Our experience working in prisons throughout the United States since 1992 has compelled us to focus the Engaged Zen Foundation's efforts on the complete circle of human rights imperatives.
We have encountered appalling conditions and witnessed brutal treatment, even murder, of prisoners. The proliferation of Draconian, technology driven, sensory deprivation control units and super high security prisons is of paramount concern. We have witnessed first hand the largely racially defined classism, dehumanization, brutality, rape, torture, oppression, virtual slavery and the eurocentric power-over dynamic that drives the prison industrial complex, the law enforcement community and the judicial system.
We have seen first hand, death by incarceration, institutionalized oppression, absurd mandatory drug law sentences, "three strikes" laws, and we have examined the effects of internalized oppression on prisoners, their families and society as a whole. The horrendous conditions we have encountered time and time again demand the foundation take a stand on moral and ethical grounds in firm opposition to these dis-eased approaches that are destroying countless lives, families and communities.
EZF is inexorably committed to the abolition of punitive incarceration in any form, the dismantling of the prison industrial complex, and the adoption of alternative, restorative, methods of dealing with what is colloquially known as "criminal justice."