Surely the Americans that voted for President Obama have to be aware that the mass incarceration of African-Americans is a serious problem. Socially and economically it makes sense that these issues must be addressed if the USA is going to pull out of this tailspin that it finds itself in. I remember the things we were being told in the ninteen fifties and sixties about the repression that was occuring in the Soviet Union and how we should under no circumstances allow them to spread their repression to the "free world". If we take a close look at the situation in the US today then we have to see that the "free world" especially as far as the US is concerned is not looking all that free. Few countries in the world imprison their citizens at the rate that people are being imprisoned in the US. One can't help but wonder, if just maybe the ratio of money and resources spent on incarceration vs that spent on education and formation of basic good citizenship, has a bearing on our present economic downturn. Steering citizens into punitive, counterproductive circumstances for relatively minor infractions is hardly a way to grow a healthy economy or a healthy living environment. Not to mention that the extremely lopsided dispensation of justice, heavily weighted towards black and hispanic citizenry is bordering on a post genocidal situation. Given that the "war on drugs" is largely responsible for the excess of penal system occupancy and the well known fact that drug envolvement occurs at a more or less equal rate among white and black citizens, the disparity in the numbers of black and hispanic people vs white people receiving drug sentences makes it obvious that there is some mischief afoot. NOW is the time for the coalition of people that elected the Democratic president and senate to push for major reforms in the policies being implemented by the justice system not only to address the imbalance of the ratio of ethnic to white incarceration but to at the same time redirect our financial resources towards a more positive end, ie. education and formation versus punishment. We are all too aware, that nothing positive can come from the continuation of these destructive and divisive policies presently being executed by our justice system.
"A black boy born in 2001 has a one in three chance of going to prison in his lifetime and a Latino boy a one in six chance of the same fate. The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world: 7.1 million adult residents -- one in 33 -- are under some form of correctional supervision including prison, jail, probation, or parole. Michelle Alexander writes in her bestselling book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness that there are more adult African Americans under correctional control today than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began. In 2011, our state and federal prison population exceeded that of the top 35 European nations combined. Something’s very wrong with this picture."
quoted Marion Wright Edelson