According to a recent report released by the Justice Department, the number of incarcerated Americans reached an all-time record last year. Local, state and federal officials jailed an additional 62,000 people as of June 2006 sending the prison population to 2.24 million people.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics’ (BJS) annual report says the 2.8 percent increase in incarcerations was the largest increase in six years. Black men continue to be imprisoned at record pace. Blacks and Hispanics are the primary people being jailed. Currently, Black men, who are roughly 6 and a-half percent of the nation’s total population, represented 37 percent of those behind bars. African American males have an incarceration rate of 4.8 percent compared to 1.9 percent for Hispanics and 0.7 percent for whites. Amazingly, 11 percent of all Black males between 25 and 34 are in prison.

The primary culprits are the so-called war on drugs and tougher (some critics argue extreme) sentencing laws. The U.S. has more of its citizens in prison than any other nation in the world. Communist-led China, for example, has a population nearly four times larger than that of the U.S. but has fewer people in prison. Some critics, such as the Drug War Chronicle – from Drug War Chronicle, Issue #492, 6/29/07 – are now blaming a “prison-industrial complex” which benefits and profits from the growing incarcerations.

source: Taylor Media Services

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  • CVS

    I love this discussion. I agree with everyone but I hope everyone that the problem is dynamic with several issues involved. I think the main problem is that racism is institutionalized and we dont look to our neighbors anymore as a community. People have been convinced it’s every man for himself which is not true. We’re not a community anymore and people have turned to the government to teach our brothers and sisters a lesson in the form of incarceration. Personally, I’d rather have my neighbor beatin my ass over jail any day! I even wrote more somewhat on the topic here :

  • Kiwi

    I also don’t get why people are placing blame on music. People are responsible for their own behavior. I do feel that the justice system is more harsh towards our brothers. I also feel that there is a lack of positive influences in low-income neighborhoods. We, as a people, have to work much harder to make it and twice as hard for respect which we are still fighting for. With so many of our brothers on lock-down, a void is left in the homes where we women are raising children. Sadly, some of our young brothers look for an image that they can relate to in the streets. There is a definite lack of male-bonding within the Black community. We are subconsciously taught to tear each other down. It’s easier to have a “partner in crime” rather than a partner in business. We have to redefine what it means to be a Black man in our households. In my neighborhood, a brother doesn’t respect another brother unless he has ” a little dirt on him” or more than one woman, or disrespects his kids’ mother, or acts belligerent. Right now, my son’s father is facing incarceration because of poor choices. He isn’t involved with our child and really never has been. I pray often that even though I have a good man now and he has been in my son’s life since he was an infant, that my son won’t grow up and look in the streets for what he wanted his father to give him. It’s a vicious cycle. We have to start telling our young men about the consequences of poor choices and the partiality of the “justice system” so they can know. We have to teach them that it’s okay to be smart, talented, and family-oriented. We need to talk more about anger-management not just for our young brothers but, for ALL young people. I’m a young woman and I know it would have benefited me if I were taught in school how to DEAL with my emotions. You are taught about sex in school, computer software programs, home economics, and how to drive but, you’re not taught how to deal with your emotions and the teenage years are the critical years in which this instruction would be most beneficial. There has to be a system in place to teach the children about certain consequences. We teach them to put on condoms but we don’t teach them how to have healthy relationships. We don’t teach them to invest in THEMSELVES let alone things like cultivating their talent or building a strong family unit or utilizing their potential. Everything is about getting money and the pursuit of pleasure. That’s why the divorce rate is so high. No one is built to endure the ups and downs of relationships anymore because a spouse is not needed to contribute money for the family’s survival like in the old days when our grandparents were young. Our young people have too much idle time because they don’t know what to do with themselves. No one is talking to them and no one wants to because people are intimidated by their mood swings. No one is instilling morals or bringing it back to church or even airing out a little dirty laundry about themselves so that the young people can feel like they can relate to the older people. My dad wasn’t around and my mother was too caught up in her own life to pay attention to me so I had to learn everything the hard way. Luckily, my grandparents got me into the Bible and church so I always knew where to turn when I made poor choices. A lot of parents get so caught up in working and their own lives even though their intentions are about doing what they have to do for family economically that they don’t pay enough attention to the children. We need to get more involved in our young brothers lives. Influence starts in the home. We have to be more than disciplinarians. We have to learn to relate to our young people and get them reading about our ancestors. Reading slave anthologies changed my life and if our ancestors knew how our young men are throwing away their freedom, they would be ashamed. To think of how families were split up back in slavery and how reading was off-limits to us and look at what we are doing to ourselves. It’s like we’ve lower our standards as individuals. I’m not saying that some of our brothers aren’t innocent but, I know several brothers in jail. Most of them got there because they wanted fast money and didn’t want to get it honestly. They didn’t want to work for it. Yes, I think that our young people get caught up by the images seen on television. That’s why it’s up to the older adults to tell them how it REALLY is in the real world. We need to do more talking and show them the dark side of poor choices before they become the statistics of them.

    • Right

      Sounds like you are continuing the ignorance. Why would you have a baby with this CLOWN. YOU are the cause of your own PROBLEM!