CRIME REDUCES BUT INCARCERATION SWELLS IN U.S. PRISONS
CRIME REDUCES BUT INCARCERATION SWELLS IN U.S. PRISONS: WHY?
The United States in 2011 has 5% of the world's population but 25% of the world's incarcerated population. Over 60% of those incarcerated in the US are minorities and over 30% are minority men-especially black men and youth. There are more blacks in the United States prison system than 1850 in the days of Jim Crow as researched by Michelle Alexander in her book: The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Era of Colorblindness.
The Body of Christ in America can no longer turn a blind eye to this troubling and disturbing practice going on right under our watch. Experts, lawyers and the FBI have combed all the prison records and discovered that crime has dramatically declined in the United States, but Mass incarceration of especially minorities has increased exponentially with all the sufferings and pains it has generated and is generating for families, communities and friends. The Church cannot sit supinely while multitudes languish in despair in jails and prisons for up to 25 years especially for non-violent crimes that require rehabilitation. The Church cannnot be silent. God will hold the Church responsible for not becoming the watchmen the Church should be. God is calling the Church to speak against mass incarceration and commodification of inmates on Wall Street in the United States.
Ezekiel 34: 2-5: "This is what the Sovereign Lord says: 'Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? You eat curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take are of the flock. you have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost... So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild animals."
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The high rate of incarceration of especially Black men and Youths is the number one social problem facing the Church and especially the Black and Missionary churches in the 21st century in the United States. Black men and youths in the United States prison system have continued to climb and increase inspite of decline in the crime rate in the nation. With 2.5million people incarcerated and black men and youths making up about 1.4 which is more than half of the total amount incarcerated the implications are scary especially for the black family structure in the 21st century. The economic implications with the effect of CORI is disempowering and impoverishing for most blackmen and youths economically, the social implications includes social marginalization with increase in fatherlessness, increase in school drop rate etc. The health implications of depression, suicide, AIDS, HIV etc, cannot be under estimated. It is time for parents, the Body of Christ in America, the Black Church, the Missionary churches and all concern citizens to intervene and find ways to put stop to this increasing condition of imprisonment