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Study finds big increase in Black Men as inmates since 1980

The number of black men in jail or prison has grown five fold in the pastObie Trice 20 years, to the point where more black men are behind bars than are enrolled in colleges or universities, according to a study released yesterday.

The increase in the black male prison population coincides with the prison construction boom that began 1980. At that time, three times more black men were enrolled in institutions of higher learning than behind bars, the study said.

The report was prepared by the Justice Policy Institute, a Washington-based research and advocacy group that supports alternatives to incarceration.

The study found that in 2000 there were 791,600 black men in jail or prison and 603,032 enrolled in colleges or universities. By contrast, the study said that in 1980 there were 143,000 black men in jail or prison but 463,700 enrolled in colleges or universities.

Some criminal justice experts said it was misleading to compare the two categories because the number in jail and prison includes all adult black men 17 years or older, while the number in institutions of higher learning is confined to a narrower student-age population in their late teens and early twenties.

But Todd Clear, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan, said the study's findings were still significant and tell us there has been a public policy far overemphasizing investment in criminal justice instead of in education for this population.

It tells you that the life chances of a black male going to prison is greater today than the chances of a black male going to college, and it wasn't always this way, Professor Clear said.

The study did not directly address why the number of black men in jail and prison climbed so quickly. Some experts suggested as one explanation a rise in the number of black men serving time for drug offenses. But Justice Department figures show that from 1990 to 2000, 50 percent of the growth in inmate populations at state prisons was for violent crimes, and that only 20 percent was for drug crimes.

During the prison-building boom of the last two decades, the number of Americans of all races in jail or prison quadrupled, to 2.1 million in 2000 from 502,000 in 1980, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. In that same period, the number of Americans of all races attending colleges and universities rose to 14.8 million from 12.1 million, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, an increase of 22 percent.

Hilary O. Shelton, the director of the Washington chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said, It is indeed a sad statement about our nation that it appears to be easier for governments to invest precious public dollars into the incarceration of African-American men than it is for them to invest in higher education.

Vincent Schiraldi, the president of the Justice Policy Institute, noted the report found that the number of black men in jail or prison grew three times as fast from 1980 to 2000 as the rise in the number of black men in colleges and universities.

50 Cent, recently signed to Eminem's Shady records

50 Cent

The face of a new generation

. . .50 has full access and advantage of the streets through mix tapes because that's his forum because he controls it. He's been stabbed and shot since being in the public's eyes and has never snitched on anybody but instead remained in his gangsta state of mind. He has loosened up a bit on the violent mentality and has started coming out with concepts that can interest the world. To put it blunt, 50 Cent can't be stopped! . . .

from the Rotten Apples website

SMOKE CLEARZ videotape from GNN

And it goes like this:

And it goes like this:


Sometimes I believe that some of these emcees sit down and consciously try to figure out how to get more young black men shot.

Like they figured out a correlation between making money and delivering more young black souls into the hands of the cops.

I mean, for them, its all about moving CDs out of one-stops and record shops, even if that means convincing them young brothers to do whatever they have to do in order to get the things that them emcees videos say they got.

But, yo... they ain't got.

So, how many more need to be caught shoplifting inside the Versace shop before we realize that they are not that successful.

And when Gil Scott Heron dropped Message to the Messenger, I really hoped that they would listen, but I'll tell you something

when the smoke clears them emcees gonna be all ears

when the smoke clears them emcees gonna be all ears

when the smoke clears them emcees gonna want to hear why BET don't seem to be able to see as well as Univision.

Ninety-nine percent of the time pimping the worst parts of capitalism through record company ho's, platinum coated egos, putting out bullshit lyrics hyper marketed to supercede those revolutionary mantras of yesteryear.


Si si watu

weusi watu wazuri

pamoja tu tashinda

pamoja tu tashinda


We are black beautiful people.

Together we will win

Together we will win.

Meanwhile, on the other side of town, emcees been going from record sales to prison cells.

From standing outside of strip bars to stripping behind bars: being stripped of their clothes, jewelry and cars.

Ass out, holding their jaws...

Ass out, holding their scars...

Ass out, holding their drawers...

while record execs continue to puff on fifty dollar cigars looking at pop charts trying to figure out how they are going to make the next self-deprecating black star

and, because there is so much apathy in the ghetto, they ain't gotta look far

and, since talent is no longer necessary, no matter where they look, there they are.

Thinking that hip-hop is ever going to return to the high lyrical content of the late eighties is absurd.

Cats no longer want to follow the leader, now they want to follow nigga' killers and black woman beaters and since no one forces us to watch BET and since no one forces us to buy them garbage-ass CDs and since no one forces us to support them no-talent-having-petty-thieves, I guess we simply get what we deserve.

Because if we really wanted to elevate ourselves through lyrical content in this new millennium, we would just listen to spoken word.

Lyrics by: Taalam Acey