Posted on July 11, 2011

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.