America’s criminal justice system has, in many ways, become a substitute for the US’s largely gutted mental health system. You may have heard something like that before, but never has it been clearer than in this map from MetricMaps: The map essentially tells two stories: the rise of mass incarceration and the collapse of America’s public mental health system. From the 1970s through …
Mass Incarceration USA: Ending It, and What Started It
With 2.4 million people in its prisons, jails and detention centers—and an additional 5 million people under state or federal supervision through probation or parole—the United States leads the world in incarceration.
The United States accounts for only 5 percent of the world’s population, but nearly 22 percent of the world’s prison population, says Amnesty International. The nation’s prison population has grown 500 percent in the past 30 years, says The Sentencing Project.
Our guest, Carl Dix, a national spokesperson for the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, has been working to stop mass incarceration since the mid-1990s, and in 2011 played a key role in starting the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. He discusses the nationwide human-rights campaign to end mass incarceration—which, he says, has had devastating impact on communities of color and the poor.
Michelle Alexander, associate professor of law at Ohio State University and author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, discusses in a presentation at the University of Tennessee the policies that produced mass incarceration.
Three prisoners—Melvin Ray, James Pleasant and Robert Earl Council—who led work stoppages in Alabama prisons in January 2014 as part of the Free Alabama Movementhave spent the last 18 months in solitary confinement. Authorities, unnerved by the protests that engulfed three prisons in the state, as well as by videos and pictures of abusive conditions smuggled out by the movement, say …