Survey: 3/4 of African Americans Have a Relative Who’s Been Incarcerated

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, YourBlackWorld.com

In a recent survey by YourBlackWorld.com, 74.8% of all respondents said they have a relative who has served time in the prison system.  Nearly half (46%) stated that they have a relative who is now in prison.

Additionally, the broad majority of respondents (78.2%) said that they have an associate or relative in prison, and nearly all (92%) said that they have a friend or associate who’s been in prison at some point during his/her life.

When Ryan Mack and I started the Never Going Back Initiative with the Your Black World Coalition (which you can sign up for by clicking here), our goal was to highlight the manner through which the criminal justice system continues to destroy the entire African American community.  Like the festering wound that we are too lazy to show to a physician, mass incarceration has threatened to destroy black families unlike anything in our nation’s history.

I am calling on all concerned citizens throughout the United States to work with us to remind our African American Attorney General, Eric Holder, that this insidious, destructive, racist and debilitating problem can remain on the sidelines no longer.  It’s time to deal with mass incarceration in America.

Please join our coalition to fight against mass incarceration.  It’s time to push for the freedom that we deserve.  To see and hear my personal thoughts on the matter, please watch this video.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University and founder of the Your Black World Coalition.  To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

 

 

 

  • claudia

    I agree 100%. It makes me so angry to know that so many blacks are incarcerated and many of them are in jail for bullshit crimes. Since the average black family does not have substantial high income. It leaves so many poor blacks at the mercy of the judistricial system which is a screwed up arrangement especially for blacks. It is highly motivated by racism, slavery intentions, and another way to remove the black man and keep him bound from population and succeeding in this world.

  • Emaleth54

    I understand about the disproportionate number of African Americans being incarcerated, however, I’m wondering when we will stop “blaming” others for personal choices. At some point, shouldn’t we become responsible for what we are doing? We are a race of intelligent, strong people…we know that the system is “FUBAR”, so instead of playing into it, why are we not holding ourselves to a higher standard. Why not encourage our youth to take a different path….encourage our youth to go into law enforcement so that they are on the “front-lines”, encourage them to become “law-makers” so that our points of views are heard….we have the power to change this trend….those that are in power like things the way they are…..the change will only come when we stop playing the “blame-game” and raise our “expectations” for our people!

  • Me

    Ignorance of the law is no excuse…Too many black men and women plead guilty instead of fighting their case…so there is nothing anyonecan do if a person takes a plea deal…

  • Joseph L. Bass, Ed.D.

    I will sign up to help with “Never Going Back.” I agree we have far too many people in prison or on parole and too many are black Americans. But the challenge I see with such efforts is that the leadership usually has already decided on what the problems are and how to solve them. And the assumed problems and assumed solutions are the same ones that group after group has worked on in the same way for decades – without achieving any successes. That is to say, efforts like “Never Going Back” go through the same motions others have gone through and the results are always the same – little, if anything, is accomplished.

    As a retired organizational consultant with decades of experience revitalizing corporations and government agencies, I helped managers and employees examine the underlying assumptions that guided decision making, planning, and implementation. It is a great challenge to get people to think about their long-held assumptions. Many people cling to erroneous assumptions even when there is clear data showing that they are seriously wrong. For example, I knew a consultant that would not accept being a corporate CEO until a company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. He said that the Chapter 11 filing made it easier for him to get people to examine their assumptions. The filing was a clear indicator – that could not be denied – that previous assumptions were wrong.

    Consider what is known about “Never Going Back.” It goal is stated as, “to highlight the manner through which the criminal justice system continues to destroy the entire African American community.” Several underlying assumptions are included in the statement: 1. black Americans are innocent, powerless victims of the criminal justice system. 2. black Americans, innocent of any crimes, are arrested, convicted, and incarcerated. 3. black Americans, convicted of felonies, can do nothing on their own to solve their problems.

    These assumptions were true during the Reconstruction Era. Everyone should read Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II by Douglas A. Blackmon (Jan 13, 2009). But I have some difficulty with the assumptions based on personal experience. While I lived in South Central Los Angeles: 1. I lived in Crips gang territory where the local Crips chapter controlled the drug trade. 2. In 1990 there were four shootings – two dead, five wounded – within a two-block radius of my apartment. 3. I helped the police as a witness to several cases involving shootings and murder. 4. Two Crips gang members threatened my life and I was told I had better not help the police again. 5. After helping the police again, a young fellow came after me at my front door one nice Sunday morning and brandished a Colt .45ACP semiautomatic under my nose and said, “You just call the police again.” The August after the Rodney King riots, which occurred right where I lived, I moved to Virginia where I could get a concealed carry permit.

