Today is a time of mass incarceration in the United States. One-quarter of the world's prisoners are locked up in the U.S., a country with just 6% of the world's population. Many of those in prison and jail are African American men. According to Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow, mass incarceration has become "the new Jim Crow," a way to maintain a racial caste system that locks a racial group into an inferior position by law and custom.
Mandatory, lengthy and disparate sentences; disparities in arrests, convictions, and sentences; racial profiling and racial bias in policing; politicians' exploitation of fears about crime and public safety to advance their political career; the privatization of prisons and need to fill prison beds; poverty and the lack of opportunities have all contributed to this social catastrophe. But people of faith are called to seek a fairer system.
At Congregational UCC we've been exploring these issues and looking for ways to respond. Find out more here.