There Are More Blacks Under Correctional Control Today Than In 1850 Slaveholding America

mass-incarceration-infographic

Washingtons Blog

The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world — higher than Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, North Korea or Iran.

While the United States represents about 5 percent of the world’s population, it houses around 25 percent of the world’s prisoners.

But all people aren’t treated equally — African-Americans are treated especially poorly.

RELATED: Police Stop Enforcing War on Drugs in New York City, People Get Along Peacefully and Society Continues

Michelle Alexander – a law school professor who directed Stanford Law School’s Civil Rights Clinic and served as law clerk for Justice Harry Blackmun at the U. S. Supreme Court – notes:

  • The United States incarcerates a higher percentage of black men than South Africa did at the height of apartheid
  • Primarily because of these significant incarceration rates, the level of black youth poverty is higher today than it was in 1968
  • An African-American male is sentenced an average of a 20 to 50 times longer prison term then a white male convicted of the same drug crime.
  • Over 2.3 million men in America are in prison — about half for drug crimes. Seventy percent of all men imprisoned are black or Hispanic. Thirty years ago, before the “War on Drugs” was implemented, there were only 300,000 people in the American prison system.
  • There are 2.7 million children whose fathers or mothers are in prison, on probation, or on parole.

  • There are 7 million Americans either in prison, on probation, or on parole — mostly for selling or using drugs. In many inner cities, eighty percent of young men have prison records. These convictions will remain on their records permanently, limiting their voting rights and their ability to find employment. Currently, in all but two states, citizens with felony convictions are permanently or temporarily prohibited from voting. The United States is the only country that permits permanent disenfranchisement of felons even after completion of their sentences.

Indeed:

  •  Since 1971, there have been more than 40 million arrests for drug-related offenses.
  • Even though blacks and whites have similar levels of drug use, blacks are ten times as likely to be incarcerated for drug crimes.
  • “There are more blacks under correctional control today — in prison or jail, on probation or parole — than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began.”

–> Continue reading.

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