Jails bursting at the seams with young Blacks

caines | 11/9/2011, 8:07 a.m.
Florida places more emphasis on prison than education No matter what source you use, statistics nationwide indicate that the U.S. spends more money to incarcerate an inmate in prison than we do to educate students in our public schools. California, for example, pays an average of $47,000 per year for each inmate. The nation's average cost per prison inmate is $22,600 compared to $9,644 per student. Liberty City-born Larry Handfield, now a prominent attorney, says we are putting our resources in the wrong places. Education was my way of making a better life and avoiding early death or prison, he said. Florida is the only state that automatically denies restoration of rights to ex-felons. We are the only state that punishes people by convicting them and then stripping them of all rights, even if no violent crime has been committed. This is definitely Jim Crow its just a more sophisticated form. When Rick Scott was elected as governor, the first thing he did was to eliminate automatic restoration of rights, in effect ruining many young Black lives forever. Illinois Congressman Danny K. Davis says he is tired of seeing young Blacks filling jail cells. Blacks are disproportionately represented in our prison system and thats clearly by design, he said. I have been fighting this battle for over a decade. We are just beginning to make progress and getting society to look at what we have created. But Blacks have to keep the discussion going and being advocates for those who have no voice. This fight is far from over. By D. Kevin McNeirkmcneir@miamitimesonline.com