Prison Reform Advocates Call Mass Incarceration an ‘Epidemic’

The Daily Signal | 10/9/2019 | Staff
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African Americans still have a long way to go when it comes to fairer treatment by the criminal justice system, a New York congressman said at a recent gathering of black lawmakers.

“The mass incarceration epidemic is something that has been with us now for almost 50 years,” Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., said during a panel discussion on criminal justice reform during the Congressional Black Caucus’ 48th annual legislative conference.

President - Richard - Nixon - Drug - Enemy

“In 1971, when [President] Richard Nixon declared drug abuse public enemy No. 1 … that’s what began the war on drugs,” Jeffries said.

Jeffries called it a failed “war on drugs,” and said that at its start, fewer than 350,000 people were incarcerated in America. Now, he said, 2.2 million are incarcerated, many of them black or Latino.

New - York - Lawmaker - America - Curve

The New York lawmaker said America is far behind the curve in its criminal justice system compared to other countries.

“The mass incarceration epidemic is a stain on our society,” Jeffries said. “Shameful that the United States incarcerates more people per capita than any other country in the world, including nations like China and Russia combined. And so this is clearly something that needs to be addressed with the fierce urgency of now.”

Jeffries - Numbers - China - Russia

It wasn’t clear where Jeffries got his numbers on China and Russia, or why he thought them reliable.

The Congressional Black Caucus, which counts 55 members in the House and Senate, held its annual meeting Sept. 11 to 15 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. The discussion of prison reform took place Sept. 13.

Michael - Eric - Dyson - Georgetown - University

Michael Eric Dyson, a Georgetown University sociology professor, said reforming America’s schools is a first step in addressing the larger problem.

Dyson, a contributor to liberal outlets such as The New York Times, The New Republic, and MSNBC, said schools targeted some children with...
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