More Black Men in Prison Today Than Enslaved in 1850, Author and Professor Says

Torrance Stephens, RollingOut, July 7, 2011

Thus far, in the New World, African Americans have been able to survive the voyage during the Middle Passage, slavery, lynchings, Jim Crow and second-class citizenship in America. {snip}

Historically, the criminal justice system has targeted African American males in a manner that defeats mathematical logic. Now, data suggest the unthinkable–that there may be more African American males incarcerated currently than there were in the bondages of slavery. A U.S. Bureau of Justice Department report estimates that, as of 2008, there were more than 846,000 black men in prison. This figure accounted for more than 40 percent of all inmates in correctional facilities.

In a recent interview, Michelle Alexander gave additional detail to these figures to suggest that there are “more African American men are in prison or jail, on probation or parole than were enslaved in 1850 before the Civil War began.” {snip}

{snip} In summary, she postulates that incarceration is the newest form of economic and social disenfranchisement for young African American men.

Topics:

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • Anonymous

    Young black men view going to jail as a badge of honor. They get “street cred” and are admired for it. Just look at everything in the black culture from music to fashion, it all glorifies crime.

  • Tim in Indiana

    Slaves were held by chains. What the leftists would have us believe is that the “psychic chains” that keep black males in a cycle of poverty, crime and violence are just as sturdy as the iron chains of yore. Yet today’s “chains” are purely imaginary! They exist only in the mind.

    the criminal justice system has targeted African American males in a manner that defeats mathematical logic

    Quite the contrary! The “criminal justice system” couldn’t “target” black criminals if the target didn’t exist in the first place.

    I guess the writer is positing a vast conspiracy theory in which innocent blacks are jailed en masse for no reason.

    And they say the right is obsessed with conspiracy theories.

  • Jeddermann.

    “she postulates”

    I can postulate too. These folks are in prison because they did something wrong. And according to an enforcer for the Black Gangster Disciples that I knew, you only get to go to prison nowadays for doing SOMETHING VERY SERIOUSLY WRONG. I know in certain circles this is so very hard to understand.

    Also, a pretty good percentage of those slaves in 1850 were useful in some manner, knew a trade, etc. NOT NOW for those prisoners. NO trade or usefulness to society. Rather as a parasite merely a huge drain on society. A “millstone” around the neck as they say.

  • Question Diversity

    Mr. Stephens and Miss Alexander should crack a math book every once in awhile, pay special attention to percentages.

    The percent of black men that were in bondage in 1850 in the United States relative to the total population of black men was way closer to 100% than the number of black men in prison today divided by the total number of black men in the total population.

    In summary, she postulates that incarceration is the newest form of economic and social disenfranchisement for young African American men.

    Sure, because states and the Federal government and a few larger city governments fund expensive prison systems just because they have a sadistic urge to disenfranchise blacks.

  • sbuffalonative

    In summary, she postulates that incarceration is the newest form of economic and social disenfranchisement for young African American men.

    What else could it be? The consequences of their own decisions and actions ?

  • Anonymous

    That many in prison? Thank God. Build more prisons.

  • Anonymous

    Black Men are arrested and then locked up? What about all of those Black Flash Mobs beating whites and then getting away with it?

  • Greg Deane

    In Australia, aborigines are similarly discriminated against. They break the law and are set to prison. Though they are only less than 2% of the population they are 22% of the population. It seems they are incarcerated at higher rates than American blacks, who are 13% of the general population but just 40% of the prison population, just three times over-represented, while the aborigines are 11 times over-represented.

    But I maintain, as would many clear thinking people, that such discrepancies are due to egregious behaviour by these groups, and disregard for law and order, the respect of other persons, and contempt for property rights. Even though many allowances are made for aborigines and blacks by law courts and police systems, and they are not given custodial sentences for many crimes that would not be forgiven in whites, they are still incarcerated at very high rates.

    These people have benefited through whites in respect of housing, medical care, the protection provided by law and order, regular supply of food and clean water and many other boons from western technology. Yet they show no gratitude or humility, and are unashamed by their minuscule contribution to the societies that nurture them.

    Instead, they can only break our laws and then cry, “Racism! Discrimination!” when they are punished.

  • Ben

    “In summary, she postulates that incarceration is the newest form of economic and social disenfranchisement for young African American men.”

    The most obvious and “un-racist” thing to do is to release African inmates.

    That should do the trick.

