In his new book, author Duane Campbell takes an in-depth look at the various circumstances and factors contributing to the overwhelming number of Blacks in the criminal justice system in America.
In “From Pre-School to the Penitentiary – A Candid Examination of a Vicious Cycle,” the Chicago-based Campbell details what he sees as the hurdles Blacks face as a result of their socio-economic realities, highlighting each from the womb to adulthood.
Campbell outlines five major challenges Blacks face in America: abortion, literacy, retention, special education and high school graduation. The author cites major deficiencies in these areas within the Black community, claiming that 2,000 Black babies are aborted daily, even as large numbers of Black children are expelled from pre-school—prompting the author to ask, “how do you get expelled at four years old?” According to Campbell, only 12 percent of boys and 18 percent of girls read at their grade level by the eighth grade, calling illiteracy “the first precursor for incarceration.”
Regarding special education, Campbell asks why “African American children are only 17 percent of the students, but 41 percent of special education students?” He goes on to call to American schools “the largest drug dealers,” as they dispense Ritalin to more than seven million children daily. The author spotlights the dropout rate of Blacks in high school, putting that figure at more than 30 percent for females and more than 40 percent for males. “The second greatest precursor to prison is dropping out of high school,” Campbell writes.
The author presents an interesting look at the hurdles Blacks face in America and the circumstances that perpetuate those cycles. The author forces readers to ask important questions—for instance, how are there more Blacks in the criminal justice system today than there were under slavery in 1862? How have we allowed more than 1.4 million Blacks to become disenfranchised and lose their right to vote? If you’re asking yourself these questions and want to make an effort to end the cycle, Campbell’s book is worth a look.