Saturday, October 08, 2005

Caged

From "A Less Fasionable War"
"...Thirty years ago Gore Vidal noted that “roughly 80% of police work in the United States has to do with the regulation of our private morals…controlling what we drink, eat, smoke, put into our veins…with whom and how we have sex or gamble.” Then there were roughly 250,000 prisoners in the nation. Today there is more than 2 million, with another million in county jails awaiting trial or sentencing, and another roughly 3 million under “correctional supervision” on probation or parole. The total national cost of incarceration then was $4 billion annually; today it’s $64 billion, with another $20 billion in federal money and $22-24 billion in money from state governments earmarked for waging the so-called “War on Drugs.” Nationally, around 60% or more of these prisoners are drug criminals. Yet, throughout all this time and expense there has not been the slightest decrease in either drug use or supply.

And amidst all the talk of race as a factor in the Katrina disaster let us not forget a bigger disaster: One in every 20 black men over the age of 18 is in prison compared to 1 in 180 White men. Despite African Americans comprising only 12% of the total population, in five states, including Illinois, the ratio of Black to White prisoners is 13 to 1. The U.S. Department of Justice reports that Blacks comprise 56.7% of all drug offenders admitted to state prisons while Whites comprise only 23.3% (in my Illinois prison—one of 28 in the State—of the 1,076 inmates, 689 were Black, 251 were White, and 123 were Latino). Based upon these numbers, a full 30% of African-Americans will see time in prison during their life, compared with only 5% of White Americans, even though White drug users outnumber Blacks by a five-to-one margin....
Link

Via 3 Quarks Daily

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