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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Injustice of US Justice

The Injustice of US Justice

By Laura Finley
January 19, 2014

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. saw the injustices in American
society and sought to correct them.

He succeeded in many ways as laws were changed to eradicate
overt segregation, but other problems proved more intractable
as witnessed in the criminal justice system.

Many commentators have referred to the U.S. as a throwaway

Typically, they are referring to our excessive consumption of
disposable products.

We are a society in which the average family throws out a quarter
of its food, and each individual generates around 4.5 pounds of
trash every day, all year long.

As bad and unsustainable as this is, even more bothersome is
our penchant for throwing away people.

One in three black men in America will go to prison during his

This means families left fatherless.

It means that when they are released, these men will likely
not be able to vote, hold office, serve on a jury, or obtain
many professional licenses.

Consequently, job opportunities are severely limited and the
chance for re-offending is maximized.

Although not nearly as staggering, one in six Latino men will
also end up in the wasteland that is an American prison.

Critics might contend that these statistics reflect higher crime
rates, but the primary thing they reflect is a system in which
Blacks, and Latinos, are more likely to be stopped, searched,
arrested, tried, and convicted, than their white counterparts.

Indeed, a new study conducted by researchers from the University
of South Carolina found that nearly half of all black men in the U.S
had been arrested at least once before the age of 23, and about 30
percent had one arrest before their 18th birthday.

Sadly, studies have shown that while we are throwing these young
men into the abyss of the corrections system, prison is actually the
safest place to be a black man in America.

A study conducted in North Carolina in 2011 found that black men
were half as likely to die in prison than they were out in society.

This isn’t the first time that researchers have found lower death
rates among incarcerated marginalized groups, who often receive
healthcare and square meals routinely for the first time in their
lives when they are inside the big house.

Mahatma Gandhi once commented that you can measure the
greatness of a nation by the way it treats its most vulnerable

Given the statistics presented above, we are, so far, an epic fail.

Laura Finley, Ph.D., teaches in the Barry University Department
of Sociology & Criminology and is syndicated by Peace Voice.

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