Criminal justice reform has been identified as a top priority in the United States. Despite being home to just five percent of the world’s population, the U.S. has over 20 percent of the planet’s prison population. Between 1978 and 2014, the country’s prison population has ballooned by 408 percent.
It’s obvious that something needs to be done. For one art collector, the path to criminal justice reform lies in a famous Lichtenstein painting.
Major Painting Nets $165 Million for Criminal Justice Reform
According to an NPR report, art collector and philanthropist Agnes Gund recently sold Roy Lichtenstein’s 1962 painting Masterpiece for $165 million to collector Steve Cohen. The report states that Gund sold the painting specifically to raise money for “a fund that supports criminal justice reform and seeks to reduce mass incarceration in the United States.”
But Gund isn’t stopping there. She has also urged other art collectors to put pieces on the market for the same purpose. Other collectors have heeded the call and have pledged to sell works to support the cause.
For Gund, the need for reform is personal. The report goes on to state that six of her 12 grandchildren are African-American, and that she worries about their future in light of recent events, including the shooting of black teen Trayvon Martin in Florida.
Gund released a statement: “The criminal justice system in its current state — particularly in its treatment of people of color – is unfair and unjust.”
Stats on the U.S. Prison Population and Racial Disparity Among Prisoners
Currently, one in 110 Americans is imprisoned, and one in 35 adults in the U.S. is under some form of correctional control, whether it be jail or parole. According to stats from the NAACP, African-Americans account for nearly 1 million of the 2.3 million Americans in the prison population.
Together, African-Americans and Hispanics make up 58 percent of all prisoners. As of 2001, one in six black men in the United States had at some point been incarcerated. One in three black males in the U.S. can expect to be incarcerated at some point during their lifetime. Today, one in 100 African-American women are in prison. Additionally, African-Americans make up 26 percent of juvenile arrests, 44 percent of young people who are detained by police, and 46 percent of youth waived through to the adult criminal justice system. African-American juveniles are also admitted to state prisons at a rate of 58 percent.
Unlocking America states that if African-Americans and Hispanics had incarceration rates that were the same as white Americans, the U.S. prison population would automatically decrease by 50 percent.
Contact an Experienced Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with a crime at the state or federal level, it’s important to get in touch with an experienced Texas criminal defense lawyer right away.
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