About HANG THE JURY

Blacks comprise 13% of the U.S. population and use drugs at similar rates to whites. Yet blacks comprise roughly 45% of those incarcerated for drug law violations.

It’s time for citizens to set right
what our government has gotten so wrong.
  • What?

    The criminal justice system is broken. America has the highest incarceration rates on the planet, ahead of Rwanda (#2) and Russia (#3).

    The mass incarceration of black men can only be considered an epidemic.

  • Why?

    In the 1970’s there were approximately 350,000 prisoners in U.S. Today that figure is 2.2 million.

    The rise is attributed almost exclusively to the increase in non-violent drug possession charges related to the “War on Drugs.”

  • How?

    Activists across the nation are fighting to change the draconian drug laws in the U.S. But changing the legal system takes time and money.

    Joining the movement to “Hang the Jury” only requires a conscience.


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  • FACTS:

    Roughly 500,000 Americans are behind bars on any given night for a drug law violation – ten times the total in 1980

    Number of people arrested in 2011 in the U.S. on nonviolent drug charges: 1.53 million

    Number of students who have lost federal financial aid eligibility because of a drug conviction: 200,000+

    In fiscal year 2010, almost half of all drug offenders (48.7%, n=7,716) were convicted of an offense carrying a ten-year mandatory minimum penalty

    The U.S. has 5% of the world’s population and 25% of the world’s incarcerated population

    Every year 70,000 prisoners are raped

    45% of Americans under correctional supervision for drug-related offenses are black

A jury has an unreviewable and irreversible power to acquit in disregard of the instructions on the law given by the trial judge.

US vs Dougherty

WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

You are the juror in a drug trial. You are white. The defendant in the case is a 20 year old black man, already on probation, charged with possession of marijuana, the result of a “stop and frisk” encounter with the police.

If convicted he faces up to twenty years in prison.

You believe the prosecution made its case and so do the other jurors. The only problem is, you don’t agree with the law.

It just doesn’t seem fair. You know the defendant could just as easily have been you or someone you love.

You know that the only reason this young man is sitting before you is because he is black.

We recognize, as appellants urge, the undisputed power of the jury to acquit, even if its verdict is contrary to the law as given by the judge, and contrary to the evidence.

US vs Moylan

Friends/Resources

Several individuals, organizations and filmmakers have been fighting against mass incarceration, particularly as it relates to African Americans and Hispanics.

The sophisticated fascism of the practices of stop and frisk, charging people in inner cities with ‘wandering,’ driving and walking while black, ZIP code racism – these and many other de facto practices all serve to keep our prisons full.

Chris Hedges. From the Truthdig.com article, “The Shame of America’s Gulag”

The War on Drugs: Timeline

The road to mass incarceration in America has been long and tragic.
  • The New Jim Crow
    New Jim Crow

    Michelle Alexander publishes The New Jim Crow galvanizes members of the black community around the concept of incarceration as a new form of slavery.

  • Prison industrial complex
    Prison Industrial Complex

    Percentage of black children with an incarcerated parent soars above 10%. Blacks are arrested for drug violations at rates three to six times higher than whites. 7 million Americans are under correctional supervision.

  • Clinton years
    Clinton Years

    The Clinton administration institutionalizes punitive measures such as lifetime bans on forms of welfare including access to food stamps, government jobs and public housing.

  • Crack epidemic
    Epidemic

    The media declare crack an epidemic. Crack makes the cover of Newsweek Magazine.

  • Crack appears
    Crack Appears

    “Crack” made of cocaine smuggled from Nicaragua floods the streets of black neighborhoods.

  • Funding the War on Drugs
    Funding the War

    The Reagan administration increases anti-drug funding for the FBI, DoD and DEA tenfold; almost the exact size of the funding decrease to federal drug treatment, rehabilitation and education programs.

  • Private Prisons
    Private Prisons

    Despite the historically low prison population, the government’s drug war prompts the formation of the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the first privately held prison corporation in the U.S.

  • War on Drugs
    War on Drugs

    Despite the absence of a drug problem in America, Ronald Reagan declares the “War on Drugs” a top national priority. Simultaneously, the CIA begins operations to overthrow the government of Nicaragua.

  • National Advisory Commission on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals
    There are 350,000 prisoners in the U.S.

    National Advisory Commission on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals recommends “no new institutions for adults should be built and existing institutions for juveniles should be closed.”

“The demand for our facilities and services could be adversely affected by the relaxation of enforcement efforts, leniency in conviction and sentencing practices or through the decriminalization of certain activities that are currently proscribed by our criminal laws. For instance, any changes with respect to drugs and controlled substances or illegal immigration could affect the number of persons arrested, convicted, and sentenced, thereby potentially reducing demand for correctional facilities to house them.”

Correction Corporation of America

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As a criminal, you have scarcely more rights, and arguably less respect, than a black man living in Alabama at the height of Jim Crow. We have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.

Michelle Alexander, from The New Jim Crow