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All NAACP Units to Call for an Efficient Rehabilitative Correctional System Through the Implementation of a Performance-Based Program by Supporting the Literacy Education and Rehabilitation Act

WHEREAS, the NAACP is the preeminent civil rights organization in the United States; and

WHEREAS, a major focal point of the NAACP is to ensure the …"political, educational (emphasis added), social and economic equality of rights of all persons;" and

WHEREAS, We the People, have entrusted our representatives with the responsibility of establishing a functional correctional system; and

WHEREAS, the objective of the correctional system is rehabilitation to ensure that individuals, upon their release, will be functioning members of our society; and

WHEREAS, rehabilitation shall be provided in a timely manner so that funds and resources are not ill-spent; and

WHEREAS, at the end of 1999, according to the Bureau of Justice statistics, a record 6.3 million people (3.1% of all United States adult residents) were under "correctional supervision" in the United States in jail, in prison, on probation or on parole; and

WHEREAS, federal prisons are operating at 32% over capacity; and

WHEREAS, the implementation of the sentencing guidelines and mandatory minimum laws, along with the repeal of parole has brought about longer and harsher sentences, especially for drug offenders; and

WHEREAS, the number of drug offenders in federal prisons increased more than 12% annually from 1996 to 1999; and

WHEREAS, since the enactment of mandatory minimum sentencing, the Federal Bureau of Prisons' budget has increased by 1,954% and its budget jumped from $220 million in 1986 to more than $4.3 billion in 2001; and

WHEREAS, over 80% of the increase in the federal prison population from 1985 to 1995 was due to drug convictions; and

WHEREAS, minorities and impoverished whites are more likely to be convicted of a drug offense and thereby account for the majority of the prison population; and

WHEREAS, according to the Department of Justice, studies of recidivism report that, "the amount of time inmates serve in prison does not increase or decrease the likelihood of recidivism;" and

WHEREAS, it has been determined that the lack of marketable skills greatly increases the risk of recidivism; and

WHEREAS, according to the Correctional Institution Higher Education Reform Initiative, "research reveals that incarcerated persons who do not hold a high school diploma stand a 60% greater chance of returning to prison, while those who earn an associate degree have only a 13.7% chance of re-incarceration and those who earn a bachelor's degree stand only a 5.6% risk of recidivism;" and

WHEREAS, current legislation limits the Federal Bureau of Prisons' ability to provide prisoners with incentives for participating in vocational and educational programs; and

WHEREAS, the combination of lengthy sentences in the corrections system that does not reward its prisoners for their accomplishments does not motivate prisoners to achieve anything, but instead promotes apathy; and

WHEREAS, the current correctional system is not only a failure to prisoners, but taxpayers who are made to pay little social price of having to co-exist with individuals who are the better prepared arguably worse so to become productive members of society; and

WHEREAS, in recognition of the failures and shortcomings of our current correctional system, Representative Bobby Scott of Virginia has agreed to sponsor The Literacy Education and Rehabilitation Act; and

WHEREAS, the Literacy Education and Rehabilitation Act was drafted by the Federal Prison Policy Project, a group that advocates on behalf of the federal inmate population and their families; and

WHEREAS, the objectives of the Literacy Education and Rehabilitation Act:

  • require that the Federal Bureau of Prisons provide remedial, vocational and other rehabilitative opportunities to better prepare prisoners for a successful return to society;
  • amend Title 18 USC § 3624 to better demonstrate to taxpayers that money spent by the federal government on incarceration is rehabilitating the prisoners in its custody;
  • expand the limitations which authorize the Federal Bureau of Prisons to provide prisoners with incentives for participating in vocational and educational programs; and
  • provide significant incentives which will encourage prisoners to develop marketable skills.

WHEREAS, rehabilitation rather than warehousing will once again be the focal point of the United States Correctional System.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP support the Literacy Education and Rehabilitation Act which:

  • promotes participation in higher education and vocational programs in prisons;
  • rewards prisoners based only on their achievements and exceptional behavior; and promises to reduce the rate in recidivism.
Derrick Lewis - Youth & College Hero

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