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America's Prisons Hold More Than 1.5 Million

Final Call, News Report, Nisa Islam Muhammad Posted: Dec 18, 2007

WASHINGTON - Unlocking America: The Why and How to Reduce Americas Prison Population, a report by the JFA Institute, found increased incarcerations did little to reduce crime.

"In the United States, every year since 1970, when only 196,429 persons were in state and federal prisons, the prison population has grown. Today there are over 1.5 million in state and federal prisons. Another 750,000 are in the nations jails, said the report.

The growth has been constantin years of rising crime and falling crime, in good economic times and bad, during wartime and while we were at peace. A generation of growth has produced prison populations that are now eight times what they were in 1970, it continued.

While prisons are overcrowded, crime rates are steady in many cities, but rising in others. Authors of the report, proposed shorter prison terms, and changes to laws that govern probation and parole violations to reduce numbers behind bars.

Another report highlight: If Black and Latinos were incarcerated at the same rate as Whites, there would be 50 percent fewer people incarcerated. Approximately 60 percent of those incarcerated are Black or Latino, the study said Nov. 19

The demonization of criminals has become a special burden for young Black males, of whom nearly one-third will spend time in prison during their life, the report said.

The fear of Black men and other factors fuel the racially disproportionate imprisonment and convinces many Americans that Black males are an especially dangerous class of people, different from the rest of us ...

Today approximately 60 percent of those incarcerated today are Black or Hispanic. In effect, the imprisonment binge created our own American apartheid, according to the report.

Abdullah Muhammad, of the Nation of Islams National Prison Ministry, offered a simple solution. Give the Nation of Islam three years unhindered to teach the life-giving teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad in the countrys prisons. We have a complete program to have our people totally freed to build a reality for ourselves, he said.

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