing the underclass and forcing them to do things you think are *good* for them, while ignoring what is actually harming their communities.
The best part? If they don’t learn English and pass a test they go to jail for 2 years. That is A LOT of pressure.

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