U.N. experts allege systemic racism and rights abuses in U.S. prisons | EUROtoday

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Black individuals in the United States prison justice system face “systemic racism and racial discrimination by law enforcement officials,” United Nations experts stated in a report launched this week, after an investigation launched in 2021 amid the protests over the police killing of George Floyd.

In “an affront to human dignity,” prisoners have been compelled to present beginning in shackles and to present infants into state care solely hours after beginning, and Black prisoners face disproportionate rights violations, in line with the U.N. Human Rights Council findings — collected by a gaggle of experts who in the spring visited 5 detention facilities, met with officers all through the nation and took direct testimony from greater than 130 individuals.

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The nation should undertake a “human rights-based approach” to take care of a “profound lack of trust of people of African descent in law enforcement and the criminal justice systems,” the authors argue, “mainly due to the historical and continuous police violence suffered, and the sense of systemic oppression and impunity for these violations.”

The U.S. Mission to the United Nations and the Department of Justice didn’t reply to requests for a response to the report, which addresses the justice system on the federal, state and native ranges.

The “Federal Bureau of Prisons is committed to ensuring the safety and security of all incarcerated individuals in our population, our employees, and the public,” Benjamin O’Cone, a spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, stated in an e-mail.

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The authors write that they have been horrified to search out majority-Black jail populations “forced to labour in the fields (even picking cotton)” in “the same soil worked by slaves before the Civil War,” in the case of Louisiana State Penitentiary. A spokesman for the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections didn’t reply to requests to touch upon the report’s characterizations.

Drug legal guidelines and insurance policies “in place for at least five decades in the United States” make “Africans and persons of African descent disproportionately more likely to experience harmful interaction with law enforcement and the criminal legal system,” the authors write.

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They cite considerations generally raised by rights teams and prison justice reform advocates: amongst others, the nation’s near-unparalleled fee of imprisonment per capita, a disproportionate share of Black prisoners, various doctrines on police use of pressure, a excessive fee of police killings, the big presence of legislation enforcement in faculties, poor jail situations, the widespread use of solitary confinement and the disenfranchisement of prisoners.

The authors condemn the prevalence of the loss of life penalty regardless of many exonerations of death-row prisoners, the usage of compelled jail labor and a excessive share of prisoners (about 15 % as of 2020, per the Sentencing Project, a Washington-based advocacy group) serving life or what quantity to life sentences.

The experts who compiled the report included Tracie L. Keesee, co-founder and president of the Center For Policing Equity and a former New York Police Department deputy commissioner for fairness and inclusion; Juan E. Méndez, an Argentine human rights lawyer and former commissioner of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and Yvonne Mokgoro, a former justice on South Africa’s constitutional court docket.

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They suggest an method to policing and incarceration that may emphasize remodeling underlying situations, together with poverty and racial inequity, and name for a discount in police killings, the decriminalization of low-level drug offenses, a nationwide technique to scale back the speed of Black imprisonment and the abolition of the loss of life penalty and life sentences with out the potential for parole.

Since the sentencing in 2021 of Police Officer Derek Chauvin for the homicide of Floyd, which sparked a world second of reckoning over racism and policing, the U.N. Human Rights Council has taken up most of the calls for of the protest motion.

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In 2021, then-U. N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet, a former president of Chile, stated the United States confronted a whole-of-society, “long-overdue need to confront the legacies of enslavement … and to seek reparatory justice.”

She known as for reparations, broadly outlined to incorporate restitution, rehabilitation, instructional reforms, acknowledgment, apologies, memorialization and “guarantees” in opposition to additional injustice.

Sammy Westfall contributed to this report.