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Incarceration Nation + Justice for Some

Program #STEB001-ALEM001.

2 CDs

First program: Bryan Stevenson - Justice for Some

In her bestselling book, The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander says, the huge number of people behind bars in the U.S. is “due largely to the war on drugs which has been waged almost exclusively in poor communities of color even though studies have consistently shown for decades that contrary to popular belief, people of color are no more likely to use or sell illegal drugs than whites, but by waging this drug war almost exclusively in poor communities of color, we’ve now created a vast new racial under-caste.” There are more African-Americans in prison or “under watch” of the criminal justice system than were enslaved in the U.S. in 1850. Is justice impartial or a commodity for sale to the highest bidder? If you got money you can get the best lawyers and work the system. Indigent African-Americans have no such options.

Second program: Michelle Alexander - Incarceration Nation

From the auction block to the cell block there is a trajectory from slavery to Jim Crow to the Drug War. The latter has resulted in mass jailings characterized by deep racial disparities. About one-third of young black men are likely to go to jail. The criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control. Millions of people, primarily poor people of color, have been swept into the nation’s prisons and then relegated to a permanent second-class status in which they are stripped of the basic civil and human rights supposedly won in the civil rights movement. The numbers are numbing. In all, 2.3 million are behind bars and another 4.8 million are on probation and parole. The more people locked up, the more profits for the Corrections Corporation of America, the largest private prison owner and operator. 

Speaker(s):

Michelle Alexander

Michelle Alexander is a professor of law at Ohio State University and holds a joint appointment at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity. Formerly the director of the ACLU’s Racial Justice Project in Northern California, she served as a law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun. She is the author of the bestseller The New Jim Crow.

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