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Geoff K. Ward and Manning Marable

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Toward a New Civic Leadership: The Africana Criminal Justice Project

The extraordinary growth and carceral thrust of criminal justice policy and procedure over the past 25 years have transformed the United States into a “prison nation.” Leaders in the U.S. offer mass criminalization and incarceration as surrogate responses to persistent poverty and unemployment, drug abuse, violence, mental health problems, and failing public schools. The ascendance of this fundamentally inhumane, fiscally absurd, and socially dysfunctional criminal justice apparatus signals the failure of societal leadership. Ward and Marable consider how mass criminalization and incarceration have affected African-American individuals, families, and communities, particularly in terms of civic capacity and participation. They provide an overview of the Africana Criminal Justice Project, a research, education, and organizing initiative aiming to help identify and eradicate dimensions of racialized social and political exclusion that are generated, reproduced, and intensified by past and present U.S. criminal justice policy.

leadership, criminal justice, imprisonment, African Americans, reforms, Black studies, Africana Criminal Justice Project

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 30, No. 2 (2003): 89-97