The NAACP is pledging to lead what it says will be a strategic focused attack on the civil rights problems facing African-American men, not the least of which is the high percentage of Blacks that wind up incarcerated in the United States.
Researchers presenting at the organization’s annual convention in Los Angeles this week suggested that one of the reasons for the high rate is that U.S. lawmakers have criminalized a long list of non-violent behaviors involving drugs. In North Carolina these can include cases alleging prescription fraud, drug possession, or intent to sell. Even convictions on such charges as underage drinking and underage DUI during one’s student days can cast an unwanted shadow over a person’s future for years.
At the convention for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, presenters told the audience that drug arrests in the U.S. have more than tripled in the last 25 years. According to officials of the U.S. Student Association and the Criminal Justice Program, the United States leads the world in incarcerations, accounting for 25 percent of all people jailed around the world. And they say that in 2005 alone, nearly 43 percent of all drug arrests were for offenses involving marijuana.
In one major speech to delegates NAACP leader Ben Jealous said, “We can’t ignore that 45 percent of Black males are on a path right now to end up chronically unemployed, incarcerated or dead. Nor can we ignore that we have more Black men in prisons than in our universities.”
He pledged that the organization will work on a nationwide basis to build a coalition to reverse such trends.
Source: Los Angeles Wave, “NAACP pledging renewed focus against threats to civil rights,” Olu Alemoru, Andre Herndon and Leiloni De Gruy 27 Jul 2011