Mass Incarceration In America

Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle ClassI am in the midst of reading Dog Whistle Politics.  I usually don’t write about a book until I’ve finished it.  I’m making an exception because the statistics I’m going to state are so disturbing.  If you want to know more I suggest The New Jim Crow, a must read, in addition to Dog Whistle Politics.  What I quote is from pages 50 – 53 of Dog Whistle Politics.

  • In 1970, about 200,000 people were serving at least one year behind bars, or one out of every 1,000 Americans.
  • In 2014. about 2,319,258 people were being bars.  This is more than one out of every 100 Americans.
  • America’s incarceration rate in the highest in the world and exceeds the highest rate in the European democracies by 500 percent.
  • The United States has 5 percent of the world’s populations but holds 25 percent of the world’s prisoners.
  • This system of excessive incarceration is closely tied to race.  In 2008, among white men aged 18 years or older, 1 in 106 were behind bars.  The comparable number for Latino men was 1 in 36; for black men, it was 1 in 15.  For black men between the ages of 20 and 34, a sickening 1 in 9 were locked up in 2008.
  • As of 2008, more African-American men were imprisoned, on parole or probation than were enslaved in 1850.
  • Poor youth of color . . . are less likely to commit crimes than poor white youth
  • Young men of color are far, far more likely to be swept into the maw of the American crime control system, even when taking into account youth and poverty.
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