  • Anonymous

    When “black leaders” quote this stat., it is in the context of whites being racist, blacks need more social programs to “change things”

    When whites…like Pat Buchanon quote the same stat., white liberal news casters gasp in horror.

  • John Engelman

    It was wrong to bring them over as slaves. It would be dangerous to let them out of prison.

  • El Cerotito

    Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time!!! Many more blacks than white commit crimes of violence, period end of report. More blacks than Asians commit violent crimes. More blacks than Hispanics commit violent crimes. Black males commit more violent crimes than ANY racial group. It isn’t discrimination, it isn’t racism, it isn’t anything except cold, hard FACT. Blacks are simply more violent than other racial groups. Southerners knew this back in slavery days; they knew that turning blacks loose without strict supervision was suicidal — and here we have it. The proof of the pudding. Disgusting.

  • Anonymous

    Truly a horror for AA males. I expect them to stop committing crimes any moment now. As soon as they read this report.

  • SKIP

    “This figure accounted for more than 40 percent of all inmates in correctional facilities”

    I think this accurately represents the percentile of the black population in America. That fraudulent 10-12% of the U.S. population being black and the equally false figure of only 10-12 million ILLEGAL ALIENS have been used since the early 70s. All one need do is travel the country and pay attention to know the truth of it. DO NOT linger in big “urban” cities, your life is in danger in any of them, most specifically avoid BLACK areas.

  • Old Soldier

    I’d like to know how many serious felonies those 846,000 incarcerated blacks represent, as we all know they got plenty of passes before some sensible judge finally did the right thing.

    And of course we all know that number needs to be much, much higher to make our communities safe. And how man more “graduate” from our schools every year with no education, no skills, no work ethic and no morals.

  • Chicagoan

    If they’re in prison then they basically locked themselves up. They got their civil rights; what they do with that is up to them.

  • Orange Blossom

    Thankfully, they can’t reproduce in prison.

  • Tom

    And surprise surprise, professor Alexandra is…….black! You have to love the Internet – trying to pull the wool over the eyes of an intelligent, reasonable, compassionate race of people gets harder and harder with all that STATISTICAL EVIDENCE around. It’s a shame that so many of the more intelligent blacks, who are in a position to inspire and set an example to their people, instead spend their careers bashing whitey for a living. There must be a percentage of black people who are ashamed and horrified by the violent, parasitic nature of a substantial percentage the black population in the united states.

  • Anonymous

    Never fear. The number of incarcerated blacks will decrease substantially once Obama gives presidential pardons on his way out the door.

  • Anonymous

    In the antebellum period defenders of slavery said it was needed for, among other reasons, to keep an uncivilizable group in check. It was presumed that Africans were not fit citizens for a white republic, and unchaining them would cause social chaos, to the detriment of both blacks and whites.

    When I was first exposed to this information, at university, I responded with the scoffing common to well indoctrinated students. Looking back with experience, and this newly acquired fact, I now vouch for the Southrons.

  • Greg Deane

    In Australia, aborigines are similarly discriminated against. They break the law and are set to prison. Though they are only less than 2% of the population they are 22% of the population. It seems they are incarcerated at higher rates than American blacks, who are 13% of the general population but just 40% of the prison population, just three times over-represented, while the aborigines are 11 times over-represented.

    But I maintain, as would many clear thinking people, that such discrepancies are due to egregious behaviour by these groups, and disregard for law and order, the respect of other persons, and contempt for property rights. Even though many allowances are made for aborigines and American blacks by law courts and police systems, and they are not given custodial sentences for many crimes that would not be forgiven in whites, they are still incarcerated at very high rates.

    These people have benefited through whites in respect of housing, medical care, the protection provided by law and order, regular supply of food and clean water and many other boons from western technology. Yet they show no gratitude or humility, and are unashamed by their minuscule contribution to the societies that nurture them.

    Instead, they can only break our laws and then cry, “Racism! Discrimination!” when they are punished.

  • Anonymous

    12 — Anonymous wrote at 8:31 PM on July 11:

    “Truly a horror for AA males. I expect them to stop committing crimes any moment now. As soon as they read this report.”

    Read? They never learned to read because whatever time they spent in school was taken up with creating disorder and trying to get laid. I saw it every day.

    BTW,

    According to FNC that pharmacist who fatally shot one of two Black “youfs” who held him up at gunpoint has been sentenced to life in Oklahoma. We need to sign the petition to the Gov.

    I’m trying to find a LINK.

