Wednesday, November 10, 2004

A Safer United States

That's because over 2 million people in the U.S. are incarcerated.

"Alfred Blumstein, a criminologist at Carnegie Mellon University, said one of the most striking findings in the report was that almost 10 percent of all American black men ages 25 to 29 were in prison.

Such a high proportion of young black men behind bars not only has a strong impact on black families, Professor Blumstein said, but "in many ways is self-defeating." The criminal justice system is built on deterrence, with being sent to prison supposedly a stigma, he said. "But it's tough to convey a sense of stigma when so many of your friends and neighbors are similarly stigmatized."


What the NY Times article fails to raise is why this is so. Sure it's easy to blame it on mandatory sentencing laws which carry longer prison terms but that doesn't go deep enough to look at how such laws are unjustly applied in people of color communities.

Sigh

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