    Again I will volunteer to help with “Never Going Back.” But the help I offer will be to assist leadership and participants in examining their underlying assumptions about the real issues prior to developing an action plan and implementing it. Hopefully they will allow me to do that. Joseph L. Bass, Ed.D.

  • Yawn

    What a dumb survey!

  • Gloria

    We need new concepts and approachs to the incarceration plague in our communities. It affects the unemployment issues that many of us feel the government should solve as
    well as other problems we live with. We have such a myriad of issues to deal with it almost seems too overwhelming a times. I am trying do my part and will join the organization to add my two cents to solutions. I am in the process of doing a handbook that I believe will have a large impact on the issue of incarceration. I also supply uniforms and clothing to children of incerated parents, just doing my part.

  • Jlivingston7

    jlivingston7@gmail.como
    I have friends and family who have been incarcerated for many years. A cousin recently came home after doing 37 years. The system is giving huge amount of time to youth. And that is primarily due to mass incarcerartion.

    Prisons has become the new plantation, prisoners doing various jobs at cheap labor,it has become a lucrative business.People investing their money into stocks and building more prison. Children in 4th grade are given a test, and this test will decide on how many prison need to be built. You now have private prisons, besides City, State, Federal Prisons.

    I speak on this matter in my next book. You may read excerpt at http://www.TheStrongWillSurvive.com.

  • Jlvernonsr

    I think the prison system is not right because i did nine years in n.c and they treat us like a dog

  • Clg29

    On another note I went to Jury duty yesterday and let me say, yes there are some that are making poor choices, but what gets me is while going up for jury selection I was one of the first  jurors out of 30 to be picked among the 11 others that I sat with for questioning when they asked the question if anyone had ever seen cocaine in person 4 people raised their hand and said yes and the ones that raised their hand were all white, but they were able to  be jurors! While on the other hand the defendants are black and standing trial for the same thing that their white counterparts have in so many words admitted to possessing at one time or another, do you know why? Because they target the black community, and I do agree we need to become proactive and let the youth know this standard of living is not okay I plan on doing footwork this summer going to the neighborhoods and speaking to the youth and the adults that this type of commentary does not reach!

  • Trudy

    I FOR ONE HAVE A SON RIGHT TODAY WHO IS AWAITING EVEN A HEARING FOR CRIMES HE HAS BEEN CHARGED WITH AND DID NOT COMMIT!  AND I AM SICK AND TIRED OF BEING SICK AND TIRED OF THE SYSTEM RAILROADING OUR MEN JUST OUR MEN AND CONTINUALLY TARGETING BLACK MEN AS IF THEY WERE/ARE JUST THE ONLY ONES MEANT FOR PRISON.  IT’S A DOWN RIGHT DISCRACE AND SHAME.  AND MR. HOLDER KNOWS THIS AND WHY HE HAS TAKEN HIS OWN GOOD TIME TO ENFORCE INVESTIGATIONS INTO THESE MATTERS IS  JUST FAR BEYOND ME.  HE MUST AND SHOULD DO SOMETHING RIGHT NOW, IMMEDIATELY!!

  • John Burgess

     Thats too much hell in dem prison cells! With the emphasis upon the word hell. Our Churches or Temples need to regulate their purpose in society. Just like the government conducts a census upon  the population, so should the pious minded clerics and ministers conduct a census upon the impoverish households. The exorcism of of this epicdemic trend shouldn’t be too difficult when the impoverish subjects are identified. You Know, u know! ” Sometimes a stimulas package or just a plain ol’ kick in the butt! But there are many souls to be touched and confronted. This responsibility lies in the hands of The Church, not the State and The State Penitentiary. These numbers reflects the inactiveness of the pious-minded institution. The work should be Faith-Filled! Laziness is unacceptable!

  • http://twitter.com/JonnySoumy Jonny Soumy

    I’m of the opinion that we incarcerate entirely too many people in general in the United States.  This is disproportionately black but I’m curious what’s the percentage of other races?  While we are at it can we go ahead and ban the death penalty too?hat’s the percentage of other races?  While we are at it can we go ahead and ban the death penalty too?