I read a few articles this morning that made me think of my son, of my raising him, and of all the other parents raising sons in particular. These are quotes from the next issue of my denomination’s magazine, the Covenant Companion. These statements are disheartening and motivating on a lot of levels.
Debbie Blue talked about compassion, mercy, and justice as a necessary response to mass incarceration. She gave the following details:
On any given day, nearly 87,000 juvenile offenders are not living in their homes but are held in residential placement (e.g., juvenile detention facilities, corrections facilities, group homes, or shelters).
Every day, nearly 25,000 youth are detained in America.
An estimated 200,000 youth are tried, sentenced, or incarcerated as adults every year across the United States.
On any given day, nearly 7,500 young people are locked up in adult jails.
On any given day, more than 3,600 young people are locked up in adult prisons.
Nekima Levy-Pounds discussed the war on drugs and gave background on the still legal disparities between people of color and white people in the country before saying:
…Since 90 to 95 percent of criminal cases end in guilty pleas, it is not surprising that women who are peripherally involved in drug trafficking may wind up serving decades behind bars.
…About 2.7 million children have at least one incarcerated parent, and African American children are nine times more likely than white children to have a parent who is incarcerated.
…According to a report by the Children’s Defense Fund, a black boy born in 2001 has a one in three chance of going to prison in his lifetime.
…Our faith in God and his kingdom should compel us to ask the tough questions, seek the not-so-obvious answers, and look beyond the surface to discover what is really happening and why. We are poised with the resources, the voices, and the courage to take a stand for justice and to put our faith to action to help end this human suffering and misery and fix our criminal justice system.