Former Philadelphia Mayor Wilson Goode, speaking at Millersville University, drew parallels between today's criminal justice system and a past of black exploitation and racial segregation, according Lancasteronline.
Goode said the drug war and other ill-considered social policies have led to a comprehensive "prison industrial complex" that operates "very much like slavery and Jim Crow."
"What I know now is that this is a crisis," said Goode, addressing about 150 at Lancaster NAACP's annual dinner. "It is a national crisis. It is a crisis born decades ago in unfulfilled promises and great expectations."
The fruits of the crisis, Goode declared, are drop-out and incarceration rates disproportionately affecting poor blacks.
Goode, 76, speaking in a firm, measured cadence, said blacks represent 12 percent of the nation's population and 44 percent of prisoners. He said a black youth drops out every 26 seconds.
The country ranks No. 18 in the world in high school graduation and No. 1 in incarceration, he said.
"Because of the racial nature of this incarceration, it functions very much like slavery," said Goode, a minister and head of Amachi, a mentoring program for children of incarcerated parents.
"And further," he continued, "that upon the reentry of these persons to society, they are denied the right to vote, the right to serve on juries and denied the right for gainful employment.”
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