News Brief: NAACP criminal justice reform protest

Criminal justice reform is one of the three key policy priorities for the NAACP-Berkshire County Branch in 2017.

NAACP-Berkshire County Branch to lead mass incarceration protest

Pittsfield — On Friday, March 31, from 4 to 5:30 p.m., NAACP-Berkshire County Branch and the Four Freedoms Coalition will lead a standout in Park Square to protest against mass incarceration and for criminal justice reform.

Criminal justice reform is one of the three key policy priorities for the NAACP-Berkshire County Branch in 2017 and the organization has provided the following information regarding incarceration in the United States:

–The United States is home to the world’s largest prison population. As “tough on crime” laws have put an unprecedented number of non-violent offenders behind bars in recent years, neighborhoods feel no more secure.

–The U.S. is home to 5 percent of the world’s population and 25 percent of its prisoners.

–From 1980 to 2008, the number of people incarcerated in America quadrupled-from roughly 500,000 to 2.3 million people.

–Blacks are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites. Blacks are incarcerated for drug offenses at a rate 10 times greater than that of whites despite the fact that blacks and whites use drugs at roughly the same rates.

–About $80 billion dollars are spent on corrections yearly. Prisons and jails consume a growing portion of the nearly $200 billion spent annually on public safety. Local, state and federal governments spend anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000 annually to keep an individual behind bars.