Only in America can you have a huge segment of society become obsessed with a cultural sensation that revolves around the themes of unjust incarceration, a biased legal system, corrupt law enforcement, and a judicial process that disproportionately targets the poor and underrepresented, and simultaneously have the majority of this exact same group not understand the reality of racial injustice.
People of color in the United States, particularly young black men, are burdened with a presumption of guilt and dangerousness. Some version of what happened to me has been unfairly experienced by hundreds of thousands of black and brown people throughout this country. As a consequence of our nation’s historical failure to address the legacy of racial inequality, the presumption of guilt and the racial narrative that created it have significantly shaped every institution in American society, especially our criminal justice system.
State officials in New York are reforming their policy of keeping people convicted of non-violent offenses in solitary confinement. Some hail the decision; others, including corrections officers, object, saying that solitary confinement is necessary to maintain control, and they say that keeping an individual in solitary confinement is not inhumane.
Tell that, though, to innocent people in prison, wrongly convicted, who find themselves in solitary confinement without hope of ever getting out.
A new study from the Vera Institute of Justice suggests that mass incarceration, typically focused in urban centers, is growing fastest in suburbs and rural areas.
The U.S. already has a massive imprisonment problem — despite having 4 percent of the world’s population, the U.S. has 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. And now, the problem is spreading beyond cities. In 2014, densely-populated counties had 271 inmates in jail per 100,000 people, whereas sparsely-populated counties had 446 inmates per 100,000 people — nearly double the amount.
Pell grants are otherwise open to the vast majority of students enrolled in college. The Department of Education claims that age, race, and field of study don’t compromise eligibility. Yet the Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that black men constitute the highest rate of imprisonment by 3.8 to 10.5 times that of white men. And in the U.S., wide gaps persist in the educational attainment of black men.
Conventional data sources do not always link this growing education gap to prison rates for one main reason — statistics don’t include those who are incarcerated. This omission skews numbers around racial disparities in educational achievement by over 40 percent for black men.
The bottom line is that African American men are not only disproportionately overrepresented in our prison system; they are also disproportionately undereducated.
Given these numbers, we ought to be raising an obvious question: Can the Department of Education honestly claim that Pell grants are color blind?
The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio released Nov. 9 the first comprehensive study of the practice of charging people in jail for their time there, also known as “pay-to-stay” policies, reports the BBC.
The study revealed that some inmates have debts of up to $35,000, although the BBC found evidence that one man in Marion, Ohio owes $50,000 in pay-to-stay debt.
Pay-to-stay is not limited to the state of Ohio, however. With the exceptions of Hawaii and the District of Columbia, every state in the U.S. has a law authorizing the practice.
President Obama announced Nov. 2 a new executive order to reduce hiring discrimination against former convicts, according to MSNBC.
Applicants for positions in the federal government will no longer be required to check a box on their applications if they have a criminal record.
"After a few weeks of feeling confused and invisible, I decided that I just wasn't smart enough to be an activist."
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"The local effort is part of a national Catholic network that connects homeless asylum seekers with families willing to take them in."