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Thursday, 29 August, 2002, 16:47 GMT 17:47 UK
More black US men 'in jail than college'
Prison
The report found a steep rise in the number of jailed black men
There are more black men in jail in the United States than there are in higher education, a new study has found.

The report, by the Washington-based Justice Policy Institute, says the number of black men behind bars has grown by more than five times in the past 20 years.


It is a sad statement about our nation

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
According to the study, there were 791,600 black men imprisoned in America in the year 2000, compared to 603,032 enrolled in college or university.

Civil rights campaigners said the findings showed a need for government action.

"It is a sad statement about our nation that it appears to be easier for governments to invest precious public dollars into the incarceration of African-American men than it is for them to invest in higher education," a spokesman for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People told the New York Times newspaper.

Crime crackdown

Experts say one reason for the rise is the introduction of tougher anti-crime legislation in the past few years.

In the 1990s, several states adopted the so-called "three strikes and you're out" system, under which criminals face being jailed for life on a third offence.

Under the previous Bush administration, the chances of being jailed for a drug offence rose from about 15% to more than 50%, while the Clinton administration offered financial incentives to states which ensured criminals did not serve less than 85% of their sentence.

US Government figures show that overall black people account for 46% of prisoners in America, compared to 36% who are white.

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15 Mar 99 | Americas
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