What Is Driving Mass Incarceration in the U.S. and in Massachusetts and What You Can Do About It
This class is a two-part series. Participants are expected to attend all classes.
Although Massachusetts has the lowest incarceration rate in the U.S., if Massachusetts were a nation, it would have the eighth-highest rate in the world. There are 10,000 men and women in state prison and 10,000 women and men in county jails. More than half of the people in jails have been convicted of nothing and are there because they are too poor to make bail, often as little as $300. Each year, it costs Massachusetts taxpayers $1.2 billion to keep 20,000 people locked up. In addition to incarcerated people, more than 90,000 individuals are under correctional control through parole and probation. Latinos/Latinas and African Americans are the majority of people who are criminalized in the state. Massachusetts lags behind many other states, including New York, New Jersey, Texas, and Mississippi, to name a few, when it comes to making the criminal legal system more fair and less punitive. There are many opportunities for residents of Massachusetts to act to change this very harmful and costly system. First, though, it is important to have basic information about what is happening and why. These two classes will provide some of the background so you can begin.
Founding Director of The Real Cost of Prisons Project and an activist and leader for social justice for more than 50 years. In 2000, she began the Real Cost of Prisons Project, a national organization which brings together justice activists, artists, researchers, and women and men directly experiencing the impact of mass criminalization who are working to end the carceral state.
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