Texas Mother of Two Gets 5 Years for Voting While Black and on Probation
43 year-old Crystal Mason was recently sentenced to five years in prison for the high crime of voting while on probation. She also happens to be black. Ms. Mason had just finished a three year sentence in prison for helping clients of her tax return preparation business pay less income tax.
No one told her that felons on probation could not vote in Texas nor did she read the fine print on the ballot stating that former felons must complete their probation before they can vote in Texas.
When Crystal voted she did not realize that it was illegal.
"You think I would jeopardize my freedom? You honestly think I would ever want to leave my babies again? That was the hardest thing in my life to deal with," Mason told the Star-telegram. "Who would— as a mother, as a provider—leave their kids over voting?"
In comparison, a white woman in Iowa who deliberately tried to cast two votes for Donald Trump was given 2 years probation and a $750 fine.
Tarrant County, where Crystal engaged in her voting crime spree, is tough on minority voters. Permanent resident Rosa Maria Ortega made the mistake of voting while Hispanic and not a U.S. citizen and was given an eight-year sentence last year after she voted in 2012 and 2014. She told a judge that she hadn't realized she couldn't vote as a legal permanent resident.
Some states make voting rules clear and it is difficult to register to vote if you aren't qualified. Texas is not one of those states.
According to the U.S. Dept. of Education, from 1979– 2013 America increased spending on education by 107%. During the same period, the national average spent on prisons increased by 324% while in Texas spending on prisons increased by a whopping 850%.
Prisons are big business in Texas and the prison industry actually writes the legislation that ensures that more Texans go to prison and pays the corrupt politicians to enact the draconian legislation.
Since all judges in Texas are elected, the prison industry can also influence the election of judges to ensure that more people like Crystal Mason are sentenced to hard time and prison profits soar.