Just under one-quarter of the world's prisoners are held in American prisons. Prisoners often carry additional deficits of drug and alcohol addictions, mental and physical illnesses, and lack of work preparation or experience. The growth of incarceration in the United States during four decades has prompted numerous critiques and a growing body of scientific knowledge about what prompted the rise and what its consequences have been for the people imprisoned, their families and communities, and for U. The Growth of Incarceration in the United States examines research and analysis of the dramatic rise of incarceration rates and its affects.
What are we doing about it? Mikeefrom Torontoist Flickr Pool. Last month, federal prison watchdog Howard Sapers presented his annual report in Parliament detailing the demographics and conditions within our federal prisons. Overall during his tenure, Sapers has watched the number of Black inmates grow by 69 per cent.
Black Canadians now represent the fastest growing group in federal prisons, and are vastly overrepresented behind bars. While African-Canadians make up three per cent of the general population, they account for 10 per cent of the federal prison population.
The recent report also indicates that while in prison, Black inmates are overrepresented in segregation, and that they are subject to nearly 15 per cent of all use-of-force incidents.
It found evidence of systemic racism at every level of the system—in policing, in the courts, and in correctional institutions.
Despite identifying the problem, not much was done to fix it, as seen in the soaring incarceration rates of Black Canadians.
One culprit Morgan points to is the controversial Toronto Police custom of carding individuals —stopping and questioning them without cause, and recording the incident—which disproportionately targets Black people. All of these initiatives would benefit low-income communities, which are disproportionately Black or racialized.
Part of that reason, Sapers suggests, is because, while the Black prison population is growing quickly, it is not the largest identifiable incarcerated group. Indigenous Canadians account for Morgan notes that, in reality, overrepresentation of the Black population in prisons is slightly more pronounced in Canada than in the U.
I think the generalized silence has to do with what we want to believe about ourselves as Canadians. Next, Morgan says the federal and local governments need to work with Black communities to build stronger social and community supports.
And finally, he says Ottawa needs to create an African-Canadian Justice Strategy, similar to the Aboriginal Justice Strategy that was initiated in to tackle the growing Indigenous prison population. The strategy would help implement community-based initiatives, like offering restorative justice and diversion programs, and offer alternative sentencing.
The African Canadian Legal Aid Clinicwhere Morgan previously worked, has made submissions to the federal government and the human rights commission to support their call for an African-Canadian Justice Strategy.
Morgan hopes Canada will take the opportunity seriously to participate in the cause.The Growing Prison Population - The United States leads the world with more than million people incarcerated.
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