the united states department of justice (doj) reports 2.2 million people are currently in our nation's jails and prisons. 4.5 million people are on parole or probation. one of every 35 u.s. adults is in jail, prison, parole or probation.
most people behind bars are black or poor. here are 40 reasons why...
1) crime rates have risen and fallen independently of our growing incarceration rates.
2) black and poor people are targeted by the police, who discriminate against both.
3) police traffic stops racially target people in cars.
4) black and latino motorists are likelier to get tickets than white drivers.
5) once stopped, black and latino drivers are likelier to get searched than white drivers.
6) traffic tickets are big business.
7) unpaid traffic tickets lead to jail time.
8) in schools, black kids are likelier to be referred to the police than other kids.
9) black kids account for 28% of total juvenile arrests.
10) despite using at the same rate, blacks are 3.7 times likelier to be arrested for possession of marijuana than whites.
11) the u.s. has much tougher drug laws and significantly longer sentences for drug offenses than most other countries.
12) the bail system penalizes poor people, who remain in jail, presumed to be innocent, awaiting trial, unable to pay to get out of jail.
13) the prison industrial system provides jobs to local, state and federal officials.
14) about 75% of people in jail are for non-violent offenses.
15) criminal bonds take in about $14 billion annually.
16) the rate of mental illness is four to six times higher inside jails than outside.
17) most of the people who need drug treatment in jail don't get it.
18) people who are chemically dependent, mentally ill and/or poor usually remain locked up until their trial dates.
19) poor people normally rely on public defenders, and many facing misdemeanor charges never see a lawyer at all.
20) public defenders are overworked and underfunded when they represent poor people with felony charges.
21) poor people plead guilty not knowing their legal rights.
22) guilty pleas are often coerced by police, leading to wrongful convictions.
23) over 95% of criminal cases are finished by plea bargains.
24) poor people are four times likelier to receive a prison sentence than those who got out on bail.
25) 75% of people imprisoned for drug offenses are black and latino.
26) in new york city, blacks are jailed about 12 times the rate of whites.
27) black males are imprisoned five times the rate of white males.
28) prisons are a lucrative private business.
29) blacks account for almost half of the people serving life sentences.
30) some telephone calls are as high as $12.95 for 15 minutes.
31) 3.9 million people are on probation.
32) 850,000 people are on parole.
33) as many as 100 million people have a criminal record, and over 94 million of those records are online.
34) arrest records and court records are easily accessible online, and 87% of employers conduct background checks.
35) employers are likelier to check the criminal history of black male applicants than white male applicants.
36) 180,000 women are subject to lifetime bans from temporary assistance to needy families because of felony drug convictions.
37) more than 60% of formerly incarcerated people are unemployed one year after being released.
38) the u.s. spends $80 billion on the corrections system annually.
39) jail creates poverty.
40) a criminal record serves as both a direct cause and consequence for poverty.
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. firstname.lastname@example.org.