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Mass Incarceration Drives Poverty, Inequality in United States - Think Tank

© East News / Kate HoltPrisoner handcuffed
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The public policy think tank Center for American Progress says that the practice of over-criminalization and mass imprisonment that particularly impact minorities are the main drivers of poverty and racial inequality in the United States.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The practice of over-criminalization and mass imprisonment that particularly impact minorities are the main drivers of poverty and racial inequality in the United States, the public policy think tank Center for American Progress (CAP) said in a press release.

“Communities of color are particularly affected by mass incarceration and over-criminalization,” the press release said on Thursday. “This is a major driver of inequality, particularly racial inequality, and poverty in the United States.”

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CAP stated 2.2 million people in the United States are imprisoned, making the country the world’s leader in incarceration. Moreover, one in three Americans has a criminal record.

“A criminal record serves as both a direct cause and consequence of our poverty, presenting obstacles to employment, housing, public assistance, education, family reunification and more,” CAP Executive Vice President for External Affairs Winnie Stachelberg said in the press release.

In 2010, the United States spent $80 billion on incarceration, CAP noted, saying that authorities must remove “the profit motive” from incarceration.

“It is critical that we find solutions that strike the proper balance between ensuring our communities are safe while addressing the structural inequities in the criminal justice system,” CAP Senior Fellow Todd Cox said in the press release.

The debate on excessive imprisonment and other questionable correctional practices in the United States received a new impetus in the wake of mass protests against police brutality and racial profiling that followed the killing of several unarmed African-American men by white police officers.

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