Americans across the country celebrated the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. this week. And while this is an opportunity to remember all that MLK has done for the civil rights movement, it’s also a chance to reflect on the progress that still needs to be made. Exhibit A: the criminal justice system.
In the video below, Loyola University Professor Daniel D’Amico discusses the racial disparity among the prison population and the negative effects this has on minorities. He highlights that while black people make up 14 percent of the American population, they make up 36 percent of the prison population. If you are a young, black male, you have a higher probability of going to jail than getting married or going to college.
Dr. D’Amico explains that this is largely a result of a criminal justice system that disproportionately impacts minorities. While laws aren’t intentionally written to target black people, the effects of these laws inordinately fall on poor minority communities that lack the political and legal resources to fight against them.
“Radical changes,” Dr. D’Amico concludes, “may be both necessary and preferable to the status quo.” It’s a safe bet that MLK would agree.