Article taken from WestTexasTribune.com
The United States now incarcerates between 1.8 and 2 million of its citizens in its prisons and jails on any given day. Additionally, more than 5 million people are currently under the supervision of America’s criminal justice system. The United States incarcerates more people than any other industrialized nation on the planet. The current 2 million prisoners in prisons or jails are ten times larger than the previous prison population which existed in the United States nearly 30 years ago. The question everyone should ask ourselves is who benefits when the Culture of Crime has become a stimulus package for big businesses in the nation?
The purpose of this article is to expose and examine political and economical industrial prison complex industry that have maximized the institutionalization primarily of African American males and other poor minorities.
For the most part, America’s prison population is being harvested from our deprivated inner city war zones of urban poverty. These disadvantaged, disengaged, deprivated inner city communities are disproportionately populated by the African American minority who are uninformed, unimportant, unorganized, unemployed, underemployed and who are constantly underseiged by misinformation or no information that would empower them to organize to promote the reality that the greatest capital within a capitalistic society is the unity of human capital (people helping people to help themselves).
Who benefits in America when African Americans are only 12 percent of the national population, and according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the African American Community is only 13 percent of the monthly drug users; yet, they are arrested five times as often as whites on drug charges? Once the African Americans are arrested, they are twice as likely to be convicted than their white counterparts. On an average, African Americans are sentenced much longer than the sentence that is received by their white counterparts.
The misperception of the truth of who commits the most crimes in America.
In some cities such as Washington, DC and Baltimore, there are more than 56 percent of black men between the ages of 18-35 years old under the watchful eye and control of the criminal justice system. Nearly 80 percent of those being sent to prison around the nation are African Americans or Hispanics. However, statistics indicates to us that these minorities are not committing anywhere near 80 percent of America’s crime. The problem with most of the official records and government statistics regarding who commits crimes are that the statistics on who gets arrested only indicates the police policies that target arresting more African American males and other minority males rather than arresting other ethnic groups who commits crimes equally or more than African American males and other poor minorities. We believe, based upon our personal experiences, that the police are more likely to arrest some people more so than others. These official statistics tells us more about the police policies and philosophies of arresting and charging African American males more so than the perception that African American males commit more crimes than any other ethnic group of juvenile or adult criminals. The question is who benefits when more African Americans are promoted as the progenerators and creators of criminality in America?
Race, Prison, and the Drug War
Research indicates that the prison boom is a direct result of two wars in America: The War on Drugs and The War on Crime. The outcome of both of these wars in reality is a war on poor minorities particularly African Americans. Research also indicates that there is a racially disproportionate nature of the War on Drugs is not just devastating to Black Americans, it ultimately exposes and examines the hypocrisy in grained in the principles of justice and equal protection of the laws that should be the foundation of any constitutional democracy. The fourteenth amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America articulates, but it cannot, will not, and does not demonstrate due process and equal protection of the law. Illustration: Data indicated by the US Department of Justice / Bureau of Justice Statistics Prevalence of imprisonment in the United States Population, “The chances of going to prison are highest among black males by 33 percent and Hispanic males by 17.2 percent and lowest among white males by 5.9 percent. The lifetime chances of going to prison among black women is 5.6 percent, and Hispanic women 2.2 percent and white women 0.9%”. The above statistics indicates that Lady Justice is not blind and that the criminal justice system is bias, therefore there is a need for a national, local, hue and cry from all stakeholders who believes in the sanctity of freedom, justice and equality to hold this nation to the words of its mouth that apparently is not lived in the mediation of its heart. The national public/citizenry need to address, challenge and correct the injustices in the criminal justice system.
According to the Human Rights Watch Report which highlights racial disparity on the war on drugs nationwide, black men are sent to prison on drug charges at thirteen times the rate of white men. The same study indicates that most drug offenders are white. Five times as many whites use drugs as blacks, but blacks comprise the great majority of drug offenders sent to prison. The solution to the racial inequality is not to incarcerate more whites, but to reduce the use of prison, for low-level drug offenders and to increase the availability of substance abuse prevention, intervention, education and treatment in communities, schools, and prison to promote the advocacy of drug treatment etc. Drugs in America have become the contemporary slavery which needs an emancipation or liberation from self annihilation.
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