Wednesday, September 5, 2012
President's Agenda Should Include Prisons
Pew Charitable Trusts reports that 1 in 9 black children in the United States has a parent in prison or jail. America’s growing prison population has resulted in more children growing up without the love of a parent. Roughly 2.7 million children have a parent behind bars. That equals 1 in every 28 children. Only 25 years ago, it was 1 in 125 children, until the advent of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 created a 100 to 1 sentencing disparity for crack vs. powder cocaine possession - a racist law that discriminated against minorities but had the blessing of the 1986 Black Congressional Caucus. Prison profiteering is spreading like an airborne disease. Visit "Children of Inmates" website http://www.childrenofinmates.org/Home.aspx .
Actually, America's high incarceration rate was placed on the presidential agenda by Rep. Ron Paul, who promised to pardon every nonviolent drug offender and end the War on Drugs. That would be a positive Change for millions of individual families, communities, and state budgets. Fulfilling that one campaign promise might have released over half the African Americans presently in prison, which is probably why Rep. Paul is censored like Mary Neal and others who are against mass incarceration. Instead of reducing America's incarceration rate, both presidential candidates from the two major parties agree on implementing indefinite detention in military camps for persons to be incarcerated without criminal charges or trials. Virtually every country that ever had concentration camps used them primarily for minorities. Rep. Paul opposed NDAA's concentration camp provision and introduced H.R.3785 to repeal the law. Now who's prejudice?
Many minors are in the justice system themselves. Children Defense Fund reports, "Nationally, 1 in 3 Black and 1 in 6 Latino boys born in 2001 are at risk of imprisonment during their lifetime. While boys are five times as likely to be incarcerated as girls, there also is a significant number of girls in the juvenile justice system. This rate of incarceration is endangering children at younger and younger ages." Visit the Children Defense Fund at this link http://www.childrensdefense.org/about-us/
New York Times reports, "Proportionally, the United States has four times as many prisoners as Israel, six times as many as Canada or China, eight times as many as Germany and 13 times as many as Japan.With just a little more than 4 percent of the world’s population, the United States accounts for a quarter of the planet’s prisoners and has more inmates than the leading 35 European countries combined . . . There’s also a national election in the United States soon. This issue isn’t on the agenda . . . Barack Obama, the first black president, rarely mentions this question or how it disproportionately affects minorities. More than 60 percent of the United States’ prisoners are black or Hispanic, though these groups comprise less than 30 percent of the population. See "A Country of Inmates" at this link http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/21/us/21iht-letter21.html?pagewanted=all
This writer commissioned the drawing below to illustrate the return to slavery for over a million African Americans through the prison industrial complex and the negative impact this has on children. (Do not reproduce the drawing without permission from the artist. Please use Streeter's email address on the drawing to contact him for all of your artistic needs.)