Mental-health group warns black teens they face prison time for wearing saggy pants; in fact, they don't
The Black Mental Health Alliance of Massachusetts is trying to scare black teens straight with a new ad campaign that warns they face prison time for wearing boxer-showing jeans.
The Atlantic reports the group hopes to extend the campaign to billboards. Maybe they can replace those "Murder is not OK" ads, now that all other pressing issues facing the black community have been solved, except for the scourge of saggy jeans.
The law the group sites, Chapter 272, sec. 16 of the Mass. General Laws, sets out a penalty for "open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior," and is the statute used to prosecute T masturbators and public urinators. It fails to mention anything about saggy jeans. Chap. 272 in general relates to "crimes against chastity, morality, decency and good order."
A reading of the instructions given to jurors in open-and-gross cases suggests the group is talking through its hat: Not only does a jury have to find that a person exposed his or her genitals, buttocks or breasts (the latter if the person is female) but that the person did so with the intent to "produce alarm or shock" among bystanders.
A spokesman for the Suffolk County District Attorney's office confirms his office has not prosecuted anybody for wearing jeans below their hips, and has no plans to:
We'll leave those cases to Joan Rivers and the Fashion Police.
H/t Jason Mihalko.