The Prison State of America by Chris Hedges

prison bars

Chris Hedges is an author and social activist I read quite often.  I have a few books on my knowledge shelf penned by this cat.  In this article, he again explains the ‘slavery’ system inside federal and state prisons.

Chris Hedges:  “Prisons are not, finally, about race, although poor people of color suffer the most. They are not even about being poor. They are prototypes for the future. They are emblematic of the disempowerment and exploitation that corporations seek to inflict on all workers. If corporate power continues….if it is not impeded by mass protests and revolt, life outside prison will soon resemble life in prison”. Read Full Article: The Prison State of America

Recommended Reading

Derrick Bell: Faces at the Bottom of the Well 

Douglas A. Blackmon: Slavery by Another Name

Michelle Alexander: The New Jim Crow-Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

Why Is the N.Y.P.D. After Me?

By Nicholas K. Peart

Published: December 17, 2011
WHEN I was 14, my mother told me not to panic if a police officer stopped me. And she cautioned me to carry ID and never run away from the police or I could be shot. In the nine years since my mother gave me this advice, I have had numerous occasions to consider her wisdom.

One evening in August of 2006, I was celebrating my 18th birthday with my cousin and a friend. We were staying at my sister’s house on 96th Street and Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan and decided to walk to a nearby place and get some burgers. It was closed so we sat on benches in the median strip that runs down the middle of Broadway. We were talking, watching the night go by, enjoying the evening when suddenly, and out of nowhere, squad cars surrounded us. A policeman yelled from the window, “Get on the ground!”

Read Complete Story: Here

Post-Racial? Americans and Race in the Age of Obama

DANIEL BYRD, Ph.D and BRUCE MIRKEN I The Greenlining Institute

Rightly or wrongly, the existence of such a strong media narrative may contribute to perceptions that the government treats blacks better than it treats whites. On the other hand, there are also areas in which federal laws and policies appear to greatly disadvantage blacks and other communities of color.

Disparities are particularly evident in the criminal justice system. Of the 62 people currently awaiting federal execution, 50% are black, while blacks make up only 12% of the U.S. population (Death Penalty Information Center, 2011). Between 1995 and 2000, U.S. Attorneys were two times more likely to recommend the death penalty in cases that involved a black defendant and a white victim than they were in cases that involved a black defendant and a black victim (Death Penalty Information Center, 2011).

Racial disparities also abound in the “war on drugs.” For example, while federal survey  data indicate roughly similar drug use rates among whites, Latinos, and African Americans (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2011), arrest rates differ sharply. According to the most recent federal report, 30.2 % of Drug Enforcement Administration arrestees were black and 44.5 % were Latino (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2010). Among cocaine arrests, arrestees for crack cocaine are disproportionately black, while most powder cocaine arrestees are white. Federal prison terms for crack are 18 times more severe than for powder cocaine – a disparity that had been 100-fold until a reform measure was passed in 2010 (Abrams, 2010).

Read Complete Data: Here

Michelle Alexander: How the War on Drugs gave birth to a permanent American undercaste.

Michelle Alexander’s book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness is one of the best read on mass incarceration I’ve read.  The book discusses the evolution and present state between people of color (i.e., Blacks, Latinos) and the prison industrial complex.  She documents Ronald Reagan’ 1982 defective call for a “War on Drugs” and how the prison movement evolved from it.

She also discusses how the collapse of urban industrial job opportunities, poor public education systems, and crack cocaine ignited the get ‘tough on crime’ campaign that exist today.  Thus crime was evil and the drug known as ‘Crack’ was the archenemy of the republic.  The author points how the circular negative images of color faces (i.e., Blacks Latinos) on nightly television help middle-class Whites and others join with careless politicians to support paramilitary forces against urban residents and their crime-ridden communities.  The crime intervention program was directed at low-level non-violent drug offenders in color neighborhoods across America.

Blacks and Latinos as the author points out became the target of federal, state, and local law enforcement organizations although Whites sold and used more drugs than both groups combine.  The author suggested the thirty-five year drug war on non-violent Black/Brown drug offenders has created a permanent undercaste, (i.e., ex-felons).  Consequently by being labelled an ex-felons discrimination in housing, employment, education, and health care is perfectly legal.

Although Whites use and sell more drugs, the New Jim Crow system ushered upon color families and communities massive amounts of arrest and incarceration.  These families laced with high unemployment, no job training programs, and poor public education became perfect targets for the new undercaste system suggested by the author.  Felons are never released from the criminal justice system as their brand follows them across the lifespan.  I hope you read the book and reflect how untold numbers of Black/Brown families and communities have become the New Jim Crow system.


The Invisible Dragon

Study Finds Metal Detectors More Common in High-Minority Schools

By Sarah D. Parks Minority students in a high-poverty neighborhood are more likely to pass through a metal detector on the way to class than their better-off and white peers are, even if the schools are equally safe, according to new research.

“It’s not that the more violent schools get metal detectors, or even the urban schools get metal detectors—though that’s true,” said co-author Aaron Kupchik, an associate professor in sociology and criminal justice at the University of Delaware. “It’s that schools with more students of color are more likely to get metal detectors, at every level, even elementary levels.”

Read Complete Story: Here