Ben Jealous, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, appeared on Current TV’s “Viewpoint” Tuesday night to explain why he and 174 other celebrities and activists signed an open letter sent to President Barack Obama this week urging him to take decisive action on drug war reforms.
“For about 40 years, we’ve decided that [prison]is how we solve almost every problem, whether it’s homelessness or drug addiction,” he said. “We’ve gotten to a place where black men in this country are three times more likely to be incarcerated than black men in South Africa during apartheid when they were the world’s leading [jailer].”
“So not only have we taken over this spot, quite frankly the last two countries that held it no longer exist — the Soviet Union and the former South African republic — we’ve taken it to a whole other level because we decided that incarceration was a panacea,” Jealous continued. “What we now know is, for instance, for drug addicts, rehabilitation is seven times more effective dollar for dollar than incarceration.”
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