Black Gold: Prison Industrial Complex
At midyear there were 4,777 Black male inmates per 100,000 Black males held in state and federal prisons and local jails, compared to 727 white male inmates per 100,000 white males
I am calling out so called Black leaders for being silent on the 3 federal judge order to release 44,000 inmates from California's overcrowded prisons.
A web search of California Clemency Boards will show that I have been preparing for a prison release order since 2000. And though this has come "Black leaders" are silent when the California governor and a State senator are vowing to fight the
When I hear the term “Black leaders” usually I am watching or reading the news describe how the NAACP, the Rev. Al Sharpton or Rev. Jesse Jackson has come to voice their opinion on some injustice dealing with Black people.
This past week a 3 federal judge panel has ordered the State of California to release up to 44,000 prisoners in our overcrowded prisons over the next two years and they must also come up with a plan to release these prisoners in “45 days.”
I have not heard one word from the so called Black leaders. This is especially disturbing when there are others like Governor Schwarzenegger who was quick to say “We will appeal” and California State Senator, John Benoit who was quoted by a KESQ reporter in Palm Desert as saying “…We should not lie down and take a federal court decision."
Where are the Black leaders when State leaders balk at a 3 federal Judge panel’s order to release many Blacks in an overcrowded prison system? Never mind the fact that many of these prisoners don’t belong in prison anyway.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics 2008 “At midyear 2008, there were 4,777 black male inmates per 100,000 black males held in state and federal prisons and local jails, compared to 1,760 Hispanic male inmates per 100,000 Hispanic males and 727 white male inmates per 100,000 white males.”
Blackvoicenews.com has reported, “The soaring use of imprisonment in California has not been borne equally. Human Rights Watch has shown that African-Americans in the state are incarcerated at nearly 6 times (2,475 per 100,000 versus 421 per 100,000) the rate of whites. Hispanics are incarcerated at 4 times the rate of whites.”
California can comply with the 3 judge order to come up with a plan in 45 days to release as many as 44,000 of the most suitable prisoners in 2 years without risking the public's safety.
By creating a five person panel of current elected officials in every one of the State's 58 counties the responsibility to receive these released individuals breaks down to 379 prisoners on average per year, per county.
Now if counties receive $8,000.00 per released individual that comes to a little over $3,000,000 for rehabilitation for each county (again average. With the added incentive of granting a full pardon to those who complete rehab and stay out of the system for 3,4 or 5 years depending on their current prison record) many ex-cons would jump at the opportunity to have a clean record.
This is easier than the current convoluted way to determine who should be released. Why? Because the easier you make the process the better chance the ex-con could follow it.
Jones is a prison reform activist who lives in San Francisco.
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