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Top Civil Rights Attorney Offers Compelling Argument on Why the Justice System Is an Expensive Continuation of Slavery and Jim Crow

On Friday’s episode of PBS NewsHour, in the latest installment of their “Broken Justice” series, attorney and activist Bryan Stevenson talks about mass incarceration and his Equal Justice Initiative that advocates for prison reform in the U.S.

Stevenson tells NewsHour that many states have fallen short in their effort to make amends for damage to Black communities caused by mass incarceration. The increase in probation and parole supervision are not the proper fixes needed, he said.

In Stevenson’s interview, he goes on to say:

“Well, I think it’s a continuation of using crime narrative to control social and political dynamics that can’t be controlled in more legitimate ways.

And we created this so-called war on drugs, and we targeted people of color, and we got everybody to buy into the fact that if we don’t put these dangerous people into jails and prisons, we are non-safe. And that’s how we went nationwide from a prison population of about 300,000 in the 1970s to 2.3 million today. And now we have the highest rate of incarceration in the world …

I think people realize that we’re spending way too much money on jails and prisons. And I think that’s true in Alabama. It’s true nationwide. We went from $6 billion spent on jails and prisons in the United States in 1980 to $80 billion last year.”

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