  • Pelayo

    This is a link to the Governor Mary Fallin of Oklahoma. A pharmacist who fatally shot one of two armed “youths” who held him up has received a life sentence.

    He needs all the support he can get.

    I’ve already written to her.

    http://www.ok.gov/governor/

  • Anonymous

    They aren’t in prison because of the way they look. They are in prison because the black community has dumped morality because it is ‘acting white’. Let them rot. I would have them in slave labor camps to pay off the cost of housing them.

  • Bob

    Is it just me or does it seem these men crave a master?

    How can 12.5% = 40 to 50% of the prison population if they don’t like being there?

    Or the fact that among their females only 200 out of 1000 has a husband while she keeps producing little ones?

  • Question Diversity

    The two towering intellects who are party to this article are being too clever by half. The 13th Amendment allows for slavery as a crime punishment, as long as due process is followed. To wit: “Community Service.”

  • Anonymous

    For the AJC to report the race of the perp, he must be White:

    The names of those involved have not been released. Authorities would only say the two victims were white women and the perpetrator was a white male.

    http://www.ajc.com/news/cops-kill-suspect-in-1011242.html

  • Bandmo

    The USA dosen’t need more prisons, it needs more cemetaries….25 years on “Death Row”, what’s up with that?

  • ProutobeWhite

    The black youfs that populate our prison systems should be in chain gangs and put to work cleaning up their ghettos, erasing graffiti, picking up trash, and rebuilding our decrepit roads and infrastructure, instead of being warehoused and spending their days lifting weights and carrying on bidness as usual behind bars. Prison should be a harsh deterrent, not just a way to pass the time and earn cred for these miscreants.

  • Shawn (the female)

    My, my, wouldn’t their enslaved ancestors be proud of what their future generations have done with their ‘oh, just to be free!’ lives. Never mind who brought them here, who’s at fault, (which most AmRenners know are their own African ancestors), but focus on those mistreated, enslaved families. (Yes, I know most slave owners treated their slaves well, but let’s give the homies a freebie here just for the sake of argument).

    Wouldn’t those unknown ancestors of a plethora of whiny, demanding, lazy, morally bankrupt, aggressive troublmakers – who now want money for those ancestors’ lives – like to shake these young blacks until their gold teeth rattle, knock ’em around a bit and tell them how ashamed they are for how they’ve squandered their hard-earned freedom??

  • Anonymous

    I have an idea. Let’s give “African”-American offenders affirmative action in sentencing. Because of their race, they automatically receive only half the sentence that the average white offender receives for the same crime.

    This is contigent on three things:

    1) Their victims were fellow blacks only.

    2) They will be released only back into majority black areas and must remain in majority black districts

    3) They only commit new crimes against blacks, not anyone else

  • Anonymous

    She’s right in a way. Both slavery and the prison system are forms of alternative welfare aimed at blacks.

    Think about this. Were American slaves treated harshly? No. All evidence points to the fact that many slave owners considered them part of the family. At least in America. What was the standard of living compared to those left behind and not enslaved…..especially in future generations?

    Slavery was not what it has been made out to be. It was a form of economic enrichment of the black man that took into account his psychopathology. In a way, the civil war was waged because certain whites in our society choose to give to blacks they had shipped over here, rather than hire other whites….even though it was at a loss. Something the southerners should take seriously when thinking about the “war of northern aggression”. Because, today, we have pretty much the same situation with mexicans……and it could very well lead to a second civil war, for the same reasons as the first.

    Today’s prisons are not places of punishment, by any means. Increasingly, they aren’t even places of control. Gangs run the prisons, not the guards. What a prison does is effectively divert millions of dollars in resources per prisoner towards taking care of blacks in a manner that, hopefully, doesn’t result in whole cities burning.

    One way our society could instantly improve dramatically for the better would be to summarily execute every person in prison. That is unthinkable despite all the terrible things they have collectively done. Why? Because those in prison are a protected class. They aren’t in prison to be punished. Or even to be kept from society. They are being taken care of.

    Prison doesn’t exist to protect me from them. It exists to protect them from me. If ever I, and the rest of American men, were to become completely unable or unwilling to hunt down these psychopaths if released into society…..if ever that were to happen, the gates of every prison in the US would be thrown open wide without even a pretext.

  • Frank

    “that defeats mathematical logic.” Logic has nothing to do with this. The facts speak for themselves.

