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Law and Criminal Knowledge

Updated on January 3, 2015

The conversation. Statistics for the prison population can be alarming.

NAACP Reported:

  1. Crime/drug arrest rates: African Americans represent 12% of monthly drug users, but comprise 32% of persons arrested for drug possession
  2. About 14 million Whites and 2.6 million African Americans report using an illicit drug
  3. In 2002, blacks constituted more than 80% of the people sentenced under the federal crack cocaine laws and served substantially more time in prison for drug offenses than did whites, despite that fact that more than 2/3 of crack cocaine users in the U.S. are white or Hispanic

Population Reference Bureau:

  • (August 2012) Since 2002, the United States has had the highest incarceration rate in the world.
  • In 2008, young black men (ages 18-34) were at least six times more likely to be incarcerated than young white men.

The question: If one is aware of the reality of criminal activities, why aren't more parents having conversations regarding laws, regulations, and how choices can equate to jail time with their children? What is wrong with becoming familiar with state laws and citizens rights in the state you currently reside? Does an officer have the right to search your vehicle without a warrant? How long are the jail sentences for certain offenses? Is marijuana use legal in your state, if so under what conditions? Perhaps with young people you can sit and watch the rap videos and name the offense and amount of jail time for each act? What are your rights regarding your jurisdiction? What constitutes a federal crime?

Every person needs to be aware of the laws of their states. Why aren't parents teaching this to their children, especially in the minority population, targets of the free labor system: the prison industry? Awareness of laws and the sentences associated with criminal activities it will bring about awareness of legal and criminal consequences for certain actions. Parents need to make their children aware of what can happen as a consequence of certain actions.


You go to a party and decide to drink when you are underage. The police break up the party and discover you are drunk. What could happen as a result?


  • Driver's license suspension for up to 2 years if under 18 years of age
  • Fines up to $2500 plus surcharges and possible court costs
  • A misdemeanor criminal record for life
  • Possible community service and alcohol education classes

****laws vary by state

True or False

The Corrections Corporation of America profits have increased by over 500% in the past 20 years.

See results

Wikipedia reported the following information regarding the prison industry:

A few months later, Eric Schlosser wrote an article published in Atlantic Monthly in December 1998 stating that: "The 'prison-industrial complex' (PIC) is not only a set of interest groups and institutions; it is also a state of mind. The lure of big money is corrupting the nation's criminal-justice system, replacing notions of safety and public service with a drive for higher profits. The eagerness of elected officials to pass tough-on-crime legislation – combined with their unwillingness to disclose the external and social costs of these laws – has encouraged all sorts of financial improprieties."

“The private prison industry has been accused of incarcerating people in mainly impoverished communities for minor crimes so as to use them for free labor. -Doug McDonald, Ph.D. and Scott Camp, Ph.D., "Taft studies" stated:

The prison system has become a for-profit business in which inmates are the product–a system that has shocking similarities to another human-based business from America’s past: slavery. In late 2013, a new report from In the Public Interest (ITPI) revealed that private prison companies are striking deals with states that contain clauses guaranteeing high prison occupancy rates–sometimes 100 percent.

Prison System Incarceration

Knowledge is power. Although this is not the solution to the problems with law enforcement, it is a necessity for members of your family to understand how the laws are written and administered. Knowing risks and knowing one's civil rights are critical to navigate and perhaps avoid incarceration resulting activities and choices.


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