Mass Incarceration. The New Jim Crow. The War on Drugs. Thanks to Professor Michelle Alexander these phrases are now intimately linked in the minds of social justice advocates and faith leaders as we begin a critical struggle for fairness, justice and human rights in the criminal courts, police precincts and prisons of America. The Next Movement is convinced that America can do better, and that the majority of Americans would want us to do better, if they knew the truth. The truth about systemic incarceration, structural second class status, completely uneven law enforcement practices, oppressive and selectively enforced laws that is filling the prisons of America.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

America Needs to Stop Building Prisons!

Leading the world in incarcerating its own citizens, America has over 2.4 million people housed in its prisons, detention centers and jails . . . more than China, more than Russia . . on both the gross figure and in terms prisoners per 100,000 citizens (we're at 743 per 100 thousand).

While The Next Movement fights to end this outrageous ethical, moral and humanitarian crisis, one of the battles we need to stay on top of is prison construction.

In Champaign-Urbana Citizens for Peace and Justice are working to stop Champaign County from spending $20 million to extend their county jail. With our state and local governments in dire need of funding for life sustaining services, they argue the money could be better spent! If you agree, please sign their petition by clicking here.

The fight to end mass incarceration is inextricably linked to fights to end prison construction, both private and public. The chart below shows the incredible growth in prison populations following Richard Nixon's declaration of the "War on Drugs," and subsequent irrational legislation like "3 Strikes You're Out" laws and the crack cocaine versus powder cocaine sentencing discrepancies.

For additional information on current incarceration trends in America, click here to view the latest report from The Sentencing Project.

A luta continua (the struggle continues),

Daryle Brown

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