Criminal Justice Fact Sheet

Why Join Occupy Wall Street?

Because the US imprisons more people than any other nation, accounting for almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners.- 2.3 million people are in our nation’s prisons or jails — a 500% increase over the past 30 years.

Because since 1990, the US prison population has almost doubled, and, according to a report by the Justice Policy Institute in 2002, the number of black men in prison has grown to five times the rate it was twenty years ago.

Why Join Occupy Wall Street?

Because about 10.4% of African American men between 25 to 29 are currently incarcerated, and more African American men are in jail than in college.

Because, in 2010, 53 percent of the people stopped by the New York Police Department as part of its “Stop and Frisk” program were black; 32 percent were Latino; and 9 percent were white.

Because while African American men represent 14% of the population of young men in the U.S., they represent over 40% of the prison population (not including men on parole). More than 60% of the people in prison are now racial and ethnic minorities. For black males in their twenties, 1 in every 8 is in prison or jail on any given day. 7 times more African American men are incarcerated than white men, and 3 times more than Latino men, even though African American men comprise smaller percentages of the population than either of these groups.

Because, while the majority of illegal drug users and dealers are white, three-fourths of those incarcerated for a drug offense is black or Latino. According to Human Rights Watch’s analysis of prison admission data for 2003 revealed that relative to population, blacks are 10.1 times more likely than whites to be sent to prison for drug offenses. Although blacks represent about one-third of drug arrests, they constitute 46 percent of persons convicted of drug felonies in state courts – and among black defendants convicted of drug offenses, 71 percent received sentences to incarceration in contrast to 63 percent of convicted white drug offenders.

Why Join Occupy Wall Street?  

Because an estimated 5.3 million Americans are denied the right to vote because of laws that prohibit voting by people with felony convictions. An estimated 13% of black men are unable to vote.

Because taxpayers pay an estimated $50 billion annually to incarcerate an ever increasing portion of our population, or $185 billion when one factors in police services and court costs, including the price of public defenders for the indigent – and more of this funding could go to the education that could lead people to good jobs and keep them out of jails!

Why Join Occupy Wall Street?

Because the more people incarcerated, the more some corporations profit. Private prison companies have played a key role in lobbying for and passing harsher sentencing for non-violent offenses including three-strike laws, mandatory sentencing, anti-immigrant state laws, and truth-in-sentencing.The private prison industry has given millions to federal and state candidates, political parties and political action committees since 2001. And over the last decade, the two largest for-profit prison companies saw their annual revenue double as a result of the spike in incarcerations, making them both billion-dollar companies.

Because private prisons pay from 93 cents to $4.73 per hour. Federal prisons pay from  93 cents to $1.25 per hour, and prison labor means no union protection, overtime pay, vacation days, pensions, benefits, health and safety protection, or Social Security withholding.

Because the prison industry produces 100% of all military helmets, ammo belts, bulletproof vest, etc. Inmates have also produced missile cables. They also cut aircut components which pay them 7.00 an hour when on the outside union wages would be 30.00. Prisoners earning 23 cents an hour in U.S. federal prisons are manufacturing high-tech electronic components for Patriot Advanced Capability 3 missiles, launchers for TOW (Tube-launched, Optically tracked, Wire-guided) anti-tank missiles, and other guided missile systems.

Because, according to Noah Zatz at UCLA Law , “well over 600,000, and probably close to a million, inmates are working full time in jails and prisons throughout the United States.

Because unions are now competing with near slave-labor prison-workers for jobs today – in New Jersey, Virginia, Georgia, Connecticut, Oregon and Pennsylvania inmates are being substituted for civilian private and public sector workers, and most recently, in the State of Wisconsin, Tea Party politicians have even started to use the collective bargaining legislation just passed to replace union and public sector workers with prison labor…..

Sources: The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, New York Civil Liberties Union, Public Campaign, The Sentencing Project,, Prison Population Exceeds Two Million —,,,,’,,