Disturbing Study: Black Men Get Better Healthcare, Protection in Prison than Out

by Dr. Boyce Watkins.

Many of us have seen the dismal statistics for black males in America.  African American men are at the bottom of the barrel in nearly every category of life, including healthcare, education, incarceration, and unemployment.  Many of us raise our black boys with little to no understanding of how many of these statistics are perpetuated by a series of systems that serve to enhance and promote a lifestyle that leads to an early death.   That is one reason why we’ve expressed concern for hip-hop music, fueled by corporate America, that promotes a self-destructive lifestyle that many young men emulate.

It turns out that the facts might be worse than many could have speculated.  According to a recent study, black men are half as likely to die in prison than if they are free.   The authors of the study claim that easier access to healthcare, protection from drugs and alcohol and the ability to avoid deadly black-on-black violence leads to a longer life span for those who are incarcerated.  African American males are the only group for which these facts hold true, according to the authors of the study.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/twyche Terrill Wyche

    I’m not surprised at all by this so-called startling fact. Everything about the prison system has to be subsidized by the state, so therefore health care that includes health care for prisoners must also be subsidized by the state. 

    I think that it’s time for those of us Black Americans who are not behind to the wall to look for somewhere else in the world to live where our actual talents can be applied constructively. The United States of America is not the best place for us.

    • Joyfulpraise09

      Say Amen somebody, I like your comment, it’s time for us to come up
      with another solution, and this ain’t it!(prison)

  • Lynn

    Wow…this is really sad…  The problem of the cradle-to-prison pipeline for black men has been festering for a long, long time and, as you suggest, there is simply not enough political will to address it.  People were complaining at least three decades ago that we as a society were investing more money in imprisoning individuals than providing them with a public education…. and in punishment rather than prevention …. prison life has become a part of the formative experience of too many black men …. and nobody is angry about it because well, it’s black men….  So much of this apathy has to do, I believe, with how majority society (i.e., white America) regards black people in general, and black men in particular.  White politicians — especially conservative ones — don’t regard black men as their constituents… they regard them as the boogey-men (the Willie Hortons, the thugs, etc.) that they have to defend their law-abiding, tax-paying constitutents against.  They don’t identify with black men as human beings enough to care that they are being eaten alive by certain forces that are running rampant in our communities.  Black men are dangerous, and need to be locked up and kept away from “decent, hardworking Americans;” not human beings who themselves are in need of healing.  Many a campaign has been won on the promise of more police officers and “getting tough on crime.”  Well, guess who, in the American psyche, is the biggest criminal? 

    My guess is too, Dr. Watkins, that some relish the fact of the plight of black men…. in the sixties … so many black men were revolutionary, and out to get “the system”  or “the man” …. those in “the system” get to have their last laugh and not lift a finger …  all they have to do is watch the existing dynamics play themselves out … and make a few tweaks here and there in social policy to exagerrate the effects of those dynamics (for example, drug sentencing) …and their job is done …

    Now, I bring up white America not because they have more power or responsibility … I believe very much in the concept of David with his little stones being able to take down a Goliath ….  so, I believe that there is a lot one person, or a minority of people can do to create their own change, regardless of what they’re up against ….   rather, I bring up white people because though I think black people have a lot of power and will, I also happen to think that we can’t solve this problem alone … Without a collective identification with the plight of black boys and men by EVERYBODY in this society … the general trend of locking them away will remain the same for a long time to come … I think we need white men and women, and people of all races … to see black boys and men the same way as they would see their own sons … without that — without people basically seeing black men as themselves, without that feeling in the heart  of “there but for the Grace of God go I, or one of mine,” not enough people will care.  And there will not be enough numbers in our political institutions, especially the halls of Congress, to effect the massive structural change that needs to happen to get at the root of some of the problems black men are collectively facing.  I guess I’m saying the structural change is going to have to begin not only in ourselves, but also in the psyches of some of the people we don’t want to admit that we really do need…

    In the meantime, I applaud you sincerely for continuing to speak about our responsibility to address the destructive forces that we DO have the power to address … such as destructive, corporate-sponsored rap music and videos … we have to be responsible for what we can, where we can, when we can…  Indeed, it’s better to make some difference than none at all …. I also applaud your call for black men to have a “continuous consciousness” about the forces that have “hijacked” their psyches … this is bold … and so very necessary …. because too many lack exactly that, and are in an unbelievably deep sleep about who they are, what they’re doing, and the impact of their choices on themselves and everybody else….

  • Mfuasi

    Actually, this is late news. Somewhere buried in my piles of clipped articles in the result of a national study on Black males in prison, dating back maybe a year ago. It said that Black males live longer in prison than those not incarcerated.

  • Omarali81

    Dr. Watkins,how do i wake my people up

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EGXZ26MK42CPGJ2FMIR3VXS4T4 flextime

      by teaching them to be self sufficient.  Teaching them about nutrition and how to take better care of themselves mentally and physically.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EGXZ26MK42CPGJ2FMIR3VXS4T4 flextime

    How is this disturbing?  This is the truth for most black people.  Here in Los Angeles illegal aliens can get FREE health care while Blacks have to make a payment plan.  Then look at most Black folks don’t go to the doctor till something is falling out the socket.

    A white robbed the bank for a dollar so he can get free prison health care.  Then he is going to retire in the keys.

  • Aw52399

    this is soo very sad 2 learn about but im not suprised at all i knw alot of blk men who have diabetes among other diseases that only get care when they go and it seems like thats the reason they commit crimes 2 get healthcare they would otherwise not get unless in jail it seems like the blk men are cursed or the blk race and the music thats being listned 2 is not help at all these men need more positve influences in their lives.