On April 7th, the NAACP released a new report, Misplaced Priorities, that examines America’s escalating levels of prison spending and its impact on state budgets and our nation’s children. NAACP President Ben Jealous speaks eloquently on the topic of a misguided prison policy on MSNBC. Hopefully, this historic organization which fought hard to ensure that People of Color have their voices heard will fight just as hard to ensure the voices of the incarcerated are heard; to make sure the presence of the formerly incarcerated is seen and heard. No disrespect to any successful person who is moved to take on this issue, but they need to fully embrace those who are living the issue.
Misplaced Priorities tracks the steady shift of state funds away from education and toward the criminal justice system. Researchers have found that over-incarceration most often impacts vulnerable and minority populations, and that it destabilizes communities.
The report is part of the NAACP’s “Smart and Safe Campaign,” and offers a set of recommendations that will help policymakers in all 50 states downsize prison populations and shift the savings to education budgets.
Below are profiles of the six cities studied in the report, as well as three profiled individuals. Click here to download a PDF of the full report.
Organizations should stray away from the historic tendency of treating criminalized people of America as “clients” to help or represent. We are potential partners, as we are out here steeped in this struggle on a daily basis… 24/7, not 9 to 5.
- NAACP joins with Gingrich in urging prison reform (sfgate.com)