  • Anonymous

    There’s no doubt this would have the positive effect of reducing crime . I recently chided the editor of our liberal local paper for even approaching the subject of how AAs are unfairly awarded capital punishment in my state . I asked him just what was he suggesting , that we seek parity in executions based on race instead of guilt ? Never mind that in his own paper, every time there is an execution the guy is always white . So obviously stats are very malleable and can be contorted to serve the agenda of the person or entity quoting them .

    Which brings me to another beef . The FBI says crime is down . And yet everytime I turn on the TV another young woman has vanished , another cop has been shot , another mass murder has occurred . If you can remember the eighties then you should be able to remember that the FBI was going to start tabulating crime stats in a way that would show a decrease in crime when there had not really been a decrease in crime . It was very controversial at the time . I fully believe that is what may be going on now because I do not believe for one minute crime is really down . FBI you lie .

  • zone

    A slave is free only when as free to fail as succeed.

    Unlike slaves of the 1800’s, black’s in jail now are there due to their own actions and were thus judged in our courts to be unqualified for freedom.

    Perhaps the Free World as we know it is too free for some, as it appears that without strict guidance the trend of **”youths” is to not study, have babies, and commit crimes on a daily or hourly basis.

    ** a term used by news media not referring to young Caucasions

  • Anonymous

    Blacks Crime is the Symptom. White Greed is the Disease.

    40,000 dollars per year, per prisoner X 846,000 inmates =

    33,840,000,000 dollars. EVERY. YEAR.

    You just cannot ignore the fiscal realities of a ‘criminal incarceration enablement industry’ which has figures like those.

    Do the blacks deserve to be where they are? Probably.

    Do we deserve to have to pay for it? No.

    If you want to justify a death penalty you have to prove an overriding predilection for crime in the individual. If they are sent away for 5-7 years, becoming more and more maddened in the process, you only get to -begin- the death penalty litigation after having paid for a minimum 15 X 40,000 dollars = 600,000 dollars. And that doesn’t include a further 2-2.5 million dollar defense of the death penalty phase through multiple levels of appeal.

    If we instead incarcerated particularly the likes of MAO-A and very low IQ people in high quality apartment complexes where an 8-10,000 dollar a year budget bought them furnishings, cable and a big screen TV and food was delivered by the likes of McDonalds and/or Pizza Hut under contract, twice a day for another 5-7,000 dollars per person, per year. Leaving 2-3,000 dollars per year as an entertainment discretionary fund, we would STILL spend less than half as much as we do on the prison system and give them a more dignified existence than they now have.

    The keys to such a guaranteed safe and relatively luxurious existence being sterilization after the first kid and a requirement (GPS ankle tag) to ‘stay on the reservation’. Damage the place, don’t take care of your stuff, participate in riots and you lose status until you are living in a Nuclear Submarine type hot-bunk existence with no space or privacy at all.

    Meanwhile, we could use the moneys saved to start to look at genetic solutions rather than social bandaids.

    The emptying of the prisons will happen when the USD cannot buy enough to keep them open and nobody has the legal authority or testicular fortitude to create flying deathsquads.

    The question then becomes how many of you ‘concealed carry and be prepared to use it!’ advocates want to face those kinds of numbers coming out of a failed incarceration system.

    Because I guarantee you that if you make a man an animal for long enough, he will have nothing to lose and no reason to fear dying if it gives him a chance to take you with him. And that is exactly the kind of personality we are ‘training’ in today’s prisons.

  • Californian

    Historically, the criminal justice system has targeted African American males in a manner that defeats mathematical logic.

    Another fuzzy statement. The “criminal justice system” is not a single entity. There are many criminal justice systems in the USA at federal, state and local levels. Many levels of the system are run by blacks and/or liberals. What the article refuses to recognize is that blacks commit a disproportionate amount of crime, especially of the violent/three strikes variety. Black men have chosen to disenfranchise themselves by their own actions.

    But the article represents the usual pathology. It acts as if the system were simply jailing black men for doing nothing, or some victimless crimes. The fact that these are serious offenders goes by the boards. The author refuses to recognize a reality that exposes the bankruptcy of egalitarian ideology. The reality is that blacks do commit a higher proportion of serious offenses.

    Having said that, there could be ways to deal with this situation. Like black leaders taking some responsibility for ensuring that potential black criminals stay on the straight and narrow path. But that will not happen in today’s atmosphere. There is a real disconnect between the rhetoric and what is going on in the streets.