A Generation Behind Bars

The Philadelphia Tribune has an important, must-read series of articles this week, gathered into a report, Life Behind Bars.

A population behind bars: According to the Philadelphia Prison System's current figures, 70 percent of the incarcerated population is Black - and growing. ....Today, Black women are seven times more likely to be imprisoned than white women.

Black youth are also being incarcerated in greater numbers.

For every 100,000 Black juveniles living in the United States, more than 750 are in custody in a juvenile facility.

Some more:

Reports of apathetic correction officers also continue to surface from the nation's prisons. These reports have included allegations of sexual abuse against female inmates and drug dealing at the Philadelphia Prison System's Riverside Correctional Facility.

What's worse, according to the Pennsylvania Prison Society, 90 percent of incarcerated men and women are expected to return to their communities after exposure to infectious diseases such as AIDS/HIV, hepatitis C, tuberculosis and other bacterial infections. "While HIV/AIDS is prevalent, I think the spread of hepatitis C is even more so," said Catherine Wise, director of communications for the Pennsylvania Prison Society.

America, wake up. It's time to end our reliance on prisons. It's just a bandaid. Most prisoners get out. When they do, we all need to be prepared to help them.

More importantly there's much more that can be done to prepare ex-offenders to re-enter society and not re-enter prison.

"Public education needs to be increased," Wise said. "People have to be more willing to help ex-offenders re-enter society. If we were able to spend less on corrections and more on social services, that would be ideal. We're not nearly giving enough funding for rehabilitation in prisons and I'm talking about up to date rehabilitation, up to date job training. Prison is a band-aid for deeper social issues. Another way to look at it is like this: prisons are the answer to the problems but the reality is that they're the beginning of the social problems. Prison is a quick superficial fix. It's a quick cure for our other social problems."

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  • Re: A Generation Behind Bars (none / 0) (#1)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Fri Sep 29, 2006 at 02:23:03 PM EST
    And that's Ameriki folks. Kind of makes you wonder what Bush's secret prisons might be like. For all the talk about placing restrictions on sex offenders in society, I think it would be far more prudent to be worrying about these dudes. Strikes me that on release they might have the tiniest chip on their shoulders and perhaps just a little anti-social.

    Re: A Generation Behind Bars (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Fri Sep 29, 2006 at 08:48:12 PM EST
    Depends upon the color of your skin...if you think nothing is wrong with this picture.

    Re: A Generation Behind Bars (none / 0) (#4)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Fri Sep 29, 2006 at 08:48:12 PM EST
    In a society that whites think they are the majority in, anyone being non-white is seen as less than or to be feared. Reality, the white society is so full of fear that it doesn't acknowledge, it only can use prisons, hateful language or oppression to rule/control others. The strongest people in society would never treat others this way, they would acknowledge their humanest, their inherent qualities and work to develop and honor these while allowing them to heal their wounds suffered by white oppression. Do Republicans honor this? No, they fear losing control so they oppress more. The white culture must understand and make amends for the oppression it has inflicted on others, assist and allow them to heal (show anger and rage while not labeling it criminal or threatening) and let the culture grow and develop. I pray that God will allow this in time to see how strong a culture the USA can become.

    Re: A Generation Behind Bars (none / 0) (#5)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Oct 05, 2006 at 08:42:31 PM EST
    imagine how the poor white people feel in prison...