STOP MASS INCARCERATION
One of the major issues that Acclivus members and partners will continue to organize students and community members for is an end to mass incarceration. As a result of reckless and racist implementation of policy, unjust and unbalance prosecution and shameful sentencing Black males have become stigmatized as being criminal and violent. What is even worse is elected officials have ignored this issue. Even Black elected officials have ignored this issue and bought in to “being tough on crime” policies.
In his book, Imprisoning Communities: How Mass Incarceration Makes Disadvantaged Neighborhoods Worse, Professor Todd Clear of John Jay College makes four central points:
The extraordinary growth in the U.S. prison system, sustained for over 30 years, has had at best, a small impact on crime.
The growth in imprisonment has been concentrated among poor, minority males who live in impoverished neighborhoods.
Concentrated incarceration in those impoverished communities has broken families, weakened the social-control capacity of parents, eroded economic strength, soured attitudes toward society, and distorted politics; even, after reaching a certain level, it has increased rather than decreased crime.
Any attempts to overcome the problems of crime will have to encourage a combination of sentencing reforms and philosophical realignment.
Dr. Michelle Alexander of Ohio State University refers to the disproportionate and unjust criminal justice policy of mass incarceration of Black men and women as The New Jim Crow. Her characterization is based on the similarities of how it is legal to discriminate against ex-prisoners just as it was legal to discriminate against Black people with Jim Crow laws.