For the first time since 2014, the United Nations is reviewing compliance in the United States with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Taking advantage of this review, a group of civil rights organizations has presented a report on the devastating consequences of the incarceration of the African-American population, especially in the south of the country.
According to the Southern Prison Coalition, the criminal legal system in the country reflects systemic discrimination against African Americans and creates racial disparities. In this way, they report that this population is five times more likely to be incarcerated in state prisons than the rest. For example, in places like Alabama or South Carolina, with a 27% African American population, the percentage of prisoners belonging to this race rises to 52 and 59% respectively. Other states with large disparities are Florida, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and Texas, the study highlights.
The coalition claims that there is a disproportionate confinement of black citizens, being up to eight times more likely to be confined in solitary confinement, and up to 10 times more likely to be held there for an excessive time. It also underlines that prison systems operated by southern states continue to represent the legacy of former slavery and exploitation, as many inmates are forced to work on farms adjacent to prisons, where they are often not pay or pay them very low wages.
The report highlights that this prison system is a great detriment to African-American families since, even at school, the minors who belong to them are disproportionately punished and suspended, even when there is no evidence that they behave worse than their peers. .
Finally, the document includes a series of recommendations for the UN to transfer to the US Administration, although Washington has been failing for a long time when it comes to complying with its obligations related to international human rights treaties on the elimination of racial discrimination, mainly regarding mass incarceration and the conditions of deprivation of liberty.