“Six million people are under correctional supervision in the U.S.—more than were in Stalin’s gulags.”
To the editor:
When Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his “I have a dream speech”, there was no way that he could have imagined that a new system would be born. Born from the ashes of slavery and Jim Crow, a new system of racial and social control; that would trap millions as second class citizens. A system known as Mass Incarceration.
America 's current population accounts for approximately four percent of the world 's population. Of this four percent, America accounts for twenty-five percent of global incarceration, nearly 2.2 million people. America has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Over the last thirty years (since 1984), the number has skyrocketed over four-hundred percent.
As the number of incarcerated persons in the U.S. continue to rise cataclysmically, crime rates have declined consistently for nearly twenty-four years. So then, what is contributing to the increase of U.S. prison population? The answer lies not within the changes in crime rates, but rather in the changes of policies. Policies such as sentencing laws, and racial profiling all caused by Reagan’s creation of the War on Drugs. (A “war” that costs America approximately twenty billion dollars a year as well as the yearly incarceration of 100,000 people (mostly African-Americans.) )
The largest proponents of mass incarceration are the private prison companies who are making gargantuan profits from their inmates. According to the American Civil Liberty Union the two largest prison companies (The Corrections Corporation of America and the GEO group inc.) generated $3,000,000,000 in revenue. Private prisons were non-existe...
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...Those who are placed in confinement are not violent criminals but rather African American non-violent criminals. Non-violent criminals who often turned to crime because they are victims of our failed education system, or their parent had been in jail. Our prison system and current justice system is not a war on criminals but a war on the poor, created by the war on drugs and the war on crime. Everyday we see our failures of our justice system play out in police brutality and riots across the country, yet policy makers have done little to nothing to fix the issue. We must fix our prison system through reforms of rehabilitation rather than punishments, if we want our nation to succeed, for without any reform our nation will continue to burn. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.”
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