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Inmates line up along a wall, seen during a tour of the Men's Central Jail, run by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, in downtown Los Angeles.
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AdvocacyCitizenship

What's the Cost of Mass Incarceration in the US? Join Us for a Discussion at the Apollo Theater


Why Global Citizens Should Care
The United States is facing a mass incarceration epidemic. More than 2 million people are incarcerated in the US and more than half a million of those people have not been convicted of a crime yet. People of color and those living in poverty — often overlapping populations — are incarcerated at disproportionate rates due to discrimination and other systemic issues. Criminal justice and cash bail reform are crucial to tackling the issues of poverty and discrimination in the US. You can take action here.

The United States is home to just 5% of the world’s population, and yet its prisons and jails hold 25% of people incarcerated globally. Of these people, more than 600,000 have yet to be convicted of a crime, according to the Prison Policy Initiative. Though still presumed innocent, they remain in detention because they cannot afford to make bail.

With facts and figures so astounding, it can be easy to forget that they represent more than just data — they represent people.

Through the sharing of personal stories, expert analysis, and the voices of activists, “At What Cost?” — a one-night event hosted by Global Citizen and the Vera Institute of Justice — will ignite a conversation around the need for criminal justice and cash bail reform in the US.

What You Need to Know

The dynamic event, which will include personal testimonies, discussions, and performances, will take place on Sept. 23 at 6 p.m. at the Apollo Theater in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood.

Tickets are free and available to reserve here. RSVPs are required and the event will be first come, first served.

A Night of Sharing and Discussion

Harlem has a deep ties to the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements, as well as  a hub for black culture in the US. It has historically been home to communities of color, making the legendary Apollo Theater a meaningful venue to host the night’s discussion and to honor those impacted by mass incarceration in the US.

People of color, particularly those living in poverty, are incarcerated at overwhelmingly disproportionate rates. Black people were incarcerated almost six times as often as white people in 2010, according to government data. People of color and people living in poverty in the US are frequently populations that overlap, which means that these communities are also the least likely to be able to afford their bail.

The criminal justice system holds approximately 2.3 million people, but the effects of mass incarceration in the US are not limited to those who are detained. Families are torn apart and trapped in the poverty cycle because of these issues. Women and children, especially women and children of color, tend to bear the social and economic burdens associated with having an incarcerated loved one.

“At What Cost?” will give a platform to people whose lives and loved ones were impacted by the justice system, including Geneva Reed-Veal — the mother of Sandra Bland, who was found dead in her jail cell days after being arrested for a traffic violation in 2015.

Additional speakers include political strategist Symone Sanders, Women’s March co-chair Tamika Mallory, Love & Hip Hop star Yandy Smith, as well as Wallo 267 and Jamila Davis, who were formerly incarcerated. The evening will also feature performances by Slick Rick and the Soul Rebels.