The Common Good
July-August 1998

Racism and Prisons

by Arthur McLean | July-August 1998

WITH REGARD TO the demon of racism ("Exorcising an American Demon," by Bill
Wylie-Kellermann, March-April 1998), we need to look at the criminal justice and prison
systems.

WITH REGARD TO the demon of racism ("Exorcising an American Demon," by Bill Wylie-Kellermann, March-April 1998), we need to look at the criminal justice and prison systems. Why are inmates overwhelmingly people of color and from urban areas? Why are prisons placed far from cities, making visits infrequent and difficult? Why are correctional officials overwhelmingly white? Why are incidents of abuse not reported and there is a code of silence? Why do big corporations have access to a low-wage inmate labor pool? Why are educational programs being withdrawn and money allocated for more prisons? What demon keeps this all out of sight and out of the media? I hope Sojourners will explore some of these issues.

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