by Kevin Jackson and James Parisi
At the 2015 Academy Awards, Grammy award-winning singer John Legend brought attention to the disproportionate number of blacks incarcerated today. He stated:
“More African Americans are imprisoned today than were enslaved in 1850.”
Lost in this statement are the origins and causes of the high numbers of blacks in the prison system. Legend implies that racism is responsible, ergo America is racist.
Liberals like Legend bolster their argument with misinformation, one such reference being civil rights litigator and legal scholar Michelle Alexander’s book, “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.” In her book, Alexander blames the mass incarceration of blacks partially on the policies of former presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, and certainly on Republicans.
The book discusses the crime policies of Nixon and Reagan as devastating the lives of blacks in America, conveniently omitting any connection of Liberalism—destruction of family, lack of moral values, and increased secularism, for example.
The facts, as you will see, are quite different. And in “The First Civil Right: How Liberals Built Prison America,” Associate Professor of African American Studies at Princeton, Naoimi Murakawa, reveals the reality.
Beginning with the liberal law and order policies of Harry Truman and continuing through Bill Clinton, incarceration of blacks increased geometrically under Democratic presidents. Aided by Liberal legislators like the late Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy, who pushed for and passed the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984, which imposed mandatory and harsh sentences that impacted mostly minorities, the Democrats dramatically affected prison rates, particularly for minorities. Kennedy would later confess that this bill went too far, yet he did nothing to change or reform it.
Ironically, the most punitive law and order policies took place under President Clinton, said to be by many blacks “The First Black President,” although by the time Clinton came to office in 1993, crime was declining. Nevertheless, crime remained a highly political issue at the time.
This is why the Democratic Party led by Clinton and then Senator Joe Biden was intent on taking the law and order issue from the Republicans and making it theirs. This led to the Democrats passing the Violent Crime Control and Enforcement Act in 1994.
The enforcement of this act caused the prison population to explode, increasing 64 percent, from 847,000 to 1,334,000 during the Clinton presidency. As one might imagine, a disproportionate number of blacks were impacted, as Liberals had corralled blacks into ghettos – veritable crime factories.
Clinton then gave incentives for states to build more prisons and keep inmates there longer by rewarding them with federal funds. In a wicked twist of Liberalism imploding on itself, the funding for these prisons came at the expense of 252,000 federal employees being fired from other agencies.
Adding insult to more insult, Clinton presided over the federal “Three Strikes Law” that gave longer sentences for repeat offenders. Like Senator Ted Kennedy, Clinton would lament later that he went too far in his crackdown.
But it does get worse, as perhaps the worst atrocities against blacks are occurring right before our very eyes under Barack Obama with his attempt to appease black Liberals.
Obama and his former Attorney General Eric Holder pressed for ending mass incarceration on racial grounds, proclaiming that too many people of color are in America’s jails. Obama is implying that America’s justice system targets “people of color,” and that people of color don’t commit the crimes for which they are charged.
In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court mandated the state of California to reduce its prison population. Thus the state retroactively downgraded a host of drug and property felonies to misdemeanors, including thefts of guns, purses and laptops. According to the Los Angeles Association of Deputy District Attorneys, more than 3,000 felons have been released from California prisons in 2014, as a result of that law. The association reports that burglary, larceny and car theft have surged in Los Angeles County, where most of the criminals were released.
In another example, Milwaukee district attorney John Chisholm diverted many property and drug criminals to rehabilitation centers to reduce the number of blacks in Wisconsin prisons. Crime in Milwaukee has since risen sharply, undoubtedly a direct result of this action.
These “petty crimes” are symptomatic of a societal problem Liberals simply do not want to address. Petty crimes lead to bigger crimes, and are the underbelly of the failure of the societal expectations. Compound this with Obama’s war on law enforcement, and you get the new America and what I call “the death spiral of Liberal logic.”
The number of police officers killed in the line of duty has increased 89 percent in the past year. Homicides in almost all major cities have skyrocketed, a direct result of Obama’s law and order, which can only be described as “lawlessness and disorder.”
Herein lies the hypocrisy of the Left. Leftists create criminals, but pretend they don’t want them jailed, so they release a few. Those few do exactly what criminals do, which is commit more crimes, forcing the police to re-arrest them. Liberals blame the cops, allowing criminals to commit even more crimes, until finally those crimes begin to happen to Liberals. Then Liberals become “law and order” advocates, and as John Legend proclaimed: “More African Americans are imprisoned today than were enslaved in 1850.”
But now you know who’s doing it and why. So the next time a Liberal argues about incarceration rates, tell them about the Democrat presidents’ Liberal death spiral.