Home | About | Donate

40 Reasons Our Jails and Prisons Are Full of Black and Poor People


40 Reasons Our Jails and Prisons Are Full of Black and Poor People

Bill Quigley

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) reports 2.2 million people are in our nation’s jails and prisons and another 4.5 million people are on probation or parole in the US, totaling 6.8 million people, one of every 35 adults. We are far and away the world leader in putting our own people in jail. Most of the people inside are poor and Black. Here are 40 reasons why.


The fact is that white America remains convinced that Blacks are inherently criminal. We chose in 1968, with the election of Nixon, to end the struggle for racial equality with police power. We got rid of SNCC and the Panthers quite violently and chose to foster the Drug War as a part of this effort. These policies have been successful and we live with the consequences.
This is dangerous in the extreme for a ghettoized population inevitably succumbs to crime and violence, so the system becomes self-reinforcing. The crime and violence of the ghetto becoming itself a faux justification for still further measures of police repression. This being already well advanced. It could well end in an American Holocaust.
There still are Europeans who will frankly tell you that Jews and Roma brought upon themselves, with a penchant for criminality, the Nazi Holocaust there in past times.
A persecuted "chosen people", scapegoats, is one of the characteristics of totalitarian Fascism and its police state -- a path down which the USA today is rapidly descending.


The CD staff writers have been keeping themselves very busy lately. I commend Bill Quigley, Sarah Lazare, and Nadia Prupis for their most recent blogs as well as all the other staff member writers for their excellent coverage of US and world state of affairs. Common Dreams is a gem that must be supported, as I have done in the past and will continue to do in the future.


Despite this stain (mass incarceration of innocent people of color) on our nation, both corporate parties don't even address it in debates. In the last several elections, not a single solution or even recognition of our racist system were ever mentioned. This is why Hillary Clinton and all Republicans are clearly in favour of racism if it pleases their corporate benefactors. Anytime an American votes for one of these two evil parties, it is a vote for slavery, poverty and the 1%.


Another interesting question would be why men are 15 times more likely to be sent to prison than woman. Men are 80% more likely to use illegal drugs, but are 1550% more likely to go to prison for doing so. weird.


Professor Quigley has left our Reason #41: Corporations love to employ prison labor—and penty of corporations do: @ $1.00 a day (in some cases), no unions, no union rights, no pensions or SS to pay for, and immunity from being sued for unfair employment pracitices, it's a win-win! Welcome to the New Plantation, or Slavery by another name: "Justice."


WE chose nothing. Conservatives often have $ and they have used it to create lobbyists and quid pro quo deals with funded politicians who set up these insidious measures.

Your post is a mishmash of ridiculous assertions including planting the subliminal that "The Jews brought it on themselves."

First you use an all-encompassing WE-frame falsely, then fall back on an old disgusting canard. A poster named Jason something or other used this same meme often in the past. You creeps recycle the same pabulum hiding behind a chain of ever-shifting screen names. I can SMELL you.


Very complex issue. It's worth noting that Democrats took the lead role in increasing hopeless poverty since the Clinton admin., via a range of "reforms." The simple fact is that the number of people desperate for jobs exceeds the number of jobs available, and there is nothing to fall back on. Once you no longer have a home address, phone, bus fare -- you're out. You can't get a job. We've simply dumped our jobless poor, and many of the unemployable. Of course people can become desperate enough to resort to crime to survive.

Point #13 is very relevant. But note, too, that the surge in prison populations began with the agenda focused on jobs for prisoners. A massive number of jobs have been subcontracted to prison labor, at bottom wages, with most of their earnings going to the prisons. Prison labor is tremendously profitable for both prisons and corporations.


Forty one.
To keep them from voting.


Do YOU speak for everyone? You sure talk like you do.


Nice Article and timely. These reasons are all a part of the system of "White Supremacy". Lets call it what it is.


I have a young brother in prison for 15+ yrs because the state of California is holding him hostage even when he went to court in Dec 2015 and the judge said out loud it was a conspiracy and to release him. Now we are rolling into Feb 2016 and he is still sitting in jail. Please point me in the right direction for justice.


What an extremely dishonest and distorted and -- sorry! -- racist article. The intent of the article seems to be the same as with all "progressives": the sad and bad things in life relate only to minorities.

The author (unless I missed it), although he is very interested in racial disparities, does not spell out that disparity. According to the BOP, around 58 percent of imprisoned people are WHITE, around 38 percent are BLACK. And no matter how you slice it, there are way more whites in prison than blacks. This is a simple fact. It is imply not true that most people in prison are black / hispanic. Most people in prison are white.

Even if you remove "hispanic" from white, imprisoned whites still outnumber imprisoned blacks!!!! Sure, the percentage of blacks in prison is higher, but the author gives no impression that this is what he is talking about. He makes it clear that he is talking about the number of people in prison. And that number, broken down by race, highest to lowest, is:

  1. White/Caucasian.
  2. Black
  3. Hispanic
  4. Asian

Quigley's main goal seems to be to paint a picture portraying whites as more or less immune from the prospect of imprisonment. In any case, would he be satisfied if there were more of a racial match as far as imprisonment goes? What is the obsession with skin color? Do you not care about your white brothers and sisters who are also victims of the cycle? What's going on here?

The very title conveys the impression that the number of whites in prison is so small as to not merit attention.

Again: there are way more whites than blacks in prison.l

I wonder why no one addresses this fact?

No: I don't really wonder about it.


If black ppl are only 12% of population,why are they everywhere you go? Gee,poor ppl are effected by traffic tickets,well,don't break the law. I paid 2800 bucks to getg my license back after breaking the law. My choice to break the law,I paid up. BTW, I am white. Stop playing the victim,why are black pplm and Latinos pulled over more than whites,idk,maybe loud ass music,invalid tags,reasonable suspicion?