The Stop Mass Incarceration Nework started with this Call issued by Cornel West and Carl Dix, September 2011: Read National Vision Statement:
Stop Mass Incarceration - We're Better Than That
We are initiating an effort to accelerate the movement to stop the injustice of mass incarceration and police brutality; and the racially biased policies and practices of the police, the courts and the U.S. legal system; and to support prisoners’ human rights, and of the formerly incarcerated. We call on all to join us.
Our View and Understanding:
2.4 million-plus people are locked up in prisons across the US — that’s more than any other country in the world! Most of those incarcerated are Black or Latino.
Fact: One in every eight Black men in their twenties is in prison or jail on any given day. These numbers should shock the conscience of the nation.
But too many do not question racially targeted mass incarceration because the authorities justify it as effective in stopping crime. This is simply not true; black people are incarcerated at many times the rate of white people despite similar rates for committing offenses.
This racially targeted mass incarceration results from whole generations of inner city youth being criminalized; of poor communities being saddled with substandard schools that fail to educate our youth; and from the disappearance of employment opportunities in inner cities and rural areas.
Those in prison are often subjected to conditions that amount to torture — substandard diets, segregated and brutalized on the whim of prison guards, often confined to cells 24-7 and denied human contact for weeks at a time. These conditions are so horrible that thousands of prisoners in California went on hunger strike, putting their lives on the line to assert their humanity and demand decent treatment.
On top of all this, after people serve their sentences, our society stamps them with a badge of dishonor and shame, discriminating against them when they seek employment, denying them access to public housing and government loans and even the right to vote!
This is Unjust ! It Is Intolerable and It Must Be Stopped!
The “Stop Mass Incarceration Network” is initiating an effort to accelerate the movement to stop this injustice, and we call on you to join us.
Mass incarceration is a system of social control targeting especially Black and Latino youth that has been aptly called “the New Jim Crow”. Many different forces are doing important things to expose the injustice of mass incarceration. But an important ingredient has been missing from this mix. It took dramatic mass resistance to rivet the attention of society on the old Jim Crow — racial segregation and the lynch mob terror that enforced it. And it will take the same kind of determined mass resistance to stop the New Jim Crow!
If you feel mass incarceration is an outrage:
if you think young people should not be treated like criminals because they are Black or Latino;
if you think people shouldn’t be subjected to torture because they’re in prison;
if you think former prisoners shouldn’t be forced to wear badges of shame and dishonor — join us. We must no longer allow this injustice to be perpetrated in our names — We're Better Than That!
Contact us and strategize together with us to figure out how to unleash dramatic mass resistance against this injustice. Bring someone from the network to speak at your school; your church, mosque or synagogue; or in your community.
Get connected to resistance being planned in your area. If there is nothing planned in your area, plan something. We don’t have to accept this as the way things have to be. All this is the result of conscious policies put in place by those at the very top of this society.
We can and must rip aside the cloak of “post-racial America” and reveal the ugly reality that lies beneath.