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The Last Thing We Need is More Money for Prisons, But That Is What Obama Wants

At the same time the Obama administration is talking about a dramatic "spending freeze," it's requesting more money to lock people up.

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Re-invigorating this program is likely to further increase the prison population, without a significant drop in crime. It will also likely increase the disproportionate contact communities of color have with the criminal justice system due to concentrated policing in neighborhoods with a high Latino and/or African American composition.

In the meantime, one area where the Obama administration has decided to provide less funding is in programming for juvenile prisoners -- bad news for the estimated 100,000 youth behind bars in this country who make up the country’s most vulnerable prison population.

"Juvenile justice programs received $546.9 million in FY 2002,” according to the JPI. “Funding has been dropping almost consistently since then, and the Administration has proposed another $133 million decline in the proposed FY2011 budget, down to $290 million."

Liliana Segura is an AlterNet staff writer and editor of Rights & Liberties and World Special Coverage. Follow her on Twitter.

 
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