THE ISSUES

The nature of the criminal justice system has changed. It is no longer primarily concerned with the prevention and punishment of crime, but rather with the management and control of the dispossessed.” Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow

 

General Statistics

  • The United States is the world leader in mass incarceration with over 2.2 million people in prison, a 500% increase over the past 40 years. THE SENTENCING PROJECT FACT SHEET, 2015

  • The U.S prison system has over $74 billion dollars in annual expenses. HARVARD POLITICAL REVIEW, TOM SILVER, 2013

  • There are 10 times more mentally ill people behind bars than in state hospitals. THE WASHINGTON POST, ANA SWANSON, 2015

  • Of the 600,000 people being released from prisons each year, close to 70% are rearrested within three years of their release. CONCORDANCE INSTITUTE FOR ADVANCING SOCIAL JUSTICE IMPACT OF INCARCERATION (KET POINT) NATIONAL AND MISSOURI STATISTICS FACT SHEET, 2015

Youth and Mass Incarceration

  • The US incarcerates juveniles at a much higher rate than other nations. VOX, ANNA AIZER, JOSEPH DOYLE, 2013

  • The US is the only country that places its youth in solitary confinement, 2,500 youth are sentenced to life annually. THE GUARDIAN, JEAN CASELLA AND JAMES RIDGEWAY, 2012; THE SENTENCING PROJECT, JUVENILE LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE: AN OVERVIEW, JAMES ROVNER 2016

  • 1 in 3 African American youth will be in prison in their lifetime. THE HUFFINGTON POST, SAKI KNAFO, 2013

  • 2.7 million children (minors under 18) in the United States have an incarcerated parent. PEW RESEARCH CENTER, KATIE REILLY, 2013

  • Daily, there are over 70,000 juveniles in custody in the US with an average cost of $88,000 per juvenile per year. EDUCATION WEEK, ALYSSA MORONES, 2014

Women and Mass Incarceration

  • There are over 1 million women under correction control in the U.S. VALENTINA ZARYA, 2015

  • 84% of women are incarcerated for employing survival strategies. VAWNET: THE NATIONAL ONLINE RESOURCE CENTER OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN, MELISSA E. DICHTER, 2015

  • Many of female prisoners in California report forms of “battery & abuse.” MIAMI HERALD, BARTERED SEX, CORRUPTION AND COVER-UP BEHIND BARS IN NATION'S LARGEST WOMEN'S PRISON, JULIE K. BROWN, 2015; IPS NORTH AMERICA, FOR MANY WOMEN A PRISON SENTENCE ALSO MEANS ABUSE, AMANDA WILSON, 2011

  • Black women represent 30% of all incarcerated women in the U.S, although they represent 13% of the female population overall ; Hispanic women represent 16% of incarcerated women, although they make up only 11% of all women in the U.S. ACLU: FACTS ABOUT THE OVER-INCARCERATION OF WOMEN IN THE UNITED STATES, 2016

Racial Inequalities and Mass Incarceration

  • Sentencing policies, implicit racial bias, and socioeconomic inequity contribute to racial disparities at every level of the criminal justice system. BLACK LIVES MATTER: ELIMINATING RACIAL INEQUITY IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM, NAZGOL GHANDNOOSH, PH.D., 2015

  • Today, people of color make up 37% of the U.S. population but 67% of the prison population. CRIMINAL JUSTICE FACTS, 2016

  • Overall, African Americans are more likely than white Americans to be arrested; once arrested, they are more likely to be convicted; and once convicted, they are more likely to face stiff sentences. THE SENTENCING PROJECT FACT: REPORT OF SENTENCING PROJECT TO THE UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE, 2013

  • Black men are six times as likely to be incarcerated as white men and Hispanic men are more than twice as likely to be incarcerated as non-Hispanic white men. THE SENTENCING PROJECT: CRIMINAL JUSTICE FACTS, 2016

 

There are plethora of resources documenting every aspect of the extent of the greatest injustice of our time.

We recommend following Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow), and Bryan Stevenson, the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative. Other recommended resources include The Marshall Project, The Sentencing Project, and the Innocence Project.