By Dennis Trainor, Jr.
If this were happening anywhere else in the world, Americans would be justifiably horrified:
- 1 out of every 100 adults are living behind bars in the United States, with 1 in 31 in some sort of correctional control, including prison, jail, parole, and probation.
- The United States, with 5% of the world’s population, has 25% of the worlds prison population.
- Private prisons are operating around the country at the local and state level, and a majority of them include “occupancy requirements mandating that local or state government keep those facilities between 80 and 100 percent full. In other words, whether crime is rising or falling, the state must keep those beds full.”
- Thousands are serving life sentences for non-violent crimes.
- The School to Prison Pipeline is still funneling mostly black and brown children into the juvenile and adult criminal legal systems.
- Solitary confinement, defined as torture by the UN, is commonly practiced in both Guantanamo Bay prison and in mainland US prisons.
- Police can murder suspects, and then claim they shot themselves in the head and get away with it, even if the suspect is handcuffed behind their back.
You get the picture.
According to Carl Dix, the co-founder (along with Cornel West) of The Stop Mass Incarceration Network, all of this and more are tantamount to genocide. As he tells Dennis Trainor, Jr. in the embedded episode of Acronym TV:
“Genocide is not a final act of putting people in gas chambers (…) Genocide is a process. A process by which groups of people are identified, targeted, demonized, separated, and then as this process goes on, the question of mass killings comes up later. That has been going on in this country. Black people in particular have been historically targeted, demonized, segregated (…) the definition of genocide flowing from the United Nations is when a group of people are put (in whole or in part) in circumstances that make it impossible for them to thrive and survive as a people. That is the situation with Mass Incarceration and all of its consequences in this country.”