Background: The New Jim Crow
After the Civil War, state and local "Jim Crow" laws were enacted to enforce racial segregation in the South,
some of which remained in effect until overturned by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Today, Jim Crow and legal racial segregation have been replaced by a legal system and "War on Drugs"
which mostly targets people of color, and which have given us the highest rate of mass incarceration in
our history and in the world today.
• The United States has 5% of the world’s population
• But 25% of the world’s prison population, making us the world’s largest jailer
• From 1978 to 2014 our prison population increased by a factor of 4
• One adult in every 110 are incarcerated in a prison or local jail
• One adult in 35 are under correctional control (i.e., prison, jail, parole or probation)
• We currently have the highest rate of imprisonment in American history
The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) believes there is "that of God" in every person.
Motivated by that belief the Society has over the centuries advocated for social justice issues,
such as the abolition of slavery, the fair treatment of Native Americans, universal suffrage,
prison reform, and improvement in mental hospitals.
Today that same concern moves us to address the prison situation in the United States.
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
by Michelle Alexander
The New Jim Crow offers a devastating account of a legal system doing its job perfectly well. We have simply replaced one caste system with another one.
• Forbes Magazine
Building a Movement to End the New Jim Crow: an organization guide
Carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable.
• Publishers Weekly
by Daniel Hunter
Short, But Great Guide to Social Justice Action. Great Resource for Social Work/Social Justice Students & Advocates
• Reviewer on Amazon.com
Undoing Racism Network
Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends
The PYM Undoing Racism Network is a non-centralized, mutually-supporting network of Friends working on racism and racial justice.
Call for Spirited Action: Quaker Network to End Mass Incarceration
What started as a small group of Friends meeting during mealtimes at the 2014 Friends General Conference Gathering has burgeoned into a movement of Quakers connecting across the country to see how we can pool our knowledge and resources on shifting our prison system.
How Quakers can help end mass incarceration
AFSC has been collaborating with QuakerSpeak, a project of Friends Journal, on several videos about issues on which AFSC works and how Quakers can support change. The second video in the series of three reflects on "How Quakers can help end mass incarceration" and features AFSC staff members Laura Magnani, Farajii Mohammed, and Lewis Webb.