Article taken from the WestTexasTribune.com
Editor’s Note: The West Texas Tribune welcomes Brother Ellsworth Johnson-Bey (Better Known as Brother Bey). Brother Bey is Founder and President of Fraternal Order of Ex-Offenders (F.O.X.O), Inc. Brother Bey has a wealth of knowledge that is of value of ex-offenders, their families and the general communities regarding strategies to deter, decrease and prevent intergenerational dynamics of adult criminality and child/youth delinquencies. Brother Bey’s organization believes that purpose and passion from all stakeholders who love themselves, family and community can be the fuel that energizes partnerships to resolve social pathologies.
The objective of this article is to communicate the overwhelmingly disparity between African American male involvement in all phases of the crime and punishment areas of the America national and local criminal justice systems compared to white males. Crime in America has become as traditional as American Cherry Pie. Incarceration in America is big business; therefore it is evident that crime throughout this nation is marketed as an African-American phenomenon, which evolved into a poor people’s pandemic, primarily African American males.
However, statistics alone only provide a view of the effects and outcomes of some systemic problems. An example of the manifestation and validation of the pandemic in Maryland is that more than 76% of all males incarcerated are African American. Most of this population are products from unstable female-headed households with a child under the age of 5 years old and living in poverty, most are school drop-outs, most were unemployed or underemployed prior to their arrest, adjudication and conviction.
Additionally most were not represented by adequate legal representation. Each of these risk factors are directly related to one another.
Incarceration is not an equal opportunity punishment.
Research indicates that in 2006 there were more than 7.2 million adults on probation or parole or incarcerated in prison in America. That data indicates that at least 2.4% of all adults in the United States, or 1 in every 42 adults are under the control of the Criminal Justice System. Please be mindful that these numbers do not include the juvenile populations.
Race To Incarceration by Race, Gender
In the United States there are 409 whites per 100,000 people incarcerated, 1,038 Latinos per
100,000 and 2 ,468 blacks per 100,000. In the United States there are 736 White males per
100,000; 1, 862 Latino males per 100,000; 4,789 Black males: per 100,000. In the United
States Incarceration rate of males between 25-29 yrs of age is astonishing. For White males
it is 736 per 100,000, for Latino males it is 1,862 per 100,000, and for Black males it is 11,695
Nationally more than 70% of all prisoners in the United States are non-whites, also nearly 95% of
all prisoners are males. Recent studies indicated in 2002 that nearly 11% of all black males in the
United States between the ages of 25 and 29 were sentenced and in prison compared to 2.4%
Hispanic and 1.3% of white males. The United States has the highest documents per capita rate of
incarceration in the world.
From Mis-Education To Incarceration
Studies of Incarceration nationally have indicated that more than 40% African American involve in
the Criminal Justice System than there are enrolled in higher education.
In Maryland, an estimate of 169,500 adults is under the control of the criminal justice system. More
than 95% of this population that is incarcerated in Maryland are males, more than 76% of the
incarcerated population in Maryland are African American males.
African American leadership must be lead to fight for the reform of the Maryland criminal justice
system which knowingly or unknowingly remain silent regarding the unjust, injust disparities in the
outcomes of the negative effects on Black families and their communities substantiated with facts
such as the following:
America’s Black leadership must fight for the reform of Maryland’s Division of Corrections. It is
the Black Community of Maryland that is the most impacted by the workings of Maryland’s prison
system.87% of Maryland’s prison cells are filled with Black prisoners: most have drug problems,
most are dropouts, most committed their crimes on the streets of the black community, 80% of the
victims of Maryland homicides and violent crimes are Black, 87% of the 13,000 prisoners released
each year from incarceration are returning to Maryland’s Black communities.
The stated goals of prison are to punish offenders, to protect society and to develop productive citizens from the raw material of convicted felons. African American leadership must be concerned that politics have driven the criminal justice system in directions contrary to public safety. It behooves Black leadership to fight for prison policies that would have a favorable impact on the crimes in African American Communities.
Thinking is Destiny
As an ex-offender who has designed, created and developed a national organization named Fraternal Order of X-Offenders (F.O.X.O) our membership knows from personal experiences that if this society is ever going to create any long-term changes in the African-American male involvement disparate involvement in the multi-billion dollar a year industry, than FOXO advocate for the immediate need to rethink, reshape, and reevaluate new paradigm to promote comprehensive resources to maximize social and individual behavioral modification to enhance public health through African American male development.
The Black Community must began to hue and cry to mandate that the so-called leadership fight to change the following: 87% Maryland’s prison cells are filled with Black prisoners, most incarcerated people may have a history of drug use and drug abuse, many prisoners are school dropouts with little vocational skill sets, most prisoners have committed their offenses in Black communities, more than 87 % of the 13,000 prisoners released each year from incarceration are primarily returning to the Black communities, more of them returning to concentrated areas of Baltimore City, and 80% or more of the victims and perpetrators of homicides and violent crimes are Black people.
Expand educational programs in several essential areas of self development such as education, economical development and employment, mental, physical, cultural, and spiritual health and last but not least is the dynamics and relation between primary institutions and secondary institutions.
This article was written by Bro. Ellsworth Johnson Bey, Founder of Fraternal Order of X-Offenders (F.O.X.O). FOXO designs and creates and develops customized cognitive restructuring program models via our “Psychology and Sociology of Criminality Crime Prevention” DVD. Be sure to Tune into F.O.X.O’s radio program: Breaking the Cycle “Dialogue, Reflection, Action”, every Sunday from 2pm-4pm on WOLB 1010 AM. If you would like to call into the show, we can be reached at 410.481